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Closed System Breast Pumps (You May Want To Know)

Closed system breast pumps hope to stop milk from getting into unintentional spaces. This design is also known as back flow or overflow protection. When a breast pump sucks a tiny bit of milk can get stuck in the tubing. This may not seem like a big deal, but over time, the trapped milk can cause mildew or mold (if not properly cleaned). It can also impair motor functionality. The following brands hope to make pumping more hygienic. We describe what works and what doesn't below.

Illustration of corded breast pump


All of Spectra's breast pumps offer back flow protection. There are four beautifully designed models, but three of them come with a built-in night light. Spectra is a well-loved brand that is best used for at-home pumping. Criticism includes that the while the suction is strong, it stops working after a few months.


In 2019, Evenflo released a portable pump that comes with a bag and cooler. It conveniently runs on batteries, a plug, or car adapter; and promises to be quieter, lighter and more comfortable. Criticism includes that the battery life is super short and there is poor suction after a few weeks.


One of Lansinoh's models allows you to pump directly into their storage bags. The pump's flanges claim to "hug curves" for a cushioned and comfortable seal around the breast. Moms love that it's quiet and easy to clean. There have been a few complaints, but Lansinoh has a one-year warranty that may cover any issues you have.


Medela seeks to help moms pump on the go. One of their newer models has fewer parts, and a modern USB-C port for faster charging. There are a wide range of complaints from needing to have the app for certain features, product pieces melting despite being labeled dishwasher safe, and customer service not being available on the weekends.

Motif Medical

Motif's 2022 model is compact and offers a massage mode. While plenty of moms rave about its efficiency, there's also criticism about poor suction (even on the highest setting). The company is also fairly new and doesn't offer a ton of replacement parts.

What Is The Biggest Advantage Of Closed System Breast Pumps?

They try to prevent air, milk, and bacteria from entering tubing and the motor.

What Is The Biggest Disadvantage Of Closed System Breast Pumps?

Weak suction in less than 6 months of use (according to Amazon reviews).

Why Are Closed System Pumps Preferred At The NICU?

NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit. They’re hospital units that cater to babies that are "sick and premature." Since hospital pumps are multi-user, closed system units hope to keep the equipment sanitary.

Are Closed System Pumps The Cleanest Way To Express Milk?

Pumps are best used to support (not replace) nursing a child directly from the breast. Technology has definitely helped breast pumps get better and better, but nothing has been able to replace the efficiency, cleanliness, and health benefits of nursing a child skin-to-skin.

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