Tips and Advice on Expressing and Storing Breast Milk
How to express breast milk, and where to store it...
5 December 2017
Expressing milk means squeezing it out of breasts so that it could be contained for later. Mums usually express milk if they’re sending their baby to a special care, or if they’re working mums.
In general terms, a breast-feeding mum can express milk and contain it for when she’s away from her baby. But that’s not the only reason. Mums express milk if:
- Their breasts are uncomfortably engorged
- The baby isn’t able to suckle milk well
- Your partner wants to help feeding the baby
- You want to boost milk supply
How To Express Milk?
Breast milk can be expressed either by: hand, a manual pump, or an electric pump. If the expressed milk isn’t used right away, it has to be stored in clean containers in the fridge or freezer. It can’t be left out.
The frequency of expressing milk, or amount depends totally on you and why you’re doing it.
It might take some mums longer for the milk to start flowing. What we suggest is expressing milk in the morning when the breasts are fuller. And try having your baby or a picture of them nearby when doing so.
Tips To Express Milk By Hand:
- Wash and clean your hands with soap and a relatively warm water
- Massage your breasts gently to feel more relaxed
- Hold your breast with one hand, and form a ‘C’ shape with forefinger and thumb of the other hand around the darker area of the nipple
- Squeeze gently around the area and not on it, and don’t squeeze the nipple itself
- Release and repeat.
- Don’t slide your fingers over the skin
- When drops start to appear, the milk usually starts to flow soon after
- If the flow slows down, move your ‘C’ shaped fingers to another area and repeat
- Keep changing breasts until the flow stops
How To Store Expressed Milk?
You can store milk in special breast milk storage bags or bottles. Or in a sterilised container. You can store milk up to:
- 5 days if in a fridge at a 4 C or lower temperature
- Two weeks in the ice compartment of the fridge
- 6 months in a freezer