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Pumping and Storing While Breastfeeding

Understanding the Amount of Breast Milk

If you and your baby are separated or you need to return to work, it may be necessary for you to pump and collect your breast milk.

There are many different pumps available, from manual to electric and they vary in quality. Talk to your Lactation Consultant about breast pumps if you plan to purchase one.

Pumping your breast should be treated similar to breastfeeding: Start early, pump frequently, and relax. If you are pumping to store milk for bottles, simply pump between regular feedings. If you are pumping due to separation from your baby, pump when it would be time for baby to feed.

Steps for Successful Pumping

Here are some simple steps to follow to make sure you are pumping safely and effectively.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Relax and get comfortable.
  • Apply moist heat and massage.
  • Think about your baby.
  • Begin pumping and continue for 10-15 minutes.
  • Collect milk into small bottles or plastic bags.
  • Label with your name, the date and time.
  • Refrigerate or freeze. (Keep in refrigerator for one-two days or freeze in a freezer for three months. If you have a deep freezer, you may store for up to 12 months.)
  • Store in small amounts to prevent wasting.
  • Thaw milk in a pan of water, never boil, or microwave, shake to mix.
  • Use thawed milk within 24 hours. Never refreeze thawed milk.