Topics surrounding breastfeeding – specifically, hand expression and its benefits – have been popping up in news headlines the first few weeks of 2020. We’re excited! We hope that this means research and support for breastfeeding will increase.

In February, People Magazine published a piece about model Resident Evil actress Milla Jovovich and her new baby. Due to her baby’s jaundice diagnosis, Jovovich said she’s had to “supplement with expressed breast milk.” She mentioned her baby falls asleep quickly while breastfeeding, so to ensure the jaundice is treated, Jovovich is bottle feeding and hand expressing her breast milk for now.

There are health benefits for parents and infants when it comes to hand expression. According to Danielle Downs Spradlin, IBCLC, CLC in an interview in this Romper article, “It’s extremely common for pumping moms to forget a part of the pump during the work day or the battery dies. Being able to hand express saves you the risk of engorgement and mastitis.” She also goes into detail about preventing plugged milk ducts by stating, “Hand expression has been shown to more thoroughly remove milk fat, making it the ideal expression method for those prone to clogged ducts.” Angie Natero, a lactation consultant, adds that hand expression is “a great way to collect milk for a preemie or a baby separated from mom or unable to latch.”

The author of this article admits that she had difficulties with hand expression. “I probably just didn’t have anyone skilled enough to help me streamline the process.”

Our goal is to expand lactation education, so more healthcare professionals are skilled in helping breastfeeding parents hand express successfully. With the Lactation Simulation Model (LSM), lactation consultants, nursing students, hospital staff, and WIC staff can gain hands-on training. In our LSM Case Study 1.5 video, we use the LSM to teach patients and health providers hand expression of colostrum into a spoon.

Read more about the LSM features here.