Expressing breast milk

You may want to remove (express) your breast milk for feeding your baby by bottle when you're unable to breast-feed. You can express your milk either with a breast pump or by hand. To help with let-down, find a quiet place to express. Relax for a few minutes before starting to express.

Expressing milk with a breast pump

Most breast-feeding mothers find using a breast pump is easier than expressing milk manually. There are many pumps to choose from: hand, battery-operated or electric ones. The type of pump you select will depend on your particular needs. The most effective pumps are those that automatically pulsate. Electric pumps stimulate the breast more effectively than hand pumps, but they're more expensive.

You may want to consider a breast pump that expresses both breasts at the same time. Double breast pumps cut pumping time in half and are the best selection for building a milk supply or maintaining a supply when pumping regularly. Be sure to read the instructions that accompany the breast pump.

You can purchase breast pumps from medical supply stores and most drug and baby stores. You may be able to rent a breast pump. Ask your health care provider or lactation consultant where to rent a breast pump. Some employers provide breast pumps for their employees to use.

Whichever type of pump you choose, make sure you can remove and wash with soap and water all the parts that come in contact with your skin or milk. Some breast pump parts are dishwasher safe. Without proper cleaning, bacteria could grow, and your milk wouldn't be safe for your baby.

Expressing milk by hand Use these steps to express milk by hand: • Support your breast in one hand.

• Using your other hand, position your thumb and index finger about 11/2 inches behind your nipple (behind the areola).

• Push your thumb and finger back toward the chest wall and then compress them together to squeeze milk from the sinuses. Be careful not to slide them forward and pinch the nipple.

• Rotate the position like hands on a clock to better remove the milk.

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