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Expressing and the NICU

Giving birth to a premature baby can be incredibly stressful, but you as a mom have the power to help them through the NICU.

Having a baby in the NICU usually means you can’t nurse right away
You will have to start expressing your colostrum as soon as possible after the birth of your baby. Using your hand or a silicone pump you can softly start expressing your liquid gold for your baby.

Ask to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible after the birth of your baby.
Hospital grade electric breast pumps are recommended for mothers with premature babies in he NICU. Speak to your lactation consultant about what will suite you best.


Always wash your hands before you start to express. To begin, gently massage your breasts for a short time and stimulate your nipples to encourage the let-down or flow of milk, then follow these steps:

1. With your hand under your breast, place your thumb and index finger on either side of your areola, well back from the nipple.
2. Gently press your thumb and forefinger back into your breast and as you do this, press them towards each other behind the nipple. Press for about two seconds, then release.
3. Continue to compress and release and your milk will begin to appear.
4. When the flow stops move your fingers to another position, around the edge of the areola, and start again.
5. When the flow slows to drops of milk change to the other breast.
6. Massage both breasts again and repeat steps 1 to 5.
7. It is important not to cause pain or friction while expressing.
8. You can put a silicone pump on the breast that you are not busy expressing to catch the leaking drops of colostrum.


Every 2 hours during the day
Every 3 hours at night
To mimic a newborn nursing in order to create a supply for your baby.


It takes about 20 – 25 min. With a double pump 15 min.
Express one breast until the flow slows to drips and then switch to the other breast and repeat.


In the first few days after the birth, between a few drops and a few mls of colostrum may be expressed each time. As colostrum changes to more mature milk, the amount increases to around 50 to 70 mls at each expression by about day four or five. Milk volumes vary from mother to mother and from expression to expression. By about two weeks, you may produce around 600 to 800mls (2.5 to 3.5 cups) and about 1000mls (4 cups) for women with twins, over a 24-hour period.


Expressed breast milk needs to be placed in sterile containers or syringes – write the amount and date on the container. If the milk is being taken into a neonatal intensive care unit, they will have their own requirements about how the container is marked. Usually you will also need the baby’s identification number and the date and time of expression.

• Following the first 30 expressions, breast milk from several expressions may be combined in the one container after it has been chilled in the refrigerator.
• If you are transporting expressed breast milk, it must be kept chilled in a cooler bag container with ice or freezing blocks.


MILK lactation bars: are perfect for boosting you milk. Various galactagogues have been chosen as the main ingredients of the lactation bars to work in harmony to stimulate the mother’s oxytocin and prolactin hormones. These hormones are used to produce and enhance breast milk naturally.

The Honey & Nut Lactation Bars are packaged in a box of 15 bars. This amount has been specifically chosen for breastfeeding mothers struggling with a low supply. Consuming only 1 bar per day, most mothers notice a significant increase in their breast milk supply after 2-3 days, stabilising at the maximum volume that their child requires each feed or pumping session by day 7 or bar 7, or even earlier. The remaining 8 bars or 8 days allow their bodies to keep on producing the maximum volume independently so that no more bars or any other supplement are required to maintain their supply once the box is empty, as long as the full supply is removed every feed by breastfeeding or pumping.

Pregnant mothers can pack 2-3 bars in their hospital bags and consume a bar once labour started, or one bar the morning before, a second the evening before and a third bar the morning of an elective caesarean. This stimulates their hormones for 24hours and helps to ensure a breast milk supply for the very first latch after birth. If they have an insufficient milk supply thereafter or if their baby is not picking up weight healthily, they can continue to consume a bar per day, or alternatively save the rest of the box for the growth spurts at week 3, 6, 9 and 12.
The bars can be consumed as a breakfast bar, meal replacement or a convenient on-the-go snack


Article Contribution: Little Little Prem

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