Getting a Breast Pump

The MetroHealth lactation team looks forward to helping you along your breastfeeding journey! If you have questions, please contact us at 216-778-3337 or Email Lactation Support to speak with a member of our team!

Step 1

Determine your insurance eligibility

The best way to begin is by calling your insurance company to find out what pumps are covered by your specific plan. Some pumps may be fully covered, and some may only partially be covered which means you would be paying a portion out of pocket if you chose those higher end pumps.

If you do not have medical insurance, you will not be eligible for an electric breast pump as outlined here--After delivery, our staff may be able to help set you up with a WIC rental pump if you receive WIC benefits.

Step 2

Obtain a prescription

Once you have determined which supply company you would like to choose, you will need to obtain a prescription from your doctor. Follow the company’s instructions to ensure a prescription is obtained. Once the prescription is approved by insurance, the supply company will provide further instructions on obtaining your breast pump.

Step 3

Determine what is a good fit for you!

Look up pros and cons of different pumps. Common things to think about:

  1. Will you have an outlet available when pumping? If not, you may need something chargeable or battery-operated.
  2. Will you be returning to work/school or pumping often? You may want to choose something with a higher-level suction (260mmHg+) to maintain milk supply and lower your chance of breastfeeding problems like blocked ducts.
  3. Do you have breaks and time to sit down and pump? If not, think about wearable hands-free options to ensure you are able to maintain frequent milk removal to so that breast milk supply doesn’t drop. (NOTE: Federal Law requires adequate breaks and a private space for lactating parents. Visit for more details)
  4. Additional features: Some pumps are advertised as “ultra-quiet” for more discreet pumping. Some pumps have night-lights or lit up screens for nighttime pump sessions. Certain pumps have a timer to help keep track of the length of your pumping session.
  5. Most pumps come with a warranty. Look for a pump that has a warranty for at least one to two years!

Step 4

When to use your pump!

It is exciting to receive a breast pump and is tempting to want to try it out! Do not use your pump prior to delivery without asking your provider. You may get familiar with the pieces and instructions or watch the offered instructional videos on the pump’s website. Follow your pump’s instructions for sanitizing prior to use.

Reminder: During the first 2-4 weeks of your infant’s life, it is recommended to exclusively breast feed to establish a perfect milk supply for you and your baby! If there is a medical reason to pump sooner, a lactation consultant will work with you to discuss a pumping plan.
You do not need to bring your pump to the hospital! If pumping is started in the hospital, a stronger hospital-grade pump will be brought to your room.

The MetroHealth lactation team looks forward to helping you along your breastfeeding journey! If you have questions, please contact us at 216-778-3337 or Email Lactation Support to speak with a member of our team!

Understanding Breast Pump Terminology

Breast pump technology is advancing rapidly! Here are some general terms to know:

Manual Breast Pump Operated by hand on one breast at a time.
Electric Breast Pump Uses an electric source to power a motorized pump.
Single Vs. Double electric Breast Pump A single pump is for one breast at a time while a double pump allows you to pump both sides at once.
Hands-Free Pump does not require use of your hands to hold pump in place. (NOTE: Most pumps can become hands-free with use of a pumping bra)
Wearable A pump that is worn under clothing for discreet pumping sessions.
Battery-Operated A pump that does not need to be plugged into an outlet.
Hospital-Grade Many pumps are advertised as “Hospital-Grade”. True hospital-grade pumps are multi-user and are not covered by insurance.
Closed-System A closed-system breast pump has a barrier to prevent backflow into the tubing.
Flange Size The size of the funnel that fits around the nipple.
Motor Measurements Suction strength is measured in millimeter of mercury (mmHg) and speed is measured in cycles per minute (cpm).
Dual Vs. Single Motor A pump is dual-motor if each side (right breast and left breast) is controlled separately by different motors. A single-motor pump controls both breasts (or sides) with one motor. A dual motor would let you choose two different suction settings if you wanted (higher suction on one breast than the other) but a single will not.