Expressing breast milk by hand is beneficial to mothers like you once you know how to do it. You will not need any breast pumping equipment if you know how to express it using your hands, and you won’t have to worry about looking for any equipment to release the milk in order to be comfortable. If you will not express the milk, this may cause breast engorgement as well as pain in the breasts. Expressing the milk will relieve you of that pain, and this is also the practical way of doing a let-down of the milk, especially if you are going to do this for the first time.
Using the hands for expression of breast milk is also important since it is the most economical way of feeding your baby, as well as the healthiest. All you need is to learn the skill of hand expressing the breast milk in the right way. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to express breast milk using you hands:
- Prepare the container for the milk. The container must be clean so as not to spoil the milk. The milk can be used right away or be kept up to 10 hours if it is not put in a refrigerator. If the milk is kept in a refrigerator, it can last for up to one week.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. Unclean hands can contaminate your breast as well as the milk that will be expressed and may harm your baby.
- Clean your nipple gently and wipe your breast using a clean cloth so as not to contaminate the milk.
- Find a comfortable place to sit on. Make sure that your materials are within your reach.
- Using your dominant hand, place your thumb on your upper areola and the middle and index finger on the lower areola. It must form a letter “C”.
- Push your positioned hand toward your breast and squeeze your areola moderately using your positioned hand to express the milk out of your breast. Imagine that you are expressing the milk out of your breast by guiding the milk to the center and squeezing it out. Do this gently so as to avoid hurting yourself or causing bruises. Also make sure that the milk is contained in the bottle.
- Continue doing the motion on your breast and rotate your fingers around, similar to a self breast-examination.
- Stop if there is no more milk coming out of your breast.
- Do the same on your other breast. Do not pinch your nipple as this may cause pain and possible tissue damage.
The World Health Organization has approved these steps. You must remember to always wash your hands before and after hand expressing the breast milk so as to keep your baby safe. If you are trying this for the first time, do not worry if no milk will come out, as this is just normal. Just keep doing the motion as described in step number 6 and the milk will come out.