Ideally, mother should always be available to breastfeed their babies when they are hungry. However, in reality certain situations that hinder breastfeeding are unavoidable. For such occasions, it is important to have a supply of milk that has been expressed from breast and is available for the baby whenever the baby is hungry.
Choosing a Breast Pump
Express breast milk would be easier with a breast pump. There are different types of breast pump available:
- hand-operated breast pump
- electric or battery-powered breast pump (for home use)
- electric breast pump (for professional or hospital)
Hand-operated pumps and home use electric pumps are significantly less expensive than the professional- or hospital-grade pumps. However, they are not as efficient and powerful as hospital-grade breast pumps. Hospital-grade breast pumps can be rented from some hospitals, pharmacies or medical supply companies at minimal cost. Depending on how often you need to use a pump, get one which is best suit your need.
Steps for Success Breast Milk Express
- Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before pumping breast milk. Wash the breast pump with hot soapy water and air-dried the pump. Breast pump should be sterilized on daily basis.
- Find a quite place to pump. An article of clothing or a blanket that smell like baby may help let down the milk. Pumping should be done as often as a mother would breastfeed her infant.
- Pump each breast for approximately 10-15 minutes until the milk stops flowing.
- Collect milk in appropriate containers. Make sure the container is sterilized and it is labeled with date and time of expression. This will help to remember the order of the milk was pumped.
- The expressed breast milk should be stored in refrigerator or freezer. Frozen milk should be stored in small amount, for example 60 to 125 ml. Fresh milk can be stored up to 48 hours in the fridge whereas frozen can be store up to 6 months.
- Defrost frozen milk overnight in refrigerator or run under warm running water. Do not microwave or place breast milk in hot water because this will destroy its immunological components. Don’t forget to test temperature of the breast milk before feeding the baby.
- After the feeding, discard any unfinished breast milk.