"I was pointed to 'TheMilkinMama' Francie by a longtime friend of mine who knew I wanted to breastfeed for the first time, with my third child. I am new to the 'boob game' because my body didn't produce anything for my first two children. At the age of 40, this was as new and exciting undertaking, not to mention putting me into 'first time mom' mode in this department. I wanted to do everything right so that my girl could have the best from me. I was told that this 'hand expression' thing could help keep my supply up. That got me to sign up for an online workshop. Knowing I would have to go back to work in an office that was not nursing friendly got me to really invest in what this workshop taught me.
No lugging a pump to NYC, not worrying about if I had enough for my girl, and the camaraderie of this fabulous group of women is worth WAY more than a workshop fee. That bought me a lifetime of knowledge and understanding and support! Not to mention an awesome experience in bonding and nourishing my youngest child.
Every day continues the education for myself, and in turn, my ability to loving educate others . . .
Francie, her team, and their knowledge are absolutely irreplaceable. Thank you doesn't begin to scratch the seruface of my gratitude!" ~Mykkii M., Staatsburg, NY
"I had not ever thought about hand expressing until my doula for my first baby (daughter) told me to check out Francie Webb (TheMilkinMama) and her workshops. I didn't pump much with my first daughter because I was mostly home with her and I was paranoid pumping would ruin my milk supply. I just wasn't confident in my body. After It took TheMilkinMama's workshop online when I was pregnant with my second baby, I became so much more confident and wasn't nervous anymore. I now feel comfortable using a manual pump and hand expressing and don't stress if I have to be away from my baby for a little while. Also the online support group is a great way for mamas to support one another. She is awesome!" ~Jolene H., Long Beach, CA
"I can't thank Francie enough, for giving me this incredible awareness that has changed my life. My only regret is not having had this tool 5 years ago, when I started my breastfeeding journey with my daughter. It's impossible to communicate how amazing it feels to hand express milk, any time I need. No pump necessary - just milk yourself!"~Lisa Z., Malibu, CA
"I can't thank Francie enough for all that she taught me regarding hand expression. As a mom who will be returning to work after maternity leave, I wanted to make sure I wasn't attached to my pump in case I was ever in a situation without it. Not only did she teach me hand expression but she also gave me useful information regarding how to unclog a duct and different tips and tricks for hand expression. During her hourlong class I was able to get 5 oz of milk by practicing the hand expression technique she had just taught. I have recommended the class to all of my mommy friends who are breastfeeding as this is one technique all moms should try and master. Thanks again Francie!" ~Sarah V.
"I'm so grateful that I took Francie's class prior to my first work trip away from my baby. I have a bit of an oversupply issue and after 36 hours away form my girl, the pump was just not getting my boobs empty and I could feel blocked ducts beginning. Fortunately, thanks to the techniques I learned, I was able to clear them before it turned into mastitis. Beyond that, hand expression has given me freedom and has allowed me to regulate my supply as my baby has grown and starting nursing less frequently. Hand expression has seriously been a game changer in my breastfeeding journey." ~Alexa H.
"I'm so grateful for Francie's book and virtual workshop for teaching me how to hand express. I'm a teacher and trying to find the time and place to pump three times a day was wearing on me. Not to mention lugging the pump and all the parts around. With Francie's help and a little practice I've been able to dump the pump. Now I hand express 2 times a day much more efficiently than pumping. I've even forgotten bottles several times and just hand expressed into a cleaned-out seltzer bottle. So much less stress now that I know how to hand express! Thank you, Francie! ~Timiny B.
"I've been an exclusive breast feeder for 10 months and have started preparing to return to work, I realized that pumping just wasn't working for me. It was inconvenient and I felt like I was spending so much time with the pump only to get 1-2ounces. Francie's online workshop helped me save time and get MORE output! She has stayed available to answer any questions and to offer encouragement. Now I'm "milkin'" myself with ease! I'm so happy with the outcome and wish I would have known about milkin' myself months ago!" ~Brittney F.
"Being able to breastfeed was very important to me...I learned as much as possible before my first daughter was born and was determined to have a successful nursing bond. She latched well after birth and I thankfully never had barriers...until I met my pump. I was only getting a few ounces at a time and never enough for a full feed. Thankfully, I was able to be a SAHM and ditch the pump altogether. With my second daughter, going back to work was inevitable. The thought of using a pump again made me cringe! I met Francie through a FB support group and she has changed everything! Her handexpression workshop taught me the essential skills I need to not only express loads of milk, but to never need to RELY on my pump. I can "milk myself" anywhere, anytime. Francie is knowlegable and patient. She made herself available for support well after the workshop ended. Her kind and happy spirit is a contagious bonus. I wish I had met her sooner and will be making sure all my Mama friends meet her too!! Thank you Francie!!" ~Darlene M., Cherry Hill, NJ
"The electric pump became my middle man. It cost me extra money. It tugged at me and weighed me down. The day I stopped using it, I felt set free and produced more product. Hand expressing put me in charge and helped me avoid clogged ducts. Breaking up with the pump was the best break up of my life." ~Annica L., New York, NY
"Learning hand expression from Francie changed my life and is probably the main reason that I've continued to breastfeed my baby until the age of one. I first met Francie during my initial weeks post-pregnancy when a fast let-down proved to be really challenging for my infant. A few lactation consultants suggested that I pump before feeding my baby so that he could handle the let-down. While I appreciated the advice, the idea of pumping several times a day before I breastfed for hours was daunting. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and wanted to continue to feed my baby. My lactation consultant suggested I meet with Francie. She came over one afternoon when I hoped my baby would be sleeping. Unfortunately, he was wide awake so she proceeded to entertain him and show me how to hand express. Within a few tries, I was amazed! I had no idea that I could just squeeze the milk out of my body without the use of a machine. The technique was so unbelievably helpful in managing my let-down and in making me more comfortable during the nighttime hours, when I could just get up, hand express into a bottle instead of dealing with pumping and cleaning, and go back to sleep!
The first couple of times I tried it, it took me to about 40 minutes to get 5 ounces. Within days, I was expressing 8 ounces in 10 minutes. My body took a while to get used to it, but eventually it learned. And while I do occasionally have to stimulate for 5 - 7 minutes, that time is well spent in getting 8 ounces in less than 10 minutes. My baby is exclusively breastfed and I spend about 20 - 30 minutes a day (MAX!) expressing 15-20 ounces at work without having to deal with a pump, cleaning, etc. etc. In the past 6 months, since I've gone back to work and become a regular hand expresser, there have only been two times of extreme stress when I had to use a pump to jumpstart, but other than that hand expression has been amazing. It has also enabled me to do a 10 pm expression, after my baby goes to bed, so I'm always producing a little extra. I probably have about 1000 ounces of milk stored in my fridge and that's purely because of meeting Francie and learning hand expression.
I don't know what to say other than "meeting Francie and learning hand expression" transformed one of the most demanding aspects of motherhood into something totally manageable; of the many, many, many things I've learned about babycare since becoming a mother, this is probably the most important!" ~ Faiza I., New York, NY
“When I returned to work, I lived in constant fear that my daughter would run out of breastmilk while we were apart - that she would guzzle twice as much as I could produce, that she would be starving and upset, that I would be racked with guilt for leaving her in the first place. To make sure that didn’t happen, I spent lots of time with my breastpump - the working mama’s ball and chain – up to four times a day (and hours spent on set up, pumping, and cleaning).I dragged it with me to events, pumping in any available corner near a plug. I carried extra batteries, pumped in the car in parking lots, in restaurant bathrooms during lunch meetings. At one point, I even chose to pack my breastpump over clothes for overnight travel and proudly declared it at airport security (at which point it was promptly swabbed for explosives since it’s an electric device and all). It wasn’t until I learned more about – and practiced - hand expressing from Francie Webb that I began to feel unchained. The time I’ve gotten back from hand expression has been huge – and it makes traveling for my corporate job much easier. All I really need are a few empty bottles to get me through a trip, I’m not frantically searching for outlets in an airport, and going through security is a breeze. Hand expressing allows us to continue our nursing relationship while we're apart, even 14 months into our journey.” ~ Suzanne B., Greenwich, CT
“About five months ago, I was preparing for my third child’s birth, and I was readying my breastfeeding supplies at home. I was setting up everything I needed to be successful. I washed the cover to my nursing pillow, pulled the nursing bras and tank tops out of storage, and stocked my nursing drawer full of my favorite nipple cream and with breast pads galore. And I got my Medela pump and parts out to make sure everything still worked. I felt like I had all my bases covered. I even read through some of my breastfeeding literature, hoping that this third rodeo would go smoothly and nursing would come back naturally.
Since I was about to be a nursing mother three times over, I figured there wasn’t much I hadn’t seen or done in regards to nursing. I had battled a nasty case of thrush, struggled with clogged ducts and suffered through mastitis. Nipple lacerations - my middle name. You name. I had it.
But my dear friend, Francie Webb, kept talking to me about hand expression. She said it changed her nursing life and told me about how I could use it to increase my milk supply, and that I could express anywhere and didn’t need a pump. She had figured out a way to liberate expressing milk from the pump. I read her previous blog post for The Lil’ Mamas about “Dumping the Pump” and wasn’t sure if it was for me. I am a stay at home mom and have help from a nanny. Pumping was never an issue for me. But out of curiosity, after Ashton’s birth, I started fooling around with hand expression.
And I was FASCINATED by it. I reached out to Francie for some guidance and she set me up for hand expression success in a short 30 minute phone call.
From then on, I was a believer that every breastfeeding woman needs to know how to hand express. Most of the day, I nurse my son right from the source. But I like to have a small freezer stash for when I need to run errands or in case of an emergency. Sometimes I pump. Sometimes I hand express. It really just depends on the situation. In January my husband and I went away for the weekend. We were taking a small plane and we had to pack light. The airline wanted to know my weight when we were booking the flight – no joke. In terms of carry-on luggage, each passenger was allowed 25 lbs. (including the weight on the bag/suitcase.) There was no way I was adding the weight of my pump to my bag. So I went pump free for 4 days and hand expressed. I even hand expressed at a bar under my nursing cover!
About a month later, my daughter Margo was admitted into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at our local children’t hospital for a scary, yet manageable heart condition. I hand expressed while I sat next to her bed. Spending the night in the PICU wasn’t what I had planned for that weekend and being away from my 3 month old son was difficult. But knowing how to hand express allowed me the freedom to be with my daughter at a critical time.” ~Kari F., Ladera Ranch, CA