Getting Ready to Express Milk, What Do You Need to Know

Apr 08 , 2022


Getting Ready to Express Milk, What Do You Need to Know

Welcome to the world of breast pumps!

A breast pump is a breastfeeding moms’ best friend when she needs to be away from her baby, when she needs to go back to work, or just simply when she wants to take a break from breastfeeding. 

If you think pumping or expressing milk is only a way to store your liquid gold for later use, then let me tell you, the benefits don't end there! Pumping can also  help keep up your milk supply, relieve engorgement and make a backup stash that you can store in the freezer that can keep for several months.

Pumping may appear to be overwhelming from the outset but it’s not as difficult as you think, especially when you master the basics! 

So, are you ready to master the art of expressing milk? Let's dive deep into it!


When Can You Start Expressing Milk?

It is recommended to wait 6 weeks before pumping milk, especially if your baby is healthy, gaining weight well, and there is no anticipated need to be away from your little one. But for moms who need to be away from their newborn babies, pumping can start earlier depending on your situation.  

If you plan to go back to work and will be away from your baby most of the day , you need to plan to start pumping  a couple of months before your work schedule to allow yourself to get acclimated to it and to build your milk stash ahead of time. 

What Breast Pump Should You Use?

It can get overwhelming when you’re looking at tons of breast pump types and features. But knowing the things that you should consider can get you one step ahead!

Here are some of the questions that you need to keep in mind when choosing a breast pump: 

  • What’s your goal for pumping and how often are you going to use it? 

A simple hand pump might be all you need if you’ll only be away from your baby for a few hours and if your milk supply is well established. 

On the other hand, if you will be returning to work full time or will be away from your baby an entire day, then an electric pump would be a better option. The same goes when you’re planning to do exclusive pumping for your little one. 

  • Do you need it to be portable? 
  • A hands-free breast pump that’s battery-operated is your best bet to allow you to multitask and do other things while you pump. A wearable breast pump is also one thing to consider when you want to continuously express milk even when you’re outside or on-the-go. It can be placed inside your bra and allows you to pump discreetly. 

  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Breast pump prices range from P900 to P20,000, and more! So you need to find the balance between your budget and the type of pump that’s perfect for your needs.

  • Is it easy to use and easy to clean?
  • Any part of the pump that touches your breasts or your milk must be thoroughly washed after each use to avoid dried breast milk residue and prevent growth of bacteria. So you have to choose a breast pump that’s easy to assemble, take apart, and clean. 

    Timing is Everything!

    It is important to know the right timing when expressing milk. Pumping sets your body up to produce more milk than your baby needs. It is important to follow a pumping schedule for breasts to be emptied on time. This prevents clogging of milk ducts and breast inflammation or infection called mastitis.

    How Often Should You Pump?

    At work, you should have a go at pumping every three to four hours for around 15 minutes a session; this works with the idea of supply and demand. As your infant takes in milk every few hours, pumping that frequently will guarantee that you're ready to stay aware of their needs.

    Take a look at these sample pumping schedules to get you started. Take note that every mom is different, the same goes with every baby. So you will need to tweak them according to your own needs.


    How to Store Breast Milk? 

    First things first: Ensure all equipment is thoroughly washed with a safe and non-toxic cleanser and sterilized before you start. The expressed milk ought to be put away in the back of the freezer at home or placed in a cooler bag with ice packs, if you’re pumping on-the-go.

    You can either refrigerate or freeze the pumped milk. But, remember the 5-5-5 rule: 

    • Milk can stay out for five hours (immaculate*). 
    • Milk can be refrigerated for five days. 
    • You can solidify milk for five months. 

    *Thawed milk can stay out for 1 or 2 hours only. 



    Trust us when we say: things get simpler with time. Remember, the initial few days or maybe weeks will be challenging for you and your baby. And whenever you feel overwhelmed, always remember why you're doing this. It's for that sweet baby who is relying on you to be strong and healthy. You got this, mom!




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