Wearable breast pumps are fantastically convenient for any pumping parent, but my biggest problem with them is how expensive they are. The price point can prevent them from getting into the hands (and shirts) of parents who could benefit from them. So I started digging into cheaper wearable pumps and came across the Imani i2.
It’s got zero frills, and I mean zero: This sucker (pun intended) is just two pumps on top of two plastic cups with flanges you place inside of it. There’s no screen or timer to know how long you’ve been pumping, and no app or pairing with your phone, just four buttons on the top to control it. But even with ultra-minimalist controls and a little troubleshooting, I found myself pumping just as much milk—sometimes more!—as with wearable pumps costing three times the price.
Small but Mighty
The Imani i2 has a simple design. It has a clear plastic collection cup with a motor on the top, and the flanges and pump pieces are all connected within the plastic cup. The pump is built by Imani and is distributed in the US by Legendairy Milk.
The motor is easy to take on and off—so easy, you might think it can’t be a strong enough connection to pump with. But I saw great results using the Imani i2. My goal with a pump session would be to get at least 3 ounces, but a few times with the Imani I got over 5 ounces in the same amount of time I pumped with more expensive wearable pumps. It’s also comfortable to wear, and while it’s a little top heavy (definitely don’t bend over while wearing this), I found the cups fit better into my bras than the larger Willow pumps.
The Imani’s motor includes two modes, massage and expression. Imani recommends starting with massage, a low-suction mode with high speeds, for a few minutes to activate letdown before switching over to expression mode, a higher suction but lower-speed mode. It’s supposed to mimic how a baby’s latch works throughout a pumping session, but unlike pumps like the Willow Go (8/10, WIRED Recommends), you have to switch the settings on your own. The Willow also lets you switch manually, but it will automatically do so after two minutes.
For the rest of the pump’s pieces, the rubber pieces look similar to standard breast pump duckbill and backflow protector parts. But you’ll want to restock these from Imani’s partners to make sure they’ll fit correctly into the pump, since their versions have minor edits to the standard design. They’re affordably priced—Legendairy lists the various nonelectric parts of the pump for about $8 to $12 each—so it won’t hurt to stock up on backups.
The Imani i2 comes with a 25-mm breast shield, aka the part that sits against your breast and over your nipple, and a 21-mm insert, which can be added onto the breast shield to fit for smaller areolas. Measure yourself to see if you need a different size—Imani has 17-mm and 19-mm inserts sold separately, and larger breast shields, too. Wearing the right size is key to collecting the most milk, and to keep from hurting yourself while pumping. Imani offers a measurement guide so you can see your size, but you’ll need to give them your email to get the downloadable ruler in your email.
Unlike other major wearable breast pumps, this isn’t a smart pump. It doesn’t have an app, can’t track your pumping sessions or how much milk you’ve pumped, and can’t even tell you how long you’ve been pumping.
It has five buttons on the top of the motor: one for each mode, two buttons to raise and lower the level for the mode you’ve chosen, and a power button. It also has five tiny lights to signal what level you’re on, and a light for the battery that will glow red when the battery is low or to signal that it’s currently charging.