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Hand expressing

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, hand expressing is a useful skill to have. You may want to hand express your milk for a number of reasons including if you have a sick or pre-term baby, because your breasts are full and engorged, to help increase your milk supply or to store some milk to offer in an alternative way.

What you can do to help

Things people can do themselves at home:

  • Before you start wash your hands and ensure you have a clean container to collect the milk in.
  • Try to ensure you are feeling calm and relaxed as this will help with the ‘let down of your milk. Milk tends to flow better when you are relaxed.
  • Start by massaging the breast. This helps to stimulate your hormones ‘Oxytocin’ and helps with the milk ejection reflex (MER).
  • Make a C shape with your thumb and fingers and by starting at the nipple feel back about 2-3cm or until you feel a change in texture of the breast tissue.
  • Compress the breast between your thumb and fingers- it may take a few seconds for the milk to start to flow.
  • If there is no milk then try adjusting your fingers by moving them further forwards or backwards slightly.
  • Once the milk starts to flow keep going until the flow slows. When this happens rotate your fingers around the breast and repeat.
  • Once you have covered the whole of the first breast then you can repeat the process on the second breast.

Who can help?

If you’re worried about your child, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation. **Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays**

Need more information?


Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services: 
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust 
and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust 

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