Medela Breast Pumps

Archived Responses: 

  • Medela pump vs. hospital-grade pump
  • Experience with various Medela models?
  • Reviews of Specific Models:
  • Medela Double Ease
  • Medela Pump-In-Style
  • Medela Mini-Electric

  • Medela pump vs. hospital-grade pump

    Jan 2003

    I am interested in hearing from women who have used both the Medela Pump In Style and a hospital-grade pump like the Ameda Dual Pump which is available in the campus lactation rooms. Is there a significant difference in terms of time spent pumping, output and ease-of-use between portable pumps and hospital grade ones? Margaret

    Hi- I used the campus lactation room with my Pump in Style and the hospital pump with kit. My experience was that they were about equal in terms of how much I pumped, how fast it was, etc. There were slight differences in cleaning (the kit warns you to be very careful cleaning a certain part but I guess I wasn't because eventually it tore and I had to get it replaced, but the campus program was very helpful).

    I went from the Pump in Style to the hospital kit after just a few weeks because I needed a pump at home to supplement my 2/day pumpings at work (and it was nice once when I stayed home sick but baby went to daycare to be able to pump). Also, it was a little easier to tote the kit instead of the whole pump to the lactation room. I liked the fact the kit came with a little hand pump which was a good backup. Happy pumping!

    I first rented a Medela hospital grade pump from Rockridge Kids when I went home from the hospital after a c-section (and was having difficulties with engorgement, baby accepting the breast, etc); I used it at home off and on for about 3 months. When my baby was 10 weeks old, I went to a conference and so I really had to buy a portable pump to take with me and, after that, I was returning to work more frequently and for longer hours. I bought the Medela pump in style, which best fit my particular situation (see below), after researching the campus resources. So, for a few weeks I had both the hospital-grade pump and the Medela P-I-S. I loved the P-I-S so much that I returned the rented pump (I had considered continuing the rental and having both pumps, one for home, one for work but found this wasn't necessary). I also looked into using the lactation rooms on campus, but, since I have a private office, I was lucky enough to be able to use the Medela in my office [Some of my co-workers without a private office were able to make arrangements with their office mates to pump or to arrange a special room for pumping -- don't worry, NOT the bathroom !]. I would say that while the campus lactation rooms are a great resource (and probably a great way to meet other moms that I missed out on!), it is more convenient to pump in or near your office if arrangements can be made. It certainly does save time (unless you're actually located in Evans, for example), and I found that I was rushed enough just to pump without considering running to and from another building. Also, there are times you are likely to really want a pump at home or away from campus and you may not want to rely solely on a campus pump. The Medela P-I-S works great for this, too, as it is in an attractive, professional looking bag and can be taken anywhere, even to a fancy restaurant, professional meeting, etc. (only other pumping moms and associated dads will know it is a breastpump!). I was worried about carrying all this junk around -- my purse, my pump, and my computer/briefcase, but the Medela P-I-S is fairly lightweight (and I suffered from new mom carpal tunnel problems, too, so I was very concerned about lugging all this stuff around). As for compatibility between pumps: the Ameda brand pumps are completely interchangeable with both the Avent (wide bottle) pump accessories and the Medela (standard size bottle) pump accessories. So, you could still mix and match a portable vs a hospital grade system if you need to (in terms of the bottles you pump into; you might need a different set of tubes attaching to the pump itself, I don't remember). So, overall, I chose to buy the Medela P-I-S over the portable Ameda pumps that the university gets a discount on because I already had so much Medela stuff from the hospital(bottles, horns, etc.), because I liked the style and specific ''layout'' of the Medela pump more than the Ameda pump (I really liked the ''built-in'' pump, for example -- it was very steady and made for a very quick set-up and take-down), and because I just somehow had a brand loyalty to Medela through using the hospital pump and reading lots of online reviews whereas I had never heard of Ameda. One of my coworkers had the Ameda portable pump she bought through the university and she really liked that (and both of us did lots of pumping !). Let me know if you have any more questions; I found getting this type of information quickly when I needed it was somewhat difficult for a sleep-deprived new mom. boering
    I found the hospital pump to be much better than a madela pump. I have a pump in style and hardly used it. The hospital pump's motor is much stronger. It got the job done quicker. If I have another child I will rent or buy a hospital grade pump. Each person is different though, my milk never seemed to come out easily. Some people have a river flowing very quickly. Try a hospital pump for a few days and you will see a difference depending on your milk supply. anonymous
    I have used both a hospital pump (can't remember what kind) and a Medela Pump, and I prefer the Medela, hands down. First, there's cost: I could have paid for a Medela easily with what I shelled out to rent the hospital pump for the few months I did that. Second, there's portability: the nifty backpack that the Pump In Style comes in is extremely convenient, or you can take the different parts out (the pump itself and/or the cooler) if you don't need everything. I used the Medela at work for many months, and now that I'm only nursing my daughter two times a day, I'm glad I have the Medela for those rare times I'm going to be away from her overnight. There's no way a hospital pump would be worthwhile to keep around for occasional use.

    As for comfort/ease of use, I honestly don't remember what I thought of the hospital pump, I think it was fine, and so is the Medela. I think they both have variable speeds and strength of suction.

    I got a good deal for my Medela on eBay. They have (or had) new ones (factory sealed, etc.) for less money than the prices I saw in stores. Good luck finding the right pump for you! A Medela fan

    The hospital pump is much stronger and more effective. The downside is that it's not portable. If you want to try one, I rented one from Birth & Bonding in Albany for $50 a month. They prorate to $3 (?) a day if you want to just try it out. zeta8
    I exclusively pumped for about the first month of my baby's life as he was born prematurely and could not breast feed. In my experience, the hospital pumps generate more pressure and stimulated more milk production. I think both are equally easy to use. Obviously the hospital pumps are not portable and are big and bulky. Laura
    I used the hospital grade pump for the first month and a half (to establish supply) based on the advice of a lactation consultant. Then because I needed to go somewhere that took me away from home (and the pump) for more than 3 hours, I tried the Pump In Style a friend had loaned me. While they felt different in terms of the force of the pull and the speed of the cycles, they were identical for me in terms of output and time spent pumping. With regards to ease of use, the Madela Pump In Style had a huge advantage over the hospital pump in that it was so portable--it gave me so much for fredom in terms of getting out. So I returned the rental pump and switched for good. You can even use the Madela in the car with an adapter attachment or while camping by using a battery adapter. anon
    I used a Medela pump with my first baby and an Ameda Purely Yours Dual Pump with my second baby. Both were exellent but I liked the Ameda better because I could remove the pump from the carrying case and leave it on my nightstand. My old Medela was an all-in-one design. Also the Ameda is much cheaper (I was able to purchase mine from the Kaiser Pharmacy). If cost is a consideration, you can usually find used pumps through the Marketplace newsletter. --Sharon
    I rented the top-of-the-line Medela pump with my first child 9 years ago. Used it daily for a year. This time I bought the Pump-In-Style. The two pumps seem quite comparable although from my recollection, I think the Pump-In-Style has simpler tubing. (The Pump-In-Style tubing connects to the collection bottle with a peg in the bottle's top, and the other tubing ended in a screw-cap that screwed to the collection bottle's top--but I used the same collection bottles with both pumps.) Fran
    Hi Margaret, I've used both pumps, and while the hospital grade pump is considerably quieter than the Medela Pump In Style, I found them to be equally efficient and easy to use. Amy

    Experience with various Medela models?

    June 2002

    I am interested in learning about people's experiences with the following types of non-rental Medela Professional Breast Pumps: ''Pump In Style - Original,'' ''Pump In Style Traveler,'' and ''Pump In Style Companion.''

    It appears from Medela's products website that the differences among these electric pumps are that the latter two include a ''removable motor unit'' and a ''microfiber backpack,'' which the original version does not, and that the original model has a ''built in cooler compartment,'' which is not featured in either of the other two.

    How critical have these features proven to be for working mothers in terms of efficient milk collection, pumping action comfortability, or other criteria not grounded purely on aesthetic preferences? Overall, what are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each of these models? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Saralyn

    I used the Pump In Style Traveler, and found the backpack to be extremely useful and convenient. The pump itself never had to be removed from the backpack (which allowed discreet transportation of the pump, even on airplanes after 9/11) -- not even to be used, and all the bits and pieces necessary, including a removable cooler unit, fit nicely into the top of the backpack. I actually like having the cooler compartment removable rather than built in, as I could use it to transport milk to my babysitter's house; and now that I am not nursing, I can transport other things (milk, tofu, fruit, etc.). Karen

    Medela Double Ease

    Erika 4/00
    Just to add in my two cents worth on this topic of breast pumps other than the Pump in Style. I haven't noticed anyone else talking about Medela's newer pump, the Double Ease. I got one when my baby was born back in the fall. I think it was around the same price that another person was quoting for the Ameda Purely Yours. My Double Ease came in a carrying case that is decent-looking, with extra bottles and ice packs. It can pump one side or two and can be run on batteries too. It isn't suitable for someone who has to pump a lot, but it fine for pumping once a day. It doesn't have too many parts and they are also really easy to clean.

    Medela Pump-in-Style

    See also: \tHands-free Use of Pump-in-Style

    April 2000

    As for pump recommendations: I used the Pump In Style and loved it. The latest model has both suction and speed control settings just like the Purely Yours does. I know several moms who purchased their Pump In Styles from internet sources in Canada. Because of the favorable exchange rate they only spent about $150. The Pump in Style and the Purely Yours are considered equivalent pumps in the industry. It seems that Medela still has the lions share of the market, but probably that will change as the Ameda's become more popular. Unfortunately it seems that Ameda is starting to raise their prices.. . I had hoped that the competition would cause Medela to lower theirs. The one piece of advice that I have is to NEVER buy one of those cheap little Gerber, Evenflo, or First Years electric pumps. (Those are the only ones I could think of... but there are many others that are also horrible.) From the moms I have talked to only 1 in 10 can actually get them to work well for her. Also, the lactation consultants I have talked to have actually seen women whose breasts and nipples have been severely damaged by these pumps. If you really need an in expensive pump you would do better with the manual Avent Isis, than with one of these... but if you plan to pump at work spend the money, for the amount you will save on formula, the pump will certainly pay for itself.

    Marian 4/00
    I bought a Medela Pump-In-Style out of desperation. It was very expensive $270. The lactation consultant recommended it to start up my milk supply. You can probably find a much cheaper price on the web if you're not in a hurry. It seems like the description of the Ameda Egnell. It has several selections (min-med-high)--I think that's for how strong the suction is. You can also adjust the number of pumps in a given time from 1-5. You just adjust it until you're comfortable. It comes in a nice black bag with 20 bags, 4 bottles, and other sutff (ac adaptor, blue ice, bottle stands, a manual pump, etc.) The bag is divided into parts for the motor, storage, and cool storage. You can use other bags if you'd like. I use Avent bags so I can use Avent bottles. I also have an Avent Isis pump. I got that when my milk first came in, and I like that just fine. It fits with the Avent bottles that I know most mothers like. The only reason I got the Medela was because it mimics the baby's sucking. There is also an adaptor if you want to pump while in your car.
    Date: Dec 1998
    From: a mom

    I have been meaning to post this info for the woman who is looking for a Medela Pump In Style but doesn't want to pay full price. Apparently due to current exchange rates you can get a great deal if you order from a Canadian retailer. Here is one catalog that I found online (You can't order on line, but the catalog is on line so you can see their products, and then either order by mail, fax or phone). that says that the Canadian Dollar is at about $.68 to the American dollar. They sell the Pump In Style for $225 Canadian. When you use the rate they are talking about it comes to about $150. I first read about this option on the Baby Bargains website: In the letters section of the site. The woman who wrote about it said it took 3 weeks to get it in the mail.

    Personally, I think breast milk is wonderful. However, it is inconvenient if you plan to go back to work right away. I went back to work when my daughter, who is now 16 months, was 6 weeks old. I chose to buy the Medela Pump-in-Style breast pump instead of renting one of the other models as I figured that if I used it for more than six months, it would be cheaper to buy than to rent (and if you have another child, it's much more economical). It has dual pumps, several pumping speeds (I pumped 6-8 ounces in 15 minutes), a pump- release cycle that is comfortable, and comes with a built-in cooler and ice packs to store the milk. It's kind of expensive (around $200), but in my opinion, well worth the price.

    Several other young mothers at work used the Gerber electric pump. However, I heard stories that they were not very comfortable. They are also less efficient as they pump one side at a time.

    I have been using a Medela Pump In Style for about 2 months. It works very well and I recommend it highly. It is double-barreled, but I have recently begun using it on one breast at a time. It is nice to have a second hand free for reading, drinking, or whatever. However, in a pinch, I find pumping both breasts at once can decrease the time somewhat, but I do sacrifice on amount when double pumping.

    I have had to pump in my car because I work at a place with cubicles, glass offices, and useless bathrooms (not recommended for pumping anyway). The car battery adapter works very well, and it is a nice break in the day to drive to a park and pump! I have been able to keep ahead of my daughter, now 4.5 months old. However, she has only been in daycare for about 2 weeks and she had a cold this weekend so I wasn't able to pump much extra those two days. I normally feed Kela around 3 or 4 am (her choice, not mine), then get up before she does in the morning (around 6am) and pump around 6-8 ounces. I pump at least once during the day, again getting around 6-8 ounces. Sometimes, I also pump after I pick her up because she isn't hungry.

    When my son was this age, I used a Medela hand pump which worked okay. I couldn't easily get 12 ounces per day, which is the lower amount I get using the Pump and Style, and it took me more than twice the time. I was poorer then and couldn't afford to rent or buy an electric pump. I had to supplement Maren's diet with formula, because I could not keep up with his demand. By 9 months, he was mainly drinking formula (and eating), and breastfeeding only in the morning and nights for comfort. By 14 months, he pushed the breast away and said no more.

    The rentals will quickly get you to the same price as a Pump and Style. I bought mine for a very special price $184 (discounted more than 10% off the Medela suggested retail price), but you can still get a 10% discount from the mail order business Lactation Innovations in Ohio. If you are interested, I can get the telephone number for you. You can send me email.

    Hope this helps. I have been involved in a Mom's group since Kela was born, and all of us (about 10) bought Pump In Style's and nearly all of us from the woman in Ohio. We each have our own way of making it work, and I can recount other stories about how to got milk! Baby pictures help...


    This is the top of the line Medela to buy. It retails for around $200. On the whole, this is a great pump. It's a double pump, so you have the option to do both breasts at once, cutting your pumping time somewhat. The motor is strong and quiet, and the suction is fully adjustable (though the knob is hard to use). My friend at La Leche League tells me that this one is made to last around a year of heavy use (several times daily). It comes in a discrete black leather case (the woman who sold it to me wondered if someone would try to steal it, thinking it's a computer!), with a cold storage area for your milk, as well as blue ice, bottles, and other gadgets. Dawn
    I'm using a Medela Pump-In-Style (bought for about $200) which has worked very well. Once, it started making funny sounds (possibly due to being played with by the baby) so i called customer service which was GREAT. They fedexed me a Mini-Electric to tide me over, while I sent them my big pump, which they fixed (or replaced??) in one day and fedexed back to me. The Pump-In-Style is MUCH better than the Mini-Electric, whose only advantage over the Medela hand pump is that you only need one hand and can relax. The pumping action of the Mini-Electric is not very strong. I'm planning on using the pump for a fairly extended period (at least a year, maybe more?) so buying was better than renting for us.

    Medela (as I'm sure you will hear from everyone) is the recommended brand I also hear that Ameda/Egnell makes some good pumps but they're not as well-known in this part of the country or something? Apparently they have a one-hand hand pump, as well as heavy-duty ones.

    Joyce If time is important to you, then being able to pump both breasts at once is essential.

    Someone (I think it was my lactation consultant) told me that once you get good at it, just expressing milk by hand is very efficient--that you can express from both breasts at one time once the milk starts flowing. I only managed that once--when my breasts were very full (a situation you don't want to be in anyway because waiting that long lessens milk production in the long run).

    One last thought: for me, starting the let-down was the hardest part. Whatever works best to get there should work best over all for you.

    Medela Mini-Electric

    If you will be pumping regularly and will have access to an outlet, it's best to get an electric. There are a number of brands on the market to buy or rent. The two I have are both Medela.

    The smaller one is a Medela Mini Electric, which retails for about $80 to $90. The advantage of this one is its extreme versatility. It runs on an adapter or batteries, and also has a conversion kit so you can use it as a manual pump too. However, the small motor is not made to last for heavy use, and I find the suction somewhat erratic. I have friends who have used this once daily for the better part of a year, and been very happy, though. It is adjustable, by the way.

    The larger Medela I have is the Pump In Style .

    Good luck!

    From: Kathleen (6/98)

    about breast pumps - I loved my Medela mini-electric - it got me through two kids - 19months the first time and 22 months the second - plus I loaned it to my sister-in-law for her second child and it's still going strong. Very portable and efficient.