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Feeding the Child

How can I express more milk?

The more often you express milk, the more you will produce. You'll probably find that short sessions, done often, give you the best results.

Aim to express a minimum of six times in 24 hours. Try not to leave more than six hours between expressing sessions, if you can help it.

You could feed your baby on one breast while pumping on the other. This can help you express more milk, because your baby feeding on one breast helps to release milk from the other.

Pumping both breasts at once (double pumping) can work well, too. It seems that double pumping using an electric pump produces more milk with a higher fat content than pumping each breast individually.

Not all mums find breast pumps simple to use, particularly electric ones. You may not want to pay out for an electric pump, either. An alternative is expressing by hand. Once you become skilled at it, you can actually hand express a lot of milk in less time than it takes to use a pump. As with any type of expressing, practice makes perfect. So don't worry if you only get a little milk at first.

Here are some more tips to maximise your flow of milk:

- If you are apart from your baby when you're expressing, try to relax and think of him. You could keep his photo or a small item of his clothing with you. This will help to stimulate your milk to come in (letdown reflex).

- Put warm flannels on your breasts or a take a warm shower before pumping. The warmth may help to increase the blood supply to your breasts and so ease expressing.

- The best time of day to express varies from mum to mum, but your breasts often feel fuller first thing in the morning.

- Feeling stressed may hinder your milk from coming in. So try to pick a time for expressing when you are not rushed and have time to yourself.

If your baby was premature, she will really benefit if you express as much as possible. Your baby may be unable to breastfeed at first, so expressing all the milk she needs will give her a great start. Rest assured that it is possible to express without direct breastfeeding, especially with the right support from hospital staff.