Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 11:05 am

In this day and age where everything is made easier, we often forget to return to the basics of what our grandmothers and great grandmothers did in order to establish successful breastfeeding.

Breast pumps can cost a fortune and with so many on the market it is easy to look past the simple truth that hand expression is just as efficient.

Why hand express?

Hand expressing milk helps with breast comfort, preventing your breasts from becoming overfull which increases the risks of engorgement and other breast issues.

Maintaining breast milk production during breastfeeding is vital and expressing is an important method to use in order to encourage the continuation of breastfeeding.

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Hand versus Pump

So why should you choose to hand express over using a pump?

Looking at the simplicity factor, your hands are always with you and expressing with your hand is often a lot gentler than using a pump.

There is also less risk of cross infection as maintaining a hygiene standard with hand expression is simplified.

Having a baby is costly and saving money on a pump can go a long way.

How long will it take to express?

The length that it takes you to express milk will depend on the reason for expressing:

  • If the goal is to get colostrum for a baby who cannot yet suckle, then it may take five to ten minutes to get just one teaspoon of colostrum.
  • If there are problems with milk production then a mother should try and express her milk for 20 minutes, six times a day or more. This works out to 100 minutes in a 24 hour period.
  • If the baby is having difficulty attaching to the breast then hand expression can be used to soften the breast by compressing a few times before feeding.
  • Using the hand is also a great way to clear a blocked duct by compressing and massaging the duct until the lump is clear.
  • If returning to work and expressing for feeds throughout the day, it is important to work out how much the baby has at each feed and express accordingly.

As with breastfeeding, hand expressing may take time before it becomes easy, but the benefits are well worth it.