One of the first things to cross the mind of prospective breastfeeding parents is what type of pump they’ll need to express milk. Trying to decide between brands and pump types is enough to overwhelm anyone, so which is truly better: manual or electric pumps?
While electric pumps are better for parents who regularly express milk, manual pumps are more convenient for relieving an oversupply. In some cases, breastfeeding parents may choose to use both for different reasons.
In this article, I’ll explain the difference between the Tommee Tippee manual and electric breast pumps. You’ll also get a full rundown of the positives and negatives of each type and how to decide which Tommee Tippee breast pump is right for you.
What Is the Difference Between Manual and Electric Breast Pumps?
The main gist of manual and electric breast pumps is the same, but each type works differently than the other. Manual pumps require you to power the pump’s suction on your own, while electric breast pumps use battery power or a power cord to deliver suction to your nipples.
On top of that, both pump types have different subtypes within their category that operate slightly differently from others in the same group. Let’s explore both types a little more.
Manual Breast Pumps
Manual breast pumps require the user to use their hand to operate the pump. This type of pump can only pump milk on one side at a time, so it’s helpful to have something to catch any letdown from the opposite breast.
Before using your manual breast pump for the first time, it’s important to make sure all the parts are clean. It’s also helpful to read through the user manual to familiarize yourself with how to use it properly. To use a manual breast pump, you should follow a few simple steps:
- Make sure your hands are clean. Wash them thoroughly to avoid any possible contamination on the pump parts or bottle you’re pumping into.
- Stimulate your breasts to encourage a letdown. Letdown is what happens when your milk actually comes out. Many breastfeeders say they feel a tingling sensation right before the letdown occurs.
- Position your breast in the pump. Gently place your nipple in the centre of the pump flange and place the pump flat against your chest.
- Squeeze the lever to initiate pumping. Try to mimic your baby’s sucking pattern, as that will tell your body to release more milk into the bottle.
- Switch sides if needed. It’s common practice to give equal attention to both breasts so you can encourage flow from both sides. However, if you’re only using a manual pump to help with oversupply, this step may not be necessary.
- Hand express after you finish pumping. Doing this will give your body one last attempt to get any residual milk out.
Electric Breast Pumps
Electric breast pumps may operate via battery power or an internal motor. In most cases, the pump you receive through your insurance is an electric pump with a motor.
There are two general electric models: single or double. Single electric pumps can only accommodate one breast at a time, while double breast pumps can pump both breasts simultaneously. Overall, double electric breast pumps are more efficient as you don’t have to worry about any wasted letdowns.
To use an electric breast pump, you should follow these steps:
- Wash your hands before setting up. Pumping should take place in a quiet and clean environment, which means making sure your hands are clean. Doing this will prevent potential contamination during the session.
- Assemble each part. Connect your filter to the flange, and then screw the flange onto the milk bottle or pumping container. Then, connect the tubing to the flange and the motor. You’ll need to do this twice if you’re using a double pump. Regular electric breast pumps will also need to plug into an outlet, while battery-powered pumps will not.
- Position the flange onto your breast. The tunnel of the flange/breast shield should fit securely but not too tight. Your nipple should be 3-4 millimetres smaller than the shield. Press the shield gently to ensure good suction when you start the machine.
- Stimulate a letdown. To do this, some parents look at a picture of their baby while others try massaging the breast. Some breast pumps come equipped with a letdown feature that mimics initial sucking to help a letdown come on.
- Start at a low intensity. As your session goes on, you can gradually increase the pumping power. It’s important to remember that you still need to feel comfortable to get optimal results.
- Clean your pump parts after each session. If you pump multiple times throughout the day, putting used pieces in a sealed bag in your refrigerator is common. However, if you do this, you need to remember to take them out and clean them at the end of each day.
The Tommee Tippee manual breast pump is an ergonomically-designed pump that is virtually silent. The pump is compact and easy to use when desired discreetly. The cup is silicone for added comfort and has only a few parts to take apart and clean after each session.
The pump is made entirely of BPA and BPS free chemicals and has a curved handle to make pumping easier for smaller hands. This pump can accommodate any Tommee Tippee bottle or other extra-wide-necked bottles without an adapter.
Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump Advantages
The advantages that come along with this manual Tommee Tippee breast pump are plenty. From added comfort to portability, let’s explore these advantages in a little more detail:
- Ergonomic Design: Hand pumping can get tiresome fairly quickly. That’s why many breastfeeding parents end up opting for electric pumps. However, the ergonomic design of the curved lever on the pump guarantees more comfort why you’re using it.
- Gentle on the Breast: Unlike other manual pumps that use plastic flanges, the Tommee Tippee manual pump uses an all silicone breast cup. The silicone gives a little extra padding while you’re pumping and serves as a seal to maintain good suction.
- Easy to Clean: You don’t need to worry about tubing and cords with a manual pump, which makes it much easier to clean after each use. The pump and its parts are also dishwasher and sterilizer safe, which adds to the convenience.
- Compact Design: Not having electric parts to worry about lugging around makes the manual pump much easier to take with you on the go. You can easily slip it into a purse or diaper bag without taking up too much space.
- More Affordable: Manual pumps, in general, are much cheaper than their electric counterparts. This is due to the lack of electrical components, but manual pumps are a good choice when your insurance doesn’t cover the pump and you don’t want to shell out the money.
Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump Disadvantages
Although the Tommee Tippee manual breast pump comes with its fair share of advantages, there are some drawbacks to using this type over its electric counterpart. To help you decide, let’s go into more detail here:
- Single Pump System: If you want to pump both breasts efficiently in one sitting, you’ll have to purchase two manual pumps. You could suffice with one, but you would need something to catch any letdowns from the opposite breast.
- Require More Work: You have to pump your breasts manually, making the process tiring and cumbersome. Too much manual work could lead to inefficient pumping and possible leakage.
- Only One Flange Size: This manual pump only comes with one option for flange size. Flange size isn’t a big deal if you have standard-sized nipples, but those with larger or smaller nipples won’t get a correct fit. Incorrect fitting can lead to soreness and leaking while in use.
- Silicone Can Cause Issues: Although the silicone-padded flange adds better suction and more support, excessive rubbing can cause raw skin. If you have sensitive skin, this could be an issue.
The Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump is available in both a single and double pump system. While the single pump system is significantly less expensive, the double pump system allows you to express milk from both breasts at the same time evenly. The portable and compact design is made specifically with busy and working parents in mind.
Rather than plugging into a wall, this Tommee Tippee pump is battery-powered and can recharge via a USB cable. The Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump allows for 90 minutes of power when operating on a full charge. With that said, it’s recommended to only pump for around 15 minutes at a time to optimize your supply to your baby’s feeding schedule.
The pump has five different massage modes to encourage letdown and nine different pump modes to promote consistent flow.
Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump Advantages
The Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump functions differently from its manual counterpart and comes with its own set of unique advantages. Convenience and ease of use are the most prominent, but let’s explore those advantages a little more:
- Two Different Options: With the electric pump, you choose between a single or double pump system. If you only want to use the pump occasionally, you can opt for the single system and reap electric and manual advantages.
- Battery-Powered: The battery compartment for this system is compact, which makes it much easier for taking on the go. You also don’t have to worry about bulky motors and cords or needing an outlet to power the machine.
- No Loud Noise: This electric pump is also much quieter than other breast pumps on the market. The lack of noise makes it ideal for use in a work environment.
- Customizable Experience: With the five different massage modes and nine different pump modes, you can cater each pump session to what you need at that time. You also don’t have to worry about manually initiating a letdown either.
- Holds a Charge Well: You should have no issue getting good suction and output when fully charged. Many people attest to how well this particular electric pump holds its charge.
Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump Disadvantages
Although the Tommee Tippee electric breast pump certainly has its advantages, some things may be off putting for others. From low compatibility to other bottles and containers to cleaning difficulties, let’s highlight some things to keep in mind:
- Difficult to Clean: To clean this pump, you need to take apart each piece from the flanges to the tubes. Not only do you have to clean out the parts that collect your milk, but you need to make sure no moisture is trapped in your tubing.
- Can’t Use Most Containers: To pump into the Tommee Tippee electric pump, you have to use Tommee Tippee bottles or another extra-wide-necked bottle. Not many companies make bottles with this wide neck, so you’re stuck needing Tommee Tippee-specific collection containers.
- No Carrying Case: There isn’t a particular case to carry each part in, so you’ll have to buy one separately or let it sit freely in your bag. Free-sitting in a bag makes the pump more susceptible to damage.
Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump vs Electric – Which Is Right For You?
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of both types of breast pumps, you need to decide which one fits your needs the most. Taking into consideration your lifestyle, feeding plan, and patience level will play the most significant role in influencing your decision.
If you’re the type of parent constantly on the go, manual pumps are suitable for you. While the Tommee Tippee electric pump is battery-powered, you still need to hold multiple parts while moving around unless you have a pumping bra. However, it’s much simpler to use a manual pump when you want to get other things done as it only requires one hand.
Electric pumps are suitable for you if you plan to pump regularly to build up a supply. Electric is also the better option for working parents as it allows you to pump hands-free so you can continue working. On the other hand, manual pumps are more convenient for walking while pumping and alleviating oversupply without contributing to it even more.
Manual pumps take a lot more time and patience to use. If you don’t want to sit down for a half-hour to pump both breasts, an electric double pump system is better for you. The Tommee Tippee electric breast pump also doesn’t require using your hands, so you can engage in other activities while you wait for the session to finish.