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5 Mantras for the Expressing Mum


Being an expressing mum is hard work, making breast milk is hard work. Let no one tell you any different. It takes plenty of time, commitment and discipline to express efficiently then build a sufficient stockpile of milk to feed your baby in the months you will be away from him.

Being an expressing mum demands for several things. Aside from the fierce maternal desire to provide for your baby, it demands for a steady stream of positivity, bucket loads of patience and litanies of daily affirmations. When you run low on these (and you will run low) here are some quotes you can adopt as your personal mantras, to get you back up and going again:

1: “Empty breasts make the most milk”

Our breasts aren’t built to hold milk. They will ring an engorgement bell when they are full, to tell you to empty them either through  breastfeeding or expressing. Once they are empty, another signalling bell will be sent to your brain to make more milk still. Thus the cycle of engorge-express- empty, engorge-express- empty. Our breasts, also, make more milk when they are empty.

(There’s an old midwife tale that says that women with smaller breasts have more milk than those with large ones. Well, if you look at it in simple terms, it seems true: Smaller breasts fill up faster than large ones. The engorgement means she can’t stay for long stretches without expressing. So she will get into a more frequent cycle of engorge-express- empty, making it seem that she has more milk than her larger-breasted counterpart.)

Whichever scale your breasts tip, remember to keep emptying them by expressing often. That’s the only way to tell your body to make more milk.

2: “A bag a day”

A stockpile of expressed milk is build by freezing one bag a day. At the bare minimum – even on your worst days – the best you can do is freeze one bag of milk. It doesn’t matter the quantity of milk, so long as it’s a bag of milk. There will be days where you can’t find the time to sit down and express; days where your baby is in a sore mood and wants to spend his entire screaming day attached to your nipple, or others where you are so knackered you don’t have the energy to catch some shuteye or to eat, let alone to express. When such days find you, collect the little you are able to express and put it away. As long as you have frozen a bag of milk, you have met your goal for that day. And that’s enough.

Related: How to stay on Exclusive breastfeeding during the holidays

3: “I am doing this for my baby”

There will also be those off days when you will lose sight of why you are doing this or who you are doing it for. You will be frustrated because the milk is not filling up the bottle as fast you’d like. Or you will put in so much time expressing and get such little milk out that you stress yourself dry. Or you will get worried and impatient about how slowly your stockpile is growing compared to your mum-pal next door. You will consider wrapping up this whole expressing shebang.


Take a step back. Then calmly repeat this mantra to yourself (insert your baby’s name in there): “I am doing this for Muna. I am doing this because Muna needs my milk. Muna needs my milk to grow and be healthy. I am doing this for Muna.”

4: “I have enough milk”

You have enough milk to feed your baby now and to express some to bottle-feed him later. You do! Your body can’t have carried a healthy pregnancy to term without having the resources to nourish him once he is out here in this, our big, cold world. You could argue that one thing or the other happened after his birth, threatening your milk supply. Well, that doesn’t matter. You still have milk. All you need to do is work in sync with your body and your baby to get that milk supply up and up. There are no breastfeeding problems, you have enough milk.


5: “You are doing a great job!”

No one will ever thank you for the great job you are doing – not your partner, not your mother-in-law, not your nanny, definitely not your baby. Of course you understand that it’s your duty to feed your baby, but a word of gratitude once every blue moon will give you the fuel to carry on in this long and lonesome journey.

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Well, if no one tells it to you, then tell it to yourself and tell it often. “I am doing a great job!” And hear it from us here at Mum’s Village: You are doing a great job, Mama!


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