Breast pumps

Planning to express breastmilk? Here's our review of four of the most popular breast pumps on the market.



Philips Avent Isis IQ Electric Breast Pump
RRP$329 Available from
The Avent Isis IQ electric breast pump is designed to give you the ability to control speed, vacuum, and rhythm when expressing, ensuring you have a comfortable and relaxing experience. It really is an intelligent breast pump design.  Its electric memory means that you can set the pumping rhythm, you start the process manually until the positioning, vacuum, speed and rhythm is right, then press the handle on the button and the pump continues your exact pumping rhythm. If at any stage you wish to change the rhythm, press the button on the handle to stop, and set again manually.
What it comes with: Electronic breast pump, breastmilk container, extra-soft newborn flow teat, bottle stand/funnel cover, battery pack, mains power cord, manual pump parts for when power is not available, spare parts.
The good bits: When starting the action of expressing, there can be some discomfort and even pain felt when getting the right positioning and suction on the breast. However, we loved the ability to manually create the speed and rhythm that you were comfortable with, then at the click of a button start the electric pumping action that remembered your setting and continued with it. The pump was compact, quiet, and came with a lot of accessories including a handy and attractive storage bag that you'd be happy to take with you out and about or to the office. You can also use it three ways, manually, electrically or battery operated, making it very portable. Also, the length of the power cable is good so you don't feel stuck beside your electricity plug.
The tricky bits: The only thing that got us on first use (having not read the manual) was how the pump switched on. You need to hold down the blue pump button for a few seconds until the "on" light on the pump shows. The silicone breast shield is quite "grippy", so positioning it comfortably on the breast and the first few pumping actions caused a little discomfort. It would be nice to have a smoother texture here, or perhaps use some lanolin around the nipple to help relieve this.
Bottom line: The Avent Isis IQ is a clever pump that lets you express at the pace you wish to set. It makes expressing comfortable, relaxing and easy. It's quiet, portable and has an attractive storage bag - we love it!




Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast
Pump RRP$110 available from
The Closer to Nature range is attractive yet simply designed, and that continues through to its manual breast pump. The pump has only three parts, making it easy to put together, clean, and use. The breast cup, much like the Closer to Nature bottle range, is moulded to the shape of the breast.
What it comes with: Manual breast pump, feeding bottle, two milk valves, steriliser box, milk storage lid, six disposable breast pads, two breastmilk storage pots.
The good bits: The shape and design is very user-friendly. The breast shield sits comfortably on the breast. Ultra-portable, and the steriliser box is sturdy and good for storing the product as well. Cleaning was nice and easy, and with so few parts it's nice and easy to put back together as well. The breast shield is soft and textured, so it doesn't stick to the breast or cause discomfort when you first start.
The tricky bits: The breast shield is an opaque white colour so you can't see through it to check positioning of the nipple, but careful initial placement should avoid any discomfort as you begin.
Bottom line: The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual breast pump is an attractive, easy to clean and assemble, portable breast pump. Most importantly, it is comfortable and easy to use.




Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump
RRP $359 available from
The Medela Swing Breast Pump is an electric breast pump that is designed to mimic a baby's actual nursing. Phase 1, the stimulation phase, is a rapid pumping rhythm to get your milk flowing. Phase 2, the expression phase, is a slower pumping rhythm for gentle and efficient expression.
What it comes with: Electric breast pump, two collection containers and lids, container stand, valve, three membranes, SoftFit breastshield, carry bag, breastfeeding information guide, tubing, AC adapter, battery power option, 
neck/shoulder strap.
The good bits: Our first impressions were that it was quiet, attractive, and portable. The SoftFit breast shield was very comfortable, which meant there was no initial "pinch" on the nipple when you start to use it. The two phases of suction are a clever idea, and timing was great. While it is sucking, you can adjust the vacuum levels for your own comfort and it somehow feels gentle, so you can relax when you're using it.
The tricky bits: Having to clean the tubes can be a little difficult - never let breastmilk dry in them, or you'll find it hard to get it out! The bag that you can store the product in is fine, but given the price, you'll want to protect it from damage, so we would recommend getting a more robust bag or box to store it in.
Bottom line: The Medela Swing breast pump is attractive, portable, and comfortable. It works very well and is an affordable home and away option out of the Medela range.




Pigeon Manual Breast Pump
$110 available from
The Pigeon Manual Breast Pump is a simple easy to use, clean, and assemble. Portable, silent, easily assembled. The soft shield cover will fit your breast comfortably.
What it comes with: Manual breast pump, two feeding bottles, two sealing caps and lids for bottles, two silicone diaphragms, bottle stand, three milk valves, peristatic nipple, adaptor for wide-neck bottle, breast pads, instruction CD.
The good bits: Our first impression was that this was a basic product, with a simple design that does the job. The interesting thing, though, was that the silicone diaphragm which cups the breast has a sealing air cushion that made for very comfortable expressing as soon as you began:  No adjusting or pinching time and time again. The pump, like most manual pumps, was lightweight, quiet, easy to use, and  did the trick. The additional accessories were very useful too.
The tricky bits: There were no tricky bits, really. We guess that comes with being simple but effective!
Bottom line: The Pigeon Manual Breast Pump is a basic and simply designed breast pump that does what it should, and does it comfortably.



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