Breastfeeding moms can choose between two types of breast pumps: manual and electric. If you're having trouble deciding, Polly Kocher, an international board-certified lactation consultant, says to consider your cooking prep. "I say, 'Do you cut up your own carrots or do you buy the little ones already cut up?'" says Kocher, who works at the OSF Breastfeeding Resource Center at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. "Think about what your personality is, and how much process you want to put into something. "If you thrive off efficiency and time-saving techniques, an electric breast pump may be right for you. But if you don't mind a little extra work—and if you're breastfeeding only occasionally—a manual breast pump is probably your best bet.
It's true that manual breast pumps are less popular than electric ones, but Kocher says they have several advantages. Perhaps the biggest one: cost. You can get an excellent hand breast pump for $40 to $50, compared with the $250 to $350 you'd spend on a top-of-the-line double electric pump. Additionally, a manual breast pump is a lifesaver in the absence of electricity or on car rides. It also comes in handy for moms who don't frequently pump, Kocher says.
Are you sold on using a hand breast pump? Follow these 12-step instructions, which Kocher regularly gives her clients.