Tips & Advice for Expressing Milk

Practise makes perfect when it comes to using a breast pump. It may seem strange at first, but once you get used to the pump you’ll be able to express quickly and easily.
Our Healthcare Professional gives us her top tips for expressing milk.
Make sure you have time, privacy and are not in a rush when you are expressing. Try gently massaging your breasts for a few minutes before you begin to get them ready for expressing – warm wet cloths on your breasts will help even more at first. It can also help to have your baby nearby, or a photo or item belonging to them.
Sterilize your pump before you start. If you are planning on giving this milk to your baby later, store it in a sterile container, clearly labelled with the date and amount. You can store expressed breast milk in the back of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or the freezer for 3 months.
Many mothers find that if they express once every morning after feeding their baby, they will build up a store of milk to use when they wish. You can be much more flexible if you have this option.
To defrost breast milk for use later the same day (and always within 12 hours), sit the container in the refrigerator and allow it to defrost slowly. For immediate use, stand the container in warm water or, for convenience, use a bottle and baby food warmer. Once milk has been warmed it should be used within an hour or thrown away. Never keep for a later feeding.
If you are fully breastfeeding, but know you may want your baby to take a bottle at some point in the first 6 months, try to introduce a regular bottle of expressed milk by about 8 weeks, just a few times a week.
When expressing milk, try quick, gentle compressions of the handle for the first minute or two, to stimulate your let-down. Once the milk starts to flow, slow down and compress the handle more firmly. Do as much as feels comfortable. When the flow stops after 5 to 15 minutes, swap sides and repeat. Come back to the first breast and see if you can stimulate another let-down. Repeat on the other side. This is an example, and applies if you are trying to fully express both breasts. Remember, we are all different so try different things and go along with what works best for you.

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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