Breastfeeding aids

Your baby may sometimes be unable to feed from your breast. It can then be useful to express your breast milk by hand or using a pump.

How do I express my breastmilk manually?

How do I express my breastmilk manually?

Make sure your hands are warm and clean and that you have a clean container for collecting your milk. To stimulate the letdown reflex, gently massage your breast and roll the nipple between your fingers. When the milk starts to drip, hold the outer edge of the areola (the darker area around the nipple) between your thumb and index finger. First press your fingers inwards and then squeeze them together. Release and repeat this gentle pumping motion rhythmically for as long as milk keeps coming. Try not to let your fingers slide, but rather keep them stably in the same place. After a while, you can start to move your fingers around the areola so as to empty your breast fully. Stress, pain and anxiety can inhibit milk letdown, so you can express less milk than you actually have. Having your baby close to you, or if you are apart, a photo of your little one can help.

Learn how to clean and sterilise bottles

How do I pump my breast?

How do I pump my breast?

Make sure your hands are clean and that you have clean pump equipment ready. To stimulate the milk letdown reflex, gently massage your breast and roll the nipple between your fingers. Some pumps have a ’massage mode’ to stimulate letdown first. When the milk starts dripping, place the round flange on your breast. The flange must be of the right size for the breast so that it feels comfortable. Centre your nipple inside the flange so that it is not drawn in at an angle. Positioning the nipple incorrectly can lead to soreness. Stress, pain and anxiety can inhibit milk letdown, so you express less milk than you actually have. Having your baby close to you or, if you are apart, a photo of your little one can help. Many nursing mothers have more milk than they are able to express by pumping. Your baby will often empty your breast more effectively than a pump can.

How often and for how long should I pump to get my milk production started?

Informational video about how often and for how long you should pump to get your milk production started.

How often and for how long should I pump to get my milk production started?

Some newborns don’t suckle from the breast straight after birth. In this situation you have to start the milk production by expressing milk manually or using a breast pump. Typically, in the first few days you will only produce small amounts of milk. Expressing the milk manually will help you getting  every single valuable drop. Whether expressing milk manually or pumping, you should do so at least eight times over the day and night, 10-15 minutes on each breast, until you achieve a good milk supply. Once your milk production has increased, you can adjust the frequency and duration of your pumping to the amount of milk you have. Do you have enough for baby? Is it too much? Is it not enough? If you have enough milk, you can decrease your pumping sessions to 5-6 times per day. You may also be able to reduce the pumping time to 5-10 minutes for each breast.

How often and for how long should I pump to increase my milk production?

Informational video about how often and for how long you should pump to increase your milk production.

How often and for how long should I pump to increase my milk production?

Sometimes there may not be enough milk for your baby. You can pump to increase your milk supply. How often and for how long depends on how much you are already breastfeeding. A good latch is effective for draining the breast. This benefits the milk supply too. To increase your milk supply you can pump between breastfeeding sessions 2-3 times per day. This increases the number of times each breast is stimulated. If you are pumping exclusively, you may need to pump 8-12 times a day. The main thing is to increase the number of daily sessions. How long you need to pump at each pumping session may vary. Most mothers need about 10 minutes for each breast. After increasing the stimulation of your breast for 1-2 days, you should notice the effect on your milk supply.

How do I increase milk production by power pumping?

Informational video about how you increase milk production by power pumping.

How do I increase milk production by power pumping?

Sometimes there may not be enough milk for your baby. To increase your milk supply, you need to breastfeed or pump more frequently than usual. You can try power pumping: intensive pumping 1-2 times a day. Power pumping mimic cluster feeding (frequent feeding). This stimulates your milk production. Power pumping should be done in addition to breastfeeding/pumping. Use a single or double pump. A double pump is the most efficient. Power pumping takes one hour in total. Double pump: pump 20 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump 10 minutes. Single pump: pump each breast for 10 minutes, then 5 minutes. Breaks are not necessary. One breast rests while the other is pumped. Try power pumping for 2-4 days and you should notice a significant increase in your milk supply.

How do I store breast milk?

Informational video about how to store breast milk.

How do I store breast milk?

You can express breast milk for later use. Breast milk can be stored in a fridge or freezer. Breast milk is valuable, both fresh and frozen. Fresh is always best, however. Make sure you have clean hands and clean, sterilised equipment. Pour the milk into a container immediately after expression. Use a food-grade container. Label it with the date and time. Place the container in a fridge or freezer immediately after expression.

Fresh breast milk can be stored:

  • up to 4 hours at room temperature
  • up to 4 days in the back of the fridge at maximum +4°C
  • 6 months in a freezer at -18°C

Defrosted breast milk can be refrigerated for 24 hours, but do not re-freeze.

Any left-over heated milk must always be discarded within two hours.

How do I heat breast milk?

How do I heat breast milk?

For best quality, thaw breast milk in the fridge. Before giving it to your baby, the milk can be warmed in a bowl of warm water at max. 40 °C. Swirl the bottle gently until all the milk is the same temperature. Feed your baby when the milk is lukewarm (has a temperature of 37°C). The milk is lukewarm when it feels neutral when you pour a few drops on the inside of your wrist. Do not use a microwave oven. Milk heats unevenly in a microwave, and could scald your baby. Also, if the milk gets too hot, immune factors and nutrients may be damaged. Your baby can also be fed milk at room temperature or cold if baby is willing. If you do not have time to defrost the milk in the fridge, you can thaw it in a lukewarm bowl of water. If so, the milk must be used immediately. Any left-over thawed/warmed milk must always be discarded within two hours. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in unused milk.

Sundhedsstyrelsen. Amning – en håndbog for sundhedspersonale. [Internett]. København: Sundhedsstyrelsen; 2018 [hentet 2020-04-06]. Tilgjengelig fra: https://www.sst.dk/-/media/Udgivelser/2018/Amning-h%C3%A5ndbog-for-sundhedspersonale.ashx?la=da&hash=EC99FE8977F85310B8E3C70A534921EAA6E0C113

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

Last updated Monday, February 22, 2021

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