Manual Breast Pumps: Saving Precious Milk

Supplement your baby’s latching with pumping, using your favourite on this list of breast pumps. Image credit: fancycrave1
Looking to start your breastfeeding journey? We review an essential part of the process - manual and electric breast pumps.

Encouraging mums to breastfeed as much as possible also helps improve babies’ health around the world. We review the breastfeeding mum’s invaluable companions  – breast pumps. Ranging from manual and electric options, all these breast pumps are wonderfully compact and portable. 

Haakaa Breast Pump

Build up a stash of breast milk by collecting the letdown from each breast. Image credit: with.thewildflowers

Haakaa Breast Pump ($29.90 to $34.90) has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, over 9,800 customer ratings. Customers have crowned it the best of all manual breast pumps available in the market. While it can function as a manual pump, its primary purpose is to collect the letdown, which would otherwise be wasted or soaked into a breast pad. Made out of 100 per cent food grade silicone, the suction base avoids spills, while collecting the letdown from the other breast while your baby is feeding.

Weight and Convenience

The lightest pump, the Haakaa Breast Pump weighs just 27g. Choose from either the 100 or 150ml capacity, depending on how much supply you have. Due to its weight, and compact size, this pump is great for travelling, car rides, or when you’re at a family gathering. Even better, there are no cords, batteries or assembly, and you don’t even have to pump manually – the suction does all the work for you. Leave it on for about 15 minutes to collect the letdown, and if left long enough, it should be able to collect both your foremilk and hindmilk.

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Cleaning and Care

Clean the Haakaa after each use by sterilising with steam or boiling in water for two to three minutes. Use only soft bristle brushes or sponges with it, and do not store it near sharp objects. Additionally, using detergent may make the product appear cloudy, and do not use bleach-based agents, sterilising tablets or UV sterilisers with it. 

Promising Review

Aubrey Brouk says, “Over the first 24 hours of having this, I’ve pulled over 10oz (around 296ml) of otherwise wasted milk! I can’t believe how well it works! Initially I was concerned that it wouldn’t work because I do not leak that much at all. If you are one of those people…rest assured the suction totally changes this! I have the 90oz 1st generation Haakaa and am glad I went with this one just because it’s the smallest one. There isn’t a ton of room to use it when feeding your baby so this size worked well for me. Also cleaning it is very fast compared to pumping parts. I am still electric pumping once In the morning as well, but overall this will help me double my milk stash quickly. Get it ladies…you won’t be disappointed!!”

Pro Tips

Some customers have reported losing suction over time, and spills are common. Fidgety babies at your breast can also knock the pump loose. In order to combat this, create more suction by first inverting the flange, squeezing it to release the air and then placing it on your breast. Flip back the flange and let go. Add the flower stopper to ensure that none of the breast milk is lost. To avoid your baby kicking the Haakaa loose, try a hands-free pumping bra, or use a football hold to feed your baby instead.

Haakaa Gen3 Silicone Breast Pump

Save your precious milk in the Haakaa Gen 3, straight into the silicone bottles, and top with a flower stopper to avoid accidental spills. Image credit: misslizlim

Next, the Haakaa Gen3 Silicone Breast Pump ($42.90 to $44.90) rated #25 in manual breast pumps, has a review score of 3.9 out of 5 across 181 customer ratings. This pump is compatible with all silicone bottle range attachments, such as the baby bottle lid, feeding spoon dispenser and sippy bottle top. Mums can easily swap out the breast pump flange for these attachments without spilling precious milk.

Weight and Convenience

Although it’s heftier than the other Haakaa at 431g, it’s paired with a silicone bottle that you’ll pump directly into. As compared to the first Haakaa, the bottles have a larger capacity of 160 and 250ml. Despite this, it’s still fairly compact and small, so you can easily bring it with you anywhere. The Gen 3 Haakaa is also BPA, PVC and phthalate-free, and can accommodate a range of breast sizes.

Cleaning and Care

Made with 100 per cent food grade silicone, the Haakaa Gen 3 is safe in microwaves, boiling water and sterilisers (except for the UV type). As with the other Haakaa, clean after each use, with any steam sterilising system or boil in water for three to five minutes. Likewise, do not use bleach-based agents or sterilising tablets – and certainly don’t boil the PP attachment ring. Other precautions include using only soft bristle brushes or sponges, try to refrain from using detergent – which may make it cloudy. Store this in a cool, dry place and avoid direct sunlight.

Promising Review

Zeify says, “I love the Haakaa. It is a lifesaver for me, especially at night time. My little guy does not eat as heartily at night as he does in the day. While he feeds on one side I am able to collect on the other. I used to have to feed him, put him back to sleep and then pump. The Haakaa lets me get back to sleep sooner which I love. I originally had the 90ml but I went ahead and upgraded…This one is a little bit harder to latch if you have a wiggly baby like I do.

Pro Tips

Use a hand to support this Haakaa once the bottle is filled with milk. Others have commented that it’s harder to squeeze the bulb to get suction, and there’s some wasted milk, and that the bottle may leak. To get suction, follow the steps above for the previous Haakaa – invert the flange, squeeze out the air from the bottom of the bottle, not the middle, and then put on your breast and let go of it. 

Related Products: Haakaa Gen 3 Compatible Accessories, Comotomo Feeding Bottles
Steam Sterilisers: The Pigeon Compact Steam Steriliser and Multi-Function Steriliser, and the Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser

Hegen PCTO™ Manual Breast Pump Module

Easily pump your milk right into the Hegen bottle - no milk is wasted as you just have to switch the pump module with the feeding lid. Image credit: Hegen

Hegen PCTO™ Manual Breast Pump Module ($70) is designed as part of a complete expressing, storing and feeding system. Out of all the manual breast pumps on the list, this is actually the only manual one – the rest are for collecting letdowns. Easily pump right into the Hegen PCTO™ bottles, which are BPA, phthalate and PVC-free. Hence, you don’t have to waste time transferring milk into storage bags and can store the containers straight into your fridge – just swap the lids. 

Weight and Convenience

The award-winning, lightweight and compact manual pump module allows for single-handed operation, as it attaches seamlessly to the Hegen PCTO™ bottles. These bottles feature a range of sizes from 150ml all the way to 330ml. Additionally, the manual pump module weighs about 136g, and also comes with a 24mm breast shield.

Cleaning and Care

Take all the components apart, except the handle with pivot, before cleaning, and wash with undiluted detergent after each use. After this, tap or air dry. Most parts can be placed in the UV steriliser as long as the temperature does not exceed 110°C. The handle and stem may have a squeaking sound after cleaning, so do oil the corners. For auto-drying sterilisers, do take out your pump after the first round of drying, as subsequent rounds may cause the product to wear out faster.

Promising Review

Nirmal says, “Absolutely love this pump! Great for when you have engorgement. But the flange needs to have different sizes.”

Pro Tips

Easily pump with the manual pump and the Hegen bottles, and then switch the lids to feed your baby. All these can be done with one hand, without needing to twist or turn the lids or pump.

Related Products: Hegen Bottles, and Storage Containers

NatureBond Silicone Breast Pump with Silicone Stopper

Collect your letdown in this high-grade silicone breast pump, laboratory tested by Bureau Veritas. Image credit: alicehealthylifestyle

NatureBond Silicone Breast Pump with Silicone Stopper ($19.90) has been rated #4 in all Manual Pumps on Amazon, with a 4.6 out of 5 rating across 9,190 reviews. With this version, it’s designed without uneven pour spouts, preventing discomfort and any “piercing” feelings against your skin. Additionally, the circular flap has been enhanced to be softer than previous versions. Moreover, the pump has also been laboratory tested by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification. This super-affordable pump also comes with the aforementioned stopper and dust cover lid, all in a luxurious pouch.

Weight and Convenience

Weighing more than the Hegen and the Haakaa Manual Breast Pumps, this pump weighs about 200g. Despite this, the BPA-free and FDA food-grade silicone pump is still lightweight and portable, and can be used hands-free. The award-winning pump can also collect up to 100ml of letdown, breast milk leaks while helping to relieve engorgement. Adjust the suction force according to your comfort level, with varying thicknesses of silicone across the pump and dual rings at pressure points.

Cleaning and Care

After every use, clean the NatureBond with a breastmilk soap, and then allow it to air dry. Although the NatureBond is dishwasher safe, dishwasher detergent can be harsh on the silicone pump and cause it to be less effective. You can also steam sterilise it or boil it for three minutes. Some customers have also found that it yellows over time, or that regular bottle brushes don’t fit. Instead, try the Pigeon Sponge Brush ($7.90), or the Nimble Milk Buster ($27.90).

Promising Review

First Time Mum says, “I’ve read lots of reviews for the NatureBond pump and similar competitor products but was sceptical that something so simple could work. I’m delighted to say that not only does it work, it’s better than my electric pump. I picked NatureBond because it offered the best value for money whilst still being made of food grade silicone. If you’re in two minds about this product, buy it! You will not be disappointed!” Additionally, this pump has been recommended by lactation nurses in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and is the top silicone manual breast pump in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Pro Tips

For the best suction, flip the soft, large circular flap backwards, before applying it to your breast. When you’ve collected all the milk, simply use the pump stopper to eliminate spills. While some customers have found that the suction is not as strong as the Haakaa, you could tweak the suction strength to your comfort level. Squeeze the bulb on the top ring for stronger suction, and the bulb on the bottom ring for gentler suction. This pump also comes with a lanyard to keep it in place while nursing your baby on the other breast.

Pigeon Milk Saver Pump

The second lightest manual pump, save your letdown from nursing hands-free with the Pigeon Milk Saver Pump. Image credit: Pigeon Singapore

Pigeon Milk Saver Pump – Food Grade Silicone ($19.90), like the NatureBond and Haakaa, collects letdown and saves precious milk hands-free. Rated 4.8 out of 5 on Lazada, over 17 reviews, this 100 per cent food grade silicone pump has a heat resistance of up to 120°C.

Weight and Convenience

Weighing just 86.2g, it’s the second lightest on this list of manual pumps, and like the rest, is lightweight and portable. Additionally, the BPA and BPS-free pump also comes with a groove to easily pour the milk into storage bags or bottles. It can also stand securely on its own with a suction base.

Cleaning and Care

In order to sterilise this pump, you can boil it, place it in the microwave or chemically sterilise it. Just be sure to use containers designed specifically for microwave sterilising and follow the sterilising instructions that come with the product. Also, wash and sterilise the pump before the first use, and clean it well after subsequent uses.

Promising Review

See Y. says, “(It’s) very useful in collecting breast milk while latching on the other side. Clever suction base design to avoid spillage. There is also a hook allowing the user to tie a strap on for more security.”

Pro Tips

While you could leave the pump in place to automatically collect the milk, you can also squeeze the pump repeatedly to use as a manual breast pump.

Essentials You’ll Need: Breast milk storage bags, nursing covers, and nursing pillows
Relevant Reads: Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

This article was first published on Motherswork. 

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