Mothers spend hours expressing milk, so it pays to choose the right pump.

Breastfeeding is a magical experience and offers a way to nurture and bond with your baby. As much as you adore your little cherub however, you may want or need some time apart from them, which is difficult if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Expressing milk to be fed to your baby later by you or someone else can be very handy.

Expressing milk can take a while to master. But, the breastfeeding experts at Medela have some great advice:

“For your first breast-pumping session, express for around 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you don’t collect much milk at first, just keep going. Hold the breast shield gently against the breast – pressing too hard could compress your breast tissue and obstruct milk flow.

Once your milk is flowing, you should always pump at your maximum comfort vacuum, which is the highest breast pump setting you can use while remaining comfortable. In research, this was found to remove a similar amount of milk as a baby does during breastfeeding.

To find the right level for you, increase the breast pump suction gradually until it becomes slightly uncomfortable, and then turn it down a notch.”

Logically, double pumping halves the time spent expressing, and collects 18 per cent more milk on average, compared to pumping from each breast in turn, so we chose to test mostly double pumps.

We looked for pumps that promised comfort, ease of assembly and cleaning and great suction.

These range from fully portable, wearable pumps to non-portable plug in pumps. When and where you pump will dictate the type you need. The same tester tried each pump for consistency.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The verdict: Breast pumps

Choosing a breast pump is a gamble. You can’t try before you buy, and they are not cheap. Luckily, standards are high, and there are many good options on the market, as you can see here. A good idea is to choose one based on your likes and dislikes. We adored the Medela freestyle flex electric breast pump for its superb, quiet efficiency and were amazed by the freedom that the Elvie double electric breast pump gave us.

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