You will need a container such as a small bowl or cup, to catch the expressed milk. If you are expressing for a premature or newborn baby, if not already sterilized, you may wish to rinse the container with boiling water and dry it with a clean paper towel. Clean bowls, washed with hand-soap or in a dishwasher, are acceptable for older babies.
Manual expression combines with the let-down to push the milk out of the breast by putting pressure on the milk ducts.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap, rinse, and dry.
- Gently massage the breast for 30 seconds or so, starting from the area closest to the ribs.
- Place your fingers and thumb opposite each other, about five centimetres (two inches) behind the nipple.
- Put the container in front of the nipple to catch the milk.
- Push the skin of the breast back toward the ribs.
- Firmly squeeze the fingers and thumb (digits) together.
- Push the digits toward the nipple.
- As you reach the nipple, continue to compress the breast until the milk stops, which might take up to five seconds.
- Repeat steps 5 -7.
- Move your fingers and thumb around the breast periodically to maximize the amount of milk.
- Once the breast is soft.
- You have the expected amount of milk.
- 20 minutes have passed.
Some mothers manually express both breasts at once. They use a large clean bowl placed on their lap or on a pillow. This is more time-effective and may produce more milk as both breasts are stimulated at the same time. Double manual expression requires leaning forward and can become uncomfortable.