I’m a Therapist and I Can Use the Elvie Stride Breast Pump While Talking to My Patients (It's *That* Quiet)

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elvie stride purewow100 review
  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Discreetness: 19/20

TOTAL: 92/100

Like many other working parents these days, the pandemic has moved my job from the office and into my home. And I’m certainly not complaining. As a mom to a 4-year-old daughter and a 5-month-old son, the time I save on my commute means more time spent with them. And in order to further maximize my family time, in my work as a clinical psychologist I frequently schedule patients back-to-back. This makes pumping breastmilk for my son tricky, to say the least. Happily, I recently discovered a secret weapon that enables me to disguise the fact that I’m milking my boobs while discussing a patient’s latest argument with their spouse or grievance with their boss.

The Elvie Stride is a hands-free, hospital-strength electric breast pump that is 100 percent cordless. But how quiet and discreet is it really? And does noise-reduction technology and lack of restrictive wires mean sacrificing on output? Here’s my honest Elvie Stride review.

Setting it up

When it comes to figuring out how to use the Elvie Stride, the app is super helpful. It has visual step-by-step instructions for setting the breast pump, plus how to clean and sterilize it (you have to sterilize all the parts before using it for the first time). The process didn’t feel laborious and took me about 15 minutes to figure it all out.

Getting the milk out

The Elvie Stride has two modes (stimulation and expression) and 20 different settings, although I admittedly only use it on the highest setting to get the best results. I typically use it for an entire therapy session (about 45 minutes) and am able to get four ounces of breastmilk. This is comparable to what I get out when I use my Spectra breast pump for 10 to 15 minutes. In other words, the Stride gives me my normal output but in a much longer time span (although I suspect that I hit my four ounces before my client logs off but for obvious reasons I can’t check to see how things are going under there mid-session). While being tethered to a pump for that long would typically be extremely cumbersome, because I can do other things while using the Elvie Stride, I don’t mind that it takes me three times as long to make my quota.

The portability

I use the Stride while working. I have used it while making lunch boxes and cooking breakfast. I have used it while tidying up the house and while watching TV (I actually highly recommend this—lounging on the couch with this pump is much more comfortable than being hooked up to a giant milking machine). I used it while chatting with dinner guests (something I would never do if I was plugged into a pump). The great thing about the Stride is that it can be used with any bra, not just a pump bra. In other words, you can basically slip it in, get pumping and go about your usual business at a moment’s notice. The portability here is a major selling point.

OK, but how quiet is it really?

The Elvie Stride is very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that I have even used it in my therapy sessions. I actually asked one patient (someone who I am very comfortable with, I wouldn’t ask anyone else) if she could hear anything and she said no. And in some of my sessions, there have been long silences (it’s part of the job) and my patient couldn’t hear anything. Of course, the caveat here is that I am currently only doing Zoom therapy sessions. I wouldn’t use this pump in an in-person session because there’s a lot of transference and other psychological issues that could come into play. Nor would I use this pump with a new patient or in a session that I knew was going to be highly traumatic—not because of the sound, per se, but because you do feel the suction and it is a slight distraction.

The technical stuff

The Elvie Stride is a hospital-grade pump that is available for free with some insurance providers (check your insurance eligibility here) and can also be purchased or reimbursed with both FSA and HSA. It comes with suction cups that can be tucked into any bra and there is a pump motor that is outside of the bra (if I’m moving around I will clip this to my clothes, otherwise it just lies next to me). The pump runs on a rechargeable battery that delivers approximately five 30-minute pumping sessions and charges in about two hours. It also comes with 24 mm flanges (other sizes available for an additional cost). The cups are dishwater-safe.

The downsides

The app is great for getting set up and it can also be used to control the Stride remotely, but it doesn’t actually tell you how much you’re making. This combined with how the pump sits means that I never really know how much I’ve produced until I detach and get a closer look. And when it comes to detaching, this definitely takes some practice—I sometimes worry that I’m going to lose precious drops of milk in the process although thankfully, this hasn’t happened yet. Once I’m detached, cleaning the Stride is a bit of a pain and more laborious than my Medela or Spectra—there are a lot of parts to disassemble and they all have to be really dry before they’re ready to use again (this fridge hack is my friend). Finally, because this pump is offered on some insurance plans but not all, the potential out-of-pocket cost ($250) is a big downside.

My overall impression

The Elvie Stride is a great option for moms-on-the-go or working professionals. It’s discreet, easy-to-use and just as effective as many other plugged-in pumps (although it may take you longer to reach your usual output). I wouldn’t rely on it as my sole pump, since it does take me longer to get my normal quota, but I love having it as a super handy (and oh-so quiet) alternative. And for what it’s worth, my daughter has also given it her seal of approval—when I tell her I need to pump milk for her baby brother, she likes to suggest (read: demand) that I use the Elvie Stride so I can walk around and play with her. Mom- and kid-approved.

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here. For professional reasons, this review was published under a pseudonym.

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Sarah Stein

Freelance PureWow Editor

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