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Breast milk is best for your baby.

Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months and that you continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years or longer along with complementary foods.

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Expressing breast milk

It is a good idea to get familiar with expressing your breast milk for times when you might be away from your baby for more than a few hours. It may also come in handy if your breasts become engorged and causing your baby to have trouble latching on. You can express a small amount of milk to make your breasts softer and easier for your baby to latch on.

Breast milk can be expressed using your hand or with the help of a breast pump. Review our tips and solutions on how to use a breast pump and how it can help with expressing milk.

To express your milk by hand, follow these instructions:

  • Place your clean hand around your breast at the edge of the areola;
  • Keep your thumb and fingers in place and pull back toward your chest while squeezing gently;
  • Then, roll your fingers and thumb toward your nipple;
  • Repeat this “milking” action on all parts of your breast so all of the milk pockets can be emptied.

There are a few things to remember when it comes to manually expressing breast milk. Firstly, it takes practice! Be patient with yourself, your skill will develop over time. Also, the amount of milk you express will vary along with the colour and consistency of it. And finally, try to relax. Being in a comfortable position and looking at your baby or a picture of your baby can help your milk flow.


A Mom’s Helpful Guide to Breastfeeding, p.36, 2017.