How to hand express breast milk and cup feed

Generic C-IYCF Package (UNICEF | 2011)
How to hand express breast milk and cup feed

Key Messages

  • Make sure your hands and utensils are clean.
  • Wash your hands with soap and running water.
  • Clean and boil the container you will use to collect your breast milk.
  • Get comfortable.
  • It is sometimes helpful to gently stroke your breasts. A warm cloth may help stimulate the flow of milk.
  • Put your thumb on the breast above the dark area around the nipple (areola) and the other fingers on the underside of the breast behind the areola.
  • With your thumb and first 2 fingers press a little bit in towards chest wall and then press gently towards the dark area (areola).
  • Milk may start to flow in drops, or sometimes in fine streams. Collect the milk in the clean container.
  • Avoid rubbing the skin, which can cause bruising, or squeezing the nipple, which stops the flow of milk.
  • Rotate the thumb and finger positions and press/compress and release all around the areola.
  • Express one breast for at least 3 to 5 minutes until the flow slows, then express the other breast, then repeat both sides again (20 to 30 minutes total).
  • Store breast milk in a clean, covered container. Milk can be stored 6 to 8 hours in a cool place and up to 72 hours in the back of the refrigerator.
  • Give baby expressed breast milk from a cup. Bring cup to the baby’s lower lip and allow baby to take small amounts of milk, lapping the milk with his or her tongue. Do not pour the milk into baby’s mouth.
  • Pour just enough breast milk from the clean covered container into the feeding cup.
  • Bottles are unsafe to use because they are difficult to wash and can be easily contaminated.