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Top breast pumps for returning to work

If you’re returning to work but wanting to continue to breastfeed your baby, you’ll need to find a breast pump that makes that transition easier. There’s an overwhelming array of pumps on the market, so you firstly need to think about the kind of pump you’d prefer to use while at work.

Would you prefer manual or electric? Single or double? You might also want to consider a second breast pump so that you don’t have to transport it backwards and forwards to work (and potentially forget it one day).

Choosing the right breast pump for your needs

There is no one size fits all when it comes to breast pumps. Some things you may need to consider when deciding on one:

  • Your budget
  • How often you need to pump
  • How much time you have to pump
  • Whether you need it to be battery-operated or if you have access to power

Manual and single breast pumps are more economical, and a great option if you only need to express occasionally and you have the time.

Electric pumps are convenient and easy to use as they do the pumping for you, so they’re perfect for mums who need to express regularly and quickly. Many have rechargeable batteries if you don’t always have access to a power point. Double breast pumps will save you even more time, which is most likely a priority for many returning-to-work mums.

Here is a list we compiled for you of the top breast pumps for returning to work:

Medela Freestyle Flex™ 2-Phase Double Electric Breast Pump

Medela Freestyle Flex


✓ Compact, light and portable double breast pump, easy to carry wherever you go
✓ USB-chargeable battery to give you the flexibility to express whenever you like – no need to search for a powerpoint
✓ Connects to free MyMedela app – download and register to track pumping progress
✓ Overflow protection (closed system) prevents breast milk entering the tubing and motor
✓ Medela PersonalFit Flex™ breast shields for your comfort and increased milk flow

Price: $549

Spectra S1+ Hospital Grade Double Electric Breast Pump



✓ Inbuilt rechargeable battery. Benefit from the efficiency, power and performance of a hospital grade breast pump, without compromising on portability
✓ Super quiet
✓ Closed system – hygienic for you and baby
✓ Night light and timer
✓ Everything you need for double pumping
✓ Powerful, adjustable suction
✓ Letdown mode and fully adjustable program to best suit your body

Price: $379

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump



✓ Single manual breast pump is designed for mums who mostly breastfeed and is great for travel or as a backup to your electric pump
✓ Light and discreet: switch between this pump and a double electric pump or use this pump on its own if you do not pump frequently
✓ Elegantly designed and comfortable to use: assembly is intuitive and the pump has an ergonomic twist handle
✓ Features 2-Phase Expression technology

Price: $59.95

Haakaa Generation 3 Silicone Breast Pump



✓ Hands-free manual breast pump
✓ Once you suction it to your breast it will draw your milk out with no effort from you
✓ Made from food-grade silicone, this compact pump is perfect for long-distance plane or car rides, or simply anywhere you would like to express quickly and discreetly
✓ Comes in two convenient sizes of 160ml and 250ml
✓ Express directly into a detachable silicone bottle

Price: $37.90

Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump



✓ Unique design means your milk flows directly from your breast into the bottle so you don’t have to lean forward
✓ Has few parts making it easy to assemble, use, and clean
✓ Soft massage cushion gently stimulates milk flow
✓ Small and lightweight, which means it is easy to store and transport, making pumping on-the-go more discreet

Price: $79.95

Medela Swing Maxi Breast Pump

Medela Swing Maxi Breast Pump


✓ Single electric pump
✓ Quiet and compact design, ideal for discreet pumping
✓ Easy to assemble, use and clean
✓ A range of vacuum levels and settings
✓ Ideal for daily electric pumping

Price: $279.95

Tips for expressing at work

  • Start expressing up to 6 weeks before starting work, if you aren’t pumping already. This gives you the chance to get used to the pump, to build up a freezer supply of milk, and for your baby to get used to bottle feeding. See guide to how much expressed milk to give to baby here.
  • Prior to starting work, speak to your employer about where you’ll be able to express. They should offer a private room (and not the toilet!).
  • Ensure there is a fridge or freezer for you to store your pumped milk. If you’d rather not use a shared fridge for milk storage, take a cooler bag and ice blocks. Find more tips on how to store your milk safely here.
  • Make sure you pack collection bottles or expressing bags, breast pads, a spare bra and top, plus a cooler bag to bring the milk home.
  • Try to time the pumping sessions with when you would normally feed your baby, to help maintain your breast milk supply.
  • Here are some more tips on breastfeeding and returning to work.


Combining work and parenting isn’t easy – it’s usually exhausting (especially if you’re still getting up during the night!) and fraught with emotions. So, well done to you for continuing on your wonderful breastfeeding journey with your precious baby. It’s a big change for both of you, but with time and as your baby grows, rest assured it should get easier. For now, just take it one day at a time.

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