"Do you mind if I milk you?"
Three days after my daughter was born, she still hadn't latched. So a petite, pixie-haired lactation consultant angel floated her way into my hospital room to assist. After squeezing my teats like I was a Holstein, she raised the tiny plastic thimble, now filled with 5 ml of golden colostrum.
"Did you know newborn babies can drink from a cup?" she asked as my baby gulped down the milk. WHAAAT? Clearly she was some kind of wizard genius witch khaleesi.
I learned more from her about my breasts in 20 minutes than I had known after 31 years of walking around with them strapped to my torso. I wish I could remember her name so I could get it tattooed on my bicep, or at the very least send her an edible arrangement. But alas, she remains the anonymous milkmaid who showed me how to take matters literally into my own hands. 17 months later (and still nursing!) I keep thinking about her and the impact she had on my breastfeeding success. I think about how many other new moms she must have helped, and how many babies are out there latching like adorable toothless piranhas because of her. I definitely thought about her when I met Francie.
Francie is a woman on a mission (muh kind of gurl) and an incredibly important one at that: to ensure that every breastfeeding woman knows how to hand express her breast milk. It's sort of a no-brainer, right? Like, how much pumping anxiety (Did I remember that rubbery flap thingamabob? Can I pump behind the waiter station? Am I gonna have to unplug grandma's ventilator to get an outlet?) could be alleviated if every woman had a built in back-up option that was impossible to forget at home?
If you're thinking that milking yourself by hand sounds weird, it's not. It's empowering to not be handcuffed to a machine, and guaranteed to get you out of at least one jam. Plus, you'll be able to startle your husband by spraying him in the face with breastmilk from 3 feet away after you've had a couple glasses of wine. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE LIMITLESS!
Need more convincing? The benefits of hand expression as an option in your #lacprac toolbox go beyond just convenience and flexibility. Research done by Stanford Medical found that "manual techniques, such as hands-on compression's of the breast, extracted more milk and boosted long-term milk production." Additionally, hand expressing draws milk from deeper in the breast which is richer in nutrients and fat.
*** Want to learn more? Check out Francie's website and #gomilkyourself already! ***