In the past 3 months, I have purchased 5 different breast pumps. Why? Apparently I'm as rough with them as I am with computers and cars because they all bit the dust.
I did the research by typing "double electric breast pump" into google, then reading all of the reviews about various ones. My first pump was a Simplisse double electric. The reviews said it was a great pump that mimicked baby's tongue and would drain both breasts at light speed. Retail price was $400; I got it for a steal on Amazon for under $200 - that should have been my first warning. Due to Annaliese's poor latch and her inability to feed correctly I had to use the pump exclusively for the first few days of her life. Day 3, the place where the bottle connects to the flange and filter broke on one side. Since it was a double pump,I was able to use the other side and just pump one breast at a time. Luckily, her feeding issues resolved and I was able to feed her directly from the breast and no longer needed to pump.
A few weeks later we took her on her first road trip, 7 hours away. I bought an evenflo manual pump so that I could pump on the way down and feed her via bottle - resulting in less stops. I loved so much I was able to pump and how well I was able to control the manual pump, but it too broke in 3 weeks. I was disappointed, but moved on to the next pump - another manual pump, the Medela Harmony. This pump features two-way pumping. It has a let-down feature which is pretty cool but I found that I don't really need. After a month this pump broke too. Now, it does say right on the box that it isn't meant for daily use - and I was using it 5 times a day.
At $40 a pump, I made the smart decision to order another double electric. Because of my first experience with an electric pump, I was wary. I asked my day-care provider, who breastfed all 3 of her children, and she strongly recommended Bailey's. This brand isn't very popular because while it is an electric, it requires the user to place their finger over a hole in the top of one pump to establish the rhythmic suction. Since the manual pumps worked so well for me, I figured the manual feature on the pump might actually work well for me. My first pump session with the Bailey's pump I pumped double what I usually do in one session.
Now, I've only mentioned 4 pumps and the title says 5 - so what's the 5th you ask? Well, I actually bought another manual Medela after the other one broke. Why? I pump on the way to work, while driving. It's actually perfect for me and our schedule. I get more sleep in the morning since I don't have to wake up half an hour earlier to feed her, and I'm able to get to work on time by asking the daycare provider to feed her the pumped milk for breakfast when we get there.
I also find that pumping while driving is the best way to do it. Driving provides the distractions I need to get a good, consistent let down. I can usually get a good 5 oz while driving.
I hated my first breast pump, went through 2 manuals in 6 weeks, got another electric which is half manual anyways, and bought a 5th manual to pump in the car while driving her to daycare.