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Easy methods to Hand Categorical Breast Milk: Step-by-Step Directions

The hand expression of breast milk, additionally referred to as guide expression, is a way the place you employ your palms as an alternative of your child or a breast pump to get the breast milk out of your breasts. This talent is pretty easy to be taught and is an effective approach to know and apply whenever you start breastfeeding so that you just’ll be prepared if and whenever you want it. Learn on to learn the way at hand specific breast milk together with when it’s most useful.

Easy methods to Hand Categorical Milk

Expressing breast milk by hand is a talent that will take time and a bit apply to learn to do it correctly. You possibly can observe these steps to precise breast milk by hand. Keep in mind to have a storage bottle, cup, or bowl able to catch the expressing milk. Listed below are the step-by-step directions for hand expressing breast milk.

Step 1

Wash your palms with cleaning soap and water.

Step 2

Get into a cushty place and attempt to loosen up.

Step 3

Place a heat towel in your breasts or gently therapeutic massage your breasts for a couple of minutes earlier than you start to assist get the breast milk flowing.

Step 4

Use a photograph of your child. Your child is also close by; if not, that’s when it’s useful to have a photograph, a sound recording of your baby making sounds, or a blanket along with your child’s scent, or attempt different rest methods like music to assist stimulate your let-down reflex.

Step 5

Place your hand in your breast within the C-hold. That’s, place your thumb on the highest of your breast and your fingers beneath your breast in order that your hand is within the form of a C. Your thumb and your fingers needs to be 1 to 2 inches behind your nipple.

Step 6

Maintain a clear assortment cup or breast milk storage bottle below your breast along with your different hand in order that your nipple is instantly above it.

Step 7

Start to softly push your breast again towards your physique along with your thumb and fingers.

Step 8

Convey your thumb and fingers collectively. Then, use a rolling movement as you progress your hand ahead towards your authentic beginning place. The mild rolling movement will transfer the breast milk out of the milk ducts. Use agency however mild stress as your breast tissue is delicate and might be bruised or broken in case you are too tough.

Step 9

Lean ahead a bit bit to gather the breast milk that needs to be dripping or spraying out of your nipple. Watch out to get the breast milk into your assortment container with none of the milk touching your palms first.

Step 10

Repeat steps 7 and eight at a gradual, rhythmic tempo till there is no extra breast milk popping out or till you could have alleviated the fullness of engorgement. Should you intend to fully drain your breasts, rotate your hand to a different place across the nipple (C, U, backward C, upside-down U) to precise from all areas of the breast and start the method once more.

Step 11

Swap breasts when the movement of breast milk stops.

Step 12

Give your child the milk you expressed straight away or seal it in a breast milk assortment bag or container and retailer it to make use of at a later time.

When Hand Expression Is Useful

Chances are you’ll marvel why anybody would wish to specific their breast milk by hand after they may use a breast pump. Whereas many individuals who breastfeed use a breast pump, particularly if they should pump fairly often, hand expression continues to be a beneficial talent to be taught. This method is useful when:

A supply of electrical energy just isn’t obtainable, your pump stops working, or it wants new batteries. Another choice in these conditions is to make use of a hand-powered pump.

Your breasts are engorged and laborious proper earlier than breastfeeding, so you might specific a bit little bit of breast milk to melt them and make it simpler on your child to latch on.

Your breasts develop into full and uncomfortable whilst you’re away out of your child, and you do not have your breast pump with you.

You are amassing colostrum on your preemie or new child and since there’s solely a small quantity, you wish to get as a lot as you possibly can with out dropping any within the pump components or tubing.

Professionals and Cons of Hand Expression

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages at hand expression—and a few individuals really feel roughly comfy and environment friendly with the approach in contrast with pumping.


  • Pure and value efficient

  • No gear wanted

  • Quiet and available

  • Could be extra comfy and efficient than a breast pump


There are a number of causes to be taught hand expression and many individuals discover it useful. Some positives embrace that some individuals don’t like the sensation or sound of utilizing a machine to pump their breasts. Additionally, hand expression is all the time obtainable. It is free and no gear is required aside from a set container. Plus, if you happen to specific breast milk by hand earlier than and after utilizing a breast pump you might get extra breast milk than if you happen to solely pump.

Studying easy methods to use hand expression will help you develop into extra comfy along with your breasts and extra conscious of what is regular and never regular. Plus, it may aid you discover any adjustments in your breasts that will want consideration.


Nonetheless, regardless that it is a helpful talent, there are a couple of downsides at hand expression as nicely. One con is that it takes apply to develop into good at expressing your breast milk by hand, so you may have to speculate a bit time into studying to make use of the approach and getting comfy with it. Utilizing a breast pump could also be faster and extra environment friendly for you. Moreover, some individuals simply have hassle with hand expression and might’t get a lot or any breast milk to precise.

A Phrase From Verywell

If you’re within the hospital after the start of your child, ask your nurse or the hospital’s lactation specialist to show you easy methods to hand specific your breast milk. If you wish to be taught the approach, or you could have any questions after you allow the hospital, you possibly can contact your physician, a lactation marketing consultant, or a neighborhood breastfeeding group for help. 

Verywell Household makes use of solely high-quality sources, together with peer-reviewed research, to help the information inside our articles. Learn our editorial course of to be taught extra about how we fact-check and maintain our content material correct, dependable, and reliable.

Extra Studying

  • Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding A Information For The Medical Occupation, Seventh Version. Elsevier.

  • Ohyama M, Watabe H, Hayasaka Y. Handbook expression and electrical breast pumping within the first 48 h after supply. Pediatr Int. 2010;52(1):39-43. doi:10.1111/j.1442-200X.2009.02910.x

  • Riordan J, Wambach Ok. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, Fourth Version. Jones and Bartlett Studying.

By Donna Murray, RN, BSN

Donna Murray, RN, BSN has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers College and is a present member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing.

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