the power of hand expression

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Due to medical interventions or physiology some mother‘s milk will take a few days after birth. So how do you feed your baby? Hand expression!!

pic from Pinterest photographer unknown

Hand expression causes the hormone oxytocin to flow which will cause labor contractions. So it’s pertinent to wait until closer to your due date.

Hand expressed milk can also serve as a supplement, instead of formula, if baby is not latching properly or right away. We suggest cup feeding. This way baby doesn’t have nipple confusion when baby does begin to breastfeed again.

I express to new moms in my breastfeeding classes the power of hand expression and to begin while pregnant. Hand expression can be more effective than an electric pump. There is nothing like the suckling of a baby and the power of your fingers. Again, when you hand express, oxytocin is released and so is your milk. As you begin to express your milk, you’ll get to know your breasts when they’re full and empty. Emptying your breasts is key to maintain your milk supply.

How to Hand Express

  • Before you start, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

  • Some mothers find gently massaging their breasts before expressing helps their milk to let down.

  • Cup your breast with one hand then, with your other hand, form a "C" shape with your forefinger and thumb.

  • With your index finger and thumb, press back on your breast and squeeze out forward to release milk.

  • Release the pressure, then repeat, building up a rhythm. Try not to slide your fingers over the skin. Drops should start to appear, and then your milk usually starts to flow. If no drops appear, try moving your finger and thumb slightly, but still avoid the darker area.

  • When the flow slows down, move your fingers round to a different section of your breast, and repeat.

  • When the flow from one breast has slowed, swap to the other breast.

  • Keep changing breasts until your milk drips very slowly or stops altogether.

Hand expression takes an extreme amount of confidence and knowing your body. Unfortunately, some women, have dealt with sexual trauma, may have difficulty with hand expression. If you have experienced sexual trauma or violence please seek counseling. Mothers NEED to understand how your body works and that human touch is what activates the most powerful hormone,oxytocin, in order for you to breast-feed.

Early education is key so sign up for a class today!