April 29, 2013
Method of Expressing Breast Milk
  • Sterilize utensils before expressing
  • Wash hands before expressing
  • Milk can be expressed either manually or by manual, electrical breast pump
Storage of Breast milk
  • Store expressed milk in sterilized bag or bottle
  • Label the bag or bottle with name, date and time of expression
  • For NICU babies, fresh unfrozen milk is preferred. Place expressed breast milk into the back of the fridge after expressing
  • Breast milk can be kept at
    1. Refrigerates at 4C for 48hours
    2. Two door freezer for 2-6 months
    3. Deep freezer -20C for 6months-1 year

  • Breast milk cannot be re-freeze once it has been warm up. It should be used within 1 hour after warming up.
  • Discard unused milk once being taken
Transportation of breast milk

Put the expressed breast milk in an insulated container or cooler box filled with ice cubes during transportation.

[Source: TMC NICU]

Since my baby is a premie, he don't need much milk. For now he can only take 28ml per feeding alternating with formula milk. According to my doc sis, I can look at it this way. The breast milk is healthier. It's like home cooked meal. While formula milk is McDonald's. It can make you fatter but not necessarily healthier. But because my baby needs to gain weight we need both breast milk and formula.

For the past 6 days of expressing milk, I've developed a routine.
  • Wash hands
  • Wash utensils (I've washed them earlier but just rinse it again with running water)
  • Sterilize utensils (it takes 10 minutes)
  • Prepare my table. Wipe it clean, put tissue near me for the drips. Another tissue for emergency need (wipe hands etc)

  • Prepare replacement bra with pads
  • Wash hands
  • Massage breasts
  • Clean nipple with cotton balls (soak in mineral water)
  • Wash hands
  • Hand rub
  • Assemble breast pump parts (it shouldn't be hot anymore.. at least now manageable)
  • Start expressing
  • Hand rub
  • Fix the milk storage with labels and put to fridge or freezer
Personally, I start with right then left then right again. It's because I have more milk on my left breast than the right so it's starting to show. According to research (Mr Google), I should add one more session on the right. For now, I only do 6 minutes per breast, plus additional 2 min on the right. Average I get 50-80ml every 4 hours.

During the first few pumping, I got blood which stained the milk. According to NICU and the consultant it's fine. During the first few pumping, you won't get much. But don't throw it away. Instead use a syringe and rush it to NICU or the nursery. It can be used.

Yep. It is a bit painful. But tolerable. Anything for the baby. :)

Some tips:

  • Make sure to clean up thoroughly after the pumping. Check the floor for drips. I found ants today. Perhaps my milk is too sweet?
  • For engorged breasts, put cabbage for at 2 hours. Works like magic!
[Update: 08May2013]

I was originally using this Avent storage bottles until milk production improved and it can't be accommodated in these bottles anymore:

When washing become like a second nature this is a very handy tool: Pigeon 2 way sponge brush.

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