Expressing Milk: Everything You Wanted to Know

Breast milk is the first food that babies take in after birth. The milk is nutritious enough to allow a baby to grow and survive taking nothing else but breast milk alone. Also, breastfeeding is one of the moments wherein a mother can show true maternal love. Some experts say that a child who was breastfed develops a closer bond with her mother than those who were not. In any case, breast milk and breastfeeding are very important elements in rearing a child.

Every mother should know that when feeding a child with breast milk, it is not enough that she will just squeeze her breasts in any manner. This is because improper ways of squeezing the breasts may cause prolonged pain later or it may cause only a little discharge of milk. The proper way of squeezing one’s breasts during breastfeeding is known as expressing.

Expressing milk is done either by hand or with the help of a manual or electric pump. Expressing offers another benefit in that the milk can be stored in a container and be given to the baby later, much in the same manner that other women do with milk substitutes.

Benefits of Expressing Milk

* Expressing milk is very important especially for mothers who are working or those who have a very hectic schedule. For example, a mother may be away from her baby for a time and being health conscious, would not give her child anything but breast milk. In this case, expressing milk is significant because it allows such mothers to feed their babies anytime without the hassle associated with preparing milk substitutes. This way, the baby can still obtain the needed nutrients, even though it may not be the mother feeding the child.

* Another benefit of expressing milk is that it releases some of the air in the breasts that may be causing pressure. Once the air is released, the breasts will be allowed to process more milk, filling the breasts. In this case, it allows the baby to breastfeed for a lot longer even though you cannot do so especially when you are taking medications that may be harmful to the baby.

What Are the Ways to Express Milk?

* The best, common, and most efficient way is to squeeze through the hands. This is inexpensive because it does not require any equipment to assist in the release of milk. On the other hand, the process is time consuming. However, most mothers will not mind this as they know that in effect, they are also giving some sort of massage to their breasts. When using the hands, place the thumb about 5 centimeters away from the nipple and the rest of the fingers beneath it to form a C on the lower hemisphere that surrounds the nipple. Afterwards, start to squeeze in a circular motion.

* Another way to express milk is by using electric or manual pumps. To do this, one will need to place a suction cup over the nipple to extract the milk.

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