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Expression by Hand

Nursing Your Best

Using Hand Expression

Using hand expression can be a valuable tool to get extra colostrum after baby is born, remove milk, and help increase your milk supply.

Before Baby

Practice gentle hand expression so it is familiar when baby arrives. Don’t worry if colostrum doesn’t come out…focus on getting used to holding your breast and the motion. This way, if baby doesn’t latch right after birth, hand expression can be used to get colostrum for your baby. Make sure not to stimulate the nipple, and only practice a small amount at a time.

Go to video on hand expression to learn and practice

This material was developed by Jane Morton, MD and produced for educational purposes only.

The Colostrum Phase

Use hand expression after feeding your infant to help increase milk supply for the long term. The more breasts are emptied the same amount each day, the greater the milk supply. Babies generally eat 8+ times in 24 hours, so hand expressing 5 times a day will help build milk supply for later!

The first hour after birth is especially important to help get milk supply and infant feeding off to its BEST start.

A Mother's Touch Breastfeeding in the first hour

© Dr. Jane Morton 2017

Go to video on breastfeeding in the first hour

© Medela

After Birth

Continue to hand express to relieve engorgement, help infant latch, to help with nipple trauma/healing, and anytime milk needs to be removed, especially if you do not have access to electricity to use a breast pump.

Visual Guide

Print these amazing handouts from Lactation Education Resources to use before and after birth.

Hand Expression Handout

English version

Hand Expression Handout

Versión Española