Expressing milk

You might want to hand express breastmilk because:

To express milk by hand, it is important to stimulate the breast by gentle stroking, this helps the milk to flow. A warm compress can help too. Rolling your nipple will also help.

Place your finger and thumb about 2 to 3 cm away from the base of the nipple in a 'C' shape. Using this ‘C’ shape, squeeze and release without moving the position of your fingers. It may take a few minutes for the milk to appear. Collect the milk in a sterile container. When it stops in one area, rotate your fingers and try a different part of the breast. When the milk slows, swap to the other breast.

Safe storage of breast milk
Breast milkPlace Maximum time
Fresh breast milk or colostrum At room temperature
Fridge at 5-10 degrees C or unknown temperature
Fridge at 4 degrees C or below
6 hours
3 days
5 days
Frozen breast milk Freezer at -18 degrees C or below 6 months
Defrosted breast milk If defrosting in the fridge
If defrosting out of the fridge
Normally takes 12 Hours, use as soon as defrosted
Use as soon as defrosted

For more information about expressing and storing breastmilk, visit The Breastfeeding Network.

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