Breast milk is the best food for your child. It contains all the nutrients your little one needs to thrive and to be healthy. This is why by knowing how to milk yourself, you will be able to give your child the best nutrition.
But just like any new mother out there, you may be wondering how to milk yourself to make sure your baby receives enough food for the day. If this is your concern, then you have come to the right place! I’m here to give you a step by step guide on how to milk yourself manually the right way.
In addition to this topic, I have included practical tips defrost, warm, and store breast milk to ensure its freshness and optimum quality before you feed your infant.
Reasons Why You Should Milk Yourself
There are many reasons why moms want to learn how to milk themselves. For instance, they are working moms who are away from their little ones several hours a day. There also moms who are not capable of sucking well, which means feeding them with breast milk in a bottle is the only viable option.
Other moms want to increase their milk supply, so they prefer to have a few bottles of breast milk available whenever their child begs for more. When breasts are engorged or painfully fully, milking can help with the discomfort.
With all of these things in mind, it should help if you know how to milk yourself to achieve the results you want that would address these concerns.
Let’s get into the different steps on how to milk yourself properly:
How to Milk Yourself - Preparation and Getting Started
One way to express or manually pump milk from your breasts is by pressing down rhythmically on your breasts. It is a little tricky but you should be able to learn eventually how it’s done. The idea is to press gently the area behind the nipple, which is the milk ducts. Don’t even attempt to just squeeze your nipple because it’s not possible to get a single drop of milk that way. Much worse, pressing your nipple will just hurt.
1. Make sure your hands are clean prior to expressing your milk.
2. Prepare a wide-mouth container or jug for your breast milk. Be sure the container is sterilized or washed well, then swirl boiling water in it to sanitize it completely.
3. To milk yourself correctly, you need to feel relaxed throughout the process. It is tough to milk yourself when you are feeling stressed or tense. Go to an area in the house that is comfortable, cozy, and relaxing - a place without any interruption or disruptions.
4. Massage your breasts and stroke them downwards, right towards your nipples. Do this motion for a minute or longer. Another thing you can do is place a warm flannel on top of your breasts for about 5 minutes prior to milking.
5. When massaging the breasts, put the pinkie finger underneath the breast, just against the ribs. Then, support your breast by spreading the other fingers quite slightly. Position the thumb on top and at least 3 cm back from your nipple’s base.
6. The idea is to create a C shape with your fingers around the breast. Since the milk will flow from deep in your breast, you need to keep the thumb and the first finger away from the nipple and just on the edge of the areola. In case your areola is large, you will have to put the fingers within this area.
7. Gently squeeze the thumb and the first finger firmly before releasing. However, make sure they remain in the similar position as before you started squeezing.
8. Build up a gentle rhythm by doing the squeeze and release pattern over and over. You may have to keep up the rhythm until you notice a few drops of breast milk at your nipple. This may take a minute or a few more to appear, so just be patient.
9. At some point during the squeeze and release motion, more or just a few drops of milk may come out. Just practice over and over until you get a nice milk flow going. Collect the milk when you see more drops of milk coming out.
10. In the case of a slow milk flow, slightly rotate the hand in a clock-face motion and squeeze different sections of the breast. Keep working around all the different areas of the breast before you switch to the other one.
11. Move your hand gently around the breast, so you can squeeze different sections and switch to one breast and onto another if you wish. Keep doing it until you have gotten as much milk as you want.
You can also check out below video to learn more
Additional Tips on How to Milk Yourself
It is possible that milk may eventually spray out the more practice you get with milking yourself. You will then have to use a funnel to collect the milk securely in the container. Just make it a point to scald and sanitize your funnel well before using it.
Continue to practice and keep going with expressing milk by hand. It is the cheapest way to do it, and you will find it rather useful for you when your baby is unwell or premature since breast milk can help him develop better.
If you want to milk more to store for later use, then you can use a breast pump. Whether it is a manual or an electric breast pump, it is much less toil compared with hand expressing milk.
How to Store, Defrost, and Warm Breast Milk
When storing breast milk, you may do so in a special storage bag for breast milk or in a regular sanitized container. You can place the container in the refrigerator for as much as 5 days as long as the temperature remains at 4 degrees Celsius. If the breast milk has been cooled right inside the refrigerator, you may carry it with ice packs in a cooling bag for a maximum of 24 hours.
Even if breast milk has been frozen, it is still a much better option for your child than formula. Defrost the milk slowly by placing the bag inside a jug with warm water or simply hold the bag or jug and pour warm water.
The same can be done when warming breast milk. Avoid placing it in a microwave oven.
It may be a little challenging to milk yourself right at the start. But with practice and by applying these techniques, you should be able to collect a good amount of milk that your baby can drink to achieve optimum health and to thrive!