Pumping and Milk Storage
- Most effective way for removing milk in the first few days when colostrum is thick and your breasts are swollen
- Best way to ensure you're saving all of the precious colostrum, as you can collect every drop into a medicine cup or spoon
- Start by holding your breasts with your thumb and middle finger near the edge of the areola in a C shape.
- Then press back toward your chest, compress the breast while moving your fingers toward the nipple slightly, and release.
- PRESS, COMPRESS, RELEASE
- This link has a good video example: hand expression
Types of breast pumps
- There are lots of different pumps out there and typically you can find videos on how to use them online.
- See our article on breast pumps here - Breast Pumps
When should I start pumping?
- This will be different for everyone! Some may need to pump briefly in the early days to relieve pain/fullness, others will be pumping to increase or establish their supply if their baby isn't latching well.
- If you plan to pump and bottle feed your baby at any point it is recommended to start pumping around 3-4 weeks of age
- This is also a good time to start introducing the bottle once every 1-2 days to allow infant time to get used to it
- Allows another caregiver the opportunity to feed, which can give the breastfeeding parent a little break
- Best time to pump is in the morning after a longer stretch of sleep because milk volume is highest at this time
- I recommend nursing both breasts first, then pump both breasts afterward
- Start saving that milk in fridge or freezer (depends on how soon you want to use it)
- General rule of thumb = 4 - 4 - 6!
- 4 hours at room temperature, 4 days in the fridge, and 6 months in a freezer
- Freshly pumped breastmilk can sit out at room temperature for 4 hours.
- If baby doesn't finish the whole bottle, it is generally safe to refrigerate what is left and use within 1-2 hours.
- Fresh breastmilk can be refrigerated for 4 days.
- Frozen breastmilk is safe in the refrigerator for 24 hours after being fully thawed.
- Do not re-freeze breastmilk that has previously been fully thawed.
- If in a regular freezer it is good for 6 months.
- It is safe for up to 1 year in a deep freezer!
- Thaw oldest milk first!
- Thaw in refrigerator overnight, in a container of warm water or under warm running water
- NEVER MICROWAVE BREASTMILK!
- Thawed milk can stay in the refrigerator for 24 hours safely
- Start counting down once milk is completely thawed, not when you take it out of the freezer