Expressing Breast Milk

If you and your baby need to be apart during your hospital stay, it's important to keep up your milk supply. You can do this by using a breast pump or hand-expressing your milk.

  1. Start expressing milk within 1 hour of birth, no later than 6 hours.
  2. Pump for about 20 minutes every 2-3 hours, even at night, with a double-electric pump
  3. Aim for 8 pumping sessions in 24 hours.

Skipping feedings or not breastfeeding regularly can make your body produce less milk, so it's important to express milk when breastfeeding isn't possible.

Breast Milk Storage

Properly storing your breast milk is important for your baby's safety.

  • Label and Date: Use a waterproof label and ink to write the date on the container. Add your baby's name if the milk is for childcare.
  • Small Amounts: Store milk in small amounts (2-4 ounces) and always use the oldest milk first.
  • Separate Days: Keep milk from different days separate.
  • Combine Milk: You can combine milk pumped on the same day. Refrigerate new milk for 1 hour before adding it to already collected milk. Swirl the milk in the container to mix it well.
  • Thawing Milk: Thaw milk by running the container under warm water or placing it in a bowl of warm water. Do not microwave or boil breast milk to thaw it.

Newborn Feeding Patterns

First 24 Hours

Your baby will be awake for 1-2 hours after birth, then sleep a lot. Watch for feeding cues and breastfeed at least 8 times.

  • Wet & Dirty Diapers: At least 1 of each
  • Color of Dirty Diapers: Black stool (meconium)

24 to 48 Hours

Your baby will eat more often and show more feeding cues. They may have frequent "marathon" feedings. Keep them with you and let them feed as often as they want. If they wake up after falling asleep, they may nurse again for comfort.

  • Wet & Dirty Diapers: At least 2 of each
  • Color of Dirty Diapers: Black or dark green stool

48 to 72 Hours

Your baby may "cluster feed." Keep them skin-to-skin to make breastfeeding easier. Watch for feeding cues and respond quickly. Cluster feeding will ease as your milk supply increases.

  • Wet & Dirty Diapers: At least 3 of each
  • Color of Dirty Diapers: Brown, green, or yellow stool

72 to 120 Hours

Your milk supply will increase, and your baby will eat more. You should hear swallowing and gulping now. They may sleep more during the day and eat more at night. Feed at least 8 times in 24 hours.

  • Wet & Dirty Diapers: At least 4-5 of each
  • Color of Dirty Diapers: Yellow, loose, and seedy stool

Feeding Cues

When your baby is ready to breastfeed, they’ll show feeding cues. Keeping your baby close and skin-to-skin can help you spot these signs quickly. If your baby is crying, they might be too upset to feed. Calm them first by gently rocking or holding them skin-to-skin.

Related Articles