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Hand Expressing

You might want to hand express breast milk (squeeze milk out of your breast) because:

• It can be used to help your baby attach to the breast
• It can help to prevent or relieve your breasts feeling over-full (engorgement)
• It can help to boost your milk supply
• It is great for small amounts such as your colostrum (first milk) or showing you have some milk
• It can be used to clear ducts
• It is more effective than a pump
• It’s free and you don’t need any equipment other than a clean bowl
• You need to be away from your baby, for example if they are in special care
• Your partner is going to help with feeding your baby
• Your baby can’t suck well but you still want to give them breast milk.

Remember, practice makes perfect. It can take time to learn how to hand express and in the beginning milk can come out in all directions. Relax and don’t worry!

How to express by hand:

1. Preparation - it is important to stimulate the breast by massaging, this helps the milk to flow. Spend a few minutes gently stroking the breast with the backs of your fingers or use light circular movements with your fingertips, all around the breast. Touching your nipple will also help.

2. Location - Place your finger and thumb about 2 - 3 cm away from the base of the nipple in a 'C' shape.

3. Expression - Keeping your finger and thumb opposite each other, squeeze and release without moving the position of your fingers. It may take a few minutes for the milk to flow and it will start as drips. Collect the milk in a sterilised wide rimmed container. As flow slows down, rotate fingers around the breast and repeat the process to express milk from the whole breast. Repeat the process from step 1 on the other breast. 

Watch this clip to show you how: *Click Here*

 

Who Can Help?


If you are struggling with breastfeeding take a look at our pages on Breastfeeding Basics and Positioning and Attachment.

Your Midwife or Health Visitor may have given you details of local support available already. If you have any other questions or concerns, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

We have weekly infant feeding assessment clinics across the county and trained staff who are available to help at home when needed.

If your baby is less than 28 days old you can also contact your local Midwifery team.

            

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