How Do You Manually Express?
There are a number of different techniques for manually expressing milk by hand. One way of doing this is as follows:
- Create a c-shape with your hand, with the thumb on top. Your fingers should be 1 to 1.5 inches behind the nipple. Keep your fingers together to avoid cupping the breast and apply gentle pressure with your thumb on top of the breast, pressing straight back against the chest.
- Roll your thumb and fingers towards the nipple while pushing against the chest. Work around the entire breast. It may be helpful for you to use both hands.
- Continue pressing inward and rolling the fingers over the breast tissue. It may be necessary to apply pressure closer to or further away from your nipple to find the right area.
Possible Complications of Breast Engorgement
Women who have frequent breast engorgement are at an increased risk for mastitis (an infection of the breast) or plugged milk ducts due to increased pressure in the breast. Both of these conditions could result in a fever and plenty of pain.
Breast engorgement can also cause:
- Feeding problems or slow weight gain if your baby is unable to latch on to your engorged breast(s)
- Sore nipples due to your baby's inability to latch on completely to an overly filled breast
- Damage to the milk-producing cells, which may, in turn, cause an overall decrease in milk supply.