Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC Aug 22nd, 2022

3 Steps To Help With Hands On Pumping

3 Steps To Help With Hands On Pumping

Milky Mama’s 3 Steps to Hand Expression or Hands On Pumping

Hand Expressing or Hands On Pumping is a free and convenient way to relieve engorged breasts. You can hand express before and or after a nursing session or manual pump session. The hands-on pumping method involves using your hands to massage your breasts while you express breastmilk with a pump. Pumping can be much more effective when you combine it with breast massage and hand expression.

Physical touch is helpful for increasing milk production. Skin-to-skin contact from you and your baby helps trigger your milk letdown. This is why hands-on-pumping can help you with providing milk for your baby. By massaging the breast before and during pumping, you will help your breasts to drain more efficiently and release the fatty hind milk from the ducts.

Hand expressing is simple and gets easier with practice. We have 3 simple steps to follow to help you get started:

  1. Wash your hands and gather your clean container to collect your milk in.
  2. Relax. Drop your shoulders. Deep breaths. It’s important to be comfortable. Your milk flows better if you are warm and comfortable. Some mothers like to watch videos or look at pictures of their babies, or have a blanket or clothing that smells like their baby with them to help stimulate letdown.
  3. Gently massage your breasts with your hands and fingertips to stimulate your milk flow (let down). This is important for effective hands on expression. Bending forward with your breasts suspended means gravity can help!


How to Hand Express - the simple technique!

  • Hold your breast with your hand cupped in a C shape around the areola.
  • Without lifting your fingers or thumb, move them slowly towards your nipple, with some pressure. It should not be so much pressure that it hurts.
  • Then release by lifting your fingers up.
  • Repeat what works best for you. Hand expression should not be painful. If it is, adjust until it feels comfortable for you. Hand expression can take 20 or 30 minutes. According to La Leche League, “frequent short sessions are usually more effective than infrequent, longer expressing sessions.”


For a visual demonstration, check out this video.


Did you find this information useful? Do you have any breastfeeding tips to share? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. This is your place to get advice from our team of Milky Mama experts and seasoned breastfeeding moms. If you are needing more one-on-one help, book a call with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants here.



Photo by Eibner Saliba on Unsplash

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