Advice Column, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

6 Must-read tips for successful expressing

  • All4Woman
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

Ultimately, the reason why you are expressing will determine how long you carry on for and/or how much milk is expressed

Whether you express to keep your baby guzzling breast milk while you’re at work (or step out), or you express because your little one struggles to breastfeed, we can all agree on one thing…

… it’s hard work.

Think: Time (so.much.time), fluctuations in milk supply and a million little parts, not to mention bottles, that need to be washed, assembled and kept track of.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s not doable – especially if your follow these six tips, courtesy of Vicki Scott (baby feeding and well-being advisor at Philips AVENT):

6 Must-read tips for successful expressing

  1. Practice makes perfect – or certainly improves how easily you can express! Try to express at the same time every day for a few days (after baby’s first feed of the day is a good time)
  2. Stimulate the let-down reflex before you start to pump, if the milk does not flow very easily. Do this by having a warm bath or gently massaging your breast with the flat of your hand. Good to know: Expressing from one side whilst feeding from the other is effective, as baby does the job of stimulating let-down for you!
  3. If using a manual pump, depress the lever as far as is comfortable; hold for a second or two, release, then repeat. Find a rhythm which feels natural – you are trying to mimic your baby suckling at the breast in order for your milk to begin to flow. When your milk begins to flow, slow down the pumping rhythm a little to suit you
  4. Continue pumping until the milk flow ceases, then swap to the other side.When flow on the second side ceases, return to the first
  5. It may be helpful to continue to gently massage the breast towards the nipple throughout, as this could help with let-down
  6. The reason why you are expressing will determine how long you carry on for and/or how much milk is expressed


  • As with breastfeeding, successful expressing depends on various factors. Being relaxed, comfy and unhurried is key to a successful pumping session!
  • Expressing is not always an accurate indication of how much milk you make– and baby is far more efficient at extracting milk from your breast than a pump is!


Writer. Creative. Word-nerd. Aspiring photographer. Oh, and mom to the only little girl more demanding than me. Parenting editor at All4Women (e-mail me at

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