Expressing and handling breast milk


Wash hands with soap and water, and dry hands before removing sterilised items.

Do not rinse sterilised items with tap water.


  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Ensure all the equipment is cleansed and sterilised.
  • Relax and be comfortable.
  • Soften the area around the nipple by massaging.
  • Check to ensure nipple pores are open and milk flow present.
  • Massage the breast.
  • Express the breast till the milk flow slows down, then massage the breast again and ensure the pores are not blocked, express again till the milk-flow reduces to drops.
  • Repeat steps four to seven for the other breast.
  • Express breast milk every three hours in the day and at least once at night.
  • If you are using an electrical pump, start with low pressure and gradually increase the pressure till you are comfortable and with milk flow established.
  • Collect expressed breast milk in a sterilised bottle.
  • Close the bottle tightly.
  • Label bottle with date and time of collection
  • Refrigerate the expressed breast milk immediately after pumping.


  1. Storage containers should be sterilised and have lids that provide an airtight seal.
  2. Maximum storage time and temperature guide

Fresh milk

  • Room temperature around 25ºC – four hours
  • Refrigerated at 4ºC – 48 hours
  • Cooler bag with ice pack at 15ºC – 24 hours

Milk Frozen below 0ºC

  • Freezer inside single door refrigerator – two weeks
  • A frost-free refrigerator with separate external door for freezer compartment— three months
  • Deep freeze at minus 20ºC – six months


  • Never thaw milk in a microwave oven or by boiling.
  • To thaw milk;
    • Keep in the refrigerator overnight or
    • Stand the bottle in a mug or warm water
  • Thawed milk kept in refrigerator at a temperature of 4ºC should be consumed  within 24 hours
  • Warm only the amount required for one feed at a time.
  • Discard any unconsumed milk.


  1. Cleaning
  • Wash the feeding/ pumping accessories with soap and water.
  • Scrub the inside of the accessories to remove traces of milk with a brush.
  • Rinse the feeding/ pumping accessories thoroughly.
  1. Sterilising Methods
  • Boiling
    • Submerge clean feeding/ pumping accessories in a pot of water, cover with lid and bring to boil
    • Once water starts to boil, let it boil for further 10 minutes
    • Add rubber accessories and boil for another 5 minutes.
    • Pour out the water and keep the pot covered until ready for use
  • Using Sterilising Tablet:
    Follow the instructions given on the package.
  • Steam Steriliser
    Follow recommended instructions.

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