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Manual or Electric Breast Pump - Which is best? HELP!!

Hi Girls

I have been looking into breast pumps and have had really mixed reviews, some friends on BE have said without doubt choose an electric one, preferably Medula swing, however this is sooo expensive unless you can get it at bargain price or second hand on ebay. Not sure about second hand.

How do people rate the tommee tippee closer to nature ones, they seem more reasonably priced.

However, loads of other friends have said they just didn't get on with electric, as they just felt like a cow in a milking factory and the pump was very harsh on on the nipples and sucktion very strong and hurt, so would reccomend a manual one as you can gently control the amount of milk you siphon off, just to relieve full boobs if anything..

What do you think?? I'm on a budget and don't really want to get both, just wanted some useful opinions, so I can maybe get one.



  • I bought the TT manual and really struggled with it. I wanted to express regularly and I found the suction just wasn't enough to get any worthwhile amounts. My hand also really hurt after a short period of time. I then bought a second hand Medela Swing on Ebay (I know, I questioned the second hand bit as well) and just stuck it in my steam steriliser a few times. You can buy new bits for it if you are really concerned.

    The Swing has been fab and I would thoroughly recommend it. You can get some good second hand ones on Ebay. Mine was still in the original box with some of the extras unwrapped/unused. I paid ??50 including postage and it was worth every penny.

    It depends on how often you want to express and how much time you have. The electric ones are far more efficient (IMO) and the Swing has different settings depending on how strong you want the suction to be. You can also use it for as long/short a period you want to express the right amount so it is just as versatile.

    My vote goes with electric any day.

  • I got a electric breastpump from hospital for a few weeks. (prem baby and they where supportive of wish to breastfeed) It was a dual pump, but you could use it as a single as well. I got quite a bit of milk out in a short period, but after I brought it back after three weeks I went on to my avent manual pump and I got more milk out in less time. I tried the manual pump before my milk had properly come in and it was such a pain and my hand started to hurt etc, but after my milk was in properly it was just as easy to get the milk out with the manual one as the electric one. (and the manual one i could take with me so I could express when we where at a wedding and lo stayed with his grandparents. I could have never taken the electric one.
  • I had a TT manual, was fine but as I wanted to exp lots I thought I would invest in the Medula, just for ease etc - had heard such good stuff.

    Right now I do not feel it was worth it, I get less milk in less time, although the Medula is easier (that is you don't have to put any effort into pumping) I do not know that it is ??70 better....

    I am actually finding the time to exp quite a challenge so may regret it further yet.

    You can get manual ones so cheaply, I think tesco have the TT CTN for half price at the moment, I reckon it is worth giving that a go first and seeing how you get on.

    Would not worry about the second hand issue, know how you feel but doesn't really matter eh...

  • Hi girls, bought the TT manual pump from asda for a tenner, bargain and it came with loads of little freebies, really happy with that as I figure I don't even know how me or baby will get on with BFing, so a tenner is not much to lose, if all else fails. Then if I want to invest in a medula then i can at a later date, I saw loads of boxed, unused on ebay for about ??50 which is ok and second hand would be cheaper still.. X
  • Even before I gave birth I already bought a manual breastpump, only used t for less than a month coz I got tired of pmping and pumping and pumping. I felt so tired during those days, being a first time mom, I haven't got the hang of not having enough sleep at I decided to buy an electric one and I liked it. I would like to recommend this website. I got mine thru this. Just read on the reviews, it will help.


  • I think it probably depends on the manual or electric one. Electric ones are only good if you can control the vacuum and cycles on them, otherwise you're better off with a manual one that you have control over so that you can mimick the fast sucking at first until you let down. Either way basically what feels more natural to your breast, i.e most like your baby, and you're most relaxed for, will work the best. Electric ones you can usually get double ones which work well, and much faster.
    If you're unsure then do you go to any breastfeeding groups? Our local bosom buddies group can loan out electric pumps- you have to pay for the sterile collection sets as they can't reuse them, but they are good pumps so you can give it a try and if you get on with it then you have the sets already and would just need to buy the unit. They're like these ones and you can also get a converter for the collection sets to make them into hand pumps, so if you don't find that the electric pumps work any better then the collection sets won't go to waste. The hand pump conversion is a bit different from most of the highstreet ones you see but they're great to use. Hope that helps.

  • Well, I for my first baby I used a manual pump, then I had to change to an electric pump because of its advantages. You can consider these aspect before buying:

    An electric breast pumps will:

    • require less effort to use than manual pumps
    • faster than other methods of expressing milk
    • more comfortable for you because they offer multiple settings
    • shortens breast feeding time, especially the double electric breast pump model.
    • more expensive than manual breast pumps
    • noisier to use than manual breast pumps
    • more fiddly to sterilise
    • easily portable. often the package will support all acessories on the go.


  • I know this thread's getting a bit old now but I thought I'd throw in my two cents in case anyone new stumbled on.

    I was so incredibly lucky when I had my LO. My cousin's baby was prem last year and the hospital loaned her a pump as well as taught her how to hand express so she gave me a manual Avent Isis pump and a Mothercare inosence pump that she'd never used and the wonderful women at the school where I teach bought me a Spectra 3 which can be single or dual depending on how you set it up.

    I didn't get on with the mothercare pump at all. It was handy because it could be mains powered or battery powered but it was sooooooo noisy. Definitely couldn't use it near the crib while LO slept or pump one side while he nursed the other because the noise seemed to stress him out. It did have controllable suction levels though and seemed to express a fair amount of milk but the noise made it just not worth it.

    The spectra three was much better in the early days before my milk had come in. So much quieter and the noise was more of a whooshing, almost like someone breathing heavily while they slept. Because I could use it as a single or dual pump it was handy when he slept through his night time feed (which he did from about 6 days old. I know, lucky right...only I kept poking him to make sure he was alive and weighing him with luggage scales like every other day to make sure he was still gaining) and with a little manipulation and a breastfeeding pillow I could nurse LO and pump the opposite side. As my milk started to come in fully I started noticing that it seemed to take longer and longer to get any measureable amount and hand expression was quicker if a lot messier. I even tried buying different flanges (horns) as my boobs had changed size and shape a lot but it made no difference. And that brings me to the other big problem, the spectra 3 is mains only so you're tethered to a plug socket which meant repositioning my comfy chair so rather than a view of the crib and out the window down the garden I had a view if the crib and the wall, um yay...

    Now the manual pump...before my milk came in fully this was rubbish. When I first tried it I pumped for about 40 minutes on one breast and got 2 or three drops if I was luck. and most of it collected around the body of the pump and the valve rather than in the bottle. Hand expression was not only quicker it hurt my hands less and got more milk even if I did spray over the top of the container more often than into it. So that went in the drawer for weeks with the abandoned inosence pump. Then last week the OH and I got invited to a friends 30th and LO went to stay with my cousin and her formerly dainty tiny prem baby who is now 18 months old and already wearing age 2 clothes and don't get me started on the size of his feet!!! Anyway long story short asked OH to pack my pump meaning the noisy yet portable Inosence one and ended up with the Isis Manual. Which, now that my milk was in was a vastly different experience. While both the electric pumps had variable suction with the manual I was able to vary the suction and speed of the suck. So much more milk in half the time than with the spectra and noiseless to boot. Been using it for the last week and haven't even thought about going back to the electric pump so far.

    So the moral of the story is don't ask your OH to pack anything for you...just kidding the real moral is that finding out what works best for you sometimes takes time and can be hit or miss to start with. If you can try and borrow an electric pump from a friend or family member and don't be afraid to by second hand, the actual pump is the most expensive part, the bottles and horns that come in contact with your breast and milk aren't too expensive to replace if the idea of even sterilising them feels weird to you. it's always easier to nurse/express when you're comfortable but don't throw the idea of a manual pump out altogether, they're cheap, mostly noiseless and easy to carry around. And if you can't find a pump that works for you at all then try hand expression. It's messy, especially early on, but once you get the hang of it it's way more portable than anything else.

    As for my cousin, she got on really well with the hospital grade pump but for out and about she would hand express and feed her LO from a cup and dropper (he would choke even on slow flow bottle teats but never on her). She said hand expression was messy to begin with but once she got the hand of it it was so much handier. She never had to remember to pack a pump or anything. She used collapsible silicone funnels to make collection easier and she had like a dozen of them that she would sterilise and keep in ziplock bags along with packets of milk storage bags and they'd be everywhere, in her handbags, jacket pockets etc and when we were out and about with or without her LO there was always someone in a restaurant or café more than willing to boil a cup or a bowl or something and a few were even nice enough to offer her the office rather than expecting her to express in the toilets.

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  • the best is electric, get a try karmin breast pump 

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