How to express breast milk
Breast milk pumping and storage tips include different ways on how to pump breast milk. Here’s how you can express breast milk using three different methods:
Method 1. Hand expression
Hand expression is the easiest way to express milk. Mothers can easily stimulate a letdown since hand expressions mimic skin-to-skin contact. Hand expression is usually done to carefully expel every drop of colostrum in the first few days after delivery. To do this method, you just need your hands and a couple of containers for storage.
Hand expression requires lots of practice, skills, and some getting used to. When you master hand expression, then it will become easier for you to gather milk without using a pump. Mothers, especially new moms, must know how to hand express their breast milk in case of emergencies.
How to do it
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Keep a clean and sterilized container by your side for letdown storage.
- Massage your breasts gently using your fingertips to open up milk ducts and stimulate milk flow.
- Hold your breast with one hand by placing your thumb on top of the breast and the rest of your fingers under it.
- Use your other hand to hold the container and catch the expressed milk.
- Gently squeeze your breast and release to put pressure on your milk ducts. Repeat this process until milk flow slows down.
- Avoid squeezing your nipple as it can cause soreness.
- It is best if you alternate hand expressing both breasts until milk flow from the breasts slows down.
- You can give your baby the bottle with expressed milk right away, or you can store it for future use.
Method 2. Manual breast pump
If you only need to occasionally pump your milk, then you can make use of a manual breast pump. A manual breast pump is operated by manually squeezing the lever, it comes with, to collect milk. It also comes with a breast shield and a container.
Manual breast pumps are perfect for occasional breast milk expression since its suction capability isn’t as strong as an electric pump. However, the good side of a manual breast pump is that it’s more handy and has fewer parts than an electric pump.