Collecting breast milk by hand (manual expression) is one way that allows
you to feed your baby breast milk in a bottle. You may need to do this if you
are going back to work, you will be away from your baby during a feeding time,
or your baby cannot breastfeed.
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Hand (manual) expression
Hand (manual) massage and expression of breast milk is the removal
of milk from the breast using massage. Manual expression is simple and requires
little equipment. But it does not empty the breasts as completely as
breastfeeding or pumping.
To express milk manually:
Wash your hands.
breast with both hands, sliding your hands from the outer areas of your breast
toward the nipple.
Grasp the dark circle (areola) with your thumb
above and one or two fingers below. Push in toward your chest wall. Then gently
compress while rolling your fingers toward your nipple (but not on your
Rotate your fingers slightly around the areola and repeat
the massage to drain the entire breast. Collect your breast milk in a clean
container. Refrigerate or freeze the milk if you are not going to use it
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology