Milk collection, storage, and nutrition
Milk collection (when your baby can't nurse)
You can build and maintain your breast milk supply by hand or electric breast pumping. The amount of milk expressed from the breast doesn't matter, but expressing by hand or pump at least 8 times a day (1-2 times at night) should provide the stimulation needed to maintain your milk supply.
When to pump
Begin within the first 4 hours after giving birth if your baby is unable to
feed immediately from your breast.
- Wash hands with soap and water (washing breasts is not necessary).
- Place warm packs on the breast for 5-10 minutes or take a hot shower facing the water just before expressing.
- Hand massage lumpy areas by grasping breast with both hands and rubbing in a circular motion down toward the areola.
- Place thumb and two fingers below areola.
- Pull straight back toward chest, compress areola, then move fingers forward over breast toward nipple.
- See Milk Storage and Usage.
Using a hand pump
- Clean pump with soap and water using a bottle brush and rinse very well.
- Air dry on a clean towel.
- Follow first four steps under hand expression.
- Center pump cup over nipple.
- Pump 8-10 minutes, switch breasts, and pump 8-10 minutes.
- Pull plunger all the way back each time.
Using an electric pump
- Center the pump cup over your nipple.
- Set the suction lever on minimum.
- Turn on the power switch.
- Pump 8-10 minutes, increasing from minimal to normal suction, as is comfortable.
- Switch breasts and repeat last four steps.
Milk storage and usage
- Pour pumped milk into an empty, clean plastic bottle.
- Do not store milk in plastic bags - it leeches the plastic and destroys antibodies.
- Label each bottle with the time and date.
- If your baby is in the hospital, label each bottle with your baby's name, the date, and time you pumped.
- Place in refrigerator if not used within 30 minutes.
- Milk may be stored in the refrigerator up to 48 hours.
- Frozen milk should be stored in the back of the freezer to avoid changes in temperature when the door is opened.
- Milk may be frozen up to 3 months.
- Defrost frozen milk slowly in refrigerator overnight or place bottle in warm (tap) water for 5 minutes. Never microwave breast milk. It will destroy the milk, and the milk may become so hot it can burn your infant's mouth.
- Rotate your stored milk supply, using the oldest first.
- Transport milk to the hospital on ice to keep frozen.
- Take your time. Relax. Be patient. Early expressions may only provide a few drops or teaspoons of milk.
The breastfeeding woman needs a well-balanced diet with 200 more calories per day than a pregnant woman. It is recommended that you continue taking your prenatal vitamins and iron.
Suggested daily intake: 80-100 grams.
Sources: meat, chicken, seafood, milk, milk products such as yogurt and cottage cheese, eggs, and legumes such as dried beans and peas. Some protein should be included with each meal and at least one snack time.
The B (anti-fatigue) vitamins are especially important.
Sources: whole-grain products such as breads and cereals, deep green vegetables, nuts, and raw fruits such as oranges and bananas.
Suggested daily intake: 18 mg.
Sources: meat, liver, seafood, egg yolk, soybeans, lima beans, dried fruits, and fortified cereals.
Suggested daily intake: 1,400 mg.
Sources: milk liquid or powdered, yogurt, cheese, canned fish, some
legumes such as beans, and some deep green leafy vegetables.
Suggested daily intake: 6 glasses a day; 12 glasses if you have an infection or plugged duct.
Sources: water, milk, fruit and vegetable juices, bouillon, soup, and herb tea. It is not necessary to drink milk to help your milk supply.
Avoid empty-calorie foods such as candy, soft drinks, and excessive fats. Stay away from caffeine in large amounts and cigarettes.