Expressing and storing breast milk

Expressing Breast Milk

Sometimes, you may want to express milk from your breasts with your hands or a pump instead of breastfeeding. Expressing breast milk is useful when you want to:

  • Relieve breasts that are too full
  • Give your nipples a rest
  • If you will be away from your baby.

You can use your hand to express milk. If you can’t breastfeed or will be away from you baby regularly, you can also use a breast pump.

Storing Breast Milk

Breast milk can be stored:

  • At room temperature for up to four hours
  • In your fridge for three days
  • In your freezer for 6-12 months

To warm up the breast milk, put the bottle or bag of breast milk in warm water. Don’t use the stove or microwave.

Consider Donating Your Breast Milk

If you have more milk that your baby needs, consider donating to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank. There is always a demand for milk which is provided to premature and sick babies in your community. For more information on donating milk, click here

You can drop off milk once you have been approved to donate by the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank. Milk donations can be dropped off at the following locations.

BC Women’s Hospital 604-875-3743

  • 4500 Oak Street in Vancouver, BC (between 28th Ave and 32nd Ave). Entrance #93 (See Map).
  • Enter off Oak Street, take a right turn and drive around the ring road. You will reach the BC Women’s Main Outpatient & Visitor Entrance (#93).
  • Drop milk off at the Milk Bank Reception Desk #1, located in the main lobby across from BC Women’s Auxiliary Gift Shop. Drop-off hours: 8:00am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri . Call before going to the hospital & free parking instructions are provided.. Closed weekends and stat holidays.

RavenSong Community Health Centre 604-709-6400

  • 2450 Ontario St. in Vancouver (between Broadway and 8 Ave). Drop-off hours: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed Stat holidays).
  • Parking: Front of building on Ontario St, upper and lower level.

North Shore Community Health Center 604-983-6700 (Within West Vancouver Community Centre)

  • 2121 Marine Drive, West Vancouver (Main Level) – off within VCH clinic area off main level hallway. Drop-off hours: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed stat holidays).
  • Free Parking available at the WV Community Centre – above ground and underground parking.

Richmond Public Health 604-233-3150

  • 8100 Granville Avenue – reception area main entrance. Drop-off hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed Stat holidays)
  • Use 10 min Loading Zone area for drop off/ paid parking also available.

Squamish Health Unit , 604-892-2293

  • 1140 Hunter Place in Squamish. Drop-off hours: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed Stat holidays). Call ahead to confirm.