A pumping revelation!

So since I’ve been “back at work” (in inverted commas because I’ve been told I should work from home when I don’t have meetings, because they can’t accommodate pumping as required by law) I have been pumping regularly so that B can have expressed breast milk when I’m not there. 

This week he started at nursery so he’s starting to get into a routine. (Aside: I’m so amazed that a child who has never been put down to sleep away from me has somehow managed to get used to napping by himself in a cot during the day.) He does vary in how much milk he drinks, but still seems to be doing fine on expressed milk and doesn’t show any interest in weaning yet. 

I provide them with milk I have pumped the day before. Or the day before that. Breast milk will last around five days in the fridge. (The rule of thumb is 5 hours room temp, 5 days fridge, 5 months freezer – or six of each, depending on what you believe.) I don’t really have an issue with supply but it is a massive faff pumping in the office, even with my state of the art pumping equipment!

See previous post: How not to pump at work

So because I have a hen do to attend, I realised I’d be out all day and I’d have to pump some even to relieve some engorgement. I’m not so bothered about keeping the milk as I have a decent supply but I don’t really want to be wasting it either by hand pumping it into the loo… 

I also didn’t want to cart my entire pump bag around with me as we will be going to loads of different places and I have hen stuff to carry as well. I have a haakaa type hand pump but that isn’t practical either… It’s more for catching letdown rather than actually pumping, and it doesn’t store it either, not in a portable way. 

So I decided I might as well buy a hand pump to see if that would work. They are fairly inexpensive. Looking at reviews, the Medela Harmony seemed to do pretty well and I figured it would also work with the stuff I already have for my Medela Swing Maxi (double electric pump). I ordered it on Amazon Prime for just under 20 quid. 

It arrived today and I thought I would give it a go…


I decided to pump around 13:00. When I’m at work I’ve managed to last until 13:00-14:00 if I have to. 

At work with my electric pump I could sometimes get a lot but I generally found it would take a while and sometimes up to half an hour. Even at home it might be 15-20 minutes. 

Today I pumped each side for around 5 minutes and I got this…


Over 5oz each bottle! I couldn’t believe it. It was so easy too, not painful at all. 

So… 

Pros: Easy to use. Painless. You can control the speed and strength of pumping yourself. Fits all the storage bottles I already had. No need for batteries, and no cables. Doesn’t take long. Fewer parts to sterilise. Not a lot of kit to carry about – very light. Way less setting up time which is ideal if you’re in a bathroom. 

Cons: Not handsfree. (But it took less time today anyway.) You have to do one side at a time rather than both at once. 

It was amazing! Maybe I should have tried it before spending £200 on electrics?!

There’s a lot to be said for electric pumps. They’re efficient and you can do something else whilst you pump. (I read the news.) 

But a hand pump is bloody amazing for a fraction of the price, if today is anything to go by! I’m going to try it next time I’m in the office. If it works – I’m a convert. 

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18 comments

    • Nara

      Do you have the Tommee Tippee electric pump? I have and I didn’t really get on with it. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy using it. The Medela (both!) feels a lot better. I think maybe it’s the flange on the Tommee Tippee is really bulky? Seriously it’s worth a try with the manual if you can be bothered. I was amazed how much came out and how quickly! I had hand expressed a few times and I think manual is more akin to that in terms of the manoeuvre – a bit kinder on your boobs! But I do like not really concentrating and reading the news with handsfree! 😂

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      • Flora Poste

        I have both the manual and electric Tommee Tippee one but I mainly use the latter. It is very bulky and constantly falls apart… I mainly work from home and only go out for meetings etc., which is why I avoided spending too much on a pump, but I have been using it much more recently and now feel really tempted to go for the Medela one! I read the news / waste time on the Internet while pumping in the morning too! 🙂

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      • Nara

        Ha! Yeah I found the TT way too bulky. I’ve been trialling the manual vs electric Medela for the past few days. They both have pros and cons. I do like being handsfree but when out and about it’s easier to pump with a manual as there are fewer parts!

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  1. Amy M.

    I’ve never tried a hand pump, but that’s crazy! I actually bought one when C was about a month and a half old, for using on the go to relieve engorgement, before I was comfortable nursing in public. I actually never even opened it, and returned it. It would have been handy to have at times, though. And especially now that I see that!! Maybe with the next baby I’ll get one 😉

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    • Nara

      It is absolutely nuts! I really didn’t mind the sensation either. It was quite satisfying watching it all come out! I was already used to the sensation as have hand expressed a few times. You should definitely give it a go for the next one! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yeah I have heard that it’s definitely different strokes for different folks! Some people really get on with different pumps. I found Medela the easiest but I’ve only tried two electric ones. Electric is definitely easier if you want to do something else whilst you’re doing it!

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  2. Courtney

    Ha ha! I had the same love for this pump! I could pump soooooooooooo much and so quietly with it! Have you held the handle down yet to see how long you can keep milk coming out with just one squeeze? AMAZING! Pump, pump, HOLD. Try it if you haven’t already!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yes it’s so quiet! And I’ve done the squeeze and hold thing too… also works when hand expressing! I think maybe it’s the most similar to hand expressing, and that’s the most similar to actual breastfeeding… It is cool though! People totally should be told before shelling out on an electric pump! My Medela Swing was a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I’m really heading the same way! The cables and stuff with the electric and the setting up time is so much longer! Plus too many parts to put down on possibly not clean surfaces!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I really didn’t! I’m feeling a tad foolish having spent £200+ on two electric pumps! (I had a single Tommee Tippee initially then realised I needed two – duh! – and bought the Medela Swing Maxi double pump.) Although there’s definitely a place for handsfree pumping in the comfort of your own home and not against the clock!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Well… It hasn’t given me that much every time so I was probably getting overly excited! But it is quite similar to the electric in terms of output, and a lot easier to use in a toilet!

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  3. Dani

    I have this one! Although it was a hand me down so I never did the research on it! Nice to know it’s a good one!! I use it for traveling and going out, its fine, but I get about the same as my Electric pump (spectra S2) hmmmm, so with this output on your hand pump I wonder how you would do on a hospital grade pump? Probably awesome! But if you have a good supply anyway that doesn’t matter. have you tried just hand expressing? It’s useful to know if you need to do it on the go?

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    • Nara

      Hello! Yes I’ve tried hand expressing and it does work. I’ve just lately (the last week or so) become a bit concerned about supply… Not for B because it’s fine when we are together, but my ability to pump! I need to set a pump schedule and be a bit more rigorous about it. It seems to be best in the evening so maybe it’s just that I was a bit engorged when I did it that time. I’ve just done it in the office and only got 3.7oz! 😩 I think I am unduly affected by where I am / mood etc though. Oh well! It is a bit less faff than electric pump I guess, but it is nice to be handsfree!

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