Expressing Your Milk

Expressing milk

Expressing milk means squeezing milk out of your breast.  You can express milk by hand or with an electric pump or hand pump. 

Why express?

You can express milk if you are away from your baby or returning to work so someone else can feed your baby.  You can also express milk if your breasts feels uncomfortably full or if your baby isn’t sucking well and you want to give him breast milk (for example, if he has a cleft palate). 
You can hand express if you don’t want to buy or use a pump to express milk.  Some people find hand expressing easier than pumping. 

How to hand express milk

You can hand express if you don’t want to buy or use a pump to express milk.  Some people find hand expressing easier than pumping. 
  1. Cup your breast and feel back from the end of the nipple to where the texture of your breast feels different
  2. Using your thumb and index finger, gently squeeze this area – this shouldn’t hurt
  3. Release the pressure and then repeat again and again, building up a rhythm.  Avoid sliding your fingers over the skin.  Milk should start to flow
  4. When the flow slows down, express from the other rbeast.  Keep changing breasts unti the milk stops or drips very slowly. 
  5. If the milk doesn’t flow, try moving your fingers slightly towards the nipple or further away, or try a gentle breast massage. 

Storing Milk

Remember to use a sterilized container to put the milk in. You can store milk in the fridge at a temperature of 2° C – 4° C for up to 24 hours. 

Breastmilk can be stored for one week in the ice compartment of a fridge or for up to six months in a freezer.

If you are freezing breastmilk because your baby is premature or ill, ask the staff caring for the baby for advice.



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