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Short Story: The Truth About Expressed Breast Milk

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I have something I’d like to share with you. As you may know, I’m a mother of two. When my first child was born, I had some trouble producing enough breast milk to feed the baby.

As I searched for solutions, I tried several methods, but nothing worked for me. Then one day, I came across a product that changed everything: expressed breast milk.

mother giving a newborn expressed breast milk

What’s the meaning of expressed in breast milk?

Expressed breast milk means squeezing milk out of your breast for the baby to feed late.

You can express breast milk by hand, with a manual pump, or with an electric pump.

A breast pump is a mechanical device used by lactating mothers to extract milk out of their breasts.

Reasons for expressing breast milk.

Many mothers express breast milk for a variety of reasons:

  • When a mother’s work schedule is tight and busy.
  • The newborn is not able to suck the milk.
  • The mother may need to boost the milk supply.
  • The size of a newborn stomach is small, hence cannot hold a lot of milk; thus the mother may feel to express the milk as a top-up feed.
  • When the mother feels the breast is too full. This can help remove excess milk.
  • The mother may prefer to breastfeed his newborn using a bottle rather than her breast.

How long does it a take newborn to start breastfeeding after birth?

This depends on the mother, most newborn babies are ready to begin breastfeeding within the first half-hour to two hours after the baby is born. They should be breastfed at least for six months. On the first day, the newborn may not be able to suck the milk well, but as they progress today from 2 to 4 they should begin to be active and show readiness for feeding.

The newborn should be breastfed for at least 8 to 12 feedings over 24 hours. This provides the baby with frequent antibodies needed in the body. It also makes them full thus sleeping the whole night. In the 3-5 days you should be changing a lot of diapers since the mother is providing a lot of milk and also the child has become more active.

electric pump for expressing newborn breast milk

How to express breast milk with hands/naturally

It is termed a manual expression. In this process you use your hands rather than a breast pump. It is cheap as you do not need any cost but only your hands.

Expressing milk using hands is a skill just as any other type of skill. You only need to keep practicing to get a good outcome. You also need a storage place for example a cup or bowl.

Follow the procedure below:

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water to remove germs.

Settle in a good position e.g in a comfortable chair. Using a soft towel immersed in warm water place it on your breast and massage slowly to help get the best milk.

Get a photo of your baby or cool music. This acts as a reflex to stimulate you in producing a lot of milk.

Position your hand on your breast in the c-hold. It means you place your thumb on the top of your breast and your finger underneath your breast so that your hand forms a c-shape.

Use a clean storage cup

Hold the cup to collect the milk under the breast while the other hand is placed on the breast.

Bring your thumb and fingers together

Use a rolling motion as you move your hand forward and back towards your original starting position. Use a gentle press so as not to damage your tissues.

Lean forward to collecting as much milk as possible

Repeat the process to completely drain your breast

How much milk can a hand express

It can pump a lot of milk as it helps you drain the breast each time you pump, can take 20-30s minutes to drain all the milk in the breast.

is pumped breast milk as good as breastfeeding

Both are good, thou breastfeeding is better for newborns to help develop good speech, grow teeth, strengthen the bond between the baby and the mother, and save on time and energy as opposed to pumping where you measure how much you are eating, pumping is painful and even at the time,s your body might stop responding to the pump.

What happens to breast milk that is not pumped

If to some extent the baby is not able to breastfeed and you don’t pump the breast milk, the milk becomes engorged with milk, and this sends a signal to you to stop producing more milk and after some time it ceases.

The milk is absorbed in the body. To others, it may lead to severe pain and you may get a breast infection and even worse, an abscess which is dangerous to your health.

How to store breast milk in the fridge and a home without a fridge

After expressing the breast milk in a bowl or a cup, make sure that the lids are tight. You can also opt to store it in disposable single breast milk bags. Always leave about an inch of space at the top of the container to allow room for expansion.

In case you have stored the milk outside the fridge at home, it should last for 4 hours in temperatures less than 20 degrees.

If it is in the fridge it should last for 5 days, where you should place it on a shelf and, not inside the door. When using a fridge freezer it should last for 3 months.

While in a deep freezer it should last for up to six months.

How is expressed breast milk given to a newborn?

You can give breast milk to a newborn by using a cup, bowl, or spoon. To those who like it cold, you can give them directly after taking it out of the fridge. But generally, you need to warm the breast milk by placing it in warm water and leaving it for some time.

Don’t use a microwave to heat the milk as it can cause hot spots, which can burn your baby’s mouth. The remaining milk should be left to cool and then kept back in a fridge.

How many times a day should I pump while breastfeeding

At work, you should consider pumping every three to four hours for around 15 minutes each session.

If you are not at work, you can pump at least 8-10 times within 24 hours. You can opt to pump in between or immediately after breastfeeding.

is pumping breast milk painful

Yes if you have not learned the skill. Using a breast pump just like breastfeeding should be painful. This is a skill that you should learn how to do it properly. If you use your breast pump incorrectly, it can cause pain in the breast.

However, using the correct technique will only not prevent this, but will help remove milk without causing pain.

expressed breast milk

Pros and cons of pumped breast milk


No sore nipples! 

With a baby, sucking the breast each day can end up bruising your nipples; thus switching to pumping makes no cracked or blistered nipples.

You know exactly how much milk your baby is getting.

No discomfort with public nudity 

The father can share the burden of getting up in the middle of the night to feed the newborn.

In exclusive pumping, the mother needs to pump at regular intervals and each pumping session lasts for a fixed period. This makes it easier to make plans ahead, which on the contrary nursing mothers cannot, since you can never predict when the baby is going to be hungry.


It’s double the work. It takes a long time to express, then a long time for the baby to eat. Plus you have to prepare and warm the chilled breast milk. Clean the bottles, etc.

Exclusive pumping is a lot of work. Finding time to clean bottles, clean the pump parts and pump on a schedule while caring for an infant is so tough. This needs more dedication than breastfeeding or formula feeding. The only motivation for exclusively pumping moms like me is to provide breast milk regardless of anything.

Nosy people may want to know why you bottle-feed.

You can still get sore nipples, at least in the beginning.


To sum up, expressed breast milk is very important for busy mothers who do not have time to breastfeed their babies. It also limits them regarding bonding up with your newborn.

It can be stored for a long time under room temperatures to avoid being contaminated.

What else do you think about expressed breast milk?

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