Expressing Families

Feeding your baby expressed milk

All feeding journeys are different. There are different ways to offer your baby breastmilk.

Expressing is a way of taking milk from your breast and offering it to your baby in a cup, tube, syringe, bottle, or a supplemental nursing system (SNS).

There are lots of different reasons that people choose to express their milk. It could be due to health, or personal preference. Many people choose to start expressing when they return to work and want to continue giving their baby breastmilk, or to share the baby feeding with a partner or co-parent.

There are different ways to express breastmilk. Doing some research will help you choose the best technique for you and your family. You can also mix and match, using different expressing methods for different situations.

Hand expressing

You can express milk using your hands, an electric pump, or a manual (hand) pump.

This short video shows hand expression and explains how to hand express successfully.

Expressing with a pump

Many people choose to use a pump to express their milk. There are two types of pumps: electric and manual. With a manual pump, you squeeze the plunger by hand. The electric version does the work for you.

You can find out more about expressing with a pump on the Start4Life website.

Storing your milk

If you want to express your milk to use later it is important to store it safely. The NHS and The Breastfeeding Network both offer guidance about storing breastmilk.

Mixed and combination feeding

Mixed or combination feeding is when you feed your baby breast milk and formula milk. Some families find this helpful if they:

  • Are returning to work.
  • Want to share the responsibility of feeding their baby with a partner or co-parent.
  • Need to be away from their baby some of the time.

Some families find that mixed or combination feeding allows them to breastfeed their babies for longer.

Parents of premature or poorly babies sometimes have to use a combination or mixed feeding approach first, and then they start exclusive breastfeeding when the baby is stronger. This is usually done under the guidance of a health professional.

Some parents choose to only express their milk. This could be for a variety or reasons.  Talk to your health care professional if you are thinking about mixed or combination feeding. They can give you advice about keeping up your supply, and looking after yourself.

Plan for what’s next

For many parents, breastfeeding and expressing are skills they learn together with their baby. Almost everyone experiences challenges to start with. However, with the right support, it will get easier over time. Research shows us that the same or similar things happen to most parents and babies when they are breastfeeding. From milk supply, to discomfort, to teething – find out what to expect at key stages of your breastfeeding journey.

Finding support

We want to help every parent in Nottingham get the right support so that they can achieve their breastfeeding goals. Whether you are just starting your feeding journey, or you have been expressing for many months, there is lots of support out there to help you feed your baby. Support isn’t just for the tough times. It’s there to help make your whole experience easier and more enjoyable.

Your midwife

Your midwife can give breastfeeding support throughout pregnancy and after your baby is born. They can help you with a breastfeeding plan, expressing, and help you find extra support.

Your Children’s Public Health 0-19 Nursing Service

Nutrition Peer Support Workers and Specialist Community Public Health Nurses provide free one-to-one breastfeeding support. They can give breastfeeding advice over the phone or face-to-face depending on your need. This includes advice and support about expressing.

Nutrition Peer Support Workers also run free virtual breastfeeding groups for all Nottingham families.

Call between 8:30am and 5pm weekdays.

  • Bulwell – 0115 8833450
  • Bestwood/Southglade – 0115 8831290
  • Aspley/Strelley – 0115 8833355
  • Hyson Green/Radford – 0115 8838229
  • Sherwood – 0115 8831400
  • St Ann’s/Sneinton – 0115 8838620
  • Wollaton – 0115 8833130
  • Clifton/Meadows – 0115 8836320

Text Health

You can text a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse. They can give confidential advice about breastfeeding and your baby’s health.

Send a text to 07480635002. A Public Health Nurse will aim to reply to your text within one working day.

Other local support

  • NUH antenatal classes

    Parent Education Midwives run antenatal workshops for parents-to-be, including ‘Infant feeding and early parenting’.

  • SSBC Family Mentor Service

    If your child is under 1, you can sign up for a SSBC Family Mentor. They are available for families living in Aspley, Bulwell, St Ann’s, and Hyson Green & Arboretum.

  • La Leche League Nottingham

    The Nottingham branch of La Leche League has local breastfeeding peer supporters who are trained to give breastfeeding support at every age and stage.

National websites, forums, and helplines

  • NHS

    NHS guidance about what to expect in the first few days of breastfeeding.

  • Association of Breastfeeding Mothers

    A range of support for breastfeeding mums, as well as their partners, family and friends.

  • La Leche League UK

    Families come in all shapes and sizes and there are different ways to offer your baby human milk. La Leche League offers lots of information for transgender and non-binary families.

  • The National Breastfeeding Helpline

    9.30am-9.30pm, 7 days a week. Call 0300 100 0212 A live web-chat is also available on their website.

Download resources, assets, and guides to help you or support breastfeeding in your community.
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