Expressing and storing 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, to give your nipples a rest, or if you will be away from your baby. You can use your hand to express milk, or if you can’t breastfeed or will be away from you baby regularly, you can use a breast pump.

Breast milk can be stored at room temperature for up to four hours, in your fridge for three days or 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).

Learn how to feed your baby expressed milk with a bottle, a spoon or a cup.
Learn more about expressing breast milk.
Learn how to express milk with your hands or watch a video.
Learn about using a breast pump to express milk.
Learn important information about storing breast milk safely.


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

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

BC Women’s Hospital 604-875-3743
4500 Oak Street in Vancouver, BC (between 28th Ave and 32nd Ave). Entrance #93 (Map). Enter off Oak Street, take a right turn and drive around the ring road to 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.) Parking: Front of building on Ontario St, upper and lower level. Drop-off hours: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed Stat holidays).

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. Free Parking available at the WV Community Centre – above ground and underground parking. Drop-off hours: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed stat holidays).

Richmond Public Health 604-233-3150
8100 Granville Avenue – reception area main entrance- Use 10 min Loading Zone area for drop off/ paid parking also available. Drop-off hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Mon – Fri (closed Stat holidays)

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.