Expressing is a great way to provide breast milk to your baby if you are unable to feed directly for any reason. This could be because:
– Your baby is premature, sick or unable to suck well

– You wish to increase your supply

– Your nipples are too sore to feed from and need time to rest and heal

– For comfort due to sudden weaning, separation or engorgement

– You are returning to work, have an appointment or a special occasion



– Hand expression

– Breast pump (hand or electric)

Express eight Times in 24 hours/ including at least once overnight., if your baby is unable to feed at the breast.

If you are returning to work, the best time to express is around the time your baby normally feeds.


– Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry using a clean towel before handling your breast

– Gently massage the whole breast towards the nipple to assist your “let-down”.

– Your “let-down” may be slower when expressing. Slow, deep breathing and looking at your baby for a photo of your baby) may increase the flow of milk.

– It often takes time to be comfortable with expressing. Please ask for help if you find it difficult to express any milk.

To hand express 

1. Use a clean, wide-mouthed container to collect the milk

2. Place thumb and forefinger opposite each other, 2-3 cm behind nipple, and press into your chest

3. Held this position the gently squeeze your finger and thumb towards each other, being careful not to cause pain.

4. Repeat several times as it can take a minute or two for the milk to flow

5. When flow slows, move around the nipple and areola to express all parts of the breast

6. When milk flow stops in one breast, change and express the other breast.

7. It may take 20-30 minutes to express from both breast

8. Ask for help if you have problems expressing your breasts

During the first couple days after your baby’s birth it is normal to only get a small amount of milk. You usually produce more milk than you get by expressing.


Using a hand pump or electric breast pump 

1. Hand expressing is recommended prior to the milk “coming in” and flowing

2. follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to operate and clean it

3. Prepare as for hand expressing, soften the areola and start milk flow by hand expression.

4. Centre the nipple in the funnel portion of the pump with good skin contact all around

5. start with gentle suction and increase the strength slowly

6. Switch from breast to breast as the flow stows, for 20-30 minutes in total. Gently massaging and compressing the breast can increase the amount of milk expressed

7. A double pump kit can help increase your milk supply, and also save your time

8. Hand expressing for few more minutes after using the pump can further drain the breasts and increase your supply



– Milk is best used when fresh, but can be refrigerated or stored frozen In a clean, covered plastic or glass container. Label it with your name, date and time expressed.

– Do not add freshly expressed milk to refrigerated or frozen milk


Before feeding your baby: 

Warm the bottle of milk in hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes. Shake gently to mix

– Milk should NOT be thawed or warmed in a microwave. It heats unevenly and may change or destroy some of the milk special properties,

– thawed milk must be used within 24 hours if stored in a fridge, within for hours at room temperature.




Freshly expressed into- closed container 

ROOM TEMPERATURE: 6-8 hours (26° or lower)

FRIDGE: No more than 72 hours (5° or lower) Store at the back where it is coldest.

FREEZER: – 2 weeks in freezer compartment inside a fridge f- 15%)

– 3 months in freezer section of fridge with separate door f- 18. c)

– 12 months in deep freeze f Zoe c)


Previously frozen, thawed in fridge but not warmed 

ROOM TEMPERATURE: No more than 4 hours

FRIDGE: 24 hours

FREEZER : Do NOT freeze
Thawed outside fridge in warm water 

ROOM TEMPERATURE: Until end of feed, throw out the left over milk

FRIDGE: 4 hours

FREEZER : Do NOT freeze


Infant has begun feeding 

ROOM TEMPERATURE: Until end of feed, throw out the left over milk

FRIDGE: Discard

FREEZER: Discard


* To transport milk, place it in an insulated container with ice bricks.

* Freezing milk in small quantities reduced waste



Babies are prone to infection so it is essential to keep bottles, teats, caps and dummies sterilized for the first 12 months.

To clean bottles, teats and dummies 

1. Discard left over milk

2. Rinse equipment in cold water

3. Wash in hot, soapy water using a clean bottle brush

4. Rinse under cold, running water

5. Sterilize equipment


Sterilization-boiling method 

1. Place washed equipment in a large saucepan

2. Cover with water removing air bubbles

3. Boil for five minutes, once bubbles start rising

4. Allow equipment to coal in saucepan or use clean tongs to avoid scalds

5. Store sterilized equipment in a clean, sealed container in the fridge

6. Wash and boil equipment every 24 hours whether used or not.


Chemical disinfection method 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using antibacterial solution or tablets To make solution correctly. Use plastic air glass as metal corrodes.

1. After washing, submerge all items. Remove all air bubbles and cover the container

2. Soak ds per manufacturer’s instructions

3. A good shake will rid items of any excess solution. Do NOT rinse

4. Store equipment in a clean, covered container in fridge.

5. Wash container in hot, soapy water. Make up fresh solution and disinfect equipment every 24 hours.

6. Store the chemical well out of reach children


Microwave or electric steam sterilizing units 

These are suitable to use as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. The amount of water and length of time taken will vary with each unit


References: Health South Eastern Sydney Local Health District