Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC
“Hands on Pumping” is a technique that uses breast massage to drain the breast better and stimulate healthy milk production. Studies tell us combining hand expression and breast massage can increase milk volume by 48%. That’s a considerable amount of more liquid gold to store or give fresh to your baby! Benefits of Hands on Pumping is higher milk volumes, increased fat content, less time pumping, preventing and treating clogged ducts. Every breastfeeding mom should use Hands on Pumping because it’s simple to do and maximizes pumping sessions!
Check out this easy to follow routine to get started with Hands on Pumping:
Start with hand massage and expression! Use two fingers to gently massage around each breast in a circular motion for 3-5 min. This will begin to stimulate your first letdown.
Wear a hands-free bra and double breast pump for 15 – 20 minutes. As you’re pumping, apply pressure on both breasts. Position your hands above the flanges. Move your hands around the breast throughout your pumping session, concentrating on areas that feel full. Cup your hands and apply pressure under the breast and on the sides of your breasts with the traditional “C” hold.
Finish with hand expression or single pumping for 3-5 minutes on each breast.
Spectra IBCLC Bonus Tip – Start with the letdown mode (three-wave button) for 5 min. When milk slows down, press the three-wave button and switch to the expression mode—swapping modes when milk flow decreases is called Cycle Pumping. These settings closely mimic a newborn’s feeding pattern and can be an effective tool to make pumping more productive. Keep suction set to your comfort level. Higher suction DOES NOT mean more milk!
Instead of only relying on the pump for milk removal, use your hands in combination for more productive pumping sessions! To learn more, check out these videos on Hands on Pumping. Watch it while pumping for the best results!
Combining hand techniques with electric pumping increases milk production in mothers of pre-term infants. J Morton, JY Hall, RJ Wong, L Thairu, WE Benitz, and WD Rhine: Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA: Journal of Perinatology (2009) 29 757-764