top of page

Pumping Produces More Than Hand Expression

Pumping Produces More Than Hand Expression: Straight from the Research

“Breast pumps remove human milk (HM) by use of suction, as does the infant. In contrast, hand expression removes HM by compression of HM ducts in the absence of suction.”

“Although hand expression is often recommended as an alternative to pumping, the few randomized trials comparing these methods have consistently demonstrated the superiority of electric breast pumps over hand expression for purposes of effective and efficient human milk removal. In one randomized cross-over study, human milk output, serum prolactin and serum oxytocin were compared for 23 mothers of healthy term infants who used 5 different techniques to remove human milk between 28 and 42 days post-birth. Of the 5 methods evaluated, hand expression resulted in the least human milk output, and significantly lower prolactin and oxytocin responses than the breast pumps”

“Cumulative human milk output for the first seven days in hand expression mothers was significantly less than for electric breast pump mothers (456 mL versus 1,317 mL). Hand expression mothers demonstrated lower median human milk output throughout the following 8-28 days post-birth, despite changing from hand expression to electric breast pump during this time.”

“One observational study and one randomized clinical trial have suggested that the combination of simultaneous pumping (e.g., both breasts at the same time) with an electric breast pump and breast massage, either with or without hand expression, increases human milk output during pumping. However, neither of these studies tested only hand expression in the absence of simultaneous electric breast pump use. Thus, hand expression alone should not be used routinely, especially for mothers of very low birth weight infants who use a breast pump to replace--not to supplement--the breastfeeding infant.”


Which Breast Pump for Which Mother: An Evidenced-Based Approach to Individualizing Breast Pump Technology

37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page