Since we plan that my wife is going to be a full-time/stay at home mom, do you think she will need an electronic breast pump?

We are first time parents. We do not sure if we need the electric one or the manual one. The thing that we worry the most is that manual pump can't give us enough stock for our newborn. We want to trade off between the cost and the usability. We understand the benefit of electric pump such as using less time to do pumping. However, as we mention, if my wife is stay at home all the time, is it necessary?

Side question: how many day do you have breast milk in stock?

  • 1
    Hate to be a wet blanket here but you should probably make sure that your wife has enough breast milk to pump.
    – Karlson
    Feb 28, 2012 at 2:48
  • @Karlson: The amount of milk produced is determined by the demand, therefore using a pump additionally to breastfeeding increases the milk production. So my advice is: "If you haven't enough milk, pump more."
    – Treb
    Feb 28, 2012 at 20:17
  • @Treb This makes certain assumptions including those on possible medical conditions. So before doing stuff in advance maybe we should make sure it will be of some use.
    – Karlson
    Feb 28, 2012 at 22:51
  • It is possible to buy a used electric pump. You can buy spare parts to replace the cups and hoses very cheaply.
    – Rachel
    Apr 16, 2012 at 1:58

10 Answers 10


The question is if you need a pump or not. If you need a pump, get the electric one.

For us, the pump was good for storing 'extra' (when mom needs a night off for instance). It was also a necessity for my wife, who simply had too much at time (being a man, this is hear-say, but supposedly it's quite painful to have too much in there. ;)

  • 1
    The question indeeds seems to boil down to "Do you need a pump or not". Most people only answer this question. But the OP really asked "Electric" and I as a visitor now am curious. Why do you say if you need a pump, get the electric one? Are they that much better? Are they worth it?
    – Konerak
    Mar 10, 2012 at 17:00
  • I'm a man, so my opinion isn't worth as much on this topic, but it's really just about ease of use. The electric ones are just so much easier to use. In guy terms, it's a hammer vs. a pneumatic air gun. ;)
    – DA01
    Mar 10, 2012 at 20:20

If your wife is going to be a full-time / stay at home mom, do you really need a breast pump? What's the issue with just feeding from the boob?

As a full-time mother, I did/am doing this with both my kids (19 months and 4 months now) and it really isn't a problem. The first couple of months are hard, sure, but as the child gets more efficient at breastfeeding, they are not constantly attached to your boob. My 19 month old weaned off when she turned a year old; and my four month old needs the boob every few hours. In a couple of months, I'll start introducing solids and it'll eventually move to just morning/evening feedings.

Breastfeeding has plenty of benefits that made it worthwhile for me - never having to warm up milk, never having to buy, wash, or sanitize bottles, etc. Growth spurts phases are better because you're not measuring how much milk they need - you just let them drink as much from the boob as they need. Toddlers control the rate of flow better from the boob than from the bottle (little risk of over-feeding). Not sure if it has to do with pumping or not, but I didn't have to deal with engorgement either. My daughter, having never taken the bottle, moved directly from a boob to a bottle.

I always thought pumping was more if you're planning to return to work or the child is unable to latch (tongue-tie, etc.).

  • 5
    Pumping also means that dad can feed baby and get extra special bonding time, and mommy can take a break once in a whole.
    – afrazier
    Feb 28, 2012 at 1:57
  • 3
    Sure, but there are also other ways for dad and baby to bond. Just holding the baby on a rocking chair provides some great skin-to-skin contact. Now for a mommy break...yes, that's a nice thought...
    – Swati
    Feb 28, 2012 at 2:48
  • 2
    @afrazier: I'd absolutely agree with swati - breast feeding has many advantages. Using a bottle too early could even lead to the baby refusing the breast (or unlearn drinking from the breast) as drinking from the bottle is much less "work". Pumping makes sense e. g. for mom's that have too much milk (that was our case)
    – BBM
    Feb 28, 2012 at 3:19
  • 2
    I agree with @BBM that using the bottle too early can cause problems, but once the baby is used to breastfeeding, there's nothing wrong with an occasional bottle feeding. Feeding my son when he was a newborn is still one of the highlights of my life, and the eye contact while feeding > simple skin-to-skin contact, imo.
    – user420
    Feb 28, 2012 at 13:45
  • Exactly. I always felt that there was something extra special about feeding compared to just holding them. Not that having them go to sleep in my arms wasn't awesome too. Just different.
    – afrazier
    Feb 29, 2012 at 14:58

My wife and I recently had twins and rented a "hospital grade" pump. I think a few of the answers do not take into account that the amount of milk produced is directly related to the amount of milk demanded. As parents of twins we found that pumping after feeding along with drinking lots of liquids helped increase production.

This was very important for us to be able to meet demand once our children figured out how to better feed at the breast. Will you "need" an electric pump for your stay at home wife? Need is a strong word. But I would recommend using it until your wife has consistent production AND your newborn is feeding well. Especially if it is covered by insurance or otherwise reimbursed. After trying the better pump I'm pretty sure you will realize that the quantity of milk expressed it's worth it to have the electric pump.

Along with the increased production it allowed me to help feed and bond. And allowed us to supplement using breast milk (instead of formula). We have not done much storage and do not keep a lot in reserve. I give my wife a break by completely doing the late evening feeding. She goes to bed @ 9:30PM or so, I bottle feed the midnight feeding and put the kids to bed and she's semi-rested for 3AM. But there are many sites that cover storing breast milk.

Congratulations and good luck!


I had an electric breast pump even though I was a SAHM for 6 months after birth.

I had had supply problems when nursing my daughter previously, so I wanted to be able to ensure that if the same issues arose this time around I could keep milk on hand.

When he was a newborn, I'd nurse him on one side while pumping on the other. It worked wonders.

To avoid nipple confusion, my husband would give our son the breastmilk from a small shot glass. Even a newborn can lap like a kitten from it and that's how the hospital here recommended feeding if not from Mom.

I kept 2 weeks worth of milk in the freezer, and it was handy for when he was older and I wasn't home yet for the day to nurse him.


Need? No. But I guarantee you'll use it.

My wife used to do it manually. The electric pumps were pretty pricey, but in the haul it was really worth it. Pump breaks at work got down to ~:20. Additionally, she spent a while trying to build some kinda rack so that she could do it hands free. eventually she settled on zipper-cup bras. After getting everything situated, she'd just zip the thing far enough to hold the suckers in place and voila, reading time!

Extra credit answer: Get an ice bucket that you'd use for holding "manual" ice... not sure what it's really called, but when you have ice trays, it's the rectangular bucket you dump the ice in. That thing is the perfect width for the "Lact Packets" as we called them. Lay them flat to freeze, an hour later stand them up in the bucket. New in rear, pull from front.

Once we had it organized like that it didn't really matter how many days we had because it all took up the same amount of space. I think at the height of the "what the hell do we have all this milk for?" time, we probably had upwards of a wk in that bucket. Just store whatever you're comfy with.

Extra extra credit info: Storage times. . . In the regular freezer, 2 weeks. In the deep freezer, 2 months.

[edit] Just talked to the wife, she said that you'll get a 'fuller expression' with an electric one, which IMO pretty much settles it. More per sitting in less time.


As manual pumps are relatively cheap compared to electric ones, you may want to see how you do with a manual one. We got a manual one and it worked really well so we never bothered with getting anything more fancy.

Use was simple enough my wife could easily read and not pay attention until the bottle was full - but your mileage may vary.


If you are not sure if you will need one you could look into renting one from your hospital. My sister did that for a while after her daughter was born until she decided that she would use one for the long term and bought one.


I never had a manual pump, but eventually I switched from my double-breasted electric one to just using my hands. So you might say that I had a manual pump after all! It's really just a matter of technique. Once I got the hang of it, using my fingers was faster, and definitely more pleasant.

Still, a lactation specialist recommended the electric one to me, for reasons of speed. She also recommended freezing and storing for later use in daycare. She said that it can keep up to six months in the freezer, up to 3-4 days in the fridge, and up to 4-6 hours outside it.


We found that a pump was very useful to deal with any problems that come along such as clotting of milk in the breast. If the clot is not cleared, then it can lead to a serious infection.

In Belgium, pumps can be borrowed (for free) from the health insurance company, so there's certainly no loss getting one.


I worked when my little one was an infant so I really had to have the electronic one, however, If I was running a field trip, I brought along my Medela hand pump. It was almost as fast I just couldn't do both sides at the same time and I got about an ounce less/side, but if you won't be working, you'll most likely rarely need to pump so the hand pump might work really well for you for those occasions when you do (it was quiet and comfortable too)

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