Squeeze Your Boobs..Insights on Hand Expression

Do you squeeze your boobs?

 

I breastfed my daughter Cayenne for about 3 years and I never once hand expressed my milk! I didn't even know you could do that...at least not in a way that would efficiently and quickly get milk out of my breasts.

 

Boy do I wish I had known that I could replace my breast-pump with my hands when my daughter went on a breastfeeding strike while I was out of town with her. I did not have a breast pump with me. After all, I wasn't planning to pump since Cayenne would be with me 24/7. But, after several hours of not nursing my breasts were engorged and tender and leaking--raise your hand if you've been there. I squeezed them a few times to relieve the pressure enough for me to stand it...Then I found the nearest Target and bought ANOTHER pump!

 

Knowing how to effectively and efficiently hand express would have been nice since my hands: 

1) are FREE...don't cost a penny!

2) don't have several parts that are easily lost or forgotten

3) only require hot water, soap and some massage to clean

4) don't need electricity 

 

So I'm REALLY happy to share that you can in fact squeeze your boobs and get milk out of them efficiently and quickly, just by using your hands--all you need is the right technique.

 

YOU can learn the right technique and find out more about hand expression from renowned Hand Expression Educator Francie Webb, mom-preneur behind The Milkn Mama.

 

Francie was kind enough to take the time to answer my--and I hope your-- pressing questions about hand expression. After the interview are links to join her upcoming Virtual Hand Expression workshops, which I highly recommend for expectant, new and seasoned breastfeeding moms who want to be free from the pump!

 

Without further adieu, here's my interview Francie Webb... 

 

The least favorite part of my breastfeeding experience was pumping. And I hear from many moms that they also hate pumping. How does hand expression compare to pumping? Does it take less time? Does it feel more comfortable? Is it easy? Do you feel less like a cow being milked? (At least that was how I felt when I was hooked up to that thing!) 

 

For me, hand expression takes less time. This is true for a lot of mamas once they learn to hand express well. It takes time and practice to get good at it, but it's so worth. It is significantly more comfortable for me. No more machine pulling at my nipples? No more of that sound the pump makes? Sign me up. When I hand express, I feel empowered. Pumping never felt that way for me. 

 

 

When is the best time to learn to hand express?

 

The best time to learn is in the first days and weeks after baby is born. The sooner you find what moves work best for you, the sooner you will be more FREE! 

 

 

What do you see as the top 5 benefits of hand expression?

 

1. It's lower maintenance than pumping. No parts to clean. Game changer! 

2. You have so much more POWER. You can do it anywhere, anytime. You can customize the output. Feel a fuller duct? Want a better flow? You can make it happen, using the power of your own hands. 

3. It's more efficient than the pump. This is because your hands can mimic the movement of a latched baby's mouth much better than the pump can. 

4. Research shows that hand expressed milk has a higher fat content than pumped milk. 

5. No more clogged ducts! Regular hand expression can prevent milk from getting stuck. More comfort and less stress for mama is a WIN! 

 

Change is difficult, and I imagine the idea of squeezing one's breasts to release the milk is foreign and scary to moms who haven't thought about or tried it. What reasons do mamas give you for not wanting to hand express? What do you say to them? 

 

Many mamas say, "Oh, I tried that and it didn't work for me." Or, "I could never do that." I tell them that I once said the same thing. And that every mama I know who has practiced hand expression has had her life changed by it. It's worth learning to do this well. Imagine not having to schlep the pump when you're away from baby. Imagine getting some of that "extra" milk you feel after pumping out. Imagine feeling more free - less tied to the pump. It's life-changing. For these reasons and more, I say, "#gomilkyourself." 

 

 

What kind of feedback have you received from moms and families who learned to hand express?

 

Mamas say that it's made their lives so much easier, that they have so much more freedom now, and that they're so glad they know how to. hand express Some use it in moments when they don't feel like pumping; others use it in emergency situations such as a missing pump part, severe engorgement, or a hospital stay with an older child that separates them from baby. No matter the situation, mamas soon see this as a skill we should ALL have. 

 

 

Often times, people who become passionate about something do so because of personal experience. What part of your journey led to your passion about hand expression?

 

I first started hand expressing in hopes of getting some extra milk out after pumping. Then I went away from baby for the first time - and left some of my pump parts at home. I started to panic, and then thought, "Well, let's see how good I can get at this." In 24 hours, I expressed 29 ounces of breast milk. I was so proud of myself. Not too long after, I returned my rented hospital-grade pump. I haven't needed one since! 

 

 

What ONE THING do you want moms and families to know about hand expression?

 

It gives you more freedom and more POWER. 

 

Why do you think so few women hand express now-a-days? What do you know about the transition to mechanical pumps?

 

Most don't know about it! Few moms are ever taught how to hand express. Electric pumps are so common place now that many mamas don't realize they have another option for getting milk out. I'd love to study more about how our country became so pump-centric. I'm sure it's tied to the automation of so many other tasks in our culture, and certainly was designed to make our lives easier. I think electric pumps are a great choice if they make your life easier. In moments when they don't, you always have your hands. 

 

 

This might be a strange question but is hand expression something that one's partner can learn to do? I often hear about husbands/ boyfriends/girlfriends who feel left out of the breastfeeding experience. Is hand expression a way that they might be able to participate?

 

Wouldn't that be nice? I'll ask my husband and get back to you. :-) 

 

I hope you found this interview inspiring and helpful and that you want to learn to hand express for yourself. Lucky for us, Francie has a couple workshops coming up in February and March. And they are on sale, so hurry up and register! 

 

Sending Love, Light and hand expressed breast milk,

Ebeth

Make More Milk With High Calcium Foods!

 

Did you know?

 

FOODS HIGH IN CALCIUM CAN HELP MOMS MAKE MORE MILK.

 

Foods that help moms make more milk are known as galactagogues (a food or herb that supports or increases milk supply) or lactogenic (milk making). 

 

 

Many of the foods that support milk production are high in calcium.

 

 

Right now I can imagine you saying to yourself,

 

 

“Great!  I’ll start drinking plenty of milk and eating more yogurt and cheese!"

 

 

BUT WAIT!

 

 

Before you do that, READ THIS…

 

  • Dairy is the number one dietary cause of colic symptoms.  In many cases, when dairy is removed, baby’s symptoms improve within 14 days-- the amount of time it typically takes for dairy to clear the body.
  • Calcium is better absorbed when it comes from plant sources, according to Dr Joel Fuhrman and other plant based-nutrition experts.
  • Dairy products can cause cradle cap and eczema to flare up or become more severe

 

 

WHAT CAN MOMS EAT INSTEAD OF DAIRY TO BOOST CALCIUM?

 

 

Here are 5 delicious calcium rich foods. 

FYI:

All calcium data comes from the 2012 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium for breastfeeding moms is 1000mg/day.

One cup of cow milk has about 300mg of calcium.

 

 

Blackstrap molasses:

Found in the same place as honey at the grocery, 1 tablespoon contains 20% of the RDA for calcium.  Drizzle it on your morning oatmeal or make a tea by stirring 2 teaspoons into 1 cup of hot water then add a squeeze of lemon.

 

 

Collard greens:

 

This leafy green is a calcium powerhouse. One cooked cup contains 357 milligrams. Saute it with ginger or garlic (or both!).  Finish with a splash of low sodium soy sauce, serve it up over brown rice and you’ve got dinner--or lunch!

 

 

Figs:

Just 4 pieces of this sweet fruit contains 124 milligrams of calcium.  Try slicing them on toast with almond butter or saute them with greens for a sweet and savory treat.

 

 

Soybeans (organic):

One cup of boiled soybeans has 261 milligrams of calcium.  Add them to soups and stir-fries or eat them on the go--just throw them into your diaper bag.

 

 

Turnip Greens:

 

One cooked cup of this delightfully peppery green provides 249 milligrams of calcium.  Saute them with onions and vegetable stock and serve them over spelt pasta with a side of roasted mushrooms…YUM!

 

 

WHAT CAN MOMS EAT & DRINK INSTEAD OF DAIRY MILK & CHEESE?

 

 

I’m happy to tell you there are lots of dairy-free milk and cheese products on the market…several of them are even healthful, delicious AND lactogenic.

 

For milk I like almond, oat, hemp and rice milks because they are all galactagogues.  These milks can be made at home or store-bought. 

 

Here's a link to my video on how to make homemade hemp milk.

 

 

As for cheese, my favorite is a brand called Kite Hill (www.kite-hill.com).

 

Using old world cheese making techniques, Kite Hill turns almonds--which by the way are the most milk making nut (what luck!) -- water, cultures and salt into delicious dairy-free "cheeses" that are amazingly like their cow-milk cousins.

 

I should know, I've tried them all!

 

 

And, I recently discovered they make almond-cheese filled ravioli!  YEAH!!  I haven't tried them yet, but you can bet that I will...soon.

 

 

OK, that's all for now. 

 

 

I hope this post was helpful.  Thanks for reading through to the end.

 

 

Stay tuned for the next tip. And remember to use the "like"  and " share"buttons below if you found this email useful a

nd you want to tell the world!  I won't mind.

 

 

Sending Love, Light and Boobie Milk

Ebeth

Breastfeeding Chef

 

P.S Have you gotten your FREE copy of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Food List?  If not, click here and get your FREE download TODAY!

Honoring Your Mama Light Instinct

 

 

Your Mama Light Instinct is your best guide on what to do with your baby.  Feel free to gather information with an OPEN mind.  LISTEN to your elders and those who have been through it before. Seek knowledge from those you trust.  Receive those "random" offerings of information from strangers and those you don’t know well--they may tell you exactly what you needed to hear. 

 

At the same time, let go of the idea that you are obligated to incorporate everything you gather into your own life (even the things I share on my page :-)) because you don't have to.  After you gather new insights, I encourage you to sit with them, try them on see how they look and feel on you, decide if they resonate with you. If necessary gather more information to help you further analyze.  As you ponder, check your ego at the door and let your Mama Light, True Self and Inner Compass guide you. Then transfer whatever Golden Nuggets work for you into your Life's Guiding Portfolio.  Then simply discard and leave behind whatever things don’t work for you. 

 

Remember all the while that you can, at any time, change your mind.  As you experience the Practice of Life, you may discover that something you let go of, you actually need.  Or that something you kept, doesn’t serve you well. When this happens, it's not the end of the world.  In fact it is wonderful because it shows your ability to be flexible and responsive as you gather information and form your Mama Worldview—I’m sure you’ve already noticed how much the world has changed since you became a momJ. It's just the beginning of a new perspective on the path you are creating. With this in mind go forth and Mother, Breastfeed, co-sleep, attachment parent, crib sleep, no-cry sleep, baby lead your solids or puree them…in short do whatever it is your Mama Light Instinct summons you to do.

 

 Love, Light and Boobie Milk--Ebeth

 

Nursing Bras That Fit by Ashley Siddell (www.petitemaman.co.uk)

I have always struggled to find bras to fit my 34AA boobs, and when I became pregnant in 2011 I knew that it would be a mission trying to find nursing bras. With people constantly telling me that your boobs go up at last 2 cup sizes when you have a baby I was hopeful but not entirely surprised when I barely grew into an A cup by the end of my pregnancy!

 

I spent a lot of time online, trying to research suppliers that make smaller sized nursing bras and found a fantastic manufacturer that would offer me samples on a wholesale basis. That’s when the idea for Petite Maman started to take shape. I received my first sample bra by airmail from a specialist international manufacturer just days before my due date! Finally, I had found nursing lingerie that was great quality, beautiful and most importantly suited my figure. Road testing began when my baby boy arrived and I was so impressed with the bras that I wanted to make them available to other petite mums!

 

Breastfeeding itself threw up a lot more challenges, and due to my small size (and excessive blood loss at the birth) I often wondered if I was making enough milk for my increasingly hungry baby. I tried pumping but barely got more than a ½ ounce at a time and didn’t know if this was a good indicator of the amount of milk my son was getting or not! At one point after airing my concerns to a health visitor I was told that ‘I just would’ make enough milk but never felt convinced or supported in how I might increase my milk supply. Eventually I ended up combination feeding and while my little boy now thrives, I am disappointed that I couldn’t breastfeed him for longer. I would have loved to have been more educated by someone like Ebeth to help me feel more empowered and in control of my body!

 

In my experience, when it comes to breastfeeding there can be enough obstacles to overcome without having an ill-fitting, ghastly nursing bra to contend with as well. I think all mums have a right to feel comfortable and beautiful in a bra that fits well while embarking on the journey of breastfeeding for the first time.

 

To all the small-busted mamas out there I am pleased to offer these A and B cup bras to help you become the 'Yummy Mummy' you were born to be!

 

 

Middle of the Night Boobie Magic

 

Middle of the night feedings are by far my favorite.  They make apparent a level of connectivity and synergy between my daughter and I that I feel in few other moments.  Middle of the night feeding are unique in large part because they begin in the realm of sleep.  One moment, I’m laying down, breathing heavily watching my dreams, the next minute open my eyes and I know my girl’s hungry.  A quick check-in with my breasts and indeed at least one if not both are leaking.

I check in with my little one and she has indeed begun what I call her middle-of -the –night- feed -me-jig.   I call it a jig because lately she doesn’t cry for milkat night;  she does a little jig: her arms and legs flail about often, by the way, making contact with some part of my body (I choose not to say “hit” because of course my dear daughter would not “hit” me).  Her head twists from side to side and if she isn’t already next to my full breasts she finds her way there. She makes little grunting sounds. Then in darkness, her eyes closed, mine open watching her, we use our instincts to connect.  Her mouth opens and latches on.  One of her arms wraps around my breast.  Her breathing slows and becomes rhythmic.  I hear the gentle sound of her swallows.  After a while we fall asleep, her lips still clinging to my nipple until eventually it slips out.  I awaken as the cool air hits my newly exposed nipple and see she has turned her head away, satisfied and asleep.

 

I’m able to enjoy these middle of the night feedings because I allow my daughter to sleep in bed with me.  A choice I know many mothers are afraid to make  for fear of rolling over onto their child.  But for me the choice just makes sense…really it just FEELS right.  She spent the better part of a year inside of my body. So, now being close to me is a comfort for her, and for me.   If she slept outside of my bed these middle of the night feedings might loose some of their magic in the shuffle: 

hear her cry for me...get up out of bed...walk over to her...pick her up...put her on my breast...burp her...get her to go back to sleep...put her back down where she came from...pray she doesn't wake up…walk back to bed.. .get myself back to sleep…repeat when she wakes up again.  This for me is too much work, especially in the middle of the night. 

 

Plus, deep connections and relaxation occur when sharing the bed with someone you love.  The heat of their body, the sound of their breathing, the synchronicity of night time movements so much like dance.  It is restorative.  It is nurturing.  It is the epitome of trust.  So I choose to sleep with my daughter and share magical middle of the night moments with her.

How do you handle nightime feeding?  Do you feel the magic?

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