The Power of Hand Expression: 7 Benefits of Hand Expression Post Delivery

By Bailey Lawson

December 23, 2019

Whether you are expecting and preparing for your birth or have just delivered your sweet little babe……Congratulations Mama!  

After you have finished the marathon of labour, your focus will most likely be on healing yourself and feeding your baby. Remember that breastfeeding is a learned skill that requires a lot of patience and sometimes hard work. Try not to get too stressed over it and learn as you go. Remember that both you AND your baby are learning this new skill. Make sure to ask questions and ask for help when you need it. Set yourself up for success early. 

One way to set yourself up for success is to begin hand expressing following your delivery. Postpartum Hand expression can be a game-changer for your breastfeeding and postpartum journey. Not only has hand expression shown to boost your supply, but it can also have many positive effects on your mental and physical health. 

Here are 7 Benefits of Hand Expression Post Delivery: 

  1. Stimulates your Milk Production. Studies have shown that hand expression works better to build milk supply in the first 24 hours than pumping. Frequent milk removal is the key to stimulating and maintaining your milk production. 
  2. Empties the Breast-Frequent emptying of the breasts relieves engorgement and prevents mastitis. 
  3. Encourages you to get comfortable handling your breasts-Studies have shown the more comfortable a woman is with her breasts the better breastfeeding will go. Hand expression can take some practice, but the more you do the more comfortable and confident you will be at it. 
  4. Rests your nipples- Nipple pain during the first few days postpartum is common. One way to give your nipples a break is to hand express and save every drop of your colostrum to feed to your baby. 
  5. Is Convenient, Easy & Affordable- Hand expression requires no extra equipment/pumps, has zero cost, and can be done anywhere and anytime. 
  6. Builds a stash of colostrum which allows you to have extra available for your baby if he or she needs supplementation. 
  7. Provides your baby with breastmilk even if you are not planning on breastfeeding- Research continues to show just how beneficial colostrum is to your babe. Even if you plan on bottle-feeding, you can hand express colostrum during the first few days postpartum and feed to your little one. 

HOW DO I HAND EXPRESS?

  • Always wash hands before starting.
  • Have a clean collection container ready to go. (medicine cup, jar, bowl)
  • Sit up, lean slightly forward.
  • Massage your breast in a circular motion from the base to the nipple.
  • Gently press pointer finger and your thumb towards your chest wall, press together and hold for a few seconds. Think of your hand making a “C” pressing back and in, holding, and release. Repeat as you work around the breast.
  • Collect any colostrum into a syringe. Use a clean syringe every time.
  • Label with date and time. Your colostrum can be stored in the freezer for 3 months and up to 6 months in the deep freeze.

Below is a video of how to hand express if you’re more of a visual learner!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbGA4t173R8

A Mama Coach in your area would be happy to come to your home and support you with your feeding goals, no matter what they are! 

Preparing for your birth? Did you know after 36weeks gestation and consulting with your healthcare provider you can practice antenatal hand expression. To learn more about that reach out to your local Mama Coach and ask about our antenatal package

 

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