A new study found that among new moms who had difficulty getting their babies to breastfeed, pumping by hand rather than machine encouraged them to keep nursing longer. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, followed 68 moms who had trouble nursing shortly after birth, randomly assigning them to either electric pumping or hand expression. The New York Times reports:

There were no differences in the amount of milk expressed, but two months later 97.1 percent of mothers who had expressed by hand were still breast-feeding, compared with 72.7 percent of those who used the machines. The reasons are unclear, but feeling embarrassed could discourage breast-feeding, and mothers in the hand-expression group reported greater comfort in expressing milk when others were present, the researchers reported.

Previously we were limited to criticizing new moms over whether or not they breastfeed, and for how long. Now that we know hand-expression is preferable, we can also judge them over how they get milk out of their bodies. Thanks, science!

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