A handy guide to picking the best portable breast pump for travel + best buys. Manual and electric breast pumps for moms on the go.
If you are into the habit of expressing but are thinking of planning a vacation, you may worry being on the go can cause disruptions into this habit.
If this is the case, I hear you!
I started expressing when my son was little to allow my husband to take care of some of the feedings and it took me a while to get into it so when we started getting ready for our first trip to Italy with our new baby, I was excited but worried.
What would I need to pump of the go: Would I need a travel breast pump or would I be ok with the one I have at home?
Would an electric breast pump be ok or would a manual pump be better? What I should look for in a portable breast pump for travel?
I am happy to report that despite all the insecurities my pumping while traveling turned out to be easy and successful.
I put this result down to a great portable pump that worked out as discreet, easy to clean and efficient – in this article, I share the name of my favorite portable breast pump for travel and best rated portabel breast pumps that can work well for different trips of bodies and trips.
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Best portable breast pumps for travel chart
|Name||Type||What it is||Price range|
|Philips Avent BPA Free Comfort Manual Breast Pump Scf330/20 B242||Manual||Best portable manual pump||73|
|Medela Harmony Manual Pump||Manual||Light and discreet manual pump||34|
|Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump with 2 flange sizes||Manual||Great budget friendly manual pump||24|
|Haaka Silicone manual breastfeeding pump||Manual||Discreet lightweight and portable||30|
|Philips Avent Single Electric Breastfeeding Pump SCF332/21||Battery operated single Breastpump||Best single electric breastpump||110|
|Medela Swing||Single electric breast pump||Discreet, battery operated + power outlet operated lightweight breastpump||134|
|Ikare Rechargeable Single Breastfeeding Pump||Single electric breast pump||Portable, rechargeable breastfeeding pump|
|Baby Buddha battery-powered portable and compact breast pump||Single electric breastpump||Portable, battery operated breastfeeding pump||199|
|Spectra Baby USA – S1 Plus||Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump, Double/Single||Great hospital strength portable breastfeeding pump||159|
|Bella Baby Double electric breast pump||Portable electric double pump||Rechargeable, portable, silent double electric pump|
|Medela Freestyle Flex||Portable electric double pump||USB rechargeable portable breast pump|
|Elvie Double electric wearable breastpump||Handree double electric pump that fits in your bra||Premium, very discreet handsfree travel pump||$$$|
Our top pick of best pumps for travel
- Best manual portable breast pump – Philips Avent
- Best electric single breast pump for travel – Philips Avent
- Best electric double pump – BellaBaby
- Best hospital grade portable pump
- Best wearable breastfeeding pump/ best handsfree travel pump – Elvie
Why use a travel breast pump
You can do with a breast pump for travel in a few instances:
- The pump you use at home it big and bulky, unsuitable for easy carrying.
Tip: you want your travel pump to fit easily in your day bag
- Your current pump needs a power outlet and you think you may need to use it on the plane or in the car, when power can be a problem.
Tip: you want your travel pump to be manual or with a long-lasting battery life
- The pump you are using now is noisy and you worry it may be a problem for other passengers for instance on the plane or the train
Tip: you want a discreet travel pump that doesn’t make you feel conscious with its buzzing!
What to look for in a portable breast pump: pump features for travel
When choosing a portable travel breast pump, you want your pump to tick several boxes: you want it reliable, of course, discreet, versatile and durable and you also want to make sure it is comfortable for you because we are not born to suffer!
Comfortable breast pumps exist and make pumping and life easier for mom, baby and everyone around them.
You also want to look at the power source for your pump, decide if you want a single or a double pump.
If you already pump at home, you may know what works for you but if this is your first pump, this is a quick guide to choosing a good pump.
This is a long article, you can use this image to pin it for later:
Types of breast pumps for travel
Travel breast pump manual vs battery operated
The main thing to look for in a travel breast pump is your ability to use it without the need to plug it into a wall.
Once that is done, the choice between manual or battery-operated is, truly, down to personal preference.
The first mini breast pump I had was battery operated as I presumed it would be simply easier to use however, then I moved to a manual pump and never looked back!
Both had advantages, however, so if you are not sure what is best for you, you may want to consider the following things:
Manual breast pump pros:
- You control the whole process including speed and pressure
- They cannot run out of power
- They tend to be easier to clean
- They are very durable
- They are very discreet
Manual breast pump cons:
- It can be tiring on your hands, since it relies on you pulling the lever for the milk to come out
- You only really use them as single pumps
- Pros of battery operated breast pumps
- Usually faster and more efficient in expressing milk
- They do not require manual labor, you turn them on and they do it all
- You can use them to express from both sides at the same time (double pumps)
Cons of battery-operated breast pump
- You need batteries, which can be tricky if you need to change them at your destination or you need to get to a power outlet
- They can be noisy
- They tend to be less discreet than manual pumps
- They tend to be bulkier to carry
Single pump or double pump for travel?
If you go for an electric breast pump you can choose between a single pump or a double pump, and what works best is once again very much down to personal preference.
In general, double breast pumps are bulker to carry and heavier, an important consideration if choosing a travel breastpump that, by definition, needs to be easily portable.
However, double pumps are also much faster since they get milk from both sides at the same time.
This means they can be a good option if you foresee being short on time, for instance, if you need a portable pump to express while at work or you want to use it when flying, when you may be limited in the time you have by plane and transport schedule.
Easy to wash
You need all your baby essentials to be easy to wash and sterilize always and this is particularly true for your breast pump, which needs to be perfectly clean before each use.
I found manual pumps to be easier in this sense as they tend to have fewer parts that are easy to screw and unscrew but there are also good electric pumps with a good design – in this list of best pumps for travel, I always noted those that are easy to clean!
Depending on the type of trip you are on and the pump you get, you may want to have with you a sanitizing bag, a portable sterilizer, a bottle brush and baby safe sanitizing wipes.
Best portable breast pumps for travel reviews
Best manual breast pump – Philips Avent manual breast pump
Full name: Philips Avent BPA Free Comfort Manual Breast Pump Scf330/20 B242. Find price and specs here.
As I mentioned above I am team manual pump and the portable manual pump that converted me is this one by Philips Avent, for me, one of the best if not the very best manual breast pump on the market!
This pump is super easy to use, discreet, very efficient (it surprised me how good it was in this sense), it is easy to clean and super portable since it is lightweight and easy to pack.
The flange is large and comfortable and you can use different size bottles with it, which makes it super versatile too.
Other portable manual pumps you may like are:
- Medela harmony manual breast pump: lightweight ergonomic, two-phase expression technology for fast for expressing more milk in less time
- Lansinoh manual breastpump: lightweight and portable, it has 2 pumping modes and 2 size flanges to suit more moms
- Haaka silicone manual breastfeeding pump: small and discreet with silicone breast pump cap to protect the flange
Best Single Electric Breast Pump – Philips Avent Single Electric SCF332/21 Breast Pump
Considering how much I loved the Philip Avent manual pump it will come as no surprise that I also recommend the Avent electric pump. My favorite model is this one that you also see in the image.
This pump offers all the same comforts as the manual one including being lightweight, easy to clean, efficient and comfortable to use and it also has the convenience of the electric breast pump.
On top of this, it has a no lean-forward design, the minimizes the awkwardness of having to hunch over to express and it also has 3 expression settings so you can pick the one that is most comfortable for you.
The pump has a soft massage cushion with 5 textured petals that are comfortable on the body and help suction and easily operated with AA batteries.
Other single electric breast pumps you may like are:
- Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump
- Ikare Rechargeable Single Breastfeeding Pump
- Baby Buddha battery-powered portable and compact breast pump
Spectra Baby USA S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump – best hospital grade electric breast pump for travel
The Spectra Baby breast pump looks different from all other breast pumps in this list and it also comes in at a higher price point but deserves to be on this list as it is an excellent portable breast pump with a rechargeable battery for travel and home.
The pump has a closed system that keeps the tubing free from bacteria and mold and has several settings so you can control how it operates in the way that is best for you.
Nice things about this pump is that the pump is rechargeable and it has larger flanges, that can make all the difference if smaller pumps are too constrictive.
It is also a hospital grade breast pump so you know it will get the job done!
Bella Baby Double Electric Breast Pump – best double electric breast pump for travelling
The Bella Baby double electric breast pump is an affordable, effective option for travelling mums which is lightweight and portable.
It has a built-in, USB-rechargeable battery, it operates with a closed System and it has 4 modes and 9 levels of suction for comfort. The pump has an easy-to-use led display and it is very quiet, which makes is a good choice if you are looking for a discreet double pump for when you are on the go.
Other Double Electric Pumps you may like:
Medela Freestyle Flex double electric breast pump for moms on the go
Best Hands-Free Breast Pump Elvie Wearable Double Breast Pump with App – best discreet breast pump for travel
If you are looking for a very discreet breast pump (and budget is not an issue), then you will love this cord-free double breast pump that fits inside your bra, the Double electric wearable breast pump by Elvie (find it here)
Unlike any other portable pump on this list, this pump can be worn discreetly and comes with an app that controls suction detects letdown and goes automatically from stimulation to expression mode.
Easy to carry and wash, this is cord-free pump that is silent too.
Despite all these wonders, there are a few drawbacks with this pump that include the price, the fact that is not suitable for all sizes (check here exact specs to see if it can work for you) and it can take a while to get used to positioning it the first times.
Final thoughts about travel breast pumps
For me, portable breast pumps meant I was able to keep my home feeding routine for my baby no matter where I was and as such, they were a baby travel essential.
If you are on the market for a travel breast pump or a versatile breast pump you can use at home and on the go, I hope you found this list of best portable breast pumps for travel useful!
FAQ about choosing the best portable breast pump
Travel breast pumps can be useful when you need a discreet and portable pump, on vacation or in any place that doesn’t allow you to carry and plug in your standard pump. If you are not used to pumping, the are also small enough for you to be able to carry on travel for occasional use only, for instance to adjust supply if dealing with jet lag.
Pumps with a closed system have a barrier that prevents the milk from entering parts of the pump that should not come in contact with it. It is a system to keep milk and pump clean
Yes, as long as you can store it under the seat in front of you or in the overhead locker. Airline regulations on size and carry on luggage vary
Travel breast pump bags and accessories
Don’t forget to also tock up on accessories for your travel breast pump!
Unless it comes with one, you want to make sure you find a good breast pump bag, a great cooler bag for storing breastmilk on the go, bottle and on milk pouches.