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Antenatal Hand Expressing: a leaflet to inform mothers who would like to do antenatal hand expression of breast milk, from 36 weeks of pregnancy.
At the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, we are working towards the Baby Friendly Initiative Global award. An important part of this work involves showing mothers the skill of hand expressing breast milk.
Antenatal hand expression is not new and dates back to medieval times. Over the last few years more and more trusts have been revisiting this age old skill to support infant feeding.
Things to be aware of:
You may experience mild tightenings (your uterus going hard and then relaxing when you express). This is called Braxton Hicks and is nothing to worry about.
If it starts to feel like period pains or a mild contraction then stop hand expressing. This is very unusual but if you think that you could be in early labour then ring the labour ward.
Your syringes can be labelled with your name, date of birth and date/time of collection. When collecting colostrum, you can build up to expressing a few times each day. Keep the syringe in the fridge between expressing sessions and use a fresh syringe each day and freeze it immediately. Syringes can be put into a box or bag together. If you do not have a freezer it can be stored in the fridge between 2-4 degrees Celsius for up to 5 days.
Sources used for the information here
This information is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
This article is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
Publication Date: July 2021
Review Date: March 2023