Hand or pump – which is better?

Better is very subjective and could mean more yield, or less painful or faster. Whichever method they choose, it is important for mothers to learn to use their hand to express the milk because we know that even though we may buy a very expensive pump, sometimes we might forget to bring to work some of the small parts for it. You will be very miserable if you don’t know how to use your hand.

Secondly, sometimes in the early days we do need to express the milk if the baby is not with us. Our milk is very little at that point. So, if you try to use the breast pump, you will see that only a little bit comes out and it might stick to the side of the bottle and you will face difficulty collecting the milk. If you use your hand to express, usually you can collect more in those early days. Even if it’s droplets, you can collect it in a syringe and it’s still very beneficial for the baby. Collecting milk is an art. Some mums, even if they use the pump, still use their hand to express the rest of the milk to get the most at each session.

In addition, some women can’t find a breast shield that matches their breast. This is because our breasts are not the same size, while the shield comes in fixed sizes. The pumping sessions can be longer or painful if the shield does not match the breast size. But, if you use your hand, you know exactly where you can place your fingers, so you can still manage.

You need to try both the pump and hand to find out which way suits you best. If you think that expressing by hand is hard, before you even try it out, then most of the time you won’t be successful using the hand. But if you are open to the idea and try it out, most of the time you will find that it can be very effective.

In expressing milk, the most important thing is that you like the process. The one which you like most will usually give you the best yield. If you hate the process, you won’t get much milk because the oxytocin won’t kick in if you are stressed and this will result in less milk flow.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

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