Ex­press­ing made easy Tips to get your milk flow­ing!

Ex­press­ing breastmilk is a skill that you get bet­ter at the more you prac­tise. Here are a few handy tips on how to get your milk flow­ing!

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

THERE ARE SEV­ERAL sit­u­a­tions that re­quire a mom to ex­press milk from her breasts. Short-term rea­sons in­clude be­ing apart from your baby from time to time or to in­crease your milk pro­duc­tion. Long-term rea­sons could be be­cause your pre­ma­ture baby has been hos­pi­talised, or you need to go back to work.

Sure, it is a bit of a has­sle, but one that is so worth it as breastmilk is packed with vi­tal nu­tri­ents and is the best im­mune booster for your baby.


In­vest in a good breast pump. Don’t skimp – go for the best qual­ity you can af­ford, and don’t buy sec­ond-hand. It is worth tak­ing some time to re­search the dif­fer­ent brands and what each pump’s ad­van­tage is so you can pick one to suit your par­tic­u­lar needs.

Op­tions avail­able in­clude hand pumps, small elec­tri­cal pumps or a pro­fes­sional breast pump or dou­ble pump. Some are bat­tery-pow­ered while oth­ers can be charged in a car. Hand pumps do not have an au­to­matic cy­cle. Find out if your med­i­cal aid would pay for you to hire or buy a breast pump.


Al­ways wash and dry your hands be­fore you be­gin. Ster­ilise your equip­ment by wash­ing it with warm soapy wa­ter, rins­ing it prop­erly and ster­il­is­ing it ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions.

The key to ex­press­ing is for your let­down to oc­cur. Elec­tric pumps stim­u­late your let-down au­to­mat­i­cally by mim­ick­ing your baby’s suck­ing ac­tion. When us­ing your hands or a man­ual pump you will need to stim­u­late the let­down your­self.

Some moth­ers’ milk flows eas­ily, while oth­ers have to try harder. If you are re­laxed, your milk will flow more eas­ily.

Sit com­fort­ably in an up­right chair Ini­tially, aim to ex­press early in the morn­ing for the best yield. If you are nurs­ing your baby, aim to ex­press about an hour af­ter the feed.

Ex­press for five min­utes at a time on each breast. If you plan on ex­press­ing fre­quently, or be­cause you have to go to work, it might be worth in­vest­ing in a pump that will ex­press milk from both breasts si­mul­ta­ne­ously. This will re­duce the amount of time you spend ex­press­ing by half. Each breast func­tions in­de­pen­dently, which is why one breast will pro­duce more milk than the other.

Be pa­tient and per­sis­tent, and feel free to chat to other ex­press­ing moms for sup­port on so­cial me­dia.


If you ex­press reg­u­larly, your sup­ply will in­crease and you will be able to ex­press enough for a full feed – be­tween 80 to 120ml. Use date stamps and use the milk that you ex­pressed first for the first feed­ing. Breastmilk can be stored safely in glass, plas­tic bot­tles or seal­able bags. Aim to store por­tions of no more than 120ml as this will re­duce wastage. If your baby is at day­care, write her name on the con­tainer as well. YB

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