Why should you know how to hand express your milk??
1. Expressing drops of your colostrum while trying to latch can encourage your baby to open their mouth wider, making for easier latching. It also gives them immediate reward for their effort, so they’re more likely to continue sucking which will encourage even more milk flow, more reward, more effort. ?
2. Collecting extra milk can offer extra nutrition and hydration between breastfeeding sessions or even in place of a session where baby is too sleepy! Early milk especially doesn’t flow as readily with a breast pump so collecting drops of your colostrum into a spoon or medicine cup is a great alternative. Adding this to your routine can prevent excess weight loss, keep jaundice at bay, increase diaper output, and lead to breastfeeding success.
3. Sometimes you just need a little extra relief when that mature milk comes surging in. Rather than pumping, which could come with some areola swelling or eventually an oversupply, hand expressing can get out some excess milk without overstimulating. (There are still other reasons you may need to pump early, but if nursing is going well just hand expression is probably just what you need)
4. The gentle massage that comes with hand expression along with the milk removal can help soften the breast and areola. This will make the nipple/areola more erect and elastic and lead to easier latching.
5. Some women have a let down like a firehose, which can cause baby to unlatch, sputter, sometimes even make choking noises. Hand expressing into a burp cloth just before latching may take off that initial burst so baby can more comfortably tolerate the flow.
Stay tuned for a video on hand expression! Don’t forget to SWIPE RIGHT to see step by step photos!
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