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The first couple of questions people ask when they find out someone is expecting a child is ‘’Are you planning on breastfeeding or giving your baby formula?’’ and if the answer is ‘’breastfeeding’’ then they will surely ask about the chosen breast pump… ‘’Will it be manual, electric…neither?!’’

Inevitably, this is definitely THE most avoided question by someone who is pregnant, as many breastfeeding moms tend to abstain from this subject, especially during their last trimester of pregnancy…after all, how will they know if their breastfeeding journey will go smoothly? Needless to say, how would they even start considering their breast pump options if their baby hasn’t even been born yet?

In fact, anything could happen in motherhood, and that is the first lesson a mom will have to learn, particularly if they are feeling a little bit anxious about going back to work once the baby is a little older and maternity leave is almost running out.

In general, it is during the first couple of months of active motherhood that the new mom will start thinking and eventually making a decision on what breast pump she should get. This gives time for breastfeeding to be properly established between mom and newborn while also starting off a new ‘milk bank’ if necessary.

So, how do women choose one breast pump over another? Who is to say one breast pump is better than the other? And why are there so many options in the market!? Can a mom have a simple life and breastfeed directly or – if really necessary – use her hands to pump her milk? How to make the right investment?

If this is your case and you have asked yourself all of the questions above, then congratulations! You are officially a full-time mom! And the first thing that you need to think about is whether you are expressing yourself for a short, medium or long period of time, as this will help you decide on what breast pump will be more suitable for you.

Continue reading to find out what is best for you, as the long-awaited battle of Manual Vs Electric Breast Pumps will -hopefully – end here.

Why express yourself?

The question should be, ‘’why wouldn’t you?’’. There are many well-known benefits that are obtained from breast milk, and a lot of research has found out that breast milk is definitely the best food your baby can possibly have during their first six months of life and up until whenever the two of you feel comfortable with. So, if either an electric or manual breast pump could potentially make your breastfeeding journey easier, then why wouldn’t you buy it and make this investment?

However, keep in mind that every woman is different, so one type of pump may work for you but that breast pump your friend recommended you feels atrocious on your body! This is perfectly normal, as all breast pumps differ as well. Don’t think it’s because you don’t have enough milk or you are at fault, you just need to find your perfect breast pump companion!.

But before the debate of Manual Vs Electric starts happening, ask yourself the following question:


Have you considered hand expressing yourself?

Hand expressing is very useful, especially if you don’t have enough savings to buy a breast pump or even if you don’t have your bump available at the moment you desperately need it. Hand expressing can actually save you from lots of hassle in terms of deciding what breast pump you should get.

What’s more, hand expressing is very easy to do and not difficult to learn, you just need to make sure you are doing it gentle and subtle as otherwise, you could potentially damage some scar tissue. If you are only thinking about expressing for a short-term period or during occasional situations, then this may be your solution.

In fact, some new moms even hand express themselves as soon as their baby is born in order to obtain colostrum, this is done especially when the baby was born prematurely or when they cannot get to latch properly.

In this context, hand expressing can be a quick and efficient way of expressing yourself if you need it, so do keep it in mind.

Manual Vs Electric Breast pumps

Both manual and electric breast pumps are great options for moms who would like to start expressing themselves. However, they are very different in terms of achieving the results.

Continue reading to find out more about them:

Manual breast pumps:

They are definitely the most-common breast pumps as they tend to be more affordable. A manual breast pump doesn’t require electricity thus you must power it by hand. They are usually very easy to set up as the shield connects the valve to the membrane, then your milk will be led straight to the bottle.

Manual breast pumps offer a great opportunity for those moms who are willing to express themselves without sacrificing their budget. They are also ideal for those moms who would like to express themselves eventually.


● You can literally use it everywhere, as it doesn’t need any electricity. Are you waiting in your car? Pump yourself! Is there a blackout and you ran out of electricity? No worries, pump yourself!

● They are a great backup option if you already have an electric pump.

● They are easily transported, thus if you are a travelling mom, a manual pump may be the right choice for you.

● There isn’t a weird noise whenever you use your pump.


● You may feel some discomfort as you have to squeeze the lever over and over again in order to obtain your milk.

● Expression tends to be slower when using a manual pump, so you will spend more time expressing yourself. 

Electric breast pumps: 

Are you a mom that is always on the go? Are you going back to a busy schedule but you would still love to feed your child breast milk? Are you going back to work soon?

If you are planning on feeding your baby breast milk for -at least – their first 6 months of life, then an electric pump may be your best option, especially if you are an active mom who is going back to work soon after your baby is born.

Electric pumps also have the option of having a single or double electric breast pump, and this could mean that you could save even more time whenever you express yourself. So, instead of doing it for 20 minutes with a single electric breast pump, you could do it in 10 minutes with a double electric breast pump.


● The speed of expression is higher than a manual pump, thus you will get greater volumes of milk.

● You can express yourself for short periods of time and you will obtain a good amount of milk.

● It is possible to have your hands free in order to do other things while you are also expressing yourself. Talk about multitasking!


● Electric breast pumps can be very expensive.

● Electric breast pumps tend to make a loud noise that could even bother your newborn baby!

● As you will be using something that requires electricity, your house bills could potentially increase as well.

● They could be very heavy.

Things to consider before buying a Breast Pump:

● How often will you be pumping? Will you do it every day? Once a week? Twice a month? This will definitely be your starting point in order to help you decide which breast pump will be more suitable for your lifestyle.

● How much milk will you be needing? Are you having twins? Triplets? Do you need to store milk for all of them or for only one person?

● Would you like to multitask when expressing yourself or are you ok to only focus on manually expressing yourself?

● Would you like to take your pump everywhere? Or would you only leave it at home? Portability is very important, as electric pumps are not as portable as manual pumps.

● What is your budget? Some electric breast pumps can be very expensive, which, in turn, stay out of reach for many women. Are you willing to make a bigger investment?


Last recommendations

Before you choose your next breast pump, make sure you look closely at your lifestyle, your budget and what your needs are, because finding the correct breast pump and accessories is finding an ally in your breastfeeding journey.

Talk to your tribe, to some experts, to either friends or family members who have pumped before and who are able to recommend some brands, what worked – or didn’t work – for them as these other experiences will surely be beneficial to you.

If you are thinking about pumping every day, then an electric breast pump may be for you. Some governments around the world are even offering breast pumps as part of their insurance plan, so perhaps you could ask your local government if this is the case in your area.

And do remember, finding the right breast pump is definitely a personal choice, just like everything else in motherhood. So, make sure you thoroughly analyze your life situation before investing in a breast pump. After all, it is an important decision you will make in your life. 

To learn more about breast pumping, check out our article on breast pumping to induce labor.


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Eugenia Tovar - one of the Stuff4Tots editorial team
Eugenia Tovar

Eugenia is based down in Buenos Aires, Argentina although originally hailing from Venezuela. She is a seasoned traveller and student of life.  She is fluent in English, Spanish and French and is currently adding Italian to her impressive bow.

She has studied a variety of subjects in a variety of countries - from Political Science in Venezuela to International Research in the UK.

Her extensive breadth and depth of knowledge is a great addtition to the Stuff4Tots editorial team.