Breastfeeding success with hand expression

HAND expression of breast milk may be more successful in transitioning to breastfeeding with poorly sucking infants than using an electric pump, a small study suggests.

US researchers randomised 68 mothers of healthy newborns who latched or sucked poorly in the first 12–36 hours of life to use of manual expression or pumping.

They found mothers using hand expression were more likely to be breastfeeding when their babies reached two months of age than those in the breast pump group (97.1% vs 72.7%).

“Our results need to be confirmed by other studies,” the authors said, adding that in the meantime “teaching hand expression rather than breast pumping might improve breastfeeding rates”.

The study found that the milk volume produced by each group was similar, and so was the need to supplement with formula and the mothers’ reports of pain in the breast, back, abdomen or perineum.

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