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When to express breast milk

Expressing means removing milk from your breast so you can store it and feed it to your baby later.

You can express by hand or by pump. If you need to express milk during your first few days breastfeeding, it is best to express by hand.

Learn to express your breast milk

Expressing milk for your newborn

In the early days of your baby's life, you may want to express milk if:

Expressing later on

Later on in your baby's life, you may also want to express your milk if:

  • you want to give your milk to your baby’s carer
  • you’re going back to work and will continue breastfeeding
  • you’ve introduced other foods to your baby’s diet but will continue to give them breast milk - breast milk is an important part of your baby’s diet even if they have started to eat other foods

Page last reviewed: 11 April 2022
Next review due: 11 April 2025