As if motherhood weren’t tough enough by itself, breastfeeding is a whole different level of toughness. Yes, breastfeeding is a deeply personal choice, and some women choose to do it, for many reasons.
If you’re one of those women, you’ll realise that in the end, whether you latch baby or pump exclusively, it’s tough either way. Sometimes, baby won’t latch. Or sometimes, mums find latching isn’t working out for them. And yet, they want to continue to feed baby with breast milk.
For all these instances, thank God for the invention of the breast pump.
Pumping, has to be up there with the most difficult things in motherhood. Between needing to pump every three hours both day and night, and having to sterilise all the pump parts after each use only to repeat the cycle in a never-ending loop that seems so tiresome… pumping is certainly no walk in the park.
How to pick the right breast pump?
Getting the right breast pump will go a long way in helping you.
So then, what’s the best pump?
The best pump for you is ultimately the pump that best fits your needs.
You could be pumping (also known as “exclusively pumping”, in mum-speak) with the aim of producing enough milk for all of baby’s feeds, or you could be pumping just one or two feeds for the baby. Cost may be a consideration, or perhaps you don’t mind forking out more for a pump with all the bells and whistles. Are you desk-bound at work, or always on the go? Do you have a room to pump, or will you be expected to pump at your work desk?
If your head’s spinning from all the options out there – take a deep breath and read on!
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best and most talked-about pumps (both electric and manual!) in Singapore for you to consider, with this Mama here personally trying a few of these herself and being able to vouch for their effectiveness!
1. Spectra S1
Best pump to leave in the office to keep milk supply high
The Spectra S1 is affectionately dubbed the “rice cooker” or the “kettle ball” due to its size and shape. Weighing in at about 1.12kg, it is definitely not a pump you can easily plop into your work bag and tote around. Why would you consider it then?
Women love it for its strong yet comfortable suction that clears the breasts of milk well thanks to its 12 suction (pressure of suction) and five cycle (frequency of suction) levels that allow for optimal matching to the baby’s natural suckling patterns.
It is also a hospital-grade pump that you can own for daily use, which means it is durable and powerful. So if you’re concerned about ensuring a high yield of express milk for your baby, the S1 is the pump for you.
Another big pro of this heavyweight rockstar is that it is a closed system pump, which means that you can share this with friends as long as everyone uses their own tubing and parts! Spread the love, ladies!
You may also be looking at the Spectra S2 model that is frequently compared to the S1. The key difference between the two is the S1 comes with a rechargeable battery that S2 doesn’t have while S2 is slightly smaller than S1. So it really depends on which attribute is more important to you.
For us, we see the Spectra breast pump as something that we leave at a fixed place so its size doesn’t affect us as much as having a rechargeable battery. This is why S1 is our choice between the two.
Note: I have personally used an S1 both at home and at work, and while I wish it were smaller, I must admit that it’s a wonderful contraption. However, I drive and sometimes pump in the car under a nursing cover, I’d say this is definitely not a pump you’ll find easy to bring around. I’d highly recommended it as a spare pump that you leave at home or in the office so you don’t have to bring your breast pump between office and home.
2. Cimilre P1 Portable Breast Pump
The most mini but also the most mighty
Ask any working mum who’s nursing and her wish-list for a breast pump is likely to look like this:
- Compact and lightweight so she can easily store it in her work bag
- Not too loud because she doesn’t need all her colleagues to know when she’s pumping in the next room
- But also able to offer a powerful yet comfortable pump experience
And if your check-list looks something like this, you’re going to be very pleased with the Cimilre P1 Portable Breast Pump.
Cimilre is a Korean breast pump brand that was founded in 1999 by Uzin Medicare, which also owned Spectra. Cimilre later took a spin-off as an independent brand and company and has since advanced its breast pump technology so breastfeeding mums can enjoy a better pumping experience.
This is why those who are truly in the know would recognise it as a trusted brand.
The palm-sized pump weighs only 250g, which makes it easy for on-the-go pumping – we’re sure you’ll appreciate not lugging along a bulky and heavy machine that adds to the weight on your aching shoulders!
We love how the motor is strong yet quiet, and the breast pump is equipped with Massage and Expression modes to aid in a fast yet comfortable let-down. The modes are also adjustable (Massage modes are from Level 1 to 5, while Expression modes are from Level 1 to 10) to further aid let-down and better milk removal.
For those who are constantly on the go, you’ll be happy to know that its built-in rechargeable battery can be powered by a power bank, which means you can easily power it up again even at places where there are no power sockets. What’s more, a single full charge can last up to 120 minutes, which is equivalent to four to six pumping sessions – sufficient for those who have to pump outside their homes for the entire day!
As a bonus, it has a sleek design (complete with touchpad controls!), which is always a perk we won’t complain about.
Note: You may sometimes find this popular breast pump retailing at unauthorised sellers, which are offering export sets that might be factory rejects. So, always purchase from Cimilre Singapore at its website to ensure you’re getting an authentic device while enjoying a two-year local warranty support. In addition, if your pump needs servicing during this two-year period, Cimilre Singapore will even provide you with a free rental pump so there won’t be any disruption to your pumping schedule!
Cimilre P1 Portable Breast Pump retails for S$219 and it comes with a USB-C cable (USB power adapter not included). There is a sale going on at the time of writing, so check out the website for the latest price.
3. Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Best secret weapon
If you took one look at this little silicone pump and sniffed at it, you may want to pick it back up and give it a try. At just under S$35, you’ll be blown away!
It’s really clever and neat – just stick the pump on via natural suction and the vacuum seal created will work to draw the milk out. Mamas who pump using a single pump or even while nursing baby can use a Haakaa to collect the let-down from the other boob to save every drop of milk.
It’s made of BPA-free medical-grade silicone, easy to wash and sterilise (no loose parts!), and extremely portable. We’d say every mum should have one of these at home as their secret weapon for collecting their precious milk!
Retails for S$29.90 at Shopee.
Note: I built my initial stash using milk collected using my trusty Haakaa. I love this clever little pump and would buy this as a gift in a heartbeat, for friends who want to breastfeed.
4. Freemie Liberty Breast Pump
Best pump to use everywhere, literally
A pump that lets you pump discreetly anywhere, while you’re on the move, without needing to worry about finding a place to sit or set up your pump? That’s the Freemie for you! This very clever kit comprises two milk collection cups that fit neatly into your bra, and these are connected to a tiny pump that is powered by a rechargeable battery pack.
As if the pump weren’t clever enough as it is, it comes with three programmable buttons that allow you to save your favourite settings with just one touch, and you can programme it to shut off anywhere between five and 40 minutes of use.
Each cup can hold about 8 ounces of milk (that’s about 220 ml) so you need not worry unduly about spillage. Granted, you may look like you’re smuggling bowling balls in your chest with these cups slotted into your bra, but if you can just own the look and walk proud – freedom is yours!
Retails for S$529 at Lazada (there’s a huge discount going on at the time of writing, so check the link for latest price.)
5. Hegen PCTO Electric Breast Pump
Most relaxing pump experience
Homegrown brand Hegen is the darling among many Singaporean mums for their ergonomic square bottles. Fans of their line of bottles rejoiced when Hegen launched their own electric breast pump that feature those square bottles we love.
It boasts an awesome massaging function, giving Mamas a relaxing breast massage while they are pumping. The massager cups and kneads the breast, helping to relieve engorgement and tension, which is definitely a huge benefit. It is also lightweight, tiny, and quite frankly, pretty to look at. Pumping mums also have the option of switching to a manual pump with this kit, which is great for clearing the boobs and squeezing out those last few precious drops.
Retails for S$450 on the Hegen website and selected retail stores.
6. Medela Freestyle
Medela is well-known among mums for years now and Freestyle is probably its best known model and is loved by working mums for its handy size, lightweight (less than 400g!), portability, and effectiveness. Truly, many consider this the “empress dowager” of all pumps
What makes it so effective is its two-phase expression, which stimulates the breast for a let-down before pumping proper begins. It saves your pump settings so you can easily pick up where you left off. It also has an LED screen that lets you refer quickly to your settings as you pump.
What’s not to love? The price tag and if we got to nit-pick, we’ve got to say this pump’s a little on the noisy side. Also, this pump is not a closed system and so, sharing among friends and colleagues is NOT recommended.
Retails for S$699 on Lazada (there’s a discount going on at the time of writing, so click on the link to check for its latest price.)
7. Medela Swing Maxi
Best pump for those who wanted the Freestyle but don’t have the budget for it
Perhaps you’ve been eyeing the Medela Freestyle but don’t quite want to fork out so much for it. In this case, consider the Swing Maxi, which is only about half the price of a Freestyle! What it lacks in the form of an LED screen, it makes up for with the same portability and effectiveness as the heavy-duty Freestyle.
What this means is that you need to remember your settings and manually press the buttons to get to your desired pump suction (there are nine levels!) and to switch from the massaging phase to the active pumping phase yourself.
One of the things we love about this pump is that it runs on both a direct power source and 6x AAA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about not having a power source in nursing rooms while on the go when you use this.
Note: I have used the Swing Maxi for my first two children and it has served me very well in the four years I’ve used it. I exclusively breastfed both my children till they were about 15 months and mainly worked from home, so I pumped about three to five times a week on average for the days I had to work outside of the house. In fact, I still use it as a back-up pump as its suction has withstood the test of time.
8. Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump (SCF396/11)
Best pump to multitask with
This is one from another established brand in the market, and the latest version of Philips Avent’s breast pump is an improvement over an already good pump; it now features a Natural Motion Technology that’s inspired by a newborn’s natural suckling method for supposedly quicker milk flow. One of the key characteristics of this pump is its comfort.
Mamas will love its soft breast shields that are cushioned and supple. Another big plus is that it allows mums to sit upright while pumping instead of requiring them to lean forward – that means no more spilt milk while multitasking at work! The pump is fuss-free and easy to use even for first-time mums, and now comes with a quieter motor for a discreet experience anywhere.
Retails for S$259 on the Philips website and at selected authorised retailers.
9. Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
Best all-round manual pump
This popular manual pump has an ergonomic handle which makes operating the pump less tiring than you’d think it is – with all the finger strength being exerted. Thanks to its two-phase expression function, it is very efficient to pump and collect milk with this, with different pressure points for stimulating milk production and collecting let-down.
It’s small enough to fit into your work bag, so this is a great pump for on-the-go mums who have to pop out of the office during pumping time, and don’t want to bring their whole electric kit around.
10. Philips Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump
Best pump for one or two bottle pumpers
Manual pumps are a great option if you are on a budget and want to pump a bottle or two at work for baby without lugging your entire electric pump kit out. Almost every major brand has a manual pump version, but we particularly like Philip Avent’s for its soft silicone breast shields that feel like cushions!
Major points for Philip Avent’s really ingenious pump-in-comfort technology, which lets mamas sit upright and pump and not have to lean forward to prevent spillage.
Retails for S$79.90 on the Philips website.