How to Hand Express

Hand expressing is a helpful exercise for expressing colostrum in the early days, stimulating your milk production and increasing your supply, or to relieve full or engorged breasts.


  • Begin by washing your hands.
  • You can use any clean, sterilised container, such as a small cup. If you’re planning to give the milk to your baby immediately, you might like to express it onto a teaspoon.
  • Get into a comfy position and try to relax to help the milk flow.
  • Massage or shake your breasts before you start expressing to encourage the flow of milk.
  • Cup your thumb and fingers around your breast in a C shape, away from your nipple, back behind your areola.
  • Press your thumb and fingers back into your chest.
  • Compress your breast between your thumb and fingers, rolling them forward towards your nipple with slow, steady pressure. Avoid dragging your fingers over the skin.

  • Release the pressure and continually repeat steps six and seven again to build up a rhythm.

  • You may not get any or much milk at first but with time and practice your drops will become free flowing milk.

  • When the flow slows or stops, reposition your hand to compress the other milk ducts and repeat until the breast is drained.