Expressing

Frequency of pumping

If you and your baby are separated or breastfeeding is not successful, it is sensible to express milk as soon as you feel able to and within the first 6 hours after birth if at all possible. In the first 12 or 24 hours it is also possible to obtain colostrum by hand, (Expressing breast milk by hand) before pumping.

Don’t be put off if you can only pump a few drops of milk during the first few days after the birth. Pumping during this phase serves primarily to stimulate the breast so that it gets the message and produces milk.

Use the pump 8 times in 24 hours if possible. Give yourself a 5- to 6-hour break during the night unless you produce a lot of milk, in which case there is a risk of engorgement.

It is more effective to pump more frequently than to pump for a longer period each time.