Antenatal hand expression | United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Copy the link

Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to the wonderful world of antenatal hand expression, a technique aimed at helping expectant mothers prepare for breastfeeding. Developed by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, this video provides a step-by-step guide on how to effectively express colostrum during pregnancy, which can be stored for later use to ensure a smooth breastfeeding journey for both mother and baby.

As a mother myself, I understand the importance of breastfeeding and the challenges that can come with it. That’s why I am so excited to share this invaluable resource with all of you, in the hopes that it will empower more women to embrace breastfeeding and provide the best possible start for their little ones.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of antenatal hand expression and discover how this simple yet powerful technique can make a world of difference for both you and your baby.

The Benefits of Antenatal Hand Expression

Before we delve into the practicalities of hand expression, let’s first explore why this technique is so beneficial for expectant mothers. Antenatal hand expression has been shown to have numerous advantages, including:

  1. Promoting lactation: By practicing hand expression during pregnancy, you can stimulate the production of colostrum, the nutrient-rich first milk that is essential for your baby’s early development.
  2. Building confidence: Learning how to hand express before your baby arrives can help you feel more comfortable and confident with the process, making breastfeeding less daunting when the time comes.
  3. Providing a backup plan: Having a store of expressed colostrum can be incredibly useful in case you encounter any difficulties with breastfeeding after birth, such as latch issues or low milk supply.
  4. Promoting bonding: The act of hand expressing can be a calming and intimate experience that allows you to connect with your baby even before they are born.

These are just a few of the many benefits that antenatal hand expression can offer, making it a valuable practice for all expectant mothers to explore.

How to Hand Express Antenatally

Now that we understand the benefits of antenatal hand expression, let’s dive into the practicalities of how to actually perform this technique. In the video created by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, you will be guided through a simple step-by-step process that breaks down the hand expression method into easy-to-follow instructions.

Here is a brief overview of the key steps involved in antenatal hand expression:

  1. Wash your hands: Before you begin, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to ensure that you are working in a clean and hygienic environment.
  2. Find a comfortable position: Sit in a relaxed and supported position, making sure that you have easy access to your breasts.
  3. Massage your breast: Start by gently massaging your breast to stimulate milk flow and bring colostrum to the surface.
  4. Apply pressure: Using your thumb and forefinger, gently compress your breast around the areola to express the colostrum. You may need to experiment with different hand positions and pressures to find what works best for you.
  5. Express into a sterile container: As the colostrum is released, collect it in a sterile container or syringe for storage. Be sure to label and date the container for future reference.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively hand express colostrum antenatally and build a valuable reserve for your breastfeeding journey.

Tips for Success

While hand expression may seem straightforward, it can take some practice to master the technique and achieve optimal results. Here are a few tips to help you succeed with antenatal hand expression:

  1. Be patient: It may take some time for the colostrum to flow, so be patient and persistent in your efforts.
  2. Experiment with technique: Try different hand positions and pressures to find what works best for you and maximizes milk flow.
  3. Stay relaxed: Creating a calm and comfortable environment can help you relax and facilitate milk let-down.
  4. Seek support: If you are struggling with hand expression, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group for guidance.

Remember, every mother’s experience with hand expression is unique, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to master the technique. With practice and perseverance, you will be able to build a valuable reserve of colostrum that can support your breastfeeding journey.


As we come to the end of our exploration of antenatal hand expression, I hope you have gained a deeper understanding of this valuable technique and its potential benefits for expectant mothers. By incorporating hand expression into your prenatal routine, you can prepare yourself for a successful breastfeeding journey and provide the best possible start for your baby.

I encourage you to watch the video created by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and begin practicing antenatal hand expression to experience the many advantages it offers. With patience, perseverance, and support, you can unlock the power of hand expression and set yourself up for breastfeeding success.

Thank you for joining me on this journey into the world of antenatal hand expression. I wish you all the best as you embark on this empowering and rewarding practice, and I hope it leads to a fulfilling breastfeeding experience for you and your little one. Happy expressing!