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!
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.
HOW TO BEGIN
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