The Medela Swing single electric breast pump gets good reviews for being faster and easier to use than a manual breast pump for occasional use. It can be plugged in or battery-operated, which makes it more versatile than pumps that rely on an available plug.
Works best when plugged in. One of the most popular features of the Medela Swing single electric breast pump is that it can be used with an AC adaptor or as a stand-alone unit with battery power. However, many moms say suction isn't as powerful when relying on the battery.
The Swing uses the same two-phase expression technology as other Medela pumps, and moms say it helps stimulate the letdown reflex and milk flow. This speeds up the process of pumping and increases milk quantity compared to other pumps, they report. The suction level is adjustable. The Swing is said to be comfortable, with several size options for breast shields to accommodate women of different sizes; it comes with the standard, medium 24 mm breast shield while other sizes are sold separately.
A number of users say the Medela Swing is noisy, but just as many others call it much quieter than other pumps they've used. It isn't a hands-free pump, but can be used easily with one hand, according to moms.
Milk backs up in tubing. There are numerous complaints about milk backing up into the tubing of the Medela Swing, but this seems to be more common with moms who try to use this as a heavy-use, everyday pump rather than as a occasional supplement to breastfeeding or just to relieve engorgement. Experts and a lot of owners say this pump is best for light use.
The Medela Swing collects condensation in the tubes, which the instructions say to eliminate by leaving the pump to run for several minutes after pumping with only the tubing attached. Some users warn that the condensation causes mold in the tubes, but most say mold formation isn't a problem if you follow the directions.
Moms call the Medela Swing easy to set up and clean, but all parts are hand-wash only. It comes with a belt clip and a neck/shoulder strap to secure it while pumping and all parts fit into the included drawstring bag. At 2.5 pounds, owners say it's highly portable.
Unmatched service. The Medela Swing comes with a one-year limited warranty on the motor and a 90-day limited warranty on other parts. Medela has a sterling reputation for customer service, and a number of reviews praise the company's response to problems with their units. Medela provides a high level of support for breastfeeding moms, with helpful representatives talking a number of users through pumping issues. Online support from a certified lactation consultant is also available.
1. Which? magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Which? magazine -- the U.K. equivalent of ConsumerReports.org -- offers extensive reviews as well as detailed explanations of testing methods, full specifications and recommendations. In-depth coverage of the Medela Swing includes product testing by parents and experts.
Review: Breast Pump Reviews, Editors of Which?, Not dated
2. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent "Baby Bargains" provides comprehensive reviews of baby gear and common baby brands, including a number of popular breast pumps like the Medela Swing. The authors list pros and cons that consider cost, ease of use and performance, and give each breast pump a letter grade. There's also a roundup of recommended models.
Review: Chapter 6: Feeding Baby, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
Review Credibility: Very Good In more than 250 reviews, the Medela Swing Breast Pump earns an overall rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Users say it's a good pump for occasional use to supplement breast-feeding, but isn't the best choice as a heavy-duty, everyday pump. There are a number of complaints about milk backing up into the tubes and several users find various solutions, but most say it's unavoidable and a deal-breaker. A big plus is that the pump is battery-operated, making it highly portable.
Review: Medela Swing Breast Pump, Medela Swing Breast Pump, As of April 2013
4. Babies 'R' Us
Review Credibility: Very Good The Medela Swing gets 3.7 stars out of 5 in about 375 reviews here. Owner feedback is mixed, with the general consensus being that the pump is easy to use and clean, but its suction is weak and milk backs up into the motor. Complaints seem to come primarily from moms who use the pump frequently, rather than for occasional supplementary use as recommended.
Review: Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump, Contributors to BabiesRUs.com, As of April 2013