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From the Willow to the Elvie, these pumps are perfect for the multitasking parent. Electric Milk Extractor
Having a newborn is a lot of work, and maximizing your time by finding an easier way to complete some of your necessary tasks can be the difference between squeezing in that quick nap and being exhausted for the rest of the day. Hands-free breast pumps can give breastfeeding parents the opportunity to go untethered while pumping, giving you more freedom to use your pumping time however you see fit. While you still have to be careful so they don't leak, you may be able fold some laundry or otherwise accomplish some gentle chores. While they may not be completely hidden or totally silent, you can likely discreetly use these wearables on the go.
The experts at Good Housekeeping Institute work with real breastfeeding parents to test dozens of breast pumps from manual to electric, as well as hands-free pumping bras, to help you pick out what's right for you and your lifestyle. Our top picks are extensively researched and tested by parents and nursing experts based on their ease of use, comfort and effectiveness. One of our lead testers spent over 1,000 hours pumping for her three children over a five-year period.
Whether you're looking for a discreet pump that you can wear under your shirt while at work or just something that you can pop on while finishing up the laundry, these are the best hands-free pumps of 2022 to consider.
If you're in the market for a wearable, hands-free and electric pump, look no further than the Elvie Double Electric. Our testers report that they could do three pumping sessions on a single charge and love how easy it is to use the Elvie app to adjust your pumping intensity and monitor how much milk you've already expressed. You can easily wear this pump while walking around your house and its sleek design isn't bulky or heavy. One thing to keep in mind is that if the pump isn't properly aligned, it won't work at all. You may end up wearing it for a few minutes before you notice that nothing is coming out since there is no notification in the app to alert you of misalignment. But, the Elvie's motor is quieter than other options, which makes it pretty discreet. One of our testers said, "Sometimes when I'm wearing it under my shirt I feel like it's obvious, but no one else can notice which is pretty cool."
• Weight: 7.9 ounces • Dimensions: 2.68 x 4.33 x 5.04 inches • Battery life: Approximately 2.5 hours • Milk capacity: 5 ounces per pump
The Momcozy wearable uses two modes and five levels to help you express milk. This all-in-one pump sits directly on your breast and doesn't require any additional tech or an app to get it working. The automatic shutdown feature turns the pump off every 20 minutes, so you don't have to worry about turning it off. Since the pump unit is directly on top of the cup, this isn't the most discreet pump out there, so it's best for those who are pumping at home or in a comfortable location. While the pump states that it can hold up to 6 ounces of milk, reviewers suggest that it's best to sit down and refrain from moving after you've pumped about 4 ounces to avoid spillage. Note, the Momcozy pump doesn't stop pumping when full, so keep an eye on it to avoid overflow!
• Weight: 14.07 ounces • Dimensions: 7.36 x 6.46 x 5.83 inches • Battery life: Approximately 1.5 hours • Milk capacity: 6 ounces per pump
The new Willow Go wearable pump has dishwasher-safe parts, is easy to use and is great for the multitasking mom. Our testers love how much the Go can hold making it great for high producers: up to 7 ounces if you choose to purchase the larger containers separately. The biggest draw for this pump is the exceptional nine different pumping levels. "It's really nice to have the ability to adjust, and level nine is very high powered for a cordless pump," says new mom Stefani Sassos, Good Housekeeping's Deputy Director of the Nutrition Lab. The pump's design features a clear front section so you can see how much milk you've accumulated, and once you're done pumping, it's easy to clean and charge. While the higher pumping levels can get a bit loud and the app doesn't do quite as much as some of the others (it only really tells you how long you've been pumping and the suction level you're using), this is a great option for the on-the-go mom.
• Weight: 13.6 ounces • Dimensions: 5.3 x 4.7 x 3.15 inches • Battery life: Approximately 1.25 hours • Milk capacity: 5 or 7 ounces per pump
The Freemie may look small, but each cup can hold up to 8 ounces of milk. Unlike other similar hands-free pumps, the Freemie Liberty II doesn't use an app to control your pumping process but instead has an external motor with an LCD screen that displays all your important pumping information. This way you don't have to worry about draining your phone battery. The external pump can easily be clipped onto your waistband and features a programmable sleep timer for automatic shutoff. It also uses some handy noise reduction tech, so it's as quiet and discreet as possible. Plus, if it's not fitting right — which you'll recognize if you experience any pain, your nipple is not centered in the tube or you're unable to express all your milk — you can purchase one of the 12 different sized FitMie inserts that help adjust the flange size.
• Weight: 8 ounces • Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.36 x 6.38 inches • Battery life: Approximately 2.5 hours • Milk capacity: 8 ounces per pump
This double electric pump uses two-phase expression technology to mimic natural breastfeeding patterns for better output in less time. Our testers particularly loved how easy it was to clean this pump and noted that it achieves some of the best output compared to similar Medela models. The MaxFlow micro-vibrations and strong motor help increase efficiency and testers love that it's comfortable, has strong suction and is easy to position so you can get milk flow started quickly. The pump also comes as the full package featuring a portable pump setup, bag, ice pack, bottles and other accessories so you don't have to worry about buying anything separately. One thing to keep in mind is that this pump is not wire-free. It uses an external battery pack to get it up and running.
• Weight: 1 pound • Dimensions: 13.14 x 6.13 x 9.08 inches • Battery life: Approximately 2 hours • Milk capacity: 5 ounces per pump
If you're looking for something without a battery, the Elvie Curve is a great manual option that can be used anywhere at any time, no electricity required. While this pump is better for milk catching than strong pumping, it provides gentle, natural suction that helps express milk. If you press on the pouch, you can increase the natural suction, and it features a valve that controls the level of suction. It only holds up to 4 ounces of milk and can take a bit more time to get used to, but our testers love the flexibility of this pump. It's easy to clean since you can pop it right into the dishwasher. It can be worn directly in your bra, unlike most other manual pumps. No more worrying about forgetting to charge the battery.
• Weight: 4.23 ounces • Dimensions: 4.45 x 4.17 x 2.24 inches • Battery life: N/A • Milk capacity: 4 ounces
The Good Housekeeping Institute Parenting Lab tests everything new parents need to help welcome your new baby, including bottle warmers, nursing bras and baby formula. To make our recommendations, we query new moms on our consumer testing panel about their experiences, do rigorous testing in our Lab and at home, and spend hours reading through dozens of five-star reviews online to help surface the best products you can buy. For each pump, we consider comfort, ease of use and additional benefits, including how difficult it is to disassemble, wash, transport and store. We also considered how easy it was to transfer the milk from the pump to a bottle without spillage — a few times, our experts did end up crying over spilled milk! Our parenting product experts have tested most of the pumps on this list — in fact, one of our lead testers has personally pumped for over 1,000 hours among her three kids in the past five years.
There are a few important things to consider when you're picking out the right hands-free pump for you:
✔️Comfort: Ensuring that your pump fits properly, keeps a strong suction and extracts milk painlessly will make all the difference to your pumping sessions. Many pumps come with different size shields (24mm is usually considered standard) that allow you to find the right one to fit your nipple. If you're new to pumping, it's smart to get at least two breast shield sizes if you're uncertain which will fit bests, in advance of baby's arrival. Shields are measured in millimeters, so grab a ruler and measure the width of your nipple to find the best fit; remember to round up a few millimeters since you don't want any discomfort or rubbing. Some pumps, like the Willow, have a nipple sizing guide to make sure you're using the right one.
✔️Effectiveness: Aside from picking out a pump that makes multitasking a breeze, you'll want to find one that effectively expresses all of your milk in a quick and efficient manner. Look for one with strong suction and a variety of settings to choose from so you can experiment to determine which is the most comfortable and effective. Also, look for a let-down mode, a lighter and quieter mode that helps get your milk ready to flow at the start of pumping.
✔️Purpose: If you're looking for something that you can wear out and about. choose a quieter, smaller product. While some of the bulkier pumps can clearly be seen through your shirt, they're still great for multitasking around the house.
✔️Ease of use: Aside from extracting milk, consider how easy it is to clean and assemble your pump before and after each use and how easily the milk pours into bottles for use or storage. You'll want a pump that is user-friendly and doesn't take too much of a learning curve to start using accurately, especially if it comes with an app.
If you're shopping for hands-free pumps, chances are most of the ones you'll see are wireless as well, but there's actually a difference between the two. Wireless pumps have no wires connecting you to a power source, like an outlet or a battery pack, so you can move around and not worry about staying in one place. Most wireless pumps come with a charging cable so you can plug them in between sessions. Some pumps don't tether you to an outlet but still have a wire connecting the pump to a mobile power source, like the Freemie.
Hands-free pumps on the other hand may still have wires connecting them to a power source, but require no hands-on help while you're pumping so you don't have to hold them in place. Most hands-free pumps are rechargeable via a USB port, while a few like the Medela Pump in Style use removable batteries. Now you can get a head start on those chores (or that new Netflix show) while you passively pump away.
We feature many different configurations on this list, so you can choose what works best for your needs.
For decades, the Good Housekeeping Institute has been providing expert reviews and advice on everything a new parent needs, including hands-free breast pumps. In her role as Parenting & Pets Reviews Analyst, Jamie Spain brings years of journalism experience to the Institute, having reviewed products for Good Housekeeping, as well as BuzzFeed, while also previously working in the parenting and pets sphere at People.
Silicone Breast Pump Jamie worked closely with lead testers Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the GH Institute, and Stefani Sassos, the Deputy Director of the Nutrition Lab, to conduct the research for this article. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Stefani uses her knowledge as a registered dietician and nutrition expert to test and evaluate content on healthy living. Plus, as moms, both have personally tested many of the products GH recommends.