Ok, so here are my two cents. I’ll start by mentioning that my methods were far from scientific and no efforts were taken to standardize the results.
Manual vs. electric pump
Old faithful: the annoying, yet consistent old electric pump is a workhorse and on child #2 is still holding it’s own. Mine is a Modela pump in style advanced that costs about $299.
Pros: fairly effortless operate, needs very little supervision, can be hands free with the right accessories.
Cons: the awful noise!, it’s size and bulkiness, set up is time consuming, not exactly discrete at the office, makes me feel like a milk cow tethered to a milking station. The cost!
The contender: a Lansinoh manual pump that retails for about $29.99.
Pros: extremely portable, quick to trigger let down reflex, more natural rhythm, virtually silent, mobile if necessary.
Cons: needs a bit of attention, not quite as effective unless you’re fairly full.
I used both pumps over the last few days and had a pretty consistent nursing schedule. I found that for day time pumping the manual is far superior. Having a toddler and a 3 month old, I wasn’t tied down (yes, I have curtains and no neighbors were scandalized during this process!) and I could express pretty quickly and get on with my day. These times I was only expressing from one side at a sitting so it was really manageable. In the evenings when I wanted to express both sides and express a larger quantity before bed, the electric pump won out purely for speed and the ability to express both at once.
The manual pump has a little bit of a learning curve in finding the right methods for you. However, once you get it right I found it was much faster than the electric. When I head back to work I’ll definitely be using the manual pump at the office and reserve the electric pump for home use. Hopefully this will help streamline the process!