When I was pregnant I spent countless hours researching breast pumps to find the perfect one. After reading hundreds of reviews I eventually decided on the Medela Swing electric breast pump. Why this pump? Read on to find out my thoughts on this multi-award winning pump, including Which? best buy, was my top choice.
This pump would suit mums who:
- want to increase milk supply
- are returning to work/education with an older baby
- want to pump 1-3 times a day
- want to build a breast milk supply
- need custom size shields
- travel a lot
Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump Review
Custom Fit Shield
With the Medela Swing you can buy additional breast shields to give a better fit for your breasts. Most models come with a standard medium 24mm size but they range from a Small (21mm) up to XXL (36mm) which is fantastic for tailoring your pump to your requirements which will improve your milk volume and comfort . If you’re not in the habit of knowing your personal areola size you can check out the Medela size guide and perfect fit guide here. Unfortunately Medela recently discontinued the soft shield cushioned option so you can currently only buy the regular plastic ones which may be an issues for mums with sensitive breasts.
Two Phase Expression
The pump also features a two phase expression cycle, technology designed by Medela to mimic a baby suckling. The first phase is stimulation which means the pump will pump provide a short quick suction rhythm (rates of 120 sucks per minute, or about 2 sucks a second) for up to 3 minutes. Once your milk starts to flow the second ‘Expression Phase’ starts and will provide a slow and long suction action (rate of 60 sucks per minute or 1 suck a second) for up to 30 minutes before automatic shut off. This feature encourages your body to produce more of a hormone (prolactin) which improves your milk supply.
You can adjust the suction strength to make expressing milk as comfortable as possible for you, this feature is also essential as discomfort during breastfeeding will prevent your ‘let down’ reflex – the message your brain sends to your breast to let them know they need to release milk. Do note that if you are at a higher altitude it can decrease the suction strength of the pump. I think any brand who researches their market this much to get the best expressing experience possible for mums is worth investing in.
How effective is the pump?
The max suction power is 250mmHG, a nifty suction power for a small pump. Mums report to getting around 4oz in 20 minutes from using this pump.
I really liked to look of the pump with its bright, circular design, it isn’t clinical looking like a lot of other pumps I’ve seen . The Pump has a belt clip on the back so it can be used on a flat surface or whilst moving around.
The motor life of the pump is cover under the warranty.
Ease of use
This pump is very easy to assemble and dissembles for cleaning. The pumps are 4 simple touch buttons: on/off button, let down control and increase and decrease suction strength. The parts can be microwave sterilised. The pump also comes with an easy to read manual complete with pictures and instructions in English, Spanish and French.
What type of system is it?
The Medela Swing electric breast pump is a single user system. This means that milk can come into contact with the motor system and the tubing. This means if it the pump is used for expressing milk by more than one person it can not only be a health risk, but will void your warranty. For these reasons it’s not a good idea to purchase a second hand Swing pump.
At only 200g (that’s less than a packet of Johnsons baby wipes) the pump is extremely lightweight and portable, ideal for using at home or for those who need to pump at work or need to travel. The swing is really compact (about the size of a large bread roll) and can be easily stored away in a cupboard or a car glove compartment without taking up to much room.
This pump can be connected straight to an electricity source though an AC adapter with a generous lead length. The Swing can also be powered by 4xAA batteries if you have no access to a power source, this allows for a 1 hour pump time. The battery option is great if you want to move around or multi-task whilst pumping. A neck/shoulder lanyard is included in the set so you can keep the pump attached to you whilst you pump.
How noisy is the pump?
The pump is also relatively quiet and therefore is discreet for mums who need a pump which makes little noise. No electric breast pump will be without noise, unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast! The sound it just a slight mechanical churn and doubtful to wake a sleeping baby.
The breast pump comes with a standard 150ml (5oz) collection bottles with storage lid and teats for converting to feeding bottle. I’d recommend purchasing the larger size bottles as the 5oz may be two small, particularly when you breast are a bit fuller than usual (e.g in the morning).
The Calma Teat
The Calma solitaire teat system allows baby to maintain a natural breastfeeding suction motion which is ideal for given expressed breast milk with especially if you still plan to put baby to the breast. The design helps to reduce the chance of nipple-teat confusion for baby. The tongue action of a baby a breastfed baby is different from a baby who feeds from a bottle. Breastfed babies have to work harder for their milk and the Calma teat mimics this action. This teat also allows baby to be in control of the milk flow, just like if he was at the breast.
Warranty and customer care
Should you have any problems with the pump Medela provide a 1 year warranty with all of their breast pumps. The customer services at Medela get rave reviews and are known for being excellent and very helpful if you have any problems or queries about your breast pump. They are often praised at their for their quick replacement of faulty pumps. You can call their UK Customer services helpline on: 0161 776 0400.
The Medela Swing boasts a feeding bottle is BPA free. BPA is bisphenol A a chemical used to make plastics such as baby bottles, which can seep into food. Research has shown that BPA can affect the brain and behaviour of babies and children and so BPA products will help to reduce your babies exposure to the chemical.
- Medela Swing electric breast pump (220-240V)
- Medela Calma Solitaire Teat
- 5oz (150ml) Bottle
- Multi storage lids
- Medium PersonalFit Breast shield (24mm)
- Plastic Connector Tube
- Bottle Stand
- Storage bag
- Carry lanyard
- Valve head & Valve membrane
- Power Cord
What others are saying
With an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 the Medela Swing breast pump is one of the most highly rated pumps in online reviews from people who have already bought it.
“To anyone who is having trouble with soreness and it thinking of giving up on breastfeeding, quite simply, please try this product before making any decisions”
“Before buying Medela I had a manual breast pump which was really tiresome. Now I know why Medela is the number 1 choice for all the mothers.”
“We used a Phillips one before and it was a 1 hour in a warm bath job.. The Medela pump is soooo much better!”
“I can express the amount that I need in around 15 mins which means I’m free to carry on with my day”
“I bought this particular model as it is the same make as the hospital breast pumps and I have not been disappointed”.
“The Calma teat is brilliant! Great if your baby is getting lazy with normal bottle teats”
“Also, it is very quiet. The baby can sleep next to me while pumping the milk.”
“recommended the Medela Swing Pump by a friend who is a doctor”
“I highly recommend to every nursing mother.”
“Absolute lifesaver, fabulous product. Has definitely saved breastfeeding for our baby.”
“I have already recommended to other breast feeding mams I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this, it’s perfect for me.”
“It is a lifesaver for anyone who thinks of giving up breastfeeding for reasons of sore nipples, engorged breasts, or changed lifestyle requiring bottle feeding using own milk.”
A few people commented it was a bit tricky to use one handed so would recommend a hands free pumping bra to go along with it especially if you plan to feed baby on the other side while pumping. The bottle size was noted as being a little too small for some people who were having to transfer the milk to bigger bottles when storing or feeding as it only holds 5 oz (150ml), as I mentioned above most people used with the Closer to Nature bottles. Trapped condensation in the suction tube is a common problem. Medela recommend rinsing the tubing with water and drying it upright to solve the problem. Spare parts are also available to purchase separately and widely available if you need to replace any small parts.
Most of the complaints were little niggles the swing users had about the system and the majority stated that this didn’t detract from the overall excellent performance of the Swing and that they would highly recommend it to friends and other new mums.
As my own pump of choice, I have to agree that it’s performance is impressive. Like most mums I was sceptical that it was too expensive but I now realise that it would have been false economy to buy a cheaper model when the Swing is amazingly efficient for its size.
“Found the pump very easy to use. The only thing I would advise might be to buy the double pump”
Where can I read more reviews on the Medela Swing?
Again the best place to read reviews from people who have actually purchased this breast pump is on Amazon. Currently there are around 670 reviews for this pump so you’ll get a good in depth idea of its performance.