Breastpump Guide


Deciding on which type of breast pump to choose can be daunting as you'll see references to 'hospital grade' and 'portable' breast pumps. It can feel confusing trying to figure out which one is right for your situation and we do get asked this a lot of times. 

When moms ask us whether they should buy portable or hospital grade, our answer is a simple 'it depends'. It can be confusing understanding the options available and the specifications you need to be looking at. One of the most important things to consider when choosing your breast pump is: 1.) How often you’re intending to use it ;  2.) For what purpose  3.) How important is portability? 

This guide will help you decide to get the right one for you!

How do I choose the right breastpump?

You probably already have a bit of an idea how often you will be wanting to use the breast pump and for what purpose.

Are you going back to work and needing a breast pump every day, something easy to transport and quiet for use at work?

Do you have a premature baby or a milk supply issue and need a breast pump to help you build milk production?

Or are you going to be a stay at home mom and just want a breast pump to have on hand for occasional use?

The frequency and intended purpose of your breast pump will definitely affect which model we’d advise you to buy.


For the working mom

If you’re a mom who is going back to work and will be needing to pump at work, the suitable breast pump for you will depend on whether effective pumping or portability is most important to you. Are you always on fieldwork?? Do you need to carry the breast pump on public transport? A hospital grade breast pump like the Unimom Opera will always be the most effective at extracting milk, becuase a hospital grade breast pump has a large motor, it can achieve high suction and at the same time fast cycle speeds.

Portable breast pumps have smaller motors that can only achieve high suction on low cycle speeds.

(Cycle speeds are how often the pump will 'suck and release' every minute, the way a baby sucks and releases during breastfeeding).

When you turn up the suction on your portable breast pump, the cycle speed will generally slow down.
To best illustrate this point: Say for example we have suction strength levels ranging from 1-9 and cycle speeds ranging from 1-9.
  • If you are using a hospital grade breast pump, you can combine different settings, for example you can combine Suction Strength level of 9 with Cycle Speed of 9, or any other combination without compromising Cycle Speed. You can adjust the Suction Strength and Cycle Speeds at the same time.
  • On the other hand,  if you are using a portable breast pump, at Suction Strength level 9, Cycle Speed is not as fast as compared with hospital grade breastpump, cycle speed is lower at high suction strength due to smaller motor. You can only adjust the suction strength but no option to adjust cycle speeds, so cycle speed goes slower as you increase suction (inverse relationship beshie), BUT you will rarely be using your pump at the fullest/maximum highest setting. What we are only trying to illustrate is that, you can have different combinations or variations of both suction and cycle speeds.
The Unimom Opera is capable of having cycle speed and suction strength adjusted separately for left and right pumping. The Unimom Opera  runs on DUAL MOTOR unlike most hospital grade pumps in the market which runs on single motor only.
Most women respond best to faster cycle speeds, but  the smaller breastpumps are much more portable such as the Unimom Minuet LCD. 

Pumping is really, really individual thing, so being able to vary the way that your pump stimulates your breast is important. Every woman is different!


If you are not relying on your breastpump for your milk supply, portable is totally fine,

If you'll just be pumping up to 2-6 x a day and breastfeeding your baby when you get home from work, a portable pump is totally fine. There are lots of moms do fine using a portable pump for most of their expressing while working or away from their little ones.


If you just want a breast pump for occasional use, 

In this case, any pump will really do and just choose based on your budget and whether you’d prefer a smaller pump like the Unimom Minuet LCD for portability or whether you just want a hospital grade one. If you want the best breast pump possible AND you don’t mind the size (it's not that big and heavy to lug around anyway), then choose the Unimom Opera.


If you’re using a breast pump for medical reasons, 

If you are relying on your breast pump to keep up your milk production, for example because you have a premie baby who’s too small to feed, or attachment issues, or have been advised to express to help stimulate milk production, then definitely get a hospital grade breast pump. The Unimom Opera is a great choice as it’s a powerful, effective pump that does a great job at building milk supply.

Are you still confused about the difference between the Minuet and the Opera pumps? The suction strength of the Minuet is as efficient as the Opera. The main difference is the Minuet is not a hospital grade pump, it is only designed for part time use - up to 6 times per day - it is not designed for exclusive pumping. Whereas the Opera is hospital grade, and is designed for heavy use for all breastfeeds, such as more than 8 times per day.

The Minuet is more compact than the Opera, it fits in the palm of your hand. Convenient with bonus features such as the informative LCD screen and the USB port for charging. It has a newly, more durable designed milk back flow protector unit.
Our final recommendation - if you have the extra money to spend, get the Unimom Opera if you don't mind size and portability that much, but if portabilityportability is important to you, you can settle with portable ones, it's also effective in expressing milk.