Expressing breastmilk is great for a number of reasons. The first being that expressing will enable you to build a supply of breastmilk for feeding your baby when you are not around. This is especially useful if you plan on returning to work, have social commitments but still want your baby to have your precious breastmilk.
You may want to consider expressing milk if:
- Your breasts feel uncomfortably full
- You will be spending some time away from your baby and would like someone else to give him your breastmilk
- You are returning to work
- Your baby is not feeding well (for example if your baby was born with a cleft lip or palate)
- Your baby was born prematurely and you need to stimulate your milk supply for when he is ready to suckle from the breast
There are a few different ways to express your breastmilk. Breastmilk can be expressed by hand, gently and rhythmically pressing down on your breasts whilst making a C shape with your thumb and forefinger.
- The trick to this technique is to press the milk ducts behind your nipple. If you squeeze just the nipple you won’t get milk and it will more than likely hurt!
Many mothers use a breast pump to express breastmilk. Both manual and electric pumps are available, and both are equally effective. A manual breast pump is particularly useful in the early
days, as it is very easy to use, set up and sterilise, and also a less costly way to figure out if expressing is for you.
Once you have your breast pump set up it is best to be seated whilst expressing. It sometimes helps to have a picture of your baby with you as this can encourage the release of a special hormone that encourages your body to produce breastmilk (clever really isn’t it?!) It’s also important to keep a drink nearby (water for example) so that you can stay hydrated during your expressing session.
- If your breastmilk is freshly expressed it can keep for up to 6 hours without refrigeration.
- Breastmilk can be stored in a fridge at 5 to 10 degrees celsius for up to 3 days and a fridge at 0 to 4 degrees celsius for up to 5 days.
- You can store breastmilk in a freezer compartment in a fridge for up to 2 weeks or a freezer at -18 degrees celsius or below for up to 6 months.
The MAM Storage solution and MAM Anti colic bottles can be easily screwed on to the MAM breast pump, and breast milk can be safely expressed directly into the bottle or storage solution. The storage solutions are freezable and can also be repeatedly labelled with corresponding dates, making correct storage easy.
When placing your milk in the fridge, place it in the coldest part of the fridge, which is generally right at the back.
- Try to avoid storing it in the door as this is the warmest part of the fridge and can cause bacteria to grow.
Expressed breastmilk can be fed to your baby straight from the fridge. Alternatively it can be warmed by placing the container in warm water to take the chill off slightly.
- Take care not to over warm and check the temperature before feeding to baby.