Just because there are many fabulous pumps on the market, both manual and automatic, there are still plenty of reasons that every nursing mother should learn to manually express their own breastmilk by hand.
-Just in case you run out of coffee creamer and are also out of milk. I find 4 squirts for a Tall works great.
-When the carnival game water pistol is broken you can show them a thing or two- just whip it out and fill that balloon for a hard earned prize!
-Forget “pissing” contests between men! Have a breasmilk distance shooting contest with your lady friends and earn the ultimate bragging rights.
-Drop the pacifier? Squirt a little milk on the nipple and wipe it off with your shirt.
-Spot a small scale fire? Be a hero and douse it with your lady milk!
-Lubricate that squeaky sliding glass door hat has been annoying you for ages.
If you happen to think those suggestions sound a bit odd I also thought of more practical applications for hand expressing your milk.
-When you are without a pump and your breasts are engorged. Hand express over a sink/in a shower/over a toilet to relieve the pressure. You might also prevent clogged ducts or mastitis which can arise after engorgement.
-After nursing or pumping, if your nipples are sore, hand express a small amount to cover your nipples with the milk. This will help prevent then from cracking and becoming more painful.
-When your baby has a blocked tear duct or pink eye you can hand express small amount of milk into a small cup and use a sterile eye dropper to suck in the milk. Then add a drop or two into the affected eye(s) to lubricate and help begin healing. If you are adventurous you can express from the source into the baby’s eyes. I have tried and failed.
-If your baby has a diaper rash breastmilk can help. You can hand express onto the bum (as hilarious as this scene is to picture) or express into a cup then apply.
-If you are a mother to a newborn you can hand express your colostrum and cup feed your baby if they are having a difficult time latching onto your breast. Many parents (myself included) wished to avoid using a bottle in those critical first hours and opted to cup feed instead until our latch was perfected.
Hand expressing is also how I learned to understand my own anatomy and how it all works “down there.” It seems pretty straight forward to just “squeeze” however there is more to it. Just as your baby isn’t simply sucking to retrieve milk, you shouldn’t just squeeze the tip of your nipple. I’ve embedded an animated video showing the incorrect and correct way to hand express your milk. I highly recommend that all nursing mothers learn to efficiently hand express milk. You never know when you will run out of creamer or be away from your baby longer than expected without a pump.