Breast Pump Closed System Vs Open System : Which is Best?

The main difference between a breast pump closed system and an open system is that a closed system prevents milk from entering the tubing, protecting both the milk and the breast pump motor. Both systems have pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on your needs and preferences.

Breast pumping is an essential tool for many breastfeeding mothers, allowing them to express milk for their babies. There are two main types of breast pump systems: closed system and open system. Understanding the difference between these systems is important as it can affect the safety, hygiene, and performance of the breast pump.

We will explore the differences between a breast pump closed system and an open system, and discuss their pros and cons. By the end, you will be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision about which system is best for you.

Open System Breast Pumps

When it comes to choosing a breast pump, many mothers find themselves perplexed by the options available in the market. One important factor to consider is whether you should opt for a closed system or an open system breast pump. In this blog post, we will be focusing on open system breast pumps, how they work, and the advantages and disadvantages they offer.

How Open System Works

An open system breast pump, as the name suggests, operates with an open setup where the milk flows directly into the collection system. This means that the milk can potentially come into contact with the pump mechanism and other internal parts of the device.

The open system design typically features a motor and suction mechanism that creates a vacuum to express milk from the breast. The milk then passes through the tubing and into the collection container. However, since the system is open, a backflow of milk or moisture can potentially occur, posing a risk of contamination.

Advantages Of Open System

There are a few advantages to using an open system breast pump:

  1. Easy to clean and maintain: Since the parts of an open system are generally more accessible, cleaning and maintaining the pump becomes a simpler task for mothers. This can be especially beneficial for busy moms who desire a quick and hassle-free cleaning process.
  2. More affordable: Open system breast pumps tend to be more cost-effective compared to closed system ones. This makes them a preferred choice for mothers on a budget or those who don’t plan on prolonging their pumping journey.
  3. Adequate suction strength: Open system pumps are known for providing sufficient suction strength, ensuring an efficient expression of breast milk.

Disadvantages Of Open System

While open system breast pumps have their benefits, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • Potential contamination: The lack of a barrier between the breast milk and the pump mechanism means that there is a higher risk of contamination. This can be especially concerning for mothers who prioritize hygiene and want to minimize the chances of bacteria growth.
  • Difficulties with sharing: Due to the potential contamination risks, open system pumps are not recommended for sharing between multiple users, unless proper precautions and care are taken to sterilize the device thoroughly.
  • Noisy operation: Open system breast pumps may generate more noise during operation compared to closed system pumps. This can be a nuisance, especially if you plan on using the pump in a public setting or while your baby is sleeping nearby.

While open system breast pumps offer affordability and easy maintenance, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision. Consider your personal preferences, priorities, and the level of importance you place on hygiene and convenience. Ultimately, the choice between an open system and a closed system breast pump will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.

Closed System Breast Pumps

Closed system breast pumps offer a hygienic and efficient pumping experience. With a barrier between the milk and the pump’s motor, they prevent contamination and allow for easier cleaning. Choose a closed system for peace of mind and convenience.

How Closed System Works

A closed system breast pump is designed with a barrier that prevents milk from entering the tubing and motor, ensuring a hygienic pumping experience. The milk flows directly from the breast shield into the collection container, without any contact with the internal parts of the pump.

This innovative design works by utilizing a valve or a diaphragm mechanism. When suction is applied, the valve or diaphragm creates a vacuum, which draws the milk from the breast into the collection container. The closed system ensures that there is no backflow of milk or moisture, minimizing the risk of contamination and mold growth.

Advantages Of Closed System

There are several benefits to using a closed system breast pump:

  • Hygienic: The closed system prevents the milk from coming into contact with the tubing and motor, reducing the risk of contamination and bacterial growth.
  • Easy to Clean: Since the milk doesn’t enter the tubing, cleaning the pump becomes simpler and quicker. You only need to clean the breast shields, collection containers, and valves, making maintenance hassle-free.
  • Safe for Multiple Users: Closed system breast pumps are ideal for sharing, as there is no risk of cross-contamination. It allows mothers to safely lend or sell their pumps to others.
  • Effective Pumping: The closed system ensures that the suction power remains strong and consistent, enabling efficient pumping sessions.

Disadvantages Of Closed System

While closed system breast pumps have numerous advantages, there are a few disadvantages to consider:

  • Higher Cost: Closed system pumps tend to be more expensive compared to open system pumps, due to the additional components required for the closed system functionality.
  • Limited Availability: As closed system pumps are less common, the range of options available may be more limited compared to open system pumps. However, this is changing as the popularity of closed system pumps continues to grow.
  • Slightly Heavier: Due to the extra components, closed system pumps may be slightly heavier than their open system counterparts. However, the difference in weight is usually minimal and may not be a significant concern for many users.

Hygiene And Maintenance

When it comes to selecting the right breast pump, understanding the differences between closed system and open system pumps is crucial. One of the key areas where these two types of pumps differ is in terms of hygiene and maintenance. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of closed and open system pumps on hygiene, as well as the cleaning and maintenance practices associated with each.

Impact On Hygiene

Closed system breast pumps are designed to prevent milk from entering the tubing or motor of the pump, thus minimizing the risk of contamination. This design feature makes closed system pumps more hygienic compared to open system pumps. On the other hand, open system pumps may pose a higher risk of milk particles entering the pump’s internal components, potentially leading to hygiene-related issues.

Cleaning And Maintenance

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, closed system pumps often require less meticulous cleaning compared to open system pumps due to their protective barrier against milk overflow. The tubing and other components of closed system pumps are less prone to coming into contact with milk, simplifying the cleaning process. Conversely, open system pumps demand more thorough cleaning and maintenance to ensure that milk residues are effectively removed from all parts of the pump to mitigate the risk of bacterial growth.

Performance And Efficiency

In evaluating breast pump systems, performance and efficiency play a crucial role in ensuring effective milk expression. Let’s delve into the key factors that determine how well a breast pump operates.

Suction Strength

The suction strength of a breast pump directly affects its ability to empty the breasts efficiently.

  • Breast Pump Closed System: Offers consistent and strong suction strength throughout the pumping session.
  • Breast Pump Open System: May experience fluctuations in suction strength, impacting milk expression.

Effectiveness In Milk Expression

Milk expression efficiency is vital for maintaining milk supply and breastfeeding success.

  1. Breast Pump Closed System: Known for effectively emptying breasts and stimulating milk production.
  2. Breast Pump Open System: May lead to incomplete milk removal, affecting milk supply over time.

Cost And Availability

Breast Pump Closed System Vs Open System – An important aspect to consider is the cost and availability when choosing between these two types of breast pumps.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to cost, closed system breast pumps tend to be more expensive upfront but may save money in the long run due to lower maintenance and replacement part costs.

Market Availability

Availability of closed system breast pumps can vary based on the brand and model, whereas open system pumps are more widely available across different retailers and online stores.

User Experience And Comfort

When it comes to choosing a breast pump, user experience and comfort are crucial factors to consider. The design of the breast pump, whether closed system or open system, can significantly impact the comfort and convenience for the user. In this section, we will explore the user experience and comfort aspects of both closed system and open system breast pumps, focusing on comfort in usage, noise level, and discreetness.

Comfort In Usage

A closed system breast pump typically offers enhanced comfort during usage due to the separation of the milk collection kit from the pump mechanism. This design feature prevents overflow and contamination, ensuring a hygienic pumping experience for the user. On the other hand, open system breast pumps may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance, potentially affecting the overall comfort for the user.

Noise Level And Discreetness

When it comes to noise level and discreetness, closed system breast pumps are often quieter during operation, providing a more discreet pumping experience, especially for mothers who need to pump in public or shared spaces. The separated components of a closed system also contribute to a more compact and discrete design, enhancing the user’s comfort and privacy.

Frequently Asked Questions For Breast Pump Closed System Vs Open System

Which Breast Pump System Is More Hygienic, Closed Or Open?

A closed system breast pump is more hygienic as it prevents milk from entering the tubing, reducing mold growth potential.

Can An Open System Breast Pump Compromise Milk Quality?

Yes, an open system breast pump can compromise milk quality due to exposure to contaminants through air circulation.

How Does A Closed System Breast Pump Benefit The User?

A closed system breast pump offers better sanitation, prevents milk backup, and ensures a more hygienic pumping experience overall.

Is It Essential To Consider The System Type When Buying A Breast Pump?

Yes, considering the system type is crucial as it impacts hygiene, milk quality, and overall pumping efficiency for breastfeeding mothers.


Both closed system and open system breast pumps have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing the right one for you. Ultimately, the decision should be based on factors such as hygiene, ease of use, and compatibility with your lifestyle.

Make an informed choice that best suits your breastfeeding journey.