Even if you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, having the option to express and store your breast milk may be necessary at times. Make sure that you use a natural breast pump that is free of toxic material that comes in contact with your milk.

Happy parents feeding their baby boy a bottle at home in the bedroom

Health and Environmental Considerations

1. Non-Toxic Material- Many breast pumps are made using BPA (Bisophenal A); a chemical used to make #7 polycarbonate plastics. BPA has been linked to neural, reproductive, and developmental health problems in babies and while efforts have been made to ban it from baby products such as bottles, it is not banned from Breast Pumps. Be sure to read the packaging thoroughly to ensure that the entire breast pump you choose is BPA free (not only certain parts).
The other consideration is the use of Polyvinylchloride (PVC) in manufacturing breast pumps. PVC creates dioxins which can cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems. PVC plastic can be identified by the #3 in the chasing recycling arrows, so be sure to check the number on the pump you are considering.
Brands that offer BPA Free pumps
Phillips Avent

2. Energy Consumption- While an electric or battery operated pump is more convenient, depending on the amount you plan on pumping, you may choose to buy a manual pump. Manual pumps are the most environmentally friendly option and is also much cheaper. If you plan on pumping often, using rechargeable batteries with a battery operated pump is a great option for both you and the environment.

3. Recyclability- If you really want to keep the environment in mind, take a look at the different pieces and see what parts would be able to be recycled when you are done. Breast pumps are made from mainly environmentally unfriendly materials but there are a few pieces that might be able to be recycled depending on the brand you choose.

General Considerations

1. Durability- Not all pump motors are created equally. Some are designed for frequent, daily pumping while others have smaller motors, which are meant for occasional pumping. If you plan on pumping often, be sure to read up on the pump and it’s recommended usage to ensure you don’t wear out the motor.

2. Type of Pumping- There are three different types of pumping actions. You can choose a single pump, double alternating pump or a double simultaneous pump.
A single pump allows you to pump on one breast at a time. This type of pumping action is recommended for occasional pumping. Double alternating pumping allows you to have two pumps on your breast at the same time, but the suckling action occurs at alternating times. Finally, a double simultaneous pump allows you to be pumping from both breasts at the same time. This is encouraged for working woman who will be pumping often and storing milk for their child. This is also the best option for mothers whose babies have latch issues but still want to provided express breast milk as their main source of nourishment.

3. Power Options- When purchasing a breast pump, you have the option to buy a manual pump, electric pump or battery operated pump. The best choice for you truly depends on the type of use your pump will see and where you will be pumping. If you are constantly traveling, carrying a manual pump with you in your travel bag might be a good option. On the other hand, if you are only going to be pumping at home an electric pump would be extremely convenient. The battery operated pumps give you a bit of both worlds since you don’t have to be near an outlet to pump.

4. Portability- If you travel often, look for a breast pump that comes in a convenient travel bag. Manual or battery operated pumps are best for traveling so that you can pump wherever you are without needing to find an outlet or adapter.

There is no one perfect breast pump. The best pump for you truly depends on how often you will be pumping and where you will express your milk. If you take the considerations into mind when selecting a pump, along with looking for non-toxic material you will be able to find a great pump to use as a tool to nourish your baby!

Choosing a breast pump is truly a person decision. A pump that fulfilled a friends’ needs may not necessarily be the best pump for you. In the end, if you are having difficulty choosing a pump, a qualified health professional, such as a certified lactation consultant can help.