Going back to work after having a baby can be a stressful time for breastfeeding moms. In many cases, you can’t take more than 12 weeks of unpaid leave and will be returning to work while still establishing breastfeeding.
Unless you’re able to bring your nursing baby to work, you will likely need a breast pump to make up for the time you’ll spend away from your baby.
When expressing breast milk, having the best quality breast pump really does make all the difference. It really is easier to express more milk when you have the right pump for your situation. And let’s be honest, as a working mom, you need to be able to express as much milk as possible, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom and want to express milk when you go back to work then you will love this guide.
Don’t think for a moment that all breast pumps are the same and it doesn’t matter which you buy! Some are considerably better than others, and far more suitable for working moms. For example, if you want a breast pump that can take you from work to home that is lightweight and will help you to express more milk – this is essential when expressing milk at work!
In this breast pump guide, I take you through all the features you will need to consider so that you can buy the perfect breast pump. I will also take a closer look at some of the most popular and most highly reviewed breast pumps for working moms and compare their features.
After reading this guide, you’ll be well on your way to finding the best breast pump, which is going to make expressing milk for your baby so much easier, more comfortable and more productive.
Scroll down to find a detailed breast pump comparison, quick guide and full reviews of the best breast pumps of 2021.
Best Breast Pumps for Working Moms Comparison Chart
|Image||Name||Type||Power options||Hospital Grade?||Size||Weight||Check Price|
|Top||Spectra Baby USA S1Plus: Best Electric Breast Pump||Portable Double Electric||Rechargeable battery and wall adapter||Yes||27 × 22 × 27 cm||2.9lbs||Click Here|
|Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump||Portable Double Electric||AAA battery pack and wall adapter||No||35.5 x 177 x 292cm||9lbs||Click Here|
|Medela Harmony Breast Pump: Best Manual Breast Pump||Manual||No||No||28 × 8 × 18 cm||14oz||Click Here|
|Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump: Best Silicone Breast Pump||Silicone suction||No||No||12.44 x 7.66 x 23.65 cm||3.8oz||Click Here|
|Willow Wearable Breast Pump: Best Wearable Breast Pump||Wearable double electric||USB cable||No||Click to Edit||12oz||Click Here|
|Spectra S9 Plus||Portable double electric||Rechargeable battery and wall adapter||No||11.2x 7.2 x 4.2cm||8oz||Click Here|
|Medela Freestyle Flex||Portable double electric||USB cable and wall adapter||No||14.8 x 6.6 x 4.6cm||10oz||Click Here|
|Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump||Double electric||Wall adapter||No||10x14x10cm||22oz||Click Here|
|Elvie Wearable Pump||Wearable single electric||USB cable||No||10 x 5 x 1 cm||8oz||Click Here|
|Haakaa Lady Bug Milk Collectors||Wearable Silicone||No||No||75ml and 150ml||3oz||Click Here|
Best Breast Pump for Working Moms Quick Guide
Here’s a handy reference list – see all the best breast pumps for working moms reviews below!
- Spectra Baby USA S1Plus
- Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump
- Medela Harmony Breast Pump
- Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump
- Willow Wearable Breast Pump
- Spectra S9 Plus Breast Pump
- Medela Freestyle Flex
- Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump
- Elvie Wearable Pump
- Haakaa Lady Bug Milk Collectors
Which is the best breast pump for a working mom?
Ultimately, while we’ve reviewed the top rated breast pumps for working moms below, the one we think is the very best breastpump for taking to work is:
Moms are naturally critical of breast pumps, but the Spectra S1 stands head and shoulders above other breast pumps.
Here’s what we (and other parents) LOVE about the Spectra S1
- Hospital grade pump
- Closed system
- Easy to carry
- Rechargeable battery
- Ultra quiet
- Night light
- Massage / let down mode to simulate baby sucking
It is the best all round breast pump for working moms. But don’t take my word for it, it has thousands of 5 star reviews on Amazon! Click here to read about it on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Breast Pump for Working Mothers
If you want to purchase the best pump for work, then there are a few things you will want to check and look out for. Here are a few of the features that are important in breast pumps, and the things that you may want to consider if you are going to be pumping at work.
The best breast pumps for working moms are portable, double electric pumps with rechargeable batteries. They are easy to clean, user friendly, have strong suction and are closed system pumps.
Types of Breast Pumps
When it comes to choosing a breast pump for work, you have lots of options. You don’t just need to get a hospital grade pump because they are the best. You can choose from portable, manual and wearable pumps. It really is up to you.
If you do decide to go for a hospital grade pump, you’re going to need to think about portability options. It’s worth investing a little more into a rechargeable pump, particularly if you are early in your pumping journey and need to pump regularly. A breast pump that is hard to use will just leave you frustrated and annoyed before you even start pumping – and that’s not a good way to encourage milk let down!
Thanks to their powerful motors, electric pumps are well-known for their ability to encourage let down and speed up milk expression. Plus, most models now offer adjustable suction levels, which makes them more comfortable to use.
Typically, electric breast pumps won’t run unless you plug them into the wall. However, some models, such as the Spectra S1, incorporate rechargeable batteries to allow for pumping on the go, which should be ideal if you want to pump during the daily commute.
Double vs. Single Electric Breast Pumps
Design-wise, electric breast pumps can have one or two flanges. A double electric pump will be perfect if you’re short on time since it can pump both breasts simultaneously without loss of suction. Single electric breast pumps are slower, but they’re relatively more affordable than their double electric pumps.
If you are concerned about the time it takes to pump milk or you want a hands free breast pump, getting a double electric pump plus a pumping bra will be a must.
Hospital Grade Breast Pumps
If you want to invest in the best quality breast pumps on the market then a hospital grade pump is probably at the top of your list. Hospital grade breast pumps are the advanced versions of the double electric pump. Not only do they have stronger suction, but they also enable moms to fine-tune the programming to suit special medical conditions.
The biggest benefit of a hospital grade pump is that they can be used over and over again without losing suction. This is a really important feature if you are pumping to increase supply or to are exclusively pumping.
Another great benefit of hospital grade pumps is that they are fully closed system, and can be used hygienically by different users simply by changing the consumable parts. This means that they can be easily hired or bought second hand!
Hospital grade breast pumps can be bulkier and pricier than average, but they can offer exactly what you need. A breast pump such as the Spectra S1 offers a hospital-grade that is both sleek and portable.
Manual pumps are less efficient than electric breast pumps. Without a motor, you’ll need to control the suction level yourself by hand. However, because they are the most affordable breast pumps, they suit moms who have a limited budget and they are readily available.
That said, a manual breast pump is a great backup even if you already purchased an electric one. This way, you can leave the electric pump at work and use the manual alternative for pumping sessions at home.
Open-System vs. Closed-System Breast Pump
There are two types of electric breast pump, closed system and open system.
Closed system breast pumps have a barrier separating the motor and the milk container. In other words, your milk will go straight to the bottle without passing through any tubing.
Open system breast pumps don’t have such a barrier. Their design won’t necessarily push your milk into the tubing, but it won’t block it either. With that system, you’ll have to be extra meticulous while cleaning the pump, or else you’ll risk contaminating the milk with dirt and bacteria.
A relatively new style to the market is the wearable breast pump. These handy pumps sit in your bra and collect milk through gentle suction.
Some have small cups that will fill inside your bra over time, and others have tubing which runs to a collection bottle away from your bra.
As with other breast pumps there are electric versions and manual version. The electric ones generally recharge by USB.
Manual ones on the other hand use natural suction to encourage milk let down.
The big bonus of wearable pumps is that they completely free up your hands to do other things. They can even be worn safely while driving!
Below are a few other things you might like to consider when buying a pump. The features of your pump will make all the difference between an ok pump and one that you will use every day while you continue to express milk.
Size and weight
When it comes to the best breast pumps, size really does matter. A large pump with a strong motor may be great for your supply but will be pointless if you find it too hard to move around. Likewise, a lightweight portable pump can be taken everywhere but may not be good if you need to pump more than 2-3 times per day.
Lightweight breast pumps are extremely beneficial for working moms, especially long-distance commuters. And of course, the pump you pick should come with enough accessories to fit all breast shapes and sizes.
By default, all electric breast pumps will generate an audible noise once the motor starts. However, some brands incorporate special design elements that mask this noise to a great extent. Naturally, if you need discretion, opting for a quiet model will be a better option for you.
Power Supply and Warranty
For a working mom, it’ll be more difficult if the pump is exclusively electrical. An ideal pump will have both power options: a cord and rechargeable batteries. Also, don’t forget to check for a warranty certificate because breast pumps are non-returnable products.
Accessories and Parts
Pumps have parts that need replacing, so it’s a good idea to check that the pump your purchase has spares that are readily available.
Likewise, choosing a pump that has accessories that fit together, such as a pump-to-feed system, a pump bag and a cooler will make the overall experience much easier.
Top Breast Pumps for Working Moms Reviews
Spectra is one of the best breast pump brands in 2021. If you’re after the best breast pumps on the market, this is the one to consider. The Spectra S1 is a top hospital grade pump. It has lots of cool features, such as a massage mode that mimics a baby’s stimulation to encourage milk flow and a timer that tracks how long you’ve been pumping.
Although it looks a bit bulky, this pump weighs only 3 lbs, making it a great pick for working mums who commute. And thanks to the night light feature, you’ll be able to use this double pump at any time day or night.
The thing I like the most about this pump is that it features a backflow protector. This ingenious piece keeps the tubing dry at all times, which means that the tubing stays dry and doesn’t need to be cleaned after each use.
The S1Plus version features a rechargeable battery, which is one of the reasons why it’s priced a bit higher than other pumps. If you want something a bit more affordable, you can opt for the Spectra S2, which doesn’t have a battery and needs to be plugged in to work.
A great feature of the Spectra pumps is that they can be used as a single electric breast pump by simply removing one of the tubes. By adding a pumping bra, you will be able to wear your spectra for hands free pumping!
- Doesn’t make too much noise
- Plenty of accessories to purchase
- Takes a long time to recharge
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The Medela Pump in Style is one of the most popular double electric breast pumps on the market. It comes with two suction modules that connect to a central unit.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump is the 2-Phase Expression Technology that mimics a baby’s natural nursing rhythm.
The single knob adjusts speed and vacuum with one touch letdown button that allows you to easily switch from expression to let down mode with just the turn of a dial. It has an adjustable speed and vacuum. Its closed system prevents milk from entering the motor. And it comes discretely mounted inside a tote bag with a portable battery pack and removable cooler.
I absolutely love that this unit is discretely mounted inside a tote bag — that’s what makes the Medela Pump in Style excellent for busy workplaces!
- Comes built into a bag, which makes it highly portable
- Readily available accessories and replacement parts
- Works with batteries in addition to the cord
- Difficult to clean because of all the different parts
- A bit loud
- batteries aren’t rechargeable
The Medela Harmony should be your friend in no-electricity situations. It’s silent, cordless, and pretty subtle. Best of all, it comes with a stand to ensure no precious milk is spilled.
Medela is known for being one of the most popular breast pump brands. As with all Medela breast pumps, the quality and warranty are excellent, so you can be assured you are making a good choice with a Medela breast pump.
This pump has an ergonomic swivel handle that can easily adjust the suction. Since this will make you more comfortable, you’ll be more likely to express higher volumes of breast milk.
Unlike most manual pumps, this one features a handle that provides two suction levels. To start, press the short end of the handle to simulate the baby’s suckling. Once your milk starts flowing, switch to the other end to enhance milk expression.
Unfortunately, this pump loses suction over time because the rubber O-rings, the parts that enhance milk suction, might get ragged. But don’t worry; you can easily find spare pump parts at an affordable price.
- Portable and easy-to-carry
- Adjustable lever for smooth pumping sessions
- No cords, no loud noises
- You might need to replace the O-rings every once in a while
If you won’t be away from your baby for a long time, it won’t be practical to pack hefty pumping equipment. In that case, you should consider Haakaa’s silicone breast pump. It doesn’t have wires or batteries; there’s nothing but a simple silicone bottle.
To use the pump, squeeze it, then flip its flange backward, and place your breast inside before flipping the lip back to its original position.
By the nature of the beast, such a simple design won’t generate the same satisfying suction of electric models. However, this can actually be beneficial if you remain engorged after lengthy pumping sessions: This silicone pump will be extremely tender on your body while letting down acceptable milk volume.
- Soft and comfortable to use
- Easy to use and clean
- Won’t encourage extra milk supply
The Willow wearable pump is one of the most innovative products on the market in 2021. It’s a hands free pump for those busy superhero moms. You can carry the Willow pump around in your bra and express milk for your little one wherever you are. It’s perfect for offices since no one would notice it at all.
The Willow pump has a corresponding smart phone app to enable you to track how much milk you’ve pumped in each session. Also, it has an interesting feature that stimulates your breasts before automatically shifting to another mode that focuses on milk expression.
- You can track your activity on your smartphone
- The mobile app offers lots of educational content
- Quiet operation
- Some moms might find it too bulky
The Spectra S9 is a relatively new offering from the popular breast pump maker Spectra.
Weighing just 239g this is a great lightweight and portable pump option. At just 112 mm x 72 mm x 42 mm size it is easy to fit in a handbag or even a pocket.
One of the great features about the s9 plus is that it features a letdown mode which is designed to stimulate a baby’s natural suckling. This helps your body to letdown milk and express milk faster.
You won’t need to buy spare batteries because the S9 Plus has a rechargeable battery with great battery life, as well as an indicator and timer. It can also be plugged into wall power for use and recharging.
Unlike the S1, it’s not a hospital grade pump, but it is a pocket sized closed system pump, so your milk and motor will be protected from any backflow.
- super lightweight
- excellent battery life
- closed system
- rechargeable battery
- Not as adjustable as the spectra s1 or s2.
- Slightly noisier than s2
- Ideal for taking to work and trips, but doesn’t have the staying power for establishing supply or exclusive pumping.
Another great option from Medela is the Freestyle Flex mobile breast pump. This pump is designed to fit your life – it’s light and compact with a USB rechargeable battery.
This easy to use portable pump features user friendly controls, with count-up timer and start and pause functions. The touch screen LED display shows the pump suction settings, mode and battery charge.
It’s a lightweight at just .66lb s in weight and just 13.43cm x 7.05 x 9.45 inches making it slightly heavier and larger than the Spectra S9 Plus.
The useful size pump has a cord that can be used to tie around your write to keep your breast pump secure.
It is a closed system pump, which protects your breast milk from getting into the tubing.
The Freestyle Flex has a good battery life with up to 2 hours of pumping on a full charge. It comes with a handy USB cord for recharging using your computer or power bank.
The package includes 2 sizes of breast shields with soft rim and oval shape. These shields are clinically proven to increase milk compared to a traditionally shaped breast shield.
- excellent breast shields
- highly portable
- good battery life
- closed system
- The speed and suction can’t be changed independently
If you are looking for the most affordable breast pump for work, the Philips Avent double electric breast pump may be a good option for you.
This quiet and efficient pump is simple and easy to use. It has just 3 pump settings – low, medium and high – and can be used for single or double pumping.
It is reasonably small at 5.91 x 10.04 x 5.91 inches and weighs in at 3.27lbs, making it one of the heavier pumps on this list.
The Philips Avent comes with massage cushions on the breast flanges, which makes this a more comfortable pump than some of the other options.
Another great feature of the Avent Breast Pump is that if you use Avent bottles, you can pump directly into baby bottles with no adapter needed.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have some of the features that are usually needed for workplaces, like wearability or a battery pack. But the price makes up for the short comings.
- simple to use
- easy to clean
- comfortable massage cushion flanges
- only 3 suction settings
- no battery or usb charger
The Elvie wearable pump is the smallest and lightest pump on the market in 2021, and has a host of great features to help you pump at home, at work, or anywhere really!
The technology used in the Elvie helps keep the noise to an absolute minimum – it’s easily the quietest pump we have reviewed.
The Elvie measures 2.68 x 4.33 x 5.04 inches and can be worn in any nursing bra, making it truly hands free without the need for a specific pumping bra.
The Elvie is easy to use. With just five parts it takes moments to assemble, and has no cords to worry about or tangle.
The Elvie pump connects via Bluetooth to a smart phone app which you can use to monitor milk production in real time, track pumping history and control the pump remotely. It has a light on the device to let you know if it needs to be recharged.
Thinking that the bottles look a bit small to hold a full session worth of milk? Don’t worry, as the Elvie will automatically pause pumping when your bottle is full.
Unfortunately, this pump doesn’t come with a wall adapter and the battery life is a bit shorter than the S9 and the Medela Freestyle.
- very convenient
- Easy to charge
- Nearly Silent
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- no wall charger
- shorter battery life
While not technically a breast pump, we’ve included these silicone milk collectors as a great option for working moms. Having a pair of silicone milk collectors in your collection is a great way to collect extra milk that would otherwise go to waste in between pumping sessions.
You can pop the Haakaa Lady Bug Milk Collectors into your bra and allow them to gentle section extra milk. Made by the same company that makes the Haakaa, The Ladybug Silicone Milk Collector is truly portable and fits in to any nursing bra.
The soft, flexible design fits comfortably in your bra and creates a gentle vacuum so you can easily collect your breastmilk when you’re away from baby.
The Haakaa Lady Bug has no hard plastic parts or moving parts to break or wear out, making it an ideal discreet way to express at work, when traveling or even while driving.
To use you simply put it in your bra, covering your nipple as you would a normal pump. If you want to encourage a little more milk, simply push the device onto your breast to apply a little more suction strength and collect milk while you work.
The lady bug is made from food grade silicone and is BPA, PVC and Pthalate free. It is 100% silent and fits different nipple sizes.
When you’re finished, open the plug on the top and pour your milk into a bag or bottle.
- BPA, PVC and Phthalate free
- No cords, tubes, wires or batteries
- won’t increase or maintain breastmilk supply
Tips for Pumping at Work
If this is your first baby, I can only imagine how overwhelming things feel. That’s why I decided to share some additional tips and tricks that should alleviate your stress in no time.
How often do working moms need to pump?
Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby before heading off to work.
Then, you should pump three or four times while at work.
The actual rate should be determined by your baby’s routine on your days off, and the amount of milk you are pumping. So if your baby would feed 5 times during the day, aim to pump at least 5 times while you are away from them in order to protect your milk supply.
Most new moms underestimate the importance of creating a schedule, arguing that they can pump whenever they feel engorged. This strategy isn’t ideal because it increases the likelihood of leaking and of reducing your milk supply.
Think About Your Baby
Let’s be honest, pumping in a stressful workplace lacks enough stimulation. Even if you manage to sit in a private room, thinking about the time you have and how much you should pump is bound to disrupt the process.
Solution? Think about that cute little mouth that’s waiting for your heavenly treat! Take one of your baby’s blankets with you, and keep it close to your nose — believe me, that smell will empty your breasts down to the last drop!
Look after your health
Balancing between your work and your baby isn’t easy. But whatever happens, never prioritize work over your well-being.
Keep a large water bottle on your desk at all times. You’ll need a whopping supply of fluids to produce new milk.
Similarly, you’ll need to devour enough healthy snacks to have enough energy for work. Fruits, granola bars, nuts, yogurt, cheese, and cereals should be your best friends. However, don’t exceed 500 extra calories per day to avoid sudden weight gain.
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After doing the research and looking at all the features and benefits, I can say that the Spectra S1 Plus is the best breast pump for working moms. It is a closed system pump, and has a built in rechargeable battery which makes it excellent for travel, plus Spectra’s 2 phase expression technology will help to encourage letdown. Its quiet motor will make for an incognito breast pumping session inside the busiest workplace.
On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, the Haakaa pump should be your best bet. Not only is it extremely affordable, but it’s also remarkably convenient.
Whether you choose a manual, electric, portable, or hands-free pump, I sure hope it to be a perfect fit for you and your precious bundle of joy!