What is the procedure
for expressing breast milk manually
Hold your breast at the outer portion,
away from the areola (the coloured part of the nipple), using both hands.
Your hands should cup your breast, with
your fingers positioned below your breast and the thumb above.
Now squeeze the breast gently and firmly.
Repeat this procedure about ten times at different points around the breast,
but at the same level.
Now move your hands closer to the nipple
in the same cupped position and begin squeezing again. The aim is to coerce
the milk down from the milk ducts to the areola.
Next, hold your breast in one hand and
press the outer edge of the areola to express the milk. Do not squeeze
You can also express breast milk using
the palm of one hand while holding the breast in the palm of the other.
You should stop expressing milk when
it ceases to come as a jet and starts coming in drops.
What are the different
kinds of breast pumps and how do they work
Bulb or 'bicycle horn' pumps: When the bulb is squeezed, it creates
a suction effect, which draws the milk out of the breast. While these are
cheap, they are not very effective, difficult to clean (which may lead
to unsanitary milk collection), and may cause sore nipples.
Trigger-operated pumps: Every time you squeeze the trigger,
suction is created. While it requires the use of only one hand, it may
not be convenient for women who do not have large strong hands. In addition,
they are breakable, being made of glass. Another disadvantage of glass
is that nutrients from the mother's milk may adhere to a glass surface.
This does not happen with plastic.
Syringe pump: This pump has two cylinders fitted
one inside another. The inner cylinder is placed over the nipple, while
the outer cylinder is pushed in and out, creating suction. This is the
most popular breast pump. It is easy to use and clean, reasonably priced,
portable and can also be used as a feeding bottle.
Convertible manual pump: The advantage of this pump is that
it has an electrical connection and can also be used manually when electricity
is not available.
Battery operated pump: While these pumps have the advantage
of portability, they are not as powerful as electric pumps. The rate at
which the batteries have to be replaced does not make them a viable option
in terms of cost and practicality.
Electric pump: While these pumps have convenience,
speed and user-friendliness on their side, their prohibitive cost is a
stumbling block. However, if time is of the essence for the mother, then
an electric pump may be a worthwhile investment.
Any other tips for
expressing breast milk
If you are pumping your breast manually,
keep a sterilized bowl, container and a funnel handy. Wash your hands before
you begin expressing milk.
Choose a time of the day when your breasts
are fullest. You should expect to pump your breast once every three or
four hours if you need to store the milk. On an average, each collection
can take from 20 minutes to 40 minutes.
If you are using a pump, make sure that
it is sterilized. Clean it immediately after you have finished collecting
the milk. Carry a bottle brush and detergent with you if you are away from
Choose a time when you will have privacy
and will not be interrupted by doorbells, telephone calls, etc.
While you may wash your hands with soap
and water, avoid using soap, creams or ointments on your nipples.
Drink a full glass of water, juice,
soup, etc. before you begin. A warm drink may better stimulate the milk
Get yourself into a comfortable position.
Relax and unwind before you begin. Listening
to music or meditating may be a good idea.
Think about your baby, apply hot fomentation
to your nipples for five to ten minutes, take a hot shower, or massage
your breasts. All this should make it easier for the milk to come down.
An oxytocin nasal spray (only to be
used after consulting your doctor) enhances letdown reflex in case of major
Is manual pumping
better than pumping with an electrical pump
Although a breast pump is quite expensive,
if you get comfortable using it, then it is probably a more convenient
and faster option than manual pumping. However, many women have difficulty
getting used to it, even after making the initial investment. Manual
pumping is a long and tedious procedure and sometimes the amount of milk
collected does not justify the time and effort invested in the procedure.
But it still seems the most popular alternative.
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