Tips For Expressing Breast Milk
Expressing breast milk allows you to provide your baby all the nutrients found in breast milk even if you are away from him. Here are some simple tips to help you express more milk for your little angel.
Use The Right Tool
First, you have to decide whether you will express breast milk by hand or use a breast pump. Expressing by hand is more economical since it will not cost you anything. But it does take a bit of getting used to. If you prefer the latter, you can choose between a manual and an electric breast pump. Any of the two is fine as long as you ensure that the pump you select will meet your needs. The breast pump must have the right flange fit to maximize breast milk and to avoid hurting your breasts.
Express more often rather than for longer periods. Instead of pumping twice during the day for 45 minutes, try pumping 6 to 8 times a day for a few minutes. In addition, expressing milk from both breasts simultaneously saves time and also helps in maintaining your body’s natural capability to produce milk. Never skip a session as this can decrease milk production.
Time It Right
For most moms, expressing breast milk is usually better in the morning or after taking a bath or shower since they can get a good let down (a reaction that carries milk from the milk ducts into the nipple where the breast pump can suck milk out).
Eat and Drink While Expressing
Naturally, you will feel hungry and thirsty while expressing breast milk so see to it that you eat to your appetite and drink plenty of water. It is very hard to produce milk when you are starving and thirsty. Doing this also increases your milk production.
Be As Comfortable As Possible
Expressing breast milk takes time so you have to think of what you want to do while pumping so you will not get bored. If you find that you pump milk better when everything is quiet, then find a spot that is free from distractions so you can focus and relax. If you like a little distraction, watch TV, talk on the phone, surf the web, read a book or listen to music.
Wear clothes that will make expressing easier. You can wear a nursing dress, nursing bra, a bikini top or an express yourself bra (perfect for hands free expressing) so you can gain access to your breasts without having to undress.
Do A Breast Massage
Before you express, prepare 2 face cloths and a bowl of lukewarm water. Submerge the cloths in the water and place them on each of your breasts for 5 minutes. Remove one cloth at a time or if you are double expressing, remove them at the same time and rub the breasts gently. Always start at the top. Press the breast firmly with the flat of your fingers. Move fingers in a circular motion and focus on one spot for a few seconds before moving to another spot. Use a twirling motion around the breast towards the areola.
Take A Break
Stop pumping breast milk during weekends. Use this time to relax and for exclusive nursing. Exclusive breastfeeding can help stimulate the amount of milk you are able to express and at the same time promote bonding between you and your baby. This is also a perfect time to let your sore or cracked nipples heal.
These easy-to-follow tips promises pain-free breast milk expressing while ensuring your baby gets the best milk possible.