I was lucky enough to try both the electric Medela Swing pump* and the manual Medela Harmony pump*. A question that I have been asked by a lot of people is “is it worth spending the extra cash on the electric pump?”, for me, the simple answer is yes. If you would like to know why then carry on reading.
The Medela Harmony is a manual breast pump, typically costing around £40 though currently available at John Lewis for just £19.96.
For this price you receive a manual pump, bottle stand, bottle and a calma teat.
The manual pump uses the 2-phase expression technique which mimics baby’s natural feeding behaviour and helps to express more milk in less time. Both settings are easy to use and it is simple to switch to and fro.
With this being manual you have complete control which means that you can easily dictate how fast/slow you pump, though if you get tired quickly you may unintentionally start to slow down after a little while.
No need for batteries or electricity making the pump completely portable.
You may have to buy a few items to go alongside this pump, such as breast pads, milk storage bags and nipple cream.
The Medela swing is an electric breast pump typically costing around £135, though for an extra £5 you can purchase the swing essentials kit. Again, the swing is available cheaper at John Lewis for £103.99, though this is the basic set and not the essentials kit. This comparison is based on the essentials kit which is exclusive to Mothercare.
The Swing essentials kit includes an electronic pump, bottle stand, bottle, calma teat, a quick clean microwave steriliser bag, 5 x pre-sterilised pump & save bags for storing your milk, 16 x breast pads and PureLan 100 cream.
The electric pump also uses the 2-phase expression technique as mentioned above, again, both settings are easy to control and easy to switch to and fro.
The electric pump has a range of vacuum levels which makes it easy to control how fast/slow you pump and how comfortable it is with very little effort from yourself. I find that I start on a low setting and slowly build up to a high setting for a comfortable way to express more milk quicker.
You have the option of plugging the pump in and running it through the electricity or running it with batteries, making this completely portable provided that you have enough battery power.
This kit comes with everything that you need to start pumping straight away. The Medela breast pads are better than any others that I have tried as they have two strong sticky tabs, unlike the one weak sticky tab that most other brands have.
In my personal opinion if money is no object the swing essentials pack is the clear winner, you get everything that you need to start pumping straight away, despite being electric the pump is still easily portable and I personally manage to get more milk in less time using this pump. However, there is a huge price difference between the two, you could buy the manual pump and the starter kit for around £65 making the electronic pump around £75 more expensive, which is a massive difference for most. The manual pump is easy to work with, it just requires more effort.
If you are planning on exclusively breast feeding I would advise that you splurge the extra cash for the electric pump as using the manual eight plus times a day would be tiring. If you are planning on pumping on the odd occasion or just to get a little more milk out when baby has finished feeding I would save your cash and purchase the manual pump.