This article shares tips and videos to help you get your milk flowing and the circumstances when it is particularly useful. Exactly where to place your fingers for the best effect is individual to each mother and trial and error. The narrator reminds mothers not to let fingers slide across the breast:.
Repeat the motion rhythmically until the drops appear. There are many reasons to learn hand expression. In the first couple of days, if you are having trouble helping your baby latch on to your breast, hand express small amounts of colostrum onto a plastic spoon and give it to your baby.
There may be times when you need to express your breast milk. Have a look through our guide to expressing breast milk and bottle feeding. Bottle feeding Expressing breast milk Breastfeeding How to breastfeed Expressing and bottle feeding Healthy diet Breastfeeding challenges Breastfeeding in public Your questions answered Going back to work Breastfeeding help and support Sign up now for our pregnancy, baby and toddler guide Get personalised emails for trusted NHS advice, videos and tips on your pregnancy week by week, birth and parenthood.
You can use it to stimulate milk production if you need to increase your supply, and to provide milk for your baby. You can also combine hand expressing with pumping — read more about pumping here. Hand expression is often used for antenatal expression of colostrum — read more here.
This is normal. When you are ready to express your milk, try to relax so that your milk will flow easily. If you decide to use a pump, you can choose a manual or an electric pump.
Many women hand express milk to reduce engorgement,  prevent let down, and save milk for later use. For some women, hand expression can be a more comfortable alternative to breast pumps. The process can be done anywhere, and without special tools or devices.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, milk expression by hand is a useful technique to learn. You can also use it to stimulate milk production and provide milk for a baby who is not breastfeeding well or needs more milk. Why hand expression?
Andie is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Lactation Consultant, and Certified Personal Trainer who thinks of nutrition counseling as equal parts science and sensitivity. She specializes in lactation, sports nutrition, exercise fitness, and weight loss programs. Before mechanical breast pumps were readily available, nursing mamas would use hand expression to remove milk from the breast. Even if you now have a pump at your disposal, hand expression is still a useful skill to know and learn.
Read about the circumstances in which a breast pump may be needed. Learn how to effectively help the pumping process proceed more smoothly. You can still provide your baby with breast milk during these times.
You might have decided to express milk for your baby but are unsure which method is right for you. There are plenty of reasons why, if you choose to do it, expressing milk is a useful skill to have for your new baby. It can help in medical situations that mean your baby or you is struggling to breastfeed Becker et al, Another plus of expressing is that babies learn to take a bottle or cup.