Which One: Hands-on Pumping vs Hands-Free Pumping

Do you want to know if hands-free or hands-on pumping is better for you, a pumping newbie?

Maybe you’ve been pumping for a long and want to be able to do other things while you’re at it.

Maybe you’ve tried pumping and you just aren’t getting enough milk.

How much more milk do you think you can get whether you pump with your hands or without them?

Find out which choice is right for you by reading this article.

In recent years, an increasing number of hands-free pumping bras have become available.

It appears that hands-free pumping has become the standard.

This is done so that mothers can go about their daily lives as usual while pumping, whether it be something as simple as checking social media or watching a movie, or something more involved like eating, caring for children, working, driving, etc.

But is it always preferable to use a hands-free pump?

If you already have a healthy milk supply and hands-free pumping can help you get enough milk for your baby, then go for it!

But what if you have trouble pumping milk in the first place?

Should you still think about getting a hands-free pump?

First, I’ll describe the distinction between hands-free and traditional pumping.

Hands-Free Pumping requires a special pumping bra or a hands-free pumping setup that you slide into your regular bra.

Since the breast shields are secured in place, you can do anything else with your hands while pumping (such as checking emails, eating lunch, etc.).

If you don’t have time set aside for pumping at work but still need to keep working, this is a fantastic option.

However, the hands-free configuration (often a pumping bra and ordinary breast shield will do) remains the same for hands-on pumping.

Now, though, you have to pump using your hand as a guide.

What you can do is:

  • Clear any lumps from your breasts by massaging them (either side at once or alternating).
  • After you’ve finished pumping, you can switch to hand-expression or a manual pump (something I did when I realised I wasn’t getting any milk flow with the breast shields in their initial position).

What’s the advantage of pumping by hand:

  • By massaging your breasts, you can stimulate milk production and increase your supply naturally.
  • Hindmilk, the more fatty portion of breast milk, is only collected at the finish of pumping. More of this will come through massaging and expressing yourself with your hands than from simply pumping.
  • You get a chance to completely empty your breast, which has the added benefit of promoting a steady flow of milk. It is well known that lactation proceeds more rapidly when the breast is empty. Your breast will send a signal to your brain if you don’t empty it completely, and it will tell your body to make less milk the next time around.
  • Reduced risk of mastitis and blocked ducts. These two terrible outcomes are more likely to occur if you consistently pump using your hands. In the two years that I’ve been pumping for my daughter, I’ve had clogged ducts maybe twice, and both times it was because I forgot to pump. In all my years, I’ve never once had a clogged duct that required medical attention.
  • Pumping will be over with much quicker. Massage and hand expression might speed up the process of emptying your breasts because they stimulate the production of more milk. 

So, which method of pumping do you prefer, using your hands or not using your hands?

Here’s what I propose…

If you want to enhance your pumping output but have never tried it before, give hands-on pumping a shot.

Although it may appear difficult at first, you will quickly become proficient.

It’s ideal if you can do all of your pumping sessions manually. If you can’t, attempt integrating into at least half of them to help empty your breasts.

I’m sorry, but are you stating that hands-free pumping is not an option?

Absolutely not. I’m very aware that not all working mothers (or those juggling several child-care responsibilities at home) have the luxury of frequent pumping breaks.

If you can’t help but pump without using your hands, then you should.

It may be time to explore if you can add more pumping sessions if you’ve already established a few hands-on pumping sessions but still need to pump more milk to satisfy your baby’s need.

And since I know you are pressed for time, this is the perfect opportunity to employ the hands-free pumping system.

Let’s say you’re limited to two pumping sessions per week at work, both of which must involve manual pumping.

Two additional bouts of hands-free pumping throughout the day (maybe in the car on the way to or from work, or in the morning while eating breakfast) may be helpful.

Or, if you need to pump while working, attempt to alternate between pumping with your hands and pumping without them.

  • No touching the keyboard till 9 a.m.
  • Pumping by hand at 11 a.m.
  • At 2:00, you can work without interruptions
  • Pumping by hand begins at 5pm

This is due to the fact that, in certain cases, breasts may not be completely emptied with hands-free pumping (particularly when first starting to practise hands-free things using hands-free setups like F reemie).

Therefore, a manual pumping session thereafter will assist you verify that your breasts are completely empty.

Here then is the final verdict:

When you need to pump but don’t have the time to sit down and do it, hands-free pumps are a terrific option.

When compared to not pumping at all or using a hand pump, this method is preferable.

If you need to pump more often but don’t have the time to devote to it, a hands-free pumping system can help you meet your goal while allowing you to continue working on other projects.

However, I recommend doing hands-on pumping for some or all of your pumping sessions if you need extra milk. 

Hands-on pumping promotes better milk output because it facilitates a more thorough emptying of the breast.

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