For many women there are times when it's just not possible to breastfeed and at these times expressing breastmilk is possible with either an electric or manual hand pump or you can hand express. (Expressing by hand requires great care as breast tissue is very delicate. Ask your midwife or health-visitor to show you how to hand express.)
Several hand pumps and electric pumps are available and you should ask around for recommendations.
Some women prefer an electric pump as hand pumps can be very tiring.
If you are going to express milk, you may find the baby refuses to take it from a bottle. He may not understand how to suck a teat as a different sucking action is required to breastfeeding.
Some mums find it easier to give the expressed milk from a spoon or cup. Many breastfed babies never suck from a bottle and progress straight to a cup at six months. In fact, this is better for tooth development than a bottle.
If you are going to express, have a trial run. You may find you need to get someone else to feed the milk to the baby as your baby may refuse to drink expressed milk from you. You may even need to leave the room as your presence and scent may distract the baby.
Do not wait until the baby is very hungry as he will get too distressed. Instead, try near the end of a breastfeed or before he is due another.
For more information see:
Dr Jack Newman:
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