I have been trying and trying to hand express. I have read about it. I think I'm following the directions. I even try while I'm letting down/nursing. It's not working. Any suggestions?
(I am afraid of a pump. Besides they're $50.)
HAVE to start off with, "i'm no expert" but, how are you doing it? personally, i had to roll the girls all around and get sort of crazy until i found just the right hand-squeezing-rolling-tweaking sort of motion that was super effective. many hand/finger positions would not have worked, so it's all about just the right combo. i hate to liken it to this, but it's along the same lines as manual stimulation (of self OR partner) i think we are all very unique and you have to play around with the positioning to get the right ones.
It's hard. I found that I couldn't get any milk out of my nipple with my hand until DS was almost 4 months old. Then I stood in the shower and practiced squirting milk and hand expressing until I could do it fairly well.
One method would be to put index finger on one side & thumb on the other, almost like you're "cupping" it, and then push IN with regular rhythm. Yes, if you roll it around, you might get some out, but if you're trying to get out a LOT, then you need to really hit those reserves back in the ducts. And if you can FEEL that you have a lot in the sides/near the armpits, then try doing the push in with index/thumb with one hand, and just actually PUSH on the full part with the other fingers of other hand.
That being said, I have had great success with a pump. They are not scary at all. If you're trying to "stock up" on some milk, then why not use the quickest way possible - it's not like we all have tons of time on our hands. Self-expression has been very challenging for me, too - even when trying to express just an ounce or two for mixing with solids - and even when I know I am "full".
Big advocate for breathing in, calming down, drinking some water/fluid, and just relaxing to let it happen. (this helps with pumping too)
I think the hardest thing I had to get through my head was to not squeeze the breast itself. If you think about how your baby nurses, the stimulation is all right around the nipple/areola. You can massage your breast to get the milk flowing, but don't try to get the milk to come out that way. This is kind of wierd, but I tend to think of getting the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. You have to start way back and kind of push the milk forward. Just remember that your fingers shouldn't slide across your skin...trial and error has taught me that this can make you very sore. I love hand expression just because I'm not dependent on plastic (i.e., a pump) to relieve engorged breasts!
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