Today, 10:59 AM
Yes many mothers do hand express rather than pump, after all breast pumps are a pretty new invention. And many moms respond better to hand expression than pumps. Also, when the breast is overall not full, is softer, as when baby is just born, we know hand expression "works" better than pumps. So I am thinking that with a 12 month old, your breasts are softer and that may be why you appear to respond much better to hand expression.
However if it hurts you to hand express, then that is not going to work for you, unless you can figure out a different hand expression technique that does not hurt. Or maybe you could hand express for shorter periods of time, but more often? There are more than one method of hand expression, if you look online you can find some, I have only hand expressed a few times and that was when babies were brand newborn or I had overproduction in early months so it was easy and did not hurt and I have no memory of how exactly I did it!
But if you got one ounce hand expressing for 3 minutes, you (possibly) could get 2 ounces hand expressing for 6 minutes... It is also possible the pump stimulated the milk flow but could not extract it normally, and that is why hand expressing after pumping was so easily productive. So maybe combining the two would work. I would not suggest pump for 30 minutes, 10-20 should do it, if you are going to hand express after.
Have you looked into different flange brands that might fit your pump? Pumpin pals, I think...