So, you’ve decided to express! Just like breastfeeding it can take a bit of practise to get the hang of expressing breastmilk – and depending on why you’ve decided to express, there are different routines and products that can help you on the journey.
When would I need to consider expressing breastmilk?
This is a great question to ask yourself if you are thinking about whether or not you need to consider expressing milk. After all, if you’re breastfeeding successfully, adding bottles to your daily routine can seem like extra work you can live without.
Aside from the need to keep bottles and feeding equipment sterilised, you need to ensure that the milk you express is appropriately stored and, just like the milk you buy at the shops, drunk before its use-by date is up!
Nevertheless, there are plenty of good reasons to express breastmilk:
Reasons to consider occasional expressing may include:
- Feeding is a special time to bond with baby. Share the love with friends and family and leave a bottle of expressed breast milk with them to enjoy some ‘me’ time, go to the gym, an appointment or see some friends.
- Sleep deprivation! Perhaps you’d like your partner to do a night time feed occasionally so you can experience more than two hours of sleep in one hit.
- You’re taking medication that’s not safe for breastfeeding mums. In this case, for the duration of the medication you’ll need to “pump and dump” (throw out the milk) – and expressing will be needed to keep your supply up.
- If you’ve got a sore or, worse, cracked nipple. In this case, expressing by hand or with a manual pump is best. It will still hurt to express from a damaged nipple, but it will be gentler on the breast than having your baby latch on, so your nipple might heal more quickly. Just make sure that you keep an eye on your supply in that breast if your baby doesn’t feed from that side for a while.
If you’re only expressing occasionally, you might prefer to either express by hand – which takes a bit to get the hang of! – or with a manual pump like the Lansinoh’s Manual Breast Pump. It’s discreet and lightweight with no electrical source or batteries required, so it’s perfect for on-the-go use. Its adjustable 2-phase technology mimics baby’s natural feeding pattern to maximise milk flow, which means you can get through your pumping in double-quick time.
Mums who don’t express regularly sometimes feel more comfortable with a manual pump because you maintain complete control over the level of suction all the time and you can increase it very gently.
It’s not just working mums who might need to express breastmilk more regularly – there are lots of reasons why regular expressing might be on the cards for you. Some of them include:
- Need to increase your milk supply. The first port of call is to simply feed your baby more often, but if that’s not doing the trick on its own, then the next step is to express more feeds during the day. You don’t need to worry that you’ll run out of milk – in fact, the reverse is true – the more you feed or express, the more milk you’ll produce.
- Dealing with a premature baby or a baby with some longer term feeding issues. Perhaps for a time your baby is unable to feed independently but you’d still like to give them breastmilk. Regular expressing is the way to do this.
Although there’s no reason why you can’t express more regularly by hand or with a manual pump, most mums who need to express regularly find that it’s more convenient and quicker to express these feeds with an electric pump. There are plenty to choose from, but the best of them are the ones that are a hygienic closed system and have a two-phase suction to more closely imitate the way that your baby milks the breast.
Lansinoh’s Compact Single Electric Breast Pump is full of power yet small, lightweight and easy to slip into your bag when away from home. It features a soft and flexible breast cushion to create a comfortable, secure seal, and has an adjustable 2-phase technology that mimics the way baby sucks at the breast – rapid at first to stimulate milk let-down and then slower and deeper to maximise milk flow. With 5 different levels of suction, it allows mum to have total control and to set the pumping strength at a level that feels just right for her.
A couple of other things to remember about expressing – even if you don’t seem to be able to get much milk while expressing, it’s not necessarily an indication of how much milk your body is producing. Nothing milks the breast as efficiently as a baby! Expressing milk efficiently takes practise, relaxation and a bit of a routine – but if you stick at it, and keep thinking about your baby’s cute little face, you’ll be a pro in no time. Good luck!
This sponsored post is brought to you by Lansinoh.