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It can take a while to get the hang of expressing, so allow 30 to 45 minutes when you first start. Once you've got the hang of it, most mums say it takes around 15 to 20 minutes to empty both breasts.
Expressing means squeezing milk out of your breasts, by hand or with a pump, to store and feed it to your baby later. The benefit of expressing is that your breasts will continue producing milk, so even if you are having a break from breastfeeding you can easily restart again after.
We have a more detailed guide on expressing in the breastfeeding area of our site.
You can express by hand, or with a breast pump (manual or electric). It can take a little while to get your milk flowing. Some mums find that having their baby near (or even just a picture of your baby) can encourage your milk to flow. It may also help to express after a shower or bath.
Check out our guide to expressing your breast milk by hand.
You can choose between a manual or electric pump. Manual pumps are cheaper, lighter and quieter whilst electric pumps are quicker and do the work for you.
The basic methods for both types of pumps are the same.
If you're finding expressing difficult, you can talk to your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding support for help or you can call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 (9.30am to 9.30pm daily).
We have a more detailed guide about expressing where you can find out more about how to express your breast milk, where you can store it and how to bottle feed it to your baby.