The Best Manual Breast Pumps for You

By Amy Huffman | September 16, 2021

elvie curve breast pump We consider the Elvie Curve one of the best manual breast pumps because of its versatility.

Figuring out what kind of breast pump to use as a new mom - especially if you’ve never breast fed before - can be a daunting task. There are so many options to choose from and who knows where your breastfeeding journey will take you!

Most women can receive a breast pump through insurance, meaning your health insurance will cover (or greatly reduce) the price of your double electric breast pump, depending on which model you decide on.

But many moms also like the flexibility and ease of use of a manual breast pump - either to use on the other breast while nursing, as a backup while on-the-go, or for pumping emergencies (it happens!).

Which manual breast pump is best? That’s up to you, momma! While all are affordable, each has its perks. Here are our favorite manual breast pumps that you may want to consider:

Elvie Curve

Want a manual breast pump that you can wear discreetly in your bra? Then consider the Elvie Curve. The first wearable, manual breast pump, moms can use the Curve to collect let-down from one breast while nursing or pumping on the other side.

And because it creates suction on your breast, you can also use the Curve (or two of them!) whenever your breasts feel full. Somewhat like its big sister, the original Elvie Pump, you can express and collect milk anywhere and no one will be the wiser.

Simply tuck the Elvie Curve in your bra, then press the pouch to create suction. Comfortable and quiet, you’ll be able to collect up to 4 ounces of milk!

The best manual breast pump for: moms who primarily nurse, single electric breast pump users, busy moms on the go

Haakaa Generation 2

Moms new to breastfeeding find that the Haakaa breast pump is great to use while nursing. It’s just that easy to use. Like the Elvie Curve or Catch or other milk collectors, you can use this silicone breast pump from Haakaa to catch letdown when you are nursing or pumping on the other breast.

It’s made of super soft silicone, so it’s incredibly comfortable and gentle. And its gentleness is appreciated by moms who find it useful for relieving clogged ducts.

Using a Haakaa silicone breast pump is easy. When pumping or feeding on one side, secure the Haakaa pump to your other breast by squeezing the pump to get the air out, placing the pump’s flange over your breast, and releasing the squeeze. Once suctioned to your breast, your milk will release into the bottle.

The gentle suction can also be effective to draw out milk when your breasts feel full. Since the Haakaa pump can hold 4 ounces of breast milk, there’s usually no need to worry about releasing it, emptying the milk and reattaching.

The best manual breast pump for: backup milk collection while nursing in private, relief of clogged ducts

silicone manual breast pump Silicone breast pumps and milk collectors are soft and comfortable, but some moms like the convenience of a manual pump that pumps directly into a breast milk storage bottle.

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump & Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

Many moms looking for a manual breast pump prefer to stick to a design that more closely resembles the way their electric breast pump works (hey, if it works, don’t mess with it!).

These manual pumps not only have a breast shield that fits just like an electric pump, but allow you to control the rhythm and suction of the pump. You also pump directly into a breastmilk storage and collection bottle, so there’s no need to transfer the milk!

Great examples of this more “classic” type of manual pump are the Medela Harmony and the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump. Both of these models feature ergonomic handles to prevent hand fatigue and soft breast shields for comfortable pumping. Plus, they are easy to disassemble and clean.

The best manual breast pump for: moms that occasionally breast pump, moms that exclusively pump and need a back-up option for emergencies

Elvie Catch

While not a manual pump per se, the Elvie Catch works much like the Curve, without the suction. Instead of nursing pads that absorb your breast milk, these - you guessed it - catch it, allowing you to save every precious drop of liquid gold.

Sold as a set of two, the Catch is great for moms with heavy leakage. And because the cups can be adjusted to accommodate breasts of different shapes and sizes, it’s both comfortable and reliable.

The reusable cups of the Elvie Catch also mean there’s no need to stock up on disposable nursing pads. For moms who try to reduce waste and moms with heavy leakage (who will use many disposable pads), the Catch is a great alternative.

Great for: new moms, moms that have a lot of leakage, environmentally conscious moms

Let 1 Natural Way join your prenatal and postpartum team! We are committed to helping new moms with many of their postpartum needs by providing insurance-covered breast pumps, breastfeeding supplies, pregnancy support bands, and compression stockings as well as fully covered sessions with a lactation constultant. Begin the process of qualifying for some - or all! - of these items at no cost to you through your insurance.

Amy Huffman

About the Author

As one of 1 Natural Way's Customer Service Specialists, Amy Huffman helps moms find a breast pump that's right for their lifestyle, preferences and budget. Because so many moms need help comparing one or two pumps, she thought it would be helpful to write posts about the pumps being compared most often. A mother of two boys and a daughter, her youngest, Amy enjoys getting away to the peaceful beach, music of all kinds (even the old favorite Old McDonald Had a Farm) and spending time with family and friends.

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