Some want to use a breast pump if they're going back to work or needing to leave their baby for a short while.
No matter what the reason for expressing breast milk, it's the same question arises: How Do I Do It?
We've got some top tips to use alongside the instructions on your pump to get you pumping like a pro.
1. Breast Massage
- Massaging 2-5 minutes before putting the pump on should be enough to help stimulate the breast, especially those firm areas.
- Try circular movements around the whole breast and some gentle hand expressing.
2. Get Comfy
- Choose a comfortable position for pumping where you have a water bottle and some snacks at hand.
- Pumping should never be painful!
- Use warmth to help the let down. You can use a warm flannel, warm compress or stand under a warm shower.
- You can also warm the funnel of the flange.
4. Mimic Your Baby
- To get the milk to start to flow, set the cycles high and the vacuum low.
- Once the milk starts to flow set the vacuum high and the cycles low.
5. Pump Near Your Baby
- If you can- pump whilst breastfeeding. The baby is able to stimulate the let down whilst you are pumping on the other side. This will really maximize your milk volume.
- If you are with your baby holding her skin to skin or just looking at her will help the oxytocin to start flowing.
- If you are away from your baby looking at a photograph or video as you express really seems to help.
6. When To Pump
- Many women find it useful to express straight after a feed.
- Generally, first thing in the morning is when a woman's milk supply is at its highest so this can be the best time to express.
7. Single or Double Pumping
- If single pumping, you will generally get a better result if you express from one breast for a few minutes, switch breasts when you notice the flow milk slowing, then switch back again and again. Experiment to find out what works best for you. Remember, if you are using an electric breastpump turn off the pump before moving to the other breast.
- For quicker and more efficient pumping, try double pumping – expressing both breasts at once, with a pumpset for each breast.
- Whatever pump you are using, to increase flow you need to express at least as often as your baby would feed. In practical terms this means at least 8 times in 24 hours. It is more effective to pump more frequently than to pump for a longer period of time.
8. Use the Correct Breast Shell Size
- Check the breast shell size, all nipples aren’t the same size so try out different size to find out what works for you.
This is how your nipple should move in the flange. Sitting forward can help to prevent milk from leaking.
9. Storing Breastmilk
- You can pump into bottles and store or straight into our Easy Freeze bags.
- Label and date expressed breast milk before putting it in the fridge or freezer so that you, your partner or your childminder knows which one to use first.
- You can store your breast milk in the fridge for up to 48 hours at 2 - 4 degrees C (usually at the back in the lower half of the fridge, never in the door).
- You can keep breast milk at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
- Your breast milk can be stored for up to 3 to 6 months in a freezer.
- Allow your frozen breast milk to defrost itself in the fridge. When it is thawed, use it straight away.
10. Clean Your Pump
- Take apart breast pump tubing and separate all parts that come in contact with breast/breast milk. Rinse breast pump parts that come into contact with breast/breast milk by holding under running water to remove remaining milk.
- Clean pump parts that come into contact with breast/breast milk as soon as possible after pumping. You can clean your pump parts in a dishwasher or by hand in a wash basin used only for cleaning the pump kit and infant feeding items.
- To sterilize use our Easy Clean Microwave Bags
Do you have any top tips for expressing mums? If so, let us know!