Why should I express?
There are several reasons why mothers may need to express to preserve breastfeeding. They may have breastfeeding problems, such as overfull breasts, severe nipple pain or damage, or wish to increase a reduced milk supply. Their baby may have trouble breastfeeding effectively because the baby is premature, weak, sick, or unable to latch. Mothers may choose to express because they are going to be separated from their baby, they want to produce milk for donation, or they want to provide milk for an adopted baby. Mothers may find themselves expressing when it is not necessary for breastfeeding success. Expressing can be done in addition to or instead of breastfeeding.
Removing milk (expressing) from the breasts is done for a number of reasons. For some mothers, expressing is critical to breastfeeding success. For others, it may be an unnecessary barrier. If expressing, mothers should ensure that it is effective, helpful, and not causing problems.
Expressing can be done in addition to or instead of breastfeeding. It can be done occasionally or regularly.
A baby may not be able to breastfeed effectively or often enough. Expressing is needed to maintain the milk supply and provide breast milk for the baby. This can occur when the baby:
- Does not breastfeed often enough, as when a baby is a sleepy newborn.
- Does not breastfeed well enough, as with a premature or sick baby.
- Cannot breastfeed because of a latching problem.
- Is sick and unable to breastfeed.
- Is at risk when breastfeeding because of a temporary condition.
Some mothers may find they are expressing because of:
These and other barriers may be overcome with good support.