Close Window
Library Search Go Advanced Search
Español (Inicio)


Expressing Breastmilk

Work, school, or even a late-night movie can require you to be away from your baby. This doesn’t mean you have to give up breastfeeding. You can transfer milk from your breast to a bottle (expressing). It is best if you don’t give your baby bottles or pacifiers until he’s at least 4 weeks old. This is so he can get used to your natural nipple first.  When using a baby bottle for a breastfed infant, make sure it has a "slowflow" nipple.

Always wash your hands before expressing.

Image of woman
A double pump allows you to pump both breasts at once.

Stimulating Letdown

Gently massage your breast to stimulate the milk flow. Start under the arm and move around the entire breast. If you’re at home, taking a warm shower might help. If you’re away from your baby, looking at your baby’s picture can help your milk let down.

Expressing by Hand or Pump

Your lactation consultant or other healthcare provider can help you choose the best method for your needs.

  • Expressing by hand reduces pressure in swollen or leaky breasts. It may be a good way to begin a pumping session.

  • A pump works like a baby’s suck and is the fastest way to express milk. Pumps come in manual, battery-operated, and electric styles. To protect your breasts, follow the instructions that come with your pump.

Working and Breastfeeding

  • Talk to your partner or childcare provider about timing bottles of breastmilk. It’s best if your baby is ready to breastfeed when you return from work.

  • Express milk during breaks. This helps protect your milk supply. It also helps prevent engorged or leaking breasts.

  • Arrange to breastfeed at lunch if your childcare is nearby.

  • Breastfeed before you leave for work and soon after you return home.

  • Breastfeed at night and on weekends. Your baby can have bottled breastmilk during the day.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.