Pumping Breast Milk

Just think for a minute – you know someone who’s baby was born prematurely – and some months down the track you see both of them – and the baby is happily breast feeding.   How did that happen when you know the little one was in a humicrib for some time etc etc.

Pumping breast milk is the answer.  From soon after the baby was born, the Mom would have been encouraged to pump breast milk – to stimulate her breasts and to set up a good supply of breast milk for when her baby was ready to feed.   Initially she would have started just hand expressing, and then quickly moved on to manual and or electric breast milk pumps.   Nowadays you can even use double breast pumps to make the whole process more effective and less time consuming.   Among the most popular breast pumps used are the Ameda (purely yours breast pump) and the Medela breast pumps.   These are available for hire or purchase.

Studies have shown that by effectively removing breast milk right after the baby has had the first feed – this leads to benefits for both Mom and Baby.   By frequent stimulation and removal of breast milk – this will ensure Mum against breast engorgement, while the benefit of quickly establishing a healthy breast milk supply for baby – reduces the risk of baby developing a low blood sugar, ensures minimal weight loss after birth, reduces newborn jaundice, and helps reduce frustration if baby isn’t getting enough – and you quickly establish a satisfying breastfeeding experience for you and your baby.

Which Moms would benefit from pumping breast milk?

  • If there is any doubt that your baby is sucking and emptying your breast properly – it is recommended that you start expressing breast milk – straight after your baby has fed.   You can start by hand expressing the breast that baby has just fed on.   You can quickly progress on to manual or electric breast feeding pumps to make the whole process less time consuming.
  • If you have sore or cracked nipples, use a breast feeding pump on the breast baby has just fed on, and if you have the time – pump the second breast as well.
  • If for any reason your baby is unable to go to the breast, it is important to start pumping breast milk 6 to 8 times a day (approximately the same as baby would feed) every two to four hours and at least once during the night.   This will quickly help you establish your breast milk supply – and as you can see – if you were using a double breast pump – this would halve the time you spend pumping.

Every mother who has successfully breast fed her baby – says this is one of the most precious gifts you and your baby can share.

Things to remember when pumping breast milk:
Ensure you wash and dry your hands before you start.
Ensure the equipment you use is properly cleaned.
Ensure you collect the breast milk into sterilized containers – preferably a container with a lid.   Make sure if you use plastic containers – they do not contain BPA which is detrimental for your baby.   You can use a glass container, or plastic storage bags.
Ensure the breast milk is stored safely in either the fridge or freezer.   Label all expressed milk with the date and time you collected the milk, and if you are freezing the milk – include the date and time of freezing.
Store pumped breast milk in the back of the fridge – not in the fridge door.   This needs to be used within 3 to 5 days, though preferably use it within 48hours.
Pumped breast milk can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, or if you have a deep freeze – the milk will be safe for 6 to 12 months.