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I know what you’re thinking, Grace why is this comparison also being directed to the women with elastic breast tissue when they can literally use a traditional flange that suits them. And you’re right, ordinarily it wouldn’t matter what your breast tissue is like but since we’re including the Elvie Stride in this comparison that comes with breast collection cups I’m going to have to discuss elasticity.
First things first, what is a portable breast pump? A portable breast pump is a small, easy to walk around with pump that can either be easily placed in a pocket, dangled from a lanyard, or clipped to the waist. It is battery operated, uses tubing like a traditional wall unit pump, and can be used with traditional flanges.
The Elvie Stride is the breast pump that I picked out to be covered by insurance. Elvie claims that it has ‘hospital grade suction’ and that you can pretty much conquer the world while pumping. The reality is a bit different. I picked this pump knowing that my relationship with the OG Elvie was complicated, in part because I was hopeful that they had improved some of the concerns with the OG Elvie…they kind of did but not enough to make it better for me.
The Elvie Stride unlike the two other pumps in this comparison comes with wearable cups that attach to tubing, much like the Freemie Pump, except the Elvie Stride can be used with Elvie’s fantastic app and it’s whisper quiet. It comes with a belt clip casing that has a hole that you can attach a lanyard of your choice to. I got this one from Walmart recently for about $4! Most women that I have spoken to say that they really like the Elvie Stride cups but hate the actual pump motor. I think I am one of the few ladies that feels the opposite. I hate the cups and love the motor! You see the Elvie Stride cups suffer from the same issue as the OG Elvie, the flange tunnel is just too short for those of us with elastic nipples. In order to optimize output you have to do the Legendairy Milk hack. I found that it helped the output some but not significantly enough to go through that trouble all the time, so I personally have stopped using the Elvie Stride cups with Elvie Stride motor and instead hack it to use it with my Idaho Jones Pump-A-Collect cups. I recently used this setup on a ski trip and it was great!
This leads me to the motor. Many women find it to be too gentle or they don’t like the pattern of suction. The pattern of suction is very similar to the OG Elvie where it is trying to emulate the way a baby nurses. I like the pattern and I like that I can control it with my phone when I’m out for long periods of time and because it is very quiet I won’t disturb anyone. I have found that the suction is actually increased when I use the Elvie Stride motor with other non-Elvie cups or with traditional flanges. It’s nice to have the option to either use cups or use traditional flanges and still have the app control. I do wish the battery lasted a bit longer. Right now I’m getting about 2.5 sessions out of a full charge with 30 minute sessions. To account for this I keep a battery pack with me when traveling with it.
Overall, I think this pump is a good option for a mostly nursing mother or a pumping mama that has sensitive nips that aren’t necessarily elastic.
I have mixed feelings about this breast pump. A lot of women absolutely love it and make it their primary. I can only use it a couple of times a day at most and lately have gone from being terrified of the intense suction to the suction not getting much out of me. The suction is still as intense as ever but my body just doesn’t seem to respond to it the same way anymore.
The Baby Buddha is one of the smaller portables available. It comes with a lanyard so you can wear the pump around your neck as you go about your daily tasks. It comes with traditional flanges that have the cup-style backflow membrane attached to the top (this is similar to the Zomee Z1 & Z2 and the NCVI portable pumps). It is a tiny powerhouse that delivers impressive vacuum strength, as the proud owner of 10 breast pumps I find that the only pump that comes remotely close to it’s strength is my 2019 Motif Luna. The Baby Buddha also has a signature long pull that it does during stimulation/massage mode. Many women find this too aggressive to start out with. I started skipping stimulation mode and switching to expression mode for the first few minutes of my sessions before going back to stimulation mode after getting “warmed up.” However, because the suction is so aggressive, I find that even with correct flanges my nipples start feeling worn out after about two sessions.
Something else that some may find limiting in this pump is that you cannot change the cycle speed so if you find that you are someone that requires faster cycles to get a letdown going this may not be the best pump for you. I also experienced an issue with my roller ball button getting stuck from debris getting into it so be careful with that if you purchase this pump. They recently released a new version of this pump (about two weeks after I purchased mine) that supposedly has the suction reduced. Bemybreastfriend evaluated it and compared it to the version that I have and found no real difference.
I think this pump is best suited for ladies that require lots of vacuum strength and do not need much speed in stimulation mode.
Pumpables Genie Advanced
Imagine the most useful parts of all of your favorite pumps being combined and put on a lanyard. That’s the Pumpables Genie Advanced. It has wide appeal because it has enough power to be effective while having a comfortable suction that is very customizable in a small form factor. It has become my primary breast pump because with it I know that I can move if I ever need to to get my kids something.
The Pumpables Genie Advanced is manufactured by Horigen for Pumpables. In expression mode you can control both cycles and vacuum strength, in much the same way you can on the Spectra. Even though it goes up to vacuum level 9, I usually stick around level 3. While you can use it with the Liquid Shield kit which is a special silicone flange designed to mimic the way a baby nurses you can easily use this pump with your preferred flange style. I use it with Spectra style flanges and connectors. Unlike other pumps this pump’s auto-shutoff is designed to shutoff the pump at the 40 minute mark, meaning if you take a little longer to empty you don’t have to worry about the pump shutting off on you too early.
Since my supply regulated I have come to rely on this pump more and more as my body stopped liking the intense vibration of the Spectra. The battery lasts me all day through 6 pump sessions that can be between 25-40 minutes long. I sometimes connect it to my Pump-A-Collect or Legendairy Milk collection cups when I want a little extra reliability on the go. I recommend just getting this pump and with cups if you have elastic nipples and have considered getting the Elvie Stride. Sure the Pumpables Genie Advanced lacks app connectivity but you don’t really need that when you have an out of bra motor with tubing. I took this pump with me to the Movement Music Festival in Detroit recently and it was absolutely perfect for the two pump sessions I had to get in while out there.
I would recommend this pump to anyone as a primary pump, especially if they respond well to a Spectra or Motif Luna. It’s reliable, durable, and has the battery life to last all day for most exclusively pumping Moms.
There you have it. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite portable breast pump that I did not cover in this review. I know a lot of ladies do well with the Medela Freestyle Flex, though it is notorious for having motor issues after a couple months. And I know many women swear by the budget friendly Bellababy (I actually owned a Bellababy pump as my first ever breast pump when I had Rigel and had no idea what I needed out of a breast pump). Whatever pump you choose I think it’s incredibly helpful once you have more than 1 child to consider being unplugged from the wall.