How do I express and store breast milk?

How do I express and store breast milk?
How do I express and store breast milk?

Expressing milk not only stops good breast milk going to waste, it also gives you the freedom to breastfeed when it’s more convenient for you.

How do I express and store breast milk?

How expressing benefits you?

  • It’s perfect for situations where and when you can’t breastfeed.
  • When you need a break, or can’t be with your child – it means they can still have the nutrients that breast milk provides.
  • It’s another way for your husband to bond with your child, by getting involved in feeding.

How to express, in 3 steps:

Step 1

Before expressing milk, soften your breasts with a warm flannel, or by taking a shower or massaging them. Then, once you’ve cleaned your hands and sterilised the storage container (specialized plastic bags or bottles), you can start expressing.

Step 2

Support your breast with one hand then massage down from the top of your breast to the nipple. Work all round it including the underside.

Step 3

Now put gentle pressure on the area behind the areola (the dark skin around your nipples) with your thumb and forefinger. Squeeze them together and press backwards to release your milk. Be warned though, it can spray in lots of directions!

Using a pump

Lots of mums use electric pumps, simply because you can do it while putting your feet up and watching TV! It’s also quicker and less tiring than using your hands.

How to express with a pump?

Follow Step 1 from before, and pump! Depending on the pump you use, it should take 15-45 minutes and shouldn’t cause any pain.

How to store breastmilk

Always sterilise the bottles before collecting your milk. You can store the bottled milk in your fridge or freezer. But once heated, any unused milk must be thrown away. Remember to date the milk you store

How long can I store milk for?

  • 3 hours in room temperature of 25 C.
  • 72 hours in the fridge temperature of 3 C or colder.
  • One month in the freezer compartment.
  • Three months in a deep freezer (although this can reduce the quality of breast milk used).

To properly defrost your milk

To defrost frozen milk let it stand in hot water until it’s thoroughly defrosted. Check its temperature before feeding your child and then use it as soon as possible.

Never thaw or warm the milk in a microwave as it will destroy its nutrients.

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