I'm often asked about pumps and wanted to share some resources. I am NOT an IBCLC so please take what I say under advisement - your pumping needs may vary so it's always good to chat with the professionals. This is coming from a fellow pumping mom, though I have tried lots of options. 🙂
If you need a pump for occasional dates or times away from baby then a manual pump is an inexpensive option. You can use them anywhere, don't need an outlet to plug into, and you can quietly pump on one side while nursing baby on the other.
Avent Isis is the pump I used initially with my babies and I loved it and the petal soft cushions, but I do not love that it's one size fits all on the flange (horn type part that actually attaches to the breast.) Perhaps that's been revised and I'm just not seeing new size options? But there are a variety of nipple sizes and that's my one complaint about this pump. I actually got better results using two Avent pumps than I did with the double electric.
Medela Harmony I just tried with my sixth baby and I really did love it. There are a variety of sizes of flanges you can use depending on your nipple size, and it has two speed options depending on if you press the regular handle or the front part, which is designed to stimulate the faster suck of a hungry baby then you switch to the standard handle for the "let down" part. It was quick & easy to clean and both of these pumps can be sanitized in the microwave or whatever you prefer.
Double electric pumps are good for moms returning to work or anyone who will be away from baby for an extended time period. Pumping both breasts at one helps increase the flow and stimulate faster letdown. Private insurance companies under new legislation should be offering these to new moms but they may not mail it to you under after baby arrives and they usually specific which type you can have and may restrict where you can get it from. But contact your insurance company to find out more! Mothers who qualify for pregnancy Medicaid may qualify for WIC, and they can provide breast pumps for working mothers as well - info here.
Ameda Purely Yours is great and comes with a variety of flanges (some pumps come with a standard size and you must purchase other options.) I liked that the unit was removable from the bag (unlike some pumps) but you may prefer the pump built into the bag. It seemed comparable in power to me with the next option...
Medela Pump-in-Style which may or may not come with the additional flanges. Luckily Target and Walmart both seem to be carrying this line and you can get a lot of the parts in your local stores. This is a very well known pump and I used one with several of my kids. The power unit is built into the bag which I didn't love, but it was a fine pump.
Both pumps are meant to be single user and you can purchase replacement parts and tubing. The tubing itself cannot be sanitized, and of course the power unit cannot be cleaned except with an external wipe down. Manual pumps CAN be broken down and sanitized.
The other option is hospital grade pumps, which are ideal for families with a hospitalized baby such as a preemie in the NICU. They are designed with more powerful motors and are longer lasting, they are also designed to be safely used by multiple users and they can be rented from hospitals or through some lactation consultants. Medela makes a few options (Symphony is one) and the parts used for the Pump-in-Style are also used on the hospital pumps.
I have NOT used this pump but the other name I often hear for double electric is Hygeia.
Some more information about insurance covering pumps: