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Hand expression to remove breast milk from your breast has been used by generations of women and throughout many different cultures. Knowing how to effectively hand express your milk from your breast can be extremely helpful if you ever experience engorgement, plugged ducts, or are separated from your baby in cases of emergencies in which there is no power. In addition, many women find that hand expressing after pumping can help fully empty the breast even more.
To begin hand expressing - make sure to wash your hands well and find a clean collection container with a wide mouth, such as a cereal bowl. Using warm hands, gently massage and knead your entire breast with one or both hands. This will help stimulate your milk letdown and ready your breast for hand expression. Leaning forward to help gravity assist you, you can then place your thumb on top of your breast with your fingers below and apply steady pressure into your breast towards your chest wall. You may need to shift your hand closer to your nipple or further from your nipple if no milk comes out. Once the milk starts flowing from your nipple, repeat this gesture until your breast feels empty. If you are trying to empty a full breast using hand expression, the process can take about 20-30 minutes.
For a great video tutorial, please view this YouTube video.
Looking for a supplement to boost your milk supply? Head to our Guide to find the best fit for your breastfeeding journey.