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When should I start expressing breast milk?

Hints and tips on when to start and what to do.

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In theory you can start collecting milk any time. In practice most health professionals recommend that you establish your breastfeeding routine first before using a pump. 

In theory, you can start collecting milk any time. In practice though, most health professionals recommend that you establish your breastfeeding routine first before using a breast pump.

If you are very uncomfortable with a very full feeling in your breasts in the first few weeks after your baby is born, you may want to relieve engorgement with an occasional expressing session. This should only be a short session though, simply serving to give you relief.

If you imagine expressing is like placing an order with the milkman, each time you do it you’re telling your body that it needs to deliver the same amount of milk again tomorrow. Placing too many orders in the early weeks will just make your body think you had triplets and you’ll end up with a huge supply. Easy does it!

Once you are ready to start expressing, then try to express at the same time of day and after a feed. The time of day you choose really depends on the reason behind you expressing breast milk. For example:

Want to stash some milk? 

Express in the morning, as it is the most productive time because your milk-producing hormones have been doing their stuff at night.

 

Dad doing the night feed

WANTING TO LET DAD DO THE NIGHT FEED? 

Giving them milk that you have expressed in the evening is perfect, as it contains all those lovely sleep-inducing hormones. It’s worth noting on the container when it’s night-time milk. Want to boost your milk supply? Express after each daytime feed to increase the order with the milkman!

FEELING ENGORGED AND SORE?

Express little and often, as you need relief.

JUST REMEMBER

Each time you express you are tricking your body into thinking that your baby has really taken that 10am feed! Even if you express and no milk comes out at all, you're placing the order for milk to be made later.

How do I start expressing?

Thoughts from Mums on expressing

Take a deep breath, and trust yourself