Wow! Handpumps are great! Who knew?

I recently bought a hand breast pump to take with me on a trip. I thought it was going to be difficult and annoying to use, but actually, I like it better than my $300 electric pump!

I am a fan of double-pumping. I get more milk faster, so I almost always double pump with my Medela Freestyle. Electric pumps takes some getting used to. They are uncomfortable, noisy, and it makes me feel like a dairy cow, but I like the Freestyle because it's hands-free and cord-free.

The Medela Harmony is a single hand pump. I thought I was going to hate it. I thought it would make my hand tired and be hard to use, and I thought I wouldn't get much milk out with it. I guess I also thought that if it's not electric, it can't be any good. I was so wrong!

The Harmony has dual-mode pumping action. You push on the top part of the lever for the stimulation phase, and push down on the bottom of the lever for expression phase. I found the stimulation phase lever to be awkward, but it was ok. What I love about the pump is that when I press down on the lever, it sucks, but I control the length and strength. This makes the suction soft and gentle, unlike the electric pump. My electric pump sucks for just a spilt second too long in my opinion, which causes my nipples to feel a little tender after using it. The hand pump is so soft that there was nothing uncomfortable about it.

Another thing that was different was the noise. My electric pump is so loud, but the hand pump is almost silent. I could sit next to my sleeping baby and use it without fear of waking him up. No noise makes pumping a more pleasant experience.

I highly recommend a hand pump for mothers who need to pump just occasionally. There's no need to buy an expensive electric pump if you have an established milk supply and nurse your baby (or toddler) at breast the majority of the time. Also, it would be easy to throw in your purse if you have to be away and need to pump on the road. No need to charge it or replace batteries.

It has a much lower impact on the environment: no electricity, no electronics, fewer parts, smaller packaging, etc.

I'm a hand pump convert!

Note: I have been using Medela products because the bottles all fit on the pumps and it's easiest if you pick one brand and stick with it. I do not endorse Medela products, but I don't have any experience with any other brands. There are many other pump companies out there (some much better than Medela), so do some research before picking one.