hand expression Archives - Lactation Link

3 Tips to Improve Breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Uncategorized

Today I wanted to share a few breastfeeding tips that can help boost your confidence if breastfeeding is not going smoothly right away.  Some babies just take a little longer than others to master that latch-on.

1 – Make sure baby is getting needed calories.

Newborn being fed with a spoon

If baby is not latching well initially, its important to know how to express your milk and deliver it to your infant in a way that will keep your goal of breastfeeding in mind.  You can learn how to hand-express your breastmilk and deliver it to your infant on a spoon or in a medicine cup.  Since infant stomach capacity is so small in the early days, it doesn’t take much volume to get them what they need while continuing with frequent attempts at the breast.  This approach is low-tech but very effective!  Infants born as early as 30 weeks have been shown to be able to cup and spoon feed breastmilk.  If there are latch issues early on, don’t panic!  Latch can be improved over time.   A hungry baby is going to be agitated but a fed baby is going to be much more patient at mastering the new skill of breastfeeding.  I go over this in detail (audio, picture, and video tutorials) in my Breastfeeding Basics video class!

2 – Keep up frequent stimulation

Women milking self for milk production

{Nursing bra by: Simple Wishes, use code ‘LLINK’ for 20% off}

Frequent stimulation is so important!  The more frequently and the more efficiently breastmilk is removed, the higher the signal is for your body to make more!  Ideally, baby will be doing the majority of milk removal so your supply adjusts perfectly to baby’s needs.  However, if there are any latching or suck issues, you still need to be removing milk frequently.  The most efficient way to do this is by using a combination of hand expression and an electric breast pump.  There is a full video tutorial of this technique in my Pumping and Storing Breastmilk video class.

3 – Fix the issue, don’t just use a band-aid.

Lactation consultant with new mom holding baby

If you’ve incorporated the first two steps mentioned above, the baby is getting enough calories and your milk supply is protected.  Now, you can keep practicing until you and baby get it down.  Frequent attempts at the bare breast, lots of skin-to-skin, and patience can go a long way in improving latch and overall breastfeeding.

I’m always here to help support you in whatever your goals may be!  I always say, “Mama knows best!”, I’m just here to educate, give options, and encourage!  Prenatal education and postnatal support are huge indicator of success and confidence when it comes to breastfeeding.  My video classes are available for viewing from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule.  I also have e-consults that are accessible and convenient for quickly getting reliable information.  I offer in-person consultations in Utah (in-home, in-office, and at the hospital/birthing center of your choice).  Here is my upcoming in-person class schedule, including a March class in Seattle, WA.

Lactation consultant helping mom breastfeed her baby

{Nursing pillow by: Ergobaby }

I hope you enjoyed these breastfeeding tips!  Come say hi on instagram today and share your experiences.  I love getting your questions over there and many of the comments become post topics!  You can also enter the awesome “All About Her” instagram giveaway we have going on…pampering just in time for Valentine’s Day!

I also did my first Periscope broadcast this week and here’s what one of my viewers @mrsvkantro had to say about it, “Thanks for all the info on your Periscope broadcast yesterday!  Thanks to your tips I was able to get nearly 2X the breastmilk out than what I normally can during pumping!”  Periscope is a live video broadcast where you can interact and ask questions.  It’s pretty fun and informative!  If you miss the live broadcasts, you can catch replays for up to 24 hours and be alerted to my new broadcasts by downloading the app now and adding me on Periscope (username: @lindsey_shipley).  Just add me, go to my bio, and click “Broadcasts”.

I’ve created this great e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.


Thanks for coming by today!

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey Shipley - Lactation Consultant

photoshoot with mom and lactation consultant

Tuesday Tools – Hand Expression

By | Breastfeeding, Classes, Home/Hospital Visits

Recently, someone on instagram commented, “Help!  I went to go pump and nothing comes out! But if I squeeze the breast around the nipple, milk is there.  Why won’t the pump draw it out?”

These days, it seems like the only two options presented to Moms are breastfeed or pump.  The pump is a great tool in certain instances.  However, it only applies suction!  It’s missing the positive pressure component of the baby’s jaw moving up and down when latched.  That’s why it’s so important to incorporate hands.  Many women who don’t respond well to the pump alone do much better when they start using hand expression.  I believe all breastfeeding Moms need to know this skill – that’s why I teach it in all my classes and consultations .  It can be done alone or in a technique called ‘hands-on pumping’ (full video tutorial in my Pumping and Storing Breastmilk class).  Here is a short clip of how to perform hand expression, either alone or with a helper.  Remember, PUSH+PRESS+RELAX.  PUSH against your chest wall, PRESS your fingers together, and RELAX your hand.

I hope this helps!  More great tips and video tutorials in my video classes.  I also have in-person consults and e-consults available to help prepare and support you in your goals, whatever they may be.  I also have some in-person classes coming up in Highland, UT.  If you’d like me to come to your area, email me!  Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter for more tips and exclusive promos from me and my clients’ favorite products.

Thanks for coming by today,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey head shot white jacket

top 5 tips for dealing with engorgement

Top 5 Tips for Engorgement

By | Classes, Features, Home/Hospital Visits

Recently in my home visits, classes, and online forum, I’ve had several questions on engorgement.

@sykesbriana asked me,

“Any tips to get through the engorgement period? Mine seems to last longer than most and I’m curious if I’m missing something that can provide relief.”

Look no further, Briana…I hope this post provides some relief!

Top 5 Tips for Engorgement

1. Ensure a proper latch.  Sometimes new or expectant Moms wonder why I spend so much time going over latch in my Breastfeeding Basics class.  Having a proper latch is what ensures milk is being removed.  If you are trying to breastfeed frequently as recommended, but the latch is poor and milk isn’t being removed, it makes engorgement worse!  Also, when breastmilk stays in the breast too long (due to an improper latch), you become susceptible to something called milk stasis, which leads to the M word (mastitis).

baby being breastfed

2. Feed frequently.  Sometimes infants have difficulty latching during engorgement because the breast tissue gets pulled tightly and may even shorten the nipple temporarily.  Feeding every 2-3 hours or sooner helps release the pressure surrounding the breast and enable easier latching.

3. Use Hot/Cold.  One of my favorite things to recommend to Moms for use during engorgement are Lillemer breast comfort packs (use code ‘LLINK’ for 10% off).  They are infused with lavender and flax seed and can be heated or cooled!  I recommend using them for heat for 10-20 minutes before a feeding.  Some Moms have found the warmth to be pain relieving.  Before latching for a feed, throw the packs in the freezer.  After the breastfeeding session is complete, place the cooled comfort packs in your bra (use code ‘LLINK’ for 20% off) for a max of 20 minutes.  Doing this before and after every feed can relieve some discomfort.

Are you dealing with painful breast engorgement? Lactation Link's lactation consultant offers some of the best tips on how to relieve…

4. Many Moms find ibuprofen to be helpful.  Even Moms who are not sore due to delivery may consider continuing an NSAID pain-reliever like ibuprofen during engorgement.  Medications like this contain anti-inflammation agents that help reduce engorgement (an inflammatory process).

5. Hand Expression.  I teach hand expression in all my classes and personal consultations because it can be used in so many ways.  For engorgement, it can be used to help facilitate latch.  As I mentioned in tip #2 above, sometimes latch can become difficult during engorgement, due to tightly pulled skin around the nipple and areola.  You can utilize hand expression before latching to express just enough breastmilk to soften the breast tissue and latch your baby.

mom using hand expression to get breast milk

I hope you found these tips helpful!  Let me know what you think today on instagram.  I love the daily engagement and questions like this one that turn into blog post topics!  I also share exclusive tips and promos with those subscribed to my newsletter (sign up on the right side bar of this website).  If you want to read about all the services I provide, check out this post. Images by Broken Anchor Photography.

I’ve created this great e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.


Thanks for coming by today,

Lindsey head shot

Lindsey, RN, IBCLC