Pumping School 101: More on Breast Pumps

Should you get a manual pump or an electric pump? If electric, should you get battery-operated or plug-in breast pumps? Should you get single flange pumps (for expressing milk one breast at a time) or double flange pumps (for expressing both breasts at the same time)?

Decisions, decisions.

Manual breast pumps

  • Inexpensive.
  • Good for expressing milk occasionally.
  • Convenient and easy to use.



  •  Does not stimulate the breast well enough to build or maintain supply

Electric breast pumps


  • Faster than hand expressing.
  • Best for moms who express breast milk at work or outside the home
  • Available in a range of prices.


  • Expensive compared with manual pumps
  • Not usually adequate for keeping up milk supply if the baby is not partially nursing.

Single Vs Double pumps – Double pumps give you a set volume of milk in half the time used by the single pump because doubles express both breasts at the same time.

But make no mistake, Mama, if you work outside your home, you need the double, electric pump. It’s the only one that’ll meet baby’s needs in the 30 / 45 minute slots you have to pump at work. (We recommend the Medela Pump in Style Advanced pump, this is not an ad). You can also get a single hand pump to keep next to your bed for when baby starts to sleep longer, or for when you need to go out and don’t want to carry the clunky pump bag.




So what should you have in your pumping toolkit?

  1. Battery pack and car adapter. Because this is Nigeria. And PHCN will mess up your best laid plans.
  2. New flanges. Most pumps come with standard size flanges and these might not work for you. They might hurt your boobs or be ineffective in drawing out milk. So figure out your size and get new flanges.
  3. Cooler bag or freezable lunch bags.
  4. Hand sanitizer.
  5. Breast pads (extra!)
  6. Wet wipes (for spills).
  7. Breast milk storage bags.
  8. Milk bottles with lids.
  9. Bottled water (to rinse out your pump parts when you can’t find clean, hot water)
  10. Pumping Bra (optional but it allows you pump handsfree!)

Free tip: Get someone to show you how to use a breast pump effectively. It might seem obvious, but it’s not, especially when your baby’s nutrition depends on it. Get an older sister, or friend to demonstrate and supervise your first pump session. You can also watch Youtube videos to get a sense of what to do.

To read more about pumps, check out our other article here.