Best travel breast pump – picking the right one for pumping on the go

Has your partner been talking about buying a travel breast pump? Gather round and let’s figure out together how we can help mommy pick the right one. This article gives you insight on the best travel breast pumps on the market so you don’t appear totally clueless on the matter. Advise her to go with the Phillip Avent breast pump. Keep reading to find out why.

Using a breast pump isn’t the most comfortable thing to do in the world. I gathered that much from my fiancée. But moms being moms, they always do what they have to for their babies. While buying one is purely optional, it’s a must-have for every nursing mom who’ll travel at some point.

The Best of the Breast

You’ve given her your recommendation which is great. But she’ll obviously want to know why you’ve singled out that particular product. Think of this section as a step by step guide on how to state and win your case. Better yet, why not read this article together as we unpack what you guys need to know about travel breast pumps?

Why You Need a Breast Pump for Traveling

As much as mommy would love to be around her baby 24/7, sometimes she has to travel—without them. But as a nursing mother, being away from your child never exempts you from your nursing duties. Your baby still needs their milk. There are two scenarios why you need a breast pump when traveling as a nursing mom.

To Relieve Engorged Breasts

Because your breasts are used to breastfeeding, they tend to swell up and fill up with milk. They really don’t care if you’re mid-air! Engorged breasts can be pretty uncomfortable and painful. Expressing milk is the only way to get that much-needed relief.

Prevent Low Milk Supply

On the other hand, interfering with the supply and demand of milk production can result in low supply. And traveling means that you don’t get to breastfeed your child frequently. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. If you don’t express the milk, the supply might dry up. That’s why you need to pump it out to keep the supply flowing.

Manual vs Electric Breast Pumps

Now that you know why travel breast pumps are more of a necessity than an option, let’s discuss the two main types. You have the option to pick between a manual or electric breast pump. Which one should you guys go rather for? I’ll discuss both and you can make up your own mind.

  • ManualManual breast pumps are naturally cheaper than their electric counterparts. And they are quiet too. You don’t have to feel nervous about attracting attention in the bus while pumping away. But are they easy to use? Not exactly. You’ll need to put in the work which I’ll admit seems pretty stressful. It doesn’t help that you’re in a train full of strangers and away from the comfort of your own home. But if you’re away from an electrical socket, then you really don’t have much of a choice.
  • Electric – An electric breast pump is far much easier and convenient to use than a manual pump. That’s of course provided that you have somewhere to plug in the machine. For instance if you’re in the office. The motor on the pump will do the pumping for you. But lucky for you, most electrical breast pumps are also battery operated. It seems like this option will save you a lot of frustration.

What to Keep in Mind When Traveling With a Breast Pump

When traveling with a breast pump you must keep the following two important factors in mind.

Mode of Transport You’ll be Using

Will you be using the bus, plane, train, or your car? Answering this question helps determine the type you pick as well as whether you have to mentally prep yourself with regards to privacy concerns. If you’re going on a road-trip, then either a manual or electric pump will do. If you opt for the latter make sure that it’s battery operated. And please do carry extra batteries. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry much about privacy concerns. Trains usually have electrical sockets but seldom have private nursing sections. But no need to feel self conscious, many women do it and it’s certainly for a good cause. Besides you can always cover yourself with a chic blanket during the process. If you’re travelling by plane, you have the option to use the rest room. But you may have to pick a manual pump since there aren’t likely to be any power sources in there. Whichever mode of transport you’re using, rather assemble the breast pump beforehand. This way you don’t have to fumble and try and get your pieces together which may increase your anxiety.

How to Clean & Store the Unit

Always be sure to clean your pump thoroughly before the next use. If you have access to a rest room, use soap and water to clean all the parts and rinse them down. No restroom in sight? Don’t panic. Breast pump sanitizing wipes will work just fine. Be sure to pack a lot of those. If there’s a refrigerator, you can place the pump inside a ziplock bag and refrigerate it together with the milk. Alternatively, you can use a cooler with icepacks to keep your milk bacteria-free.

My Top Picks

Product Reviews

Best Overall Electric Pump – Bellababy Pocket Double Electric Breast Pump


If you want something more portable (and electric) then you might like this option. This pocket electric breast pump is the most compact model on my list. It comes complete with storage bags, adapters, and bottle thread changers.

Who it’s for

Moms who’ll be traveling for long distances will find this model handy since it comes with everything you need.

Why You Should Buy It

The manufacturer literally included everything you need to make the milk pumping process as hassle free as possible. Using it is comfortable thanks to the silicon pad found on the flange. And it’s compatible with other brands if by any chance the 24mm flange provided doesn’t fit on your nipples. Best of all it, comes in a sleek packaging for easy handling.

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.85lb
  • Dimensions: 13.8” x 11.8” x 4.2”
  • Type: Electric

Pros

  • Amazing suction power
  • Can be worn around the neck for easy handling
  • Battery lasts long

Cons

  • Easy to switch off the pump accidentally due to poor button design
  • Noisy during operation

 

Best Overall Manual Pump – Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump


Phillips Avent is a top contender when it comes to manufacturing quality baby pumps. This manual model features a unique design that allows for comfortable pumping. Any discomfort is certainly taken care of by the soft textured massaging cushion that’s designed to stimulate milk flow. The product is made up of BPA free material to take care of your safety concerns.

Who it’s for

It’s perfect for camping trips.

Why You Should Buy It

Firstly, it’s compact and portable. No need to worry about lugging around heavy pumps. The lightweight design makes it easy to hold during use. This allows you to express milk while in a relaxed position. And you don’t have to deal with hand fatigue during and after use.

Product Information

  • Weight: 12.5oz
  • Dimensions: 3.5” x 7.7” x 8.9”
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Easy to fit into small purses
  • Easy to assemble
  • Generates a lot of suction power

Cons

  • Produces an annoying squeaky sound initially
  • Bottle hold may become loose during pumping
  • May tire your muscles out during long pumping sessions

 

Best for Light Pumpers – Medela Harmony Breast Pump


Medela is a well-known brand that manufactures affordable breast pumps and this model is no exception. It’s a manual pump that is easy to use and control. Plus it allows for comfortable pumping thanks to the ergonomic swivel handle.

Who it’s for

It’s perfect for mothers who won’t be away from their babies for long.

Why You Should Buy It

You don’t need to worry about batteries and power sources if you opt for this model. The suction is pretty easy to adjust to provide you with maximum comfort as you pump. Plus it allows for efficient milk flow. You’ll be done in no time.

Product Information

  • Weight: 14.4oz
  • Dimensions: 3.1” x 4.2” x 8.1”
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to assemble
  • Handle keeps your hands from cramping
  • Reputable brand

Cons

  • Loses suction power after a few pumps
  • Not ideal for women with milk supply issues
  • Need to use your muscles

 

Best Hospital-Grade Pump – Spectra Baby S1Plus Electric Breast Pump


For a few extra dollars, you can invest in this hospital-grade electric breast pump. It comes complete with an adapter, power cord, wide neck bottle, tubing and a flange.  The unit uses what’s known as a closed system which is designed to keep the tubing dry to prevent bacteria formation. To top it off, it comes with all sorts of bells and whistles including a nightlight, massaging feature and timer. Read more about this unit here.

Who it’s for

It’s ideal for working mothers.

Why You Should Buy It

The pump has all the frills needed to make pumping milk safe, efficient, and convenient. I like the customizable settings that allow you to adjust the unit depending on your milk flow. And it comes with a built-in rechargeable battery so you can always keep the unit powered up.

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.1lb
  • Dimensions: 7.9” x 7.9” x 6.7”
  • Type: Electric

Pros

  • Super quiet
  • Pumps out double the milk compared to other brands
  • Very portable

Cons

  • Nightlight feature drains the battery fast
  • Bottles and pump kit made if cheap materials

 

Best for Frequent Travelers – Lansinoh Manual Breast Hand Pump


I’ll conclude my recommendations with this lightweight and portable hand pump from Lansinoh. The handle is designed for express pumping so you can complete the task sooner rather than later, not to mention comfortably too. The pump has two flange sizes so you can pick the correct size for your nipples.

Who it’s for

It’s perfect to pack for a vacation.

Why You Should Buy It

The unit is easy to use and allows for quiet operation. It comes with a wide neck bottle which you can use to pump, store, and feed your little one. The bottles are made of BPA free materials making them safe to use for your baby.

Product Information

  • Weight: 4.8lb
  • Dimensions: 19.1” x 19.6” x 10.2”
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Pump designed to last long
  • Parts easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Suction not as powerful as other models
  • No massaging feature
  • Need to physically exert yourself

 

FAQ

How do you transport a breast pump when traveling by air?

I’d advise you to read up on the travel regulations of the airline in question. Ideally, you must place it a separate carry bag and make sure that you get it scanned separately when you pass through security.

How do I store breast milk while traveling?

Carry a cooler bag that contains ice or gel packs. Be sure to pack storage bags if the unit doesn’t already provide you with any.

Can I use a pump again without washing it?

To prevent bacteria or mold formation, rather pack sanitized wipes which you can use to quickly wipe down the pump before use.

Conclusion

You’ve got all the info, now it’s up to you guys to pick the right pump for your lifestyle and needs. If you’re keen on the electric models then I’ll pick the Bellababy over the Spectra pump. Sure the Spectra pump is laced with all sorts of features such as a nightlight and timer. But some of these features end up draining the battery quicker. And it doesn’t help that some customers have durability concerns when it comes to this product which is rather disappointing given the price. The Bellababy is cheaper and has great suction power. It’s a little noisy. But so are most electric breast pumps. For long trips, rather play it safe and opt for the manual breast pump. From my list, the Phillips Avent is the best manual pump (and the best overall). It’s comfortable, lightweight, has amazing suction and a massaging feature. What about the squeaking noise? Don’t worry it disappears eventually. The Medela’s suction power isn’t consistent and the Lansinoh’s suction power isn’t as powerful. Plus they both don’t have a massaging feature. That’s my humble opinion. What’s your take?

Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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