Expression of Breast Milk



1. What is ‘expression’ of breast milk?

This is the act of collecting milk from your breast either by hand or using an electric or manual pump.

2. How do I express my breast milk?

a) Expressing by hand:
Wash your hands, clean your breasts and place your thumb 4 -5 cm away from the nipple and your fingers below. Therefore, they will form a “C” around the areola. Then, squeeze the fingers and thumb together. Continue this process in a circular motion around the areola.

b) Electric pump
This is usually easier and faster. Put the suction cup over your breast and turn the machine on. On average, it will take about 15 – 45 minutes to pump both breasts. There are various types of electric pump. Take time to survey which suits you best.

3. How do I store my breast milk?

You could either use a plastic bottle with secure tops or plastics bags made especially for storing milk.

4. How long could I store my breast milk?
Fresh refrigerated milk within 3 – 5 days.
Frozen milk last about 1 week in the ice box of a fridge.
3 – 6 months if kept in the freezer at minus 18 Degrees Celcius.

5. How do I thaw the milk?

Place the bottle or plastic bag in warm water in a bowl or run it under warm tap water. Do not use microwave to thaw the milk or directly heat the milk on the stove. Throw away the remaining milk after being thawed.

6. What should I do if I have inverted nipples?

You can still breast feed, as baby breast feed and not nipple suck. Here are some recommendations to help you breast feed.

During pregnancy:
Breast shells. It could be placed inside your bra. What it does it gently breaking the adhesions under the areola that prevents the nipple from protruding out. You could start wearing it in the third trimester of pregnancy for several hours. Do not wear it during the night.

After delivery:
Breast pump. Could be used to slowly evert your nipples.

Nipple stimulation. If the nipple could be grasped, the mother could role her nipple between her thumb and index finger for a minute or two then wipe the nipple with moist cold cloth.

Nipple shield should only be used as the last resort. This is a flexible nipple made out of silicone placed over the mother’s nipple to help with the latch on process. Minimise usage and remove it as soon as the baby learns how to latch on properly.

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