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How to hand express breast milk

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Getting started

  • Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them well.
  • Find a comfortable private place.
  • Have a glass of water handy.
  • Think about your baby as it can help to stimulate the let-down and help the milk start to flow.

Step 1

Massage your whole breast working towards the nipple.

Step 2

Place your thumb and forefingers in a C shape on your breast, about 2cms behind your nipple.

Step 3

Gently press the thumb and forefinger back into the breast tissue.

Step 4

Then press the thumb and forefinger toward each other to compress the ducts and help move the milk out of the nipple.

Step 5

Use a clean, sterilised container, bowl or bottle to collect your breast milk.

Step 6

Rotate the position of your fingers/thumb on your breast and repeat the process until your breast is empty.

Step 7

Repeat the entire process on your other breast.

For help and advice on feeding your baby contact your midwife, maternal child health nurse, a registered lactation consultant or the Australian Breastfeeding Association on 1800 686 268.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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