Most Popular Manual Breast Pump
The Medela Harmony breast pump is one of the most popular manual pumps on the market because it is also inexpensive and practical. As I prepared for our first child, a friend recommended I purchase a manual breast pump and I am so glad I did. My path to becoming an exclusive pumper was unexpected (you can read more about what happened here) and this pump has proven to be a useful purchase time and time again. My primary pump is my electric pump, the Medela Sonata Pump. The Harmony pump serves as my backup pump, the pump I use when traveling or in the car, and a discreet option for unanticipated pumping situations. READ: How to Find Time to Pump with a Newborn
In this honest un-sponsored Medela Harmony breast pump review, I’ll go over why I think every mom should purchase a Medela Harmony Pump.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Should I Buy a Manual or Electric Breast Pump?
All breast pumps serve the same purpose, but there are different situations that call for using an electric pump or a manual pump. If you are trying to decide if you should buy a manual pump or an electric breast pump, here are some things to think about.
Choose an electric pump if: you have plans to exclusively pump, want to supplement with breastmilk, or will be working and need to pump part-time. Electric pumps express milk more efficiently and save so much time. When pumping every 3-4 hours, it is important to have a tool that will get the job done as quickly as possible.
Choose a manual pump if: you plan to pump occasionally or aren’t sure if you will pump at all. The Medela Harmony is an inexpensive way to have a pump available if you need one. Manual pumping does take longer (the Harmony is operated by manually squeezing a handle), however, it doesn’t need to be plugged in which makes it portable and convenient. Manual pumps are very helpful for nursing moms and can empty engorged breasts, express milk when nursing is difficult or discouraged (mastitis or thrush), and help increase milk production.
On a side note, I want to share that this is the only pump I had available to me when I left the hospital. I had many post-partum complications and I actually needed a hospital-grade pump to help increase my supply. Building your supply early is very important so if this is the only pump you are preparing for post-partum, I recommend that you do some research on where you can rent or buy a good electric pump should you need it later. This is something you don’t want to be stressing over when you have a new baby to feed. Besides just buying the pump, learning about breastfeeding and making alternative plans is one of my top 5 newborn essentials that requires no money, read about it here.
Choose both an electric pump and a manual pump if: you plan to exclusively pump, travel often, and/or if you would feel better knowing you have a backup available. A manual pump is a great backup if your electric pump fails, and can also be easily stored in your car or office for pumping emergencies.
How I Use The Harmony Pump as an Exclusive Pumper
I purchased the Medela Harmony manual pump even though I had planned to nurse Bibi. When an epidural injury caused nursing issues, I used a hospital grade pump to re-establish an adequate milk supply and became an exclusive pumper. Now I use the Medela Sonata Electric Pump as my primary pump and have the Harmony as a backup pump or as an “on-the-go” pump. Check price of Medela Sonata here.
I keep the Medela Harmony fully assembled inside a sterile Ziploc bag in my pumping bag which I can easily pick up and bring with me everywhere. There have been several occasions where I have used it discreetly while my husband was driving. After use, I sterilize it and put it back into the bag for future needs.
I kept the Harmony in our house as a backup for my electric pump when Bibi was younger. Some days I would use it because I didn’t have the time or energy to clean the Sonata parts. When you are a sleep deprived new mom, anything that makes life easier is a good thing.
A manual pump is also a useful tool for exclusive pumpers learning how to pump with a newborn. If Bibi needed me while I was pumping, I could easily detach from the Harmony manual pump while I attended to her needs. I was also able to use the manual pump one-handed and comfort Bibi with my other hand while she was in the crib or her Mammaroo swing chair.
Interchangeable Parts and the O-ring
One wonderful bonus of having both the Medela Sonata and the Medela Harmony breast pump is that many of their parts can be used interchangeably. I purchased two extra personal fit connectors (the main pumping body), valves and membranes which helped turn my Medela Harmony into three pumps (minus the handle) at a fraction of the cost. I already had extra shields and bottles from my other medela pump which can be used interchangeably with this one. This meant that I could pump 3 separate times without having to wash and sterilize anything. (I didn’t buy an extra handle but that part doesn’t usually come into contact with milk so it can be easily washed in hot water and dried with a paper towel.)
Pros of Medela Harmony Pump
- Inexpensive: These often go on sale. Watch for a price drop on Amazon or sales at your local baby store. I purchased mine for around $50. Check price here.
- Works as a discreet and portable car pump.
- Is a wonderful size for use while traveling.
- Easy to assemble and simple to use in a dimly lit room.
- Contains only eight parts, making it easy to clean.
- Replacement parts are inexpensive. Purchasing extra parts will allow you more time between cleaning.
- Ergonomically designed for a comfortable pumping experience for hands and wrists.
- The design allows for two phases of expression. The first pumping phase helps encourage let-down. A simple handle rotation changes it to suction phase.
- Very quiet for night pumping or discreet pumping at the office.
- All parts that come into contact with breastmilk are free from BPA, DEHP, and other phthalates.
- Includes one Calma nipple, two 150mL BPA-free bottles and lids, one bottle stand, and one 24mm PersonalFit breast shield.
- Medela offers different sized shields to ensure a comfortable fit for different sized nipples.
- Completely manual so it doesn’t require a battery, plug, or charging.
Cons of Medela Harmony Pump
- It is not strong enough to establish an adequate milk supply for exclusive pumpers. The Medela Harmony wasn’t strong enough for me to get a consistent flow of milk when I began breastfeeding. After establishing my milk supply using my Medela Sonata, I was able to express milk easily with the Harmony.
- If you don’t have a fast let down or consistent flow, the repetitive actions of manual pumping can be tiring on your wrists.
- The suction of the Harmony is highly dependent on a tiny part called the o-ring. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with extras. I highly recommend you ask Medela to send you an extra o-ring in advance. Without this tiny part, the unit is useless.
- If the suction decreases over time you will need to purchase new membranes but it’s inexpensive.
- Only pumps one breast at a time.
Why Every Mom Should Purchase a Medela Harmony Manual Pump
The peace of mind that comes from having a Medela Harmony manual pump is well worth the small cost. Whether you are unsure if you will need a pump, or plan to exclusively pump and want a reliable and inexpensive backup, I highly recommend the Medela Harmony breast pump. It is one of the tools that helped me efficiently pump 1.5 litres a day. READ: How I pump 1.5 litres a day and ways to increase milk supply.
The Medela Harmony is affordable, compact and easy to travel with, and simple to assemble and operate. I use it regularly as a backup to my electric pump and always recommend it to friends and family.
I hope this Medela Harmony breast pump review has helped you to decide what breast pump will work best for your situation. Feel free to ask me any questions, I am happy to share my thoughts.