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Video:The Marmet Hand Expression Technique

with Melissa Nagin

The Marmet technique of expressing breast milk with your hand is a fabulous alternative to using a breast pump. In fact, nothing can mimic the action of a breastfeeding baby better than you own fingers. Watch how it's done!See Transcript

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Transcript:The Marmet Hand Expression Technique

Hi! I'm Melissa Nagin for About.com. The Marmet Technique of expressing breast milk with your hand is a fabulous alternative to using a breast pump. In fact, nothing can mimic the action of a breastfeeding baby better than you own fingers. Watch how it's done!

Hand Expression Position

First, position the thumb above the nipple and your first two fingers below the nipple, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the nipple. The fingers don't have to be at the outer edges of the areola, the darkened area surrounding the nipple. Use this measurement as a guide, since breasts and areolas vary in size from one woman to another.

Be sure the hand forms the letter "C" and the finger pads are at 6 and 12 o'clock in line with the nipple. Avoid cupping the breast.

Express the Breast Milk

Next, push straight in to the chest wall. Avoid spreading the fingers apart. For large breasts, first lift, and then push in to the chest wall.

Roll the thumb and fingers forward at the same time. This rolling motion compresses and empties the area where the milk is stored without injuring sensitive breast tissue. Repeat this process rhythmically to completely drain reservoirs.
Position, push, roll
Position, push, roll

Then, rotate the thumb and fingers to milk other reservoirs, using both hands on each breast. You can expect that your milk will let-down within 3 to 5 minutes.

Hand Expression Tips

Here are some tips to make this process gentle on your breasts. Do not squeeze the breast, as this can cause bruising. Instead, hold and push gently. Sliding hands over the breast may cause painful skin burns. Try not to do so. Avoid pulling the nipple as that may lead to tissue damage.

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