Whichever way you choose, when you express your milk it may take a minute or two to start flowing. Milk can be continuously expressed from one breast only for a few minutes before the supply slows down or appears to stop. Milk should then be expressed from the other breast, then go back to the first breast and start again – about ten minutes on each breast altogether. Keep changing breasts until the milk stops or drips very slowly.
When expressing, you can encourage your breast milk to flow by trying some of the following.
This is a free and convenient way of expressing milk and is particularly useful if you need to relieve an uncomfortable breast. These instructions are a guide but the best way to learn is to practise so that you find what works best for you. With practice it is possible to express from both breasts at the same time.
Each breast is divided into around 15 sections, each with its own milk ducts. It is from these ducts that you express the milk. It is important that you rotate your fingers around the breast to ensure that milk is expressed from all the lobes.
1. Place your index finger under the breast at the edge of the areola, and your thumb on top of the breast opposite the index finger. You may be able to feel the milk ducts under the skin. If your areola is small, you may need to move your fingers away from the edge of the areola. Your other fingers can
be used to support the breast.
2. Keeping your finger and thumb in the same places on your skin, gently press backwards towards the chest wall. Press your thumb and finger
towards each other, moving the milk towards the nipple.
3. You should not squeeze the nipple, as this is not effective and could be painful. Be careful not to slide your fingers along the breast as this can
damage the delicate breast tissue.
4. Release the pressure to allow the ducts to refill.
5. Repeat steps 2 and 4.
For further information and support, please contact:
La Leche League in Ireland www.lalecheleagueireland.com
Cuidiú Irish Childbirth Trust www.cuidiu-ict.ie
HSE Breastfeeding Support Network www.breastfeeding.ie
Friends of Breastfeeding www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie
FOI Publication Scheme
Maternal Fetal Medicine
Friends of Rotunda
Rotunda Private Clinics
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