Hand Expressing Milk


Hand Expressing Milk Efficiently

Want to know how to manually express breast milk?

Hand expression, refers to when a woman manually milks the breast by hand. Some mothers find hand expressing more natural and more efficient than pumping. Others find it a little bit more challenging.

When expressing milk by hand, remember practice makes perfect.


Reasons Why Mom Might Need to Hand Express

- To express breast milk a little if your breasts are too full.

- To temp your baby onto the breast. Some milk can be hand expressed and placed on your nipple or on Baby's lips. 

- Hand expression is more comfortable for some moms, compared to pumping. 

- Some moms cannot afford a breast pump.

- Being away from your baby for a few hours. 

- To relieve engorged breasts, blocked milk ducts or other breastfeeding problems.

- If Mom’s nipples are sore and she wants to take a few hours break from breastfeeding.

- To stimulate milk production.



Hand Expressing Videos




Positioning when Expressing Breast Milk by Hand

Put your thumb above your nipple and two fingers below the nipple, your hand should form a C. Shown in videos too. 


How to Express Breast Milk with the Marmet Technique

- Push your fingers into your chest, if you have large breasts, you should first lift them and then press inward. Roll your thumb and finger forward towards the nipple to drain the milk reservoirs. Repeat this process a few times. Use both hands on each breast so that alternative reservoirs are emptied.

- Do not squeeze your breast and do not pull your nipple too hard, this can cause damage. It should not hurt. 


Improving Milk Ejection Reflex for Hand Expressing Milk

Massage your breasts, move your fingers in circular motions around the breast until you reach the areola.

- Shaking your breasts while leaning forward can also get the milk ejection reflex going.

- Taking a warm bath will help release the milk easier, you can use a warm wet facecloth for the same purpose too.

baby with bottle, bottle baby, avent bottle baby, baby with avent bottle

Read more about breast massage here.

For the best hand expression results, moms will need to improve ejection reflex as explained above, then use the expression technique and then repeat the process again. This whole process should take about 30 minutes to complete. To keep a good supply on exclusive expressing, it is recommended to express at least eight times daily.


When Manually Expressing Breast Milk

- Always use a sterilized container for the expressed milk.

- Wash your hands before expressing.

- Express while you are relaxed and have plenty of time.

- Follow safe milk storage guidelines.

- Never press your breast tissue or nipple too hard as this will damage the tissue.

- Looking at your baby or a picture of him/her will help with milk letdown.

- Massaging your breasts before-hand will stimulate a let down reflex.

- When you express breast milk by hand, you should be comfortable.



Hand expressing breast milk more frequently rather than longer periods at a time will be easier in the beginning. 


For more breast feeding help…

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with hand expression of breast milk

- Pumping exclusively

- Breast milk storage guidelines

- Alternative feeding methods

- Working and breastfeeding


* Leak-proof; strongest and largest bag available.

* Ideal for storing & freezing breastmilk.

* Convenient pour spout...

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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.