Learn How to Properly Hand Express Breast Milk

Learn How to Properly Hand Express Breast Milk

Sally is a stay at home mom to her newborn infant. She planned on exclusively breastfeeding her baby; however, one day Jacob decided to skip a feeding. When Sally was pregnant, she never researched breast pumps or what to do in case she ended up with engorged breasts. She wasn’t prepared when her breasts became engorged and they began hurting.

If you find yourself in Sally’s position, don’t worry you can effectively hand express enough breast milk to relieve the pain or you can use this technique on a daily basis to express breast milk. However, expressing breast milk by hand is very time consuming.  Hand expressing breast milk is awkward at first and it takes practice to become effective at expressing the milk. Using the wrong technique can lead to tissue damage, sore nipples, burned skin, and potential breast infections.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes.  I am not a lactation consultant or a certified breastfeeding expert.  The opinions  in this post are based upon my own experiences.

Using the Proper Technique to Hand Express Breast Milk

Follow these steps to properly hand express breast milk.

1. Cup your breast using a C position. Place your thumb just above your nipple in the 12 o clock position and place your pointer finger and middle finger below the nipple in the 6 o clock position. Gently slide your hand back on the breast and slowly work your way towards the nipple, looking for the change in breast tissue. You want to place your fingers just above the milk reservoirs and you should be able to find them from feeling your breasts. Generally the milk reservoirs are just above the outer edge of the areola but not always.

2. Once you have located the milk reservoirs, slide your hand back towards your chest.

3. Roll your fingers down towards your nipple, stopping at the base of the nipple. You will roll your thumb and fingers simultaneously.

4. Repeat the motion until you have released all the the milk from the reservoirs.

5. Rotate your hand to find the milk reservoirs at 11 and 5 o clock, 1 and 7 o clock, and 3 and 9 o clock, until you have emptied the milk from your breasts.

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