1
0

Shopping cart

There are currently no items in your shopping cart.

    • 30 days return guarantee

    • Free shipping

    Parents guide

    Home ›› The Handy Guide on How to Express Breast Milk
    Home ›› The Handy Guide on How to Express Breast Milk 

    The breastfeeding mom’s guide to expressing milk

     

    6 min. read

     

    Even when you can’t be there, you can make sure your little one has nutritious breast milk by using a breast pump. It might be that you use a breast pump to continue breastfeeding if you’re returning to work – or you just want some more flexibility around feeding time.

     

    Not sure where to start with expressing milk or when to start pumping? Don’t worry ­– we’ve put together a quick guide on how to express milk and the benefits of using a pump. We’ll also give you tips for pumping away from home, how to maintain your milk supply, and how to store breast milk safely.

    When should I start pumping?

     

    Most women start to express milk after six months, but there might be circumstances when you need to get going earlier.

     

    If you’re eager to start pumping as soon as possible, the answer to the question ‘when can I start pumping?’ is within hours of birth. Some moms find expressing milk useful in the beginning, especially if their baby is having trouble latching, as this helps to start their milk supply.

     

    Once they’ve established breastfeeding, some moms find it useful to express milk so their partner can help with night feeds, or if they’re returning to work.

     

    There’s no specific rule about when to start pumping, so you can choose any starting point that suits you. Whatever your needs, you can think of expressing milk as a way to breastfeed with more flexibility.

    How to express breast milk: common questions

     

    How long should I pump? How much milk should I be pumping? What equipment do I need? Every mom has questions, but it’s easy to get the hang of expressing milk once you start.

     

    A lot of moms find that a breast pump is the easiest answer to the question of how to pump breast milk. Different breast pumps may function slightly differently, so do read the instruction manual. And remember, it may take a minute or two of pumping before your milk starts flowing – so don’t panic if you don’t see milk right away!

     

    Not sure how long to breast pump for? If you have the time, try to pump until your breasts are fully emptied. Every woman is different, and timings will vary.
     

    How much milk you’ll be pumping can depend on when you last breastfed and how much practice you’ve had. Even how relaxed you are and the time of day can affect your milk supply. If you’re struggling, check out our tips on boosting milk production – generally, the morning is considered a good time to pump. Whilst you’ve been sleeping, the hormones that help produce milk, increase.

     

    Breastfeeding as well as expressing? Leave at least an hour between pumping and your next breastfeeding session – you want to make sure there’s some milk left for the baby! When breastfeeding, take as long as you need to ensure that your infant is left feeling full and satisfied. Use the pump to ensure breasts are empty and store any extra milk.

    How to express breast milk: pumping tips

     

    Whether you’re expressing milk at home for a night feed or expressing at work, there are some key pumping tips to keep in mind to help things go smoothly.

     

    1. Plan ahead. If you know that you’ll be away from your baby, bring a breast pump into your daily routine a few weeks beforehand. You’ll start a supply of milk for your baby and get used to using a breast pump.

     

    2. Equip yourself. You may or may not be aware of what’s known as the let-down reflex, which stimulates the flow of milk by triggering the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the breast to secrete milk which can then be expressed. The hormone can be triggered in a few different ways, including seeing your baby. Many moms find it can help to have a photo of their baby on hand if they’re expressing away from home. And you might also like to use breast pads to protect your clothing from milk when you’ve finished expressing.

     

    3. Find a comfortable place. The more comfortable you are, the easier it will be to express milk. Find a quiet and private space, and don’t be afraid to add personal touches with things like lighting and music. It’s also a good idea to look for seating with plenty of support so you can sit upright. It’s easier to get your milk flowing this way.

     

    4. Pump as many times as you would feed. To maintain your supply, be sure to pump milk at least as many times as you would normally feed. So, if you would normally feed three times during the time that you’re away, then pump milk at least three times.

    How to choose the best breast pump for expressing milk

     

    There are several different types of pumps that you can choose from and different benefits to each. Look for something that’s designed to help you feel comfortable and think about your overall lifestyle. Do you prefer something that’s designed for on-the-go use? Or do you just need something that lets you express milk quickly?

    Double electric breast pump and nipples Philips Avent

    Double electric breast pump

    Best for moms who want to save time
    The Double electric breast pump is the most efficient option. Although it’s a bigger investment, you’ll get more milk in a shorter amount of time, making it a good choice for moms who express every day – at home or at work.
    Single electric breast pump and nipples Philips Avent

    Single electric breast pump

    Best for moms who want an everyday all-rounder
    The Single electric breast pump with soft massage cushions is the more portable option in the electric range. You’ll get the same comfortable design and technology as the Double, plus a battery pack that allows you to pump if there’s no electricity outlet close by.
    Manual breast pump and nipples Philips Avent

    Manual breast pump with bottle

    Best for moms who want a portable option for on-the-go use, or occasional expressing
    Want something that’s light and fits in your handbag, or only planning to express every so often? A manual breast pump gives you flexibility and a simple backup option. Manual isn’t as fast as electric, but you can take it everywhere!

    Storage and preparation after expressing milk

     

    When you express milk, be sure to freeze or refrigerate it. You can then thaw it or warm it up when you’d like to feed your baby. Here are some guidelines to keep your breast milk safe:

     

    • Use sterile storage containers or freezer milk bags to store and organize milk
    • Label milk with the current date
    • Refrigerate milk at 0-4°C (32-39°F) for up to 48 hours
    • Freeze milk as soon as it's expressed (for up to three months)
    • Place milk in the back of the fridge or freezer, rather than in the door, to keep the temperature consistent
    • Use thawed milk transferred to the refrigerator within 24 hours
    • Don’t refreeze thawed milk
    • Transport milk in an insulated container with an ice pack.

     

    Use these tips to prepare a feed for your baby using expressed milk:

     

    • Thaw or warm breast milk under warm water or with a bottle warmer
    • Don’t use a microwave to warm up milk
    • Don’t warm it to boiling temperature
    • Shake to mix the cream and the milk
    • Test the temperature before serving. Somewhere between body and room temperature is best.

    What you need

    Philips Avent

    Breast milk storage cups

    SCF618/10
    Avent
    Avent
      -{discount-percentage}%

      Philips Avent Breast milk storage cups

      SCF618/10

      Store breast milk securely

      Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

      Philips shop price
      Suggested retail price: $14.99

      Store breast milk securely

      Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

    Videos

    [trigger to render Video Gallery]

    Images

    Store breast milk securely

    Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

    Philips shop price
    Suggested retail price: $14.99

    Store breast milk securely

    Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

    A tip for moms expressing milk for the first time

     

    If you’re new to pumping, remember that you really can’t be too comfortable! The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to express milk. Sometimes this might be difficult if you’re trying to pump during a busy day at work, or you’re in a spot that you don’t know so well, so give yourself plenty of time to practice pumping at home, and go gently. You’ll soon get the hang of how to express breast milk. Next stop: how to store breast milk!

    You might like

    Philips Baby+ App

    Meet the Baby+ App

    Get the app that supports you in tracking your baby’s development and allows you to save those special moments forever.