Whether you’re returning to work or can’t stay with your baby all day, expressed breast milk is the next best option for nursing your baby. Registered professional nurse and midwife, Pippa Hime gives advice…
The benefits of giving your baby breast milk are endless and they don’t need to stop because you’re separated for any reason. Expressing milk will help give your baby breast milk for as long as possible.
1. Choose your pump
Expressing breast milk can be done by hand or with a manual or electric pump. Choose the best option to suit your needs. A double pump saves on time and many women find electric pumps to be easier if they’re expressing on a regular basis.
2. Keep clean
Ensure your hands and all pumping equipment is clean before starting. Your pump should be washed with warm, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.
3. It’s all about timing
Pumping can be done immediately following a feed, between feeds or in replacement of a missed feed. Pumping in the morning often provides a higher yield. Try to express over baby’s normal feeding schedule if you’re back at work. Aim to keep a regular schedule to ensure your supply remains high.
4. Pick your spot
Being anxious or stressed could inhibit the milk ejection reflex, so try to relax. It helps to have your baby or a picture of your baby to look at.
5. Cover up
Research shows that mothers who don’t watch the pump in action express more milk than those who stare at it watching every drop.
6. Stimulate your let down
Massaging the breasts or using a warm compression prior to expressing will help stimulate the milk ejection reflex.
7. How long?
This will vary from woman to woman and from pump to pump. You should express both breasts every time you pump.
On average, express for 5 – 7 minutes each side but no longer than 20 minutes in total. If you’re using a double pump, it will be around 10 – 15 minutes in total.
Gradually build up time and strength of the pumping to prevent nipple trauma.
Breast milk can be stored in sterile bottles or special breast milk storage bags. It should be dated and named if it will be used where there may be more than one baby having expressed breast milk.
Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood. Learn more about Pippa Hime