Most breastfeeding moms, whether they intend to or not, have heard about pumping. They know what it is and, in general, they know how it can benefit a supply. But other output methods, like Dr. Jane Morton's hand expression method, aren't commonly known. So what is Jane Morton hand expression and how can it help you as a breastfeeding mom?
Talk to any International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and they'll tell you that Dr. Jane Morton's work is incredibly important. IBCLC Lori Atkins of Oh Baby Lactation Care tells Romper that IBCLCs use Morton's videos and research often. Her video, available on the Stanford Medicine Newborn Nursery page, shows how early hand expression, which includes squeezing your breasts to produce milk within the first hour of giving birth, can help your milk production.
"I show her video to virtually every mom," Atkins says. "If moms understand that frequent and early hand expression after birth can make more milk days and weeks later, it's a no brainer. Hand expression should be a skill every new mom should insist on being taught in the hospital. It's as an important part of caring for mom and baby as taking a blood pressure or checking for excess bleeding. If moms and dads see there is milk available, it greatly decreases the anxiety of the ever-present worry of not having enough milk."
IBCLC Angie Natero agrees with Atkins. She tells Romper that hand expression gives moms a chance to realize they are producing milk just fine and appease some of their worries. "The happy look on their face when they see that bubble of colostrum is priceless," she says.
In an interview with the International Lactation Consultant Association, Morton said that hand expression of colostrum increases milk production, onset of lactogenesis, and breastfeeding rates. In fact, Morton noted that one study's conclusion found that the timing of the expression of colostrum is more important than previously thought. By hand expressing your colostrum soon after giving birth, within the first hour according to Morton, you can experience a greater success at breastfeeding. It's also pretty amazing to see your milk so quickly and can set you up to feel more confident as you begin nursing your child.
"I love Jane Morton's work. Hand expression is such a great tool in the early days for bringing in a good supply, is great to combat discomfort from engorgement, and is just a great tool to know so you can get milk out anytime without any other tools," IBCLC Kristen Gourley of Lactation Link tells Romper. "In addition, women need to know and be in touch with their bodies so they know when anything out of the ordinary shows up. Regular hand expression could help prevent clogged ducts or even give a heads up to breast cancer a little earlier than usual."
If you're pregnant and looking towards using hand expression, you can talk to the IBCLC in your hospital to get an understanding of Jane Morton hand expression and how it can help establish your breastfeeding success. With so many IBCLCs praising the idea behind it and implementing it with their own clients, it's more than worth giving a try.