Working mothers who have young babies will probably need to express their milk to help them obtain a continuing supply. The milk you collect while you are separated from your baby can be given to him the next day. Expressing your milk will help to stimulate the supply and avoid over-full breasts.
Hand expression for many mothers feels natural and comfortable, and the direct skin contact helps boost the milk supply. Hand expression is the most sterile method of breast milk collection and is likely to keep the milk flowing well over a long period of time.
- Make sure your hands and fingernails are clean and that the container you are using is sterile.
- Position your thumb and first two fingers about one to one-and-a-half inches behind the nipple.
- Place the thumb pad above the nipple and the finger pads below to form a “C”.
- Push straight into the chest wall, avoid spreading the fingers apart. Roll thumb and fingers forward as if making thumb and fingerprints at the same time. Repeat rhythmically; position, push, roll.
- Rotate the thumb and finger position, changing hands as necessary, to milk all the ducts.
If nothing comes at first, vary the pressure and position of your fingers until you get the knack. Don’t worry if quantities are small at first. It may take a few days for you to learn to express your milk.