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Top Tips for Expressing Breastmilk – The Ultimate List to Help You Succeed!

Top Tips for Expressing Breastmilk – The Ultimate List to Help You Succeed!

Every woman's breast feeding experience is different. Some will exclusively breastfeed whilst others will also use a breast pump. Some women find that they need to use a breast pump if they are separated from their baby or are needing to give their baby top-ups.

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!

3. Warmth

  • 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

Using the Calypso or the Carum you are able to alter both speed (cycles) and vacuum (strength) in order to mimic your baby and express the most milk.

  • 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!

 

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Feeding Your Newborn Baby: The First 48 Hours

Feeding Your Newborn Baby: The First 48 Hours

Congratulations on your new little one!

You may be surprised to find that your first day at home will probably be remarkably quiet and your baby very sleepy. Your newborn will be recovering from the birth and adjusting to life outside the womb.  Because their stomach is so tiny, only the size of a marble, your newborn will need to feed often. You'll probably find your baby wants between eight and twelve feeds for the 24 hours.

Some newborns are excessively sleepy. Wake your baby to have a feed if two hours have passed without feeding and four hours at night.

If breastfeeding seems tricky at first, there's no need to feel down-hearted. Many new mothers and babies take a while to get the hang of it. You will both get better at breastfeeding with time, it takes practice and co-ordination! Lots of skin to skin during these first few days (as well as the coming weeks) will help with feeding, bonding and calming baby.

 

You should be offered advice on how to best position your baby and yourself for breastfeeding. This will help to ensure your baby latches correctly and that you are both comfortable. You should be reassured that you may experience brief discomfort when you start a breastfeed, but this should not persist.

You may find that one position works well when you're feeding on one side and a different position works better on the other- this is fine, do what works for you. If you have just had a caesarean section then you may find that feeding baby in the football hold or lying down works well for you as there is less pressure on the wound. 

Keeping your baby near you will help you to learn her cues for feeding.Early cues include licking her lips, opening and closing her mouth, sucking on her lips, tongue and hands. Active cues include rooting around, trying to position for nursing- pulling back, head bobbing, fidgeting, and fussing.Try to feed your baby when you see these early and active cues so that she is calm going to the breast.

If these cues have been missed she may be moving her head frantically side to side and may be crying- calm her first and then put her to the breast. 

Colostrum is the first milk that comes in and gradually changes over time. It is rich in fats and protein, and helps protect babies against infection. Your baby's first feeds will probably take 40 minutes or longer. Your breasts will be producing the thick, antibody-richfood, colostrum. After a few days your milk will come in, and your baby will usually feed for between 5 minutes and 30 minutes.

Try not to worry if your baby doesn't spend long feeding. Some babies can take their fill in just a few minutes, while for others it takes far longer. As long as your baby is latched on properly, she should get all of the goodness she needs. Signs of a satisfied baby include wet and dirty nappies, a settled baby and weight gain. 


If you need to build up your milk supply, it is recommended you do so with a hospital-grade breastpump. For example, the NHS recommends that mothers of premature babies express eight to 10 times a day, including at least once at night, to keep milk supply up. For more info on expressing breastmilk to build up supply, you can read: Top Tips for Expressing Breastmilk – The Ultimate List to Help You Succeed

If you are unsure what kind of breastpump you need - try our interactive quiz (only takes 1 min) to help you decide: Quiz: Find the Right Breastpump for You

Enjoy these first few days in the sleep deprived haze that you will be in. You're amazing!

 

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