When to start pumping breast milk

When to start pumping breast milk
When to start pumping breast milk

Bottles of your own expressed milk can be given to your baby when you are ill, extremely tired, or are leaving the baby with someone else. Expressed milk can be kept in sterile containers in the refrigerator, or frozen and kept in the freezer for up to six months. This will enable your partner or child-minder to feed your baby in your absence, but with the bonus of it being your milk. Also, because breasts produce milk in response to demand, you may need to express milk to keep your supply going – if your baby is premature and can’t yet breastfeed, for example.

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump for pumping breast milk

Milk can be expressed by hand or with a breast pump. Electric pumps are more expensive but easier to use than the manual versions.(see the best sellers breast pump reviews) They imitate a baby’s natural sucking cycle more closely and are best if you need to express often.

Even if you use a pump, it is worth learning the technique of hand expressing in case you need it. Before you start, get a bowl, a funnel and a container that can be sealed, and sterilize all of them, either in a sterilizing solution or with boiling water, Make sure your hands are clean.

Hand expressing is nearly always a bit difficult in the first six weeks as the breasts have not reached full production, but do persevere. The best time to express milk is in the morning when you’ll have the most milk although when your baby drops the night feed you may find the evening the best time. You’ll be able to take off 30- 60ml (1—2floz) without too much trouble.

The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to express your milk. If the milk doesn’t start to flow, place a warm flannel over your breasts to open the ducts, or try expressing in the bath. If you have to lean over a low surface, expressing may give you a backache, so make sure you are comfortable and that the container is at a convenient height.

How to start pumping while still breastfeeding

Medela Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags
Medela Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags: pumping breast milk or pour into bag with the new easy-connect adaptor for fast, easy breastmilk storage.
  • Expressing milk should never hurt. If it does you’re not doing it correctly; stop immediately.
  • Every piece of equipment and all containers should be sterile; your hands must be clean.
  • If you’re worried about your baby not going back to breastfeeding having got used to the bottle, try giving the expressed milk from a cup, with a spoon. They should both be sterilized.
  • Milk must be stored correctly otherwise it will go off and make your baby ill. As soon as you’ve collected your milk put it into the refrigerator until it is needed; it will keep for 48 hours. You can also freeze the milk for up to six months; the expressed milk should be put into sterile plastic containers that can be sealed. Don’t use glass – it might crack.

We recommend reading the article: Self Care during breastfeeding and pumping at the same time

When to start pumping breast milk by hand

  1. Wash your hands. Massage your breasts with fiat hands, beginning at your ribs and working towards your areola, gradually going over the whole breast.
  2. Roll your fingers and thumb together below and above your areola so that you press on the wider milk ducts behind the nipple. Work gently and rhythmically.
  3. If the milk doesn’t begin to flow, keep on trying. Once it starts, continue for about five minutes, then move onto the second breast.

You can also express your milk with a manual or electric breast pump. A pump is more efficient if you need to express bottles of milk on a regular basis. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ask for help from a more experienced friend. Then wash and sterilize the pump immediately after each use, or as soon as possible.

Find out more about: Best Breast Milk Storage Guidelines For New Moms

Optional Video : Tips on Pumping and Getting More Breast Milk