“Why would any mom buy a manual breast pump?”, I asked myself when I was researching breast pumps for myself.
Just the thought of all that hand action made me feel tired. Top it all, my first experience with a breast pump was with a hospital grade Medela double pump at the lactation clinic. Pumping was literally done in minutes.
So a manual pump was low on my priority list. For me, it was double (electric breast pump) or nothing!
But here are some points I was missing.
- Not all moms need or want to pump all the time. For many moms, the need to pump is only on an occasional basis. Maybe they need to be away from the baby for a while, maybe to relieve breast engorgement now and then or just to work through a plugged milk duct.
- Not everyone wants to spend a lot of money for a breast pump. Let’s face it, electric pumps are expensive. Whereas you can usually get a manual pump under $30.
- When it comes to being portable and discreet, nothing beats a good manual breast pump.
- Sometimes, a manual pump is a great complement to a double electric breast pump.
So with that said, here’s a closer look at the Medela Harmony Manual Breast pump.
- 1 manual pump with 24mm breast shield. This is the average size that fits most. If you need a different size, see below for guidance.
- 2 5oz bottles with lids
- 1 bottle stand to help prevent spills
- 1 slow flow nipple with collar,
- 1 cap,
- 2 membranes.
How do I know my breast shield size?
All Medela breast pump kits come with standard 24 mm breast shields which is the average size that fits most. If you feel the 24 mm shield is not right for you, you can order one of the other sizes, which are 21 mm, 27 mm, 30 mm, 36 mm. In case you are wondering how to determine the right breastshield size for you, Medela has a guide on their website to help you but here’s a summary.
First, measure the diameter of your nipple at the base, across the middle, in mm. Then refer to below
|Nipple Diamter in mm||Breast shield size|
|Upto 17 mm||21 mm|
|Upto 20 mm||24 mm|
|Upto 23 mm||27 mm|
|Upto 26 mm||30 mm|
|Upto 32 mm||36 mm|
For a more detailed reading, you can check out their guide here.
The Medela Harmony manual breast pump is compatible with any PersonalFit breast shield by Medela. Some moms want to know if they can use any other brand of breast shield, I would say no. It’s not going to work well which is why it is not recommended.
Is this pump compatible with the bottles of the Medela electric pumps?
Yes it is. It’s also compatible with any standard size bottles.
Can I use glass bottles with it? I’m concerned about BPA in plastic bottles?
Firstly, Medela clearly states that all the parts of the breast pump that come into contact with breast milk are made without BPA. If plastic is still a no-no for you, you’ll be happy to know that this pump is compatible with any standard sized glass bottle.
How often can I use it?
This pump is designed for light, infrequent use. So if you are a mom who is thinking of using this pump for every feeding or very frequently, then you are better off investing in a single or double electric pump. Any manual pump is good only if you pump occasionally or need to travel. And it will also always take longer than an electric pump.
I hear this pump loses suction very quickly. Should I be concerned?
Some moms do report that their Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump lost suction a few weeks after getting it, even with occasional use. If you find that happens to you, here are a few things you can do:
- Make sure all the parts are aligned properly. You might need to dismantle and reassemble the parts.
- Check the membrane, make sure it is firmly pressed into the valve. Replace if needed, the pump comes with an extra membrane.
- The pump handle has a small O-ring which is necessary to create suction. It is smaller than a Cheerio but the pump won’t work without it. Make sure that is on and not cracked. If you need a replacement, don’t call Medela. They will convince you to buy a brand new kit which is almost half the cost of a new pump. Go to your local hardware store and ask for 1/8th o-rings. Most local hardware stores like Ace sell these rings for literally pennies.
Will my hand get tired while using it?
As long as you use the pump as designed which is occasionally, you should be ok. The handle has a nice ergonomic design for comfort and it’s not hard to press the handle to get the suction.
How comfortable is the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump?
According to most users, it is very comfortable, with no pain or discomfort. Since its manual, you have complete control and can adjust the pressure according to what feels right for you. The handle is also very ergonomically designed with a soft-touch which makes manual pumping comfortable.
How does this manual pump use the ‘2 phase expression® technology’ like the Medela Pump in Style Advanced?
All of Medela’s electric pumps follow the patented 2 phase expression technology that is designed to mimic a baby’s natural feeding pattern:
- Expression phase when the baby sucks light and fast to get the milk flowing.
- Stimulation phase, slower deeper suck after the milk flow starts
If you’re wondering how a manual pump, where you and not a motor, are in control, offers the same technology, it is best explained with a picture.
There are 2 different pressure settings on the two ends of the pumping handle which allow you to get the 2 phase suction like a baby’s natural feeding.
Is it portable
Extremely! All assembled it’s about 9 inches tall, the size of a large wallet.
Is it noisy?
No, it’s super quiet. There is a quite kind of clicking sound when you pump the handle but other than that, no one would be able to hear what you were doing. Definitely quieter than electric breast pumps since there’s no motor or machine.
Is clean up easy?
Clean up is very simple and consists of only the bottles and the breast shield.
What’s the manufacturer warranty?
Medela provides a 30 day warranty on its manual pump
Overall Rating 4.2
We give the Medela Swing Breast pump a 4.2 star overall rating. Here’s a summary:
- Very portable and discreet.
- Very affordable
- Easy to assemble, easy to use
- Takes longer and can be tiring.
- Can lose suction soon if parts not aligned properly or if o-ring needs changing.
And now, the most important question! How much is this going to cost?
I find the best price at Amazon so check it out there.