I gave birth to my daughter 6 days ago and my mature milk has come in. A friend told me to pump but I don’t have a pump. Is there another option?
Yes, you do have options. You don’t have to own a pump in order to breastfeed! Pumping too much too soon can damage delicate breast tissue. Engorgement is when your breasts are overly full with too much milk. This is a very normal stage when you are starting your breastfeeding journey. It can last a few weeks.
During the first few weeks, spend a lot of skin to skin time with your baby and feed on demand.
You can also use a gentle option called hand expression to lessen engorgement. For some mothers, hand expression takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it may be more effective than pumping. Hand expression is more than just pinching the nipple.
The first step is to use your thumb and index finger to form a “C” around the outside of your areola (the dark skin around your nipple) with your nipple in between. Apply steady pressure with your thumb and index finger straight into your breast (pushing straight back toward your chest/ ribcage). With your fingers pressed into your breast, gently squeeze your thumb and index finger together. You will not be squeezing your nipple but rather the area around your areola. Then relax your fingers. There is no need to remove your fingers until you are done expressing. Continue the ‘Press > Compress > Relax’ process until you are comfortable or until your nipple is softened enough to latch baby on.
Latching your baby to feed frequently is the best option for relieving engorgement, but learning how to hand express is a helpful tool.