Hand Express Your Breast Milk

Hand expressing your milk can help ensure a full production of milk. Learning to express your milk before delivery makes it easy to remove milk once your baby is born if your baby is not feeding well. It can also be extermly helpful if you need to remove milk and you do not have a pump or electricity. Women that start hand expressing within hours after delivery produce more milk.

Read about hand expression before delivery.

How to Hand Express - Jane Morton, MD, of Stanford University method - I think this is the best:

  1. Place your fingers and thumb either at the edge of your areola or 1 inch or so beyond the edge in a 'C' hold. As you learn to remove your milk you will discover your "sweet spots"-where the milk comes out the easiest.
  2. Push back towards your chest.
  3. Compress your fingers and thumb together through the breast. Avoid sliding down towards the nipple. 
  4. Release the pressure and start over again.
  5. Go back and forth from one breast to the other.
  6. At first, if your are hand expressing during the first 48 hours after delivery, you may only see drops but as your copious production of milk comes in you will start to see sprays of milk.
  7. Expressing your milk into a spoon, or as the volume increases into a small bowl or into the breastshield and bottle of your pump, works well. 
  8. Watch this video on hand expression.
  9. As with everything, Practice Makes Perfect, so hang in there until you get the hang of it.

How to Hand Express - Chele Marmet, IBCLC, method:

Chele Marmet Hand Expression

Watch another video on hand expression.

Yet another video on hand expression!

Hand Expression Graphics

More Hand Expression Graphics