Medela Difference


We understand the responsibility of being the #1 recommended breast pump brand in the United States. A mother's breastfeeding needs can be as unique as she is, and there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution for every mom.

We offer a range of personal-use and hospital-grade breast pumps designed to complement the differing needs and lifestyles of today’s moms while ensuring seamless continuity of care for those who depend on us – at the hospital, in the NICU, and at home.

What is an open or closed breast pump system?

Oftentimes, breast pumps are described as having either open or closed systems. While this usually refers to built-in protection that prevents breast milk from getting into the tubing and/or motor, breast pumps are technically “open” systems. This is because they create a vacuum by suctioning in air and then releasing it through ventilation, very similarly to the way babies nurse.

When other breast pumps say they are “closed,” it means they were designed with a protective membrane that blocks milk from the tubing and/or motor. However, not all pumps are created equally, and where this membrane is located can significantly impact the efficiency and hygiene of the breast pump, sometimes sacrificing milk output and/or making it tough to properly clean. For more information, take a look at our quick video explaining this in more detail.

What is overflow protection?

All Medela breast pumps adhere to high quality standards and provide this protective barrier with a flexible membrane that prevents milk from entering other areas of the pump. We refer to this as Overflow Protection.

Because our goal is to optimize the performance of all Medela breast pumps to maximize comfort, safety, and pumping efficiency, some of our pumps have an Overflow Protection barrier located at the breast shield connector while others have this barrier at the pump.

Each Medela breast pump comes with a kit designed specifically for it, which ensures the most optimal pumping experience. For questions about any of our products, visit our product pages for additional information.

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Open and closed breast pump systems
Looking for more information? View and download this shareable infographic to answer your questions:
  • How do open breast pump systems work?
  • What is a closed system?
  • What is overflow protection?
  • And more!

Download the PDF