Expressing And Storing Breast Milk
Once breastfeeding is established (and this could take 6 weeks or so) you can start to occasionally express milk and leave it for someone else to feed your baby when you go out for a little while.
The chances are that if you feed your baby before you leave he may not even need it but it's worth leaving some just in case.
There are an awful lot of breast pumps in the shops, but generally the hand-operated ones are easier to use and produce milk very quickly. You should freeze the milk in sterile containers as soon as possible after expressing and when needed you can simply defrost and reheat.
As well as using the breast-pump you can always hand-express yourself. If you want to express yourself then this is very easy to do. If you start by stroking your breast this will encourage an increase in blood flow to the area. Then gently massage either side of your areola (the dark area around the nipple) with your thumb and forefinger. You'll usually start to feel a tingling sensation as your breasts start to produce milk. This can then be dripped into a sterilised container. A small bowl is best as it is difficult to aim your milk into a bottle! If you've got a picture of your baby close by or can hear him/her in the next room, it helps with the milk flow!
If you leak a lot from the other boob while you're breastfeeding, put a sterile breast shell into your bra on the other side and you can empty the leaked milk at the end of the feed into a sterile ice-cube container and freeze for future use!
Do NOT reheat expressed breastmilk in a microwave as it is a known fact that it can damage the antibodies. The best way to reheat the expressed milk is to put the container of milk into a jug or saucepan of hot water and heat it gently. Always test the temperature of the milk on the back of your hand, so as not to scald your baby.
If your baby won't feed from a teat, in common with many breastfed babies, you can feed him the expressed breastmilk from a sterilized spoon or cup.
Dr. Penny Stanway
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