Breast pumping at work or at school can be a hassle, not to mention embarrassing. If you’re pumping while on a phone call, you don’t want the person on the other end to hear what you’re doing, and when you’re pumping in a bathroom stall, it’s better if your co-workers don’t hear strange, loud suction noises coming from inside. And of course, if you have to pump in public, such as on a bus or train, you definitely want to be as discrete as possible.
So if any of those things apply to you, you’ll probably want to find a pump that is as quiet as possible. But how can you determine which pump is the quietest?
Well, rejoice, mama. We’ve done the investigating so you don’t have to.
How Breast Pump Volume Is Measured
First of all, to select a quiet pump, you need to know that sound is measured in decibels, or dB for short. A decibel is 1/10th of a bel (named in honor of the inventor, Alexander Graham Bell).
A normal conversation is typically about 60 decibels, a chain saw operates at about 108 decibels and a jet engine taking off usually is about 140 decibels. Obviously, when we’re talking about breast pumps, we’d want them quieter than that.
Most pumps operate at about 45 decibels, so quieter than someone talking, but if you’re looking for an especially quiet pump for pumping in a cubicle or office, or for discrete use in public or at home, you may want to look for something even quieter.
The quietest breast pumps on the market
But the many manufacturers that do, typically measure at about 45 decibels.
Some examples of pumps that measure at 45 decibels include:
- Ameda Mya Joy and Ameda Mya Joy Plus
- Cimilre P1, Cimilre S5+ and Cimilre S6
- Medela Swing Maxi
- Spectra 9 Plus, Spectra S1 Plus, Spectra S2 Plus and Spectra SG
Some breast pumps that operate at 48 decibels include:
The loudest breast pumps operate at 50 decibels and up:
But the all-time quietest breast pump on the market (among those that have available decibel levels) is the Elvie Double Pump, which is listed at a rock-bottom-low 28.3 decibels.
Elvie also makes the Stride, which is intended for wearing under clothing, but the decibel level of that model isn’t publicly available and online reviewers say it’s not as quiet as the Elvie Pump.
Silence isn’t always golden
The quietest breast pump, though, may not be the best for your needs.
Sometimes (but not always), stronger suction equates to louder sounds, so hospital-grade pumps may be louder than their counterparts.
In fact, there are many pluses to take into consideration when choosing a breast pump, including:
- Can I wear the breast pump under my bra or clothing?
- Is the breast pump small or light?
- Is the breast pump battery-powered or portable?
- Does the breast pump have extremely strong suction?
- Is the breast pump covered by my insurance?
There are a dizzying array of factors and, ultimately, you may decide the quietest pump isn’t what you want at all. Whatever you choose, though, make sure to pick the pump that best fits your lifestyle, budget and needs.
To browse a wide variety of breast pumps, breast pump accessories and other maternity essentials, visit the Neb Medical Shop homepage.