Expressing breastmilk: early days

It’s recommended that you exclusively breastfeed for the first six weeks in order for your milk flow to become established and for you and your new baby to get into a routine. Later, however, you might need to leave your baby for more than an hour or two, and this is when expressing comes in very handy. Try these tips to ensure expressing is as easy as ABC.

What sort of pump should I choose?

There are many different types of pumps on the market, from budget-friendly manual pumps to hospital-grade double electric pumps. Some mums like the control they get with manual pumps, while others like the efficiency of an electric pump. If you’re new to expressing, we’d recommend trying a good-quality manual pump first as these are extremely budget-friendly and easy to use. The NUK Jolie Manual Breast Pump is an excellent choice for mums new to expressing. Its innovative design provides an excellent expressing movement while the ergonomic handle makes it easy to express breast milk with just one hand. Jolie also features a soft, textured silicone cushion that moulds to the shape of mother’s breast, providing a helpful massage that encourages milk flow.

Will expressing milk put my baby off breastfeeding?

Many mums worry that expressing and feeding your baby the expressed milk with a bottle will prematurely end their breastfeeding journey, but this shouldn’t happen. Make sure to choose your bottles and teats wisely. The trick is to go for a brand that produces teats that simulate the action of breastfeeding. NUK First Choice Teats ensure that the same lip, jaw and tongue muscles are used when feeding from a NUK bottle as used when breastfeeding. NUK Teats are also designed to simulate a mother’s nipple during breastfeeding as closely as possible, which makes it easy to switch from breast to bottle feeding and vice versa without any problems, as proven through clinical tests.

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Will feeding by bottle give my baby colic?

Babies can get colic whether they’re breast- or bottle-fed. There are ways to try and prevent colic from occuring – or minimise any symptoms. All NUK First Choice Teats feature the Anti-Colic Air System, a small ‘slit’ located near the base of the teat that prevents your baby from swallowing air, which is known to contribute to colic and wind. The Anti-Colic Air System should always be under the baby’s nose whilst feeding. NUK First Choice Plus teat also have the feeding hole off centre to ensure that the baby salivates and their saliva starts to breaks down lactose in the milk before it reaches the baby’s tummy.

Help! I’m having problems expressing – what am I doing wrong?

The key to successful expressing is triggering the let-down reflex. The let-down reflex is released by the hormone oxytocin, which is mainly responsible for milk flow during breastfeeding or milk expression. Psychological and physical factors have a strong influence on this reflex, which may be triggered by breastfeeding as well as by other stimuli such as a picture of your baby, a cry of another baby, touching or even thinking about your baby. On the other hand, negative emotions like frustration, anger, stress and some medications may delay or block milk release. The key is to relax and take your time expressing. Try looking at a picture of your baby or thinking about your little one to help things along. But most of all – remember that practice makes perfect!

NUK is available at Mothercare, Lloyds, McCabes, McCauleys, Hickeys and selected independent pharmacies nationwide

This feature was brought to you with thanks from NUK

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