This article was part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt which aims to raise awareness of breastfeeding.
· Brief massaging and gentle lifting and moving of your breasts, will encourage flow and improve lymph drainage.
· Apply a warm flannel, hanging the breast in warm water or taking a shower can assist the milk ejection reflex.
· If you are not in the same room, or you are away from your baby looking at a photograph or video as you express really seems to help. If your baby was born prematurely you can get more tips in our post: Expressing Milk for Your Premature Baby.
· If you are with your baby, holding them against your breast, skin to skin, will also help.
· For quicker and more efficient pumping, try double pumping – expressing both breasts at once, with a pumpset for each breast. For more detailed information, please refer to the product's user instructions.
· 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.
· Many women find it useful for express straight after a feed, or early in the day.
· Check the breast shell size, all nipples aren’t the same size so try out different size to find out what works for you.
· Sitting forward while expessing helps prevent leakage.
· You can keep your breastmilk cool when out and about in a coolbag carry bag.
· Do not judge your milk by looking at it. The quality of breastmilk is always just fine, even if you are not eating or resting well.
· If double pumping, there are expressing bras you can buy to double pump hands free. Or you can make your own with an old bra or sports bra, make some horizontal incisions and this will keep the breastshells in place and you can be hands free!
· 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 using an electric breastpump turn off the pump before moving the set to the other breast.
· Stephanie Casemore advises in Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk, “Do not wear underwire bras or tight, constricting bras. These can cause blocked duct and affect your supply.”
Stephanie also suggests, "Leave your pump set in the location you pump most frequently. Dismantling your pump, or putting it out the way, will just add to the time it takes to pump.”
· 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. Read more about storing your milk.
· You can use microwave sterilising bags to keep your pump parts sterilised between thorough cleanings. These are so useful because you can use the same bag up to 20 times. The bags are big enough to clean two pump sets in one go, for even more value.
Expressing at work
· Read tips on going back to work & expressing.
· Here are some tips on overcoming various common breastfeeding problems such as Mastitis and low milk production.
Do you have any top tips for expressing mums? If so, let us know!
Stephanie Casemore, Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk (2014).