There are many ways to hand express, and with practice hand expressing gets easier. Our midwives will help you learn.
Most mothers find feeding their baby breast milk is easiest directly from the breast, but at times expressing milk by hand or pump is necessary to increase milk production, when your baby is sick or premature and you are separated, you’ve returned to work, or for lifestyle flexibility.
Before hand-expressing, wash your hands well and collect a clean bowl to catch your milk.
Gently massage your breast in circles towards to areola. Position the pads of your thumb and forefinger at the edge of the areola, pressing in against the breast and compressing them together. Relax and repeat getting a rhythm going. Move fingers to a different position, massage and stroke the breast and compress thumb and fingers together again. Repeat until you have moved right around the breast.
Freshly expressed milk should be placed into a pouch or a clean container with a lid. It can be left at room temperature for up to four hours, stored in the main section of the fridge for three to five days, or in a freezer for up to three months.
Remember to label breast milk with the date and time expressed. Once your milk supply is established, breastfeeding works on a supply and demand process. When a breast is full, milk production slows, and when it’s empty, it speeds up. The more milk you express, the more milk you will make.
Our midwives are here to help, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Every mother experiences a let-down in a different way. A let-down occurs when you first see the drips of milk coming away from the nipple, it can happen a few time throughout the feed.
To assist with a let-down, hand expressing or even bringing the bay to the breast will help with a let-down.
So mothers who have got their milk supplies in then you would express till the flow stops. So until the flow stops. So, ‘till the flow stops’ means usually just dripping out, it’s not still forceful, and if there isn’t a lot of milk then we can say at least five to ten minutes on each side.
You can find more support via our Mobile Midwife.