About Breastfeeding

Your body starts preparing for breastfeeding as soon as you get pregnant.

Nearly every woman can make all the milk her baby needs – even if she has twins or triplets.  Although it’s natural, mothers and babies still need to learn how to breastfeed and the links below offer help with good positioning and attachment, increasing milk supply and preventing problems

How Breastfeeding Works

It is important to check that your baby is attaching well to the breast as that will prevent painful breastfeeding and increase your milk supply

> Visit the Best Beginnings website for a video clip showing how a baby latches on (dvd)

> Visit Breastfed Babies.org and KellyMom.com for more information about breastfeeding.

Expressing and Storing Breastmilk

The information below will review why hand expressing is important, how to express breast milk and how to store breast milk safely

Why express breast milk?

  • To start & increase milk production
  • Increase your confidence & understanding of how breastfeeding works
  • Produce a few drops to tempt baby to feed
  • Soften a full breast to help discomfort or help baby to attach
  • To get milk for a baby who cannot feed or is separated from mother
  • To prevent & deal with problems eg clear a blocked duct & prevent mastitis
  • Social reasons – including returning to work

Why hand express?

  • Convenient – you can do it anywhere – no equipment needed
  • More like the action of breastfeeding & skin to skin than pumps which work by suction
  • Best way to express first milk –colostrum
  • Less painful than a breast pump if nipples are sore or cracked or breasts very full

Storing milk

  • Remember to use a sterilised container to put the milk in.
  • You can store mum’s milk in the fridge for up to 5 days at 4 C or lower (usually at the back, never in the door).
  • Mum’s milk can be stored for 2 weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge or for up to 6 months in a freezer.
  • Defrost frozen mum’s milk in the fridge. Once thawed, use it straight away.
  • If your baby prefers, you can warm the milk up to body temperature before feeding. Never heat milk in the microwave as it can cause hot spots which can burn your baby’s mouth

 Need to hire a hospital grade breastpump?

 For more detailed information

> View the Best Beginnings website and their DVD on expressing

> Visit the Breastfeeding Network website

> View the BfN leaflet on expressing and storing breast milk (pdf)

> View the UNICEF 'How to hand express' film clip

Recommended Breastfeeding Websites and Resources

Off to the Best Start booklet (Start4Life)

Important information about breastfeeding your baby.

>View and download the booklet here


The parent information service from the NHS. Sign up for regular updates.

> Visit the Start4Life website

Unicef Babyfriendly UK

Details of the 'Baby friendly Initiative' with information for parents and breastfeeding leaflets which can be printed out.

> Visit the UNICEF Baby Friendly website

Biological Nurturing

'Laid back breastfeeding' is a different approach to positioning babies at the breast. This website has short film clips of these laid back positions, also known as biological nurturing. 

> Visit the Biologicalnurturing.com website.

Real Baby Milk

UK site with practical information for parents, including biological nurturing approach to positioning.

> Visit the Real Baby Milk website

Best Beginnings

Best Beginnings UK charity working to improve awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding and its role in reducing health inequalities. Watch ‘Bump to breastfeeding’ DVD. 

> Visit the Best Beginnings website

Kelly Mom

Informative US site for both parents and professionals.

> Visit the Kelly Mom website

Health Talk Online

Listen to some mothers views and experiences of breastfeeding.

> Visit healthtalkonline.org

For everything you need to know about breastfeeding once your baby arrives, please visit the Now I'm a Mum page.