Hand expression is a useful tool for parents in various stages of lactation. A milk removal technique used alternatively or in combination with mechanical pumping and direct feeding at the chest, hand expression is worth learning for a variety of situations:
Techniques for hand expression
Wash your hands before beginning. You can collect your expressed milk in a bowl or wide-mouth jar. Some parents have had success expressing directly into a milk storage bag or bottle by putting a funnel in the top of the container!
Encourage a milk let-down (if you've given birth or lactation is established) by massaging your chest, interacting with your baby, looking at pictures of baby, or using a visualization technique that relaxes you and encourages oxytocin in your body.
Place your hand on your chest with your fingers under your nipple and your thumb above it, about an inch and a half away from the nipple.
Press your hand toward your chest wall.
Roll your thumb and fingers toward your nipple while maintaining pressure towards your chest wall.
Repeat this motion until milk appears, then continue in a rhythmic motion, moving your hand around your chest to drain all the ducts.
With practice, you can become an expert at the art of hand expressing!