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Breast Milk Hand Expression Technique: Learn How To Do This Procedure Yourself!

Parents Tips
Nov.15.2021
Breast Milk Hand Expression Technique

In fact, understanding how to properly hand expressing breast milk can come in handy in completely different situations. For example, the most common of them are the illness of the mother or child, the mother urgently needs to go somewhere for several hours, but the child would need to be given milk, and also if the mother has any problems or pains in the nipples or breasts, and many others. So today in our article we will focus specifically on pumping and how to do it correctly at home.

What Is Hand Express Milk?

Expression is the process by which a breastfeeding mother manually or using a breast pump draws milk from the breast. Hand expressing isn’t at all a mandatory procedure for everyone, and it doesn’t need to be carried out after each feeding, since only as much milk is formed in the female breast as is needed to saturate the baby at a certain age. Those how much milk the crumb has eaten in one feeding, so much to the next in the breast would appear.

But if, after applying, you also express the remains of milk, then for the upcoming feeding it would be produced more than the child can eat, and this often leads to stagnation of milk (lactostasis).

Can Hand Expressing Damage Breast Tissue?

This is a very common problem for some moms, which can lead to unpleasant consequences. It is worth noting that this can only be caused by improper hand expressing breast milk from the engorged breasts. So read carefully our recommendations below in the article to avoid any mistakes and unpleasant sensations.

Does Hand Expressing Stimulate Milk Production?

Of course, this can cause an increase in milk supply if you express it often enough. This can be compared to the usual feeding of a baby: the more and more often he eats, the more milk would be produced for his nutrition.

How To Hand Express Milk?

How To Hand Express Milk

There are two ways to express yourself: manually and with a breast pump. Usually, each mother chooses the most convenient option for her. If you choose a breast milk hand expression technique, then it is better to do it at home when the woman has enough time, as the whole process would take a certain amount of time. Here is a small breast hand expression tutorial, which would probably come in handy very soon.

It is best to express milk 10-15 minutes after the end of feeding the baby. Wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. If you are using any breast cream, wipe your skin and nipples with a cotton swab or disc soaked in breast milk. Prepare a milk container with a wide neck, having previously washed it under running water and then sterilized (by boiling, in a steam sterilizer or in a dishwasher).

Sit comfortably and keep your back straight, as pumping can take some time, and an uncomfortable position can provoke back pain. Gently grasp the chest: the little finger is under the chest at the ribs, the rest of the fingers are located to support the chest from below. The thumb lies on top, about 3-4 cm from the nipple. In this case, the thumb and forefinger are located opposite each other, forming the letter “C”.

With your thumb and forefinger, gently press down on your chest and hold in this position for a few seconds. In no case don’t bring your fingers together, they should remain in the same position, with the letter “C”. Repeat pressing, moving your palm in a circle ー this way you engage all the ducts of the breast.

Be patient, milk may not go right away, but only after a while. If you are expressing for the first time, consult with your doctor or breastfeeding consultant beforehand for guidance on how to proceed.

Hand Expressing Breast Milk Tips

Hand Expressing Breast Milk Tips

In order not to harm herself and not leave the baby without breast milk, the mother must know and be sure to follow the basic tips for expressing:

  1. You shouldn’t express more than 3 times a day if expressing is combined with latching the baby to the breast, because this would lead to excess milk production. If the mother is sick and the child doesn’t apply to the breast, it is necessary to pump with a frequency approximately equal to the number of feedings (on average, once every 3 hours 8 times a day).
  2. Don’t express immediately after feeding, this can lead to hyperlactation, i.e. increased milk production.
  3. You cannot pump “to the last drop”. The main indicator by the end of pumping should be a feeling of relief in the chest. The female body regards the emptying of the breast without residue as an increased need for the baby for milk, and begins to produce more milk, which the baby cannot eat, therefore, there would be a threat of milk stagnation.
  4. Don’t express it at night, as this can also lead to the formation of excess milk. The main hormone responsible for milk production ー prolactin has a circadian rhythm of formation, most of all it is produced at night, in response to the baby’s breastfeeding or pumping.
  5. You cannot pump on the first day after the arrival of milk. Usually, during the development of lactation, more milk is produced than the newborn needs, and it is necessary to get rid of its excess. Therefore, just at the time of the arrival of milk, you cannot express everything without a trace. If the breast is very dense, it is recommended to express only a small amount of milk so that it becomes softer, and the baby can fully grab it and eat it.

Well, now you are a true connoisseur of breastfeeding and hand expression, and we are sure that you were able to correctly understand everything that we have told you today. Be sure to read all of our tips to avoid some mistakes. We also recommend that you focus on your comfort, because the main thing is that you don’t feel any unpleasant sensations. At first, it may be difficult for you, believe me, after a while you would be able to do it as correctly and quickly as possible!

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