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  • Breastfeeding Moms, Here Are 5 Benefits Of Hand-Expressing Your Milk

    Moms in our Smart Parenting Village also share their experiences with hand-expressing.
    by Kate Borbon .
Breastfeeding Moms, Here Are 5 Benefits Of Hand-Expressing Your Milk
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure your baby gets all the nutrition he needs. While some benefit from using tools like pumps, some find it more helpful to hand-express their milk. Below, learn about some of the benefits of hand-expressing.

    5 benefits of hand-expressing breast milk

    1. It can help improve your milk supply.

    Moms in our Smart Parenting Village Facebook group shared that hand-expressing helped boost their milk supply. Mom Teza Caro writes, “Kasi mas effective daw siya maka-drain ng milk kesa sa electric pump. Pag nag-drain ang milk, mag-re-replenish ulit agad ang boobies so dadami ang supply. [Tinry] ko and true naman talaga.”

    Lactation counselor Sylvia Malabanan agrees with this. In an email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, she says, “I have met many mothers who prefer hand expression because they actually finish expression times earlier or are able to extract more with their hands rather than pumps.” This might be because the skin-to-skin contact stimulates the let-down reflex, La Leche League explains. (Click here for how to hand-express milk.)

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    2. It can relieve your engorgement.

    According to a Smart Parenting article, engorgement can happen when “enough milk is not removed because of skipped feeding or limited feeding time.” Pregnancy Birth & Baby says this can also happen when the breast tissue becomes overfilled with milk, blood, and other fluids, causing the breasts “to feel very full, to become hard and painful and your nipples to appear flattened and tight.”

    Malabanan says hand-expressing is less likely to cause engorgement — something that some SPV moms said they experienced. Mom Clariz Pascual-Zarraga writes that she hand-expresses when she needs to relieve her breasts or wants to soften her engorged breasts. She adds that her pump doesn’t respond to engorged breasts, so she hand-expresses instead.

    Malabanan adds that hand-expressing is recommended because “mothers control the pressure and are less likely to damage breast or nipple tissue (pumps can be more forceful or can be incorrectly or can have badly fitted flanges).”

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    3. It can help remove colostrum.

    La Leche League International says that, according to research, hand-expressing is more effective at removing milk during the first days after birth, when colostrum is thick and the mom’s breasts are swollen. “Pumping colostrum leaves only sprays on the side of the bottle that are hard to give to the baby, but hand expression into a spoon saves every drop.”

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    4. It can help unclog your milk ducts.

    Clogged or blocked ducts can make breastfeeding tough. Mom Gelee Bania Maligues, who is about to end her maternity leave, shares that she now prefers hand-expressing. “Mas marami yung nakukuha, mas less trabaho sa paghuhugas at hindi na ko nagkakaroon ng clogged ducts,” she explains.

    Milk ducts can get clogged if you’re unable to drain your milk completely or if you skip pumping sessions. A symptom of this is a hard, painful lump on your breast that is sore to the touch. (Click here for how to solve this common breastfeeding problem.)

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    5. It’s free!

    Malabanan says many local breastfeeding experts consider hand-expressing a “superior way of extracting breast milk” because it “does not require electricity or parts. A bowl can be used to catch the milk.”

    Hand-expressing could also be a great alternative for moms who don’t have pumps or don’t have the energy to clean their pumps. Mom Karen Joy Uypala, another member of SPV, shares that she could not afford to purchase a breast pump and that she couldn’t produce any milk after using a borrowed her relative’s electric pump, so she decided to hand-express — and it worked very well for her!

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