The Battle of the Medela Breast Pumps – The Electric Swing vs The Manual Harmony

10th April 2015

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.

Electric Breastpump or Manual Breastpump

Medela Harmony Breast Pump Manual vs Medela Swing Breast Pump Electric
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.
Medela Electric Swing Breast Pump Essentials Kit vs Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
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 Conclusion. 
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.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Laura Side Street 10th April 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I totally agree, electric pumps even though they can be more bulky in size are far more efficient when it comes to expressing as well as being easier as manual ones tend to make my hands ache – great review

    Laura x

  • Reply Dominique Simpson 10th April 2015 at 10:35 pm

    My Medela breast pump was invaluable. I did have the electric one as my Mum bought it for me as my birthday present when I was pregnant!! This is by far the best brand around for this. I agree that the electric pump definitely was simple to use. Aria is gorgeous! x

  • Reply Cardiff Mummy Says 11th April 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Electric all the way for me too! I was lucky that a friend let me borrow her Avent one for my first two children, and another friend loaned me a Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature one for my third baby. I tried a manual one and it was rubbish in comparison. Definitely worth investing in an electric one as they have a good resale value too. x

  • Reply Sarah 13th April 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I had the Swing too! However I was useless at expressing, really didn't work for me so we had to go straight from 'source'. Would have loved to have been able to express!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.