There may be times when you need to express your milk including in the early days if you are separated from your baby, if you are trying to increase your milk supply or to relieve engorgement. Some women might hand express colostrum before their baby arrives. Later on you might express milk if you need to leave your baby for a time.

Find more information on how to give your baby your expressed milk on our bottle-feeding and other ways to feed your baby page.

Hand expressing

You may find it easier to express milk by hand, especially in the first few days or weeks. With hand expressing you can express without needing a pump or an electricity supply.

Hand expressing also allows you to encourage milk to flow from a particular part of the breast. This may be useful, for example, if one of the milk ducts in your breast becomes blocked.

Different types of breast pumps

Breasts and nipples come in different sizes and shapes so it’s important to choose the right pump for you. Your pump may come with a standard-sized flange, which may not be the best fit for you and could lead to pain and discomfort. The flange is the part of the breast pump that comes into contact with your body when placed onto the breast and nipple, forming a vacuum seal with the areola. It fits correctly when:

  • your nipple is centred within the tube
  • no parts of your nipple rub against the sides
  • little or no areola is pulled in when the pump is turned on.

Often manufacturers do have other sizes available and some come with more than one option.

Manual hand pump

Manual pumps have a lever you pump to draw milk out by suction. They’re usually the cheapest type of pump. Although they can take longer to work than electric pumps, they can be a good option if you don't plan to pump often. They don't usually take up much room so can be easy to transport.

Silicone suction breast pumps

These are hands-free and use no electricity. As you feed on one side, you can place the pump on the other breast to collect milk while you feed. This type of pump collects the let down and also draws some milk from the breast. It doesn’t actively pump the breast so it’s only useful for expressing the occasional bottle. If you have a lower milk supply, this pump might lack the power you need to draw out a sufficient amount of milk.

Personal use electric pumps

You can buy single or double pumps. A double pump can be useful as you can express both breasts at the same time. A personal electric pump can support draining your breasts if your baby is struggling to do so or if you want to express regularly to give your baby expressed breastmilk.

Hospital grade pumps

These are double electric pumps. They are hardwearing and work using a “closed-system”. This means they have barriers in place to prevent milk and other fluids from entering the machine so they can be used by multiple families. They typically have a stronger pump suction so are often recommended for those who need help with their supply.

Hands on' pumping combines massage with pumping, which can be useful to encourage more milk during your pumping session. It can take a little bit of practice to get used to hands on pumping, but it can be a very useful technique, especially if you’re pumping to support or increase your milk supply.

Breast pump hire

You can hire pumps directly from the manufacturers Ardo or Medela.

There are some local schemes available, you can search using the map below.


Manual pump

Locations for breast pump scheme

Nearest First

Newlands Children’s Centre

03000 411042 Dumpton Lane, Ramsgate, CT11 7AJ

Opening times and details

Newington Children’s Centre

03000 411043 Princess Margaret Avenue, Ramsgate, CT12 6HX

Opening times and details

Cliftonville Children’s Centre

03000 421129 St. Pauls Road, Cliftonville, Margate, CT9 2DB

Opening times and details

Birchington Children’s Centre

03000 411 210 Park Lane, Birchington, CT7 0AS

Opening times and details

Little Pebbles Children’s Centre

Ordnance Road, Chantry Grounds, Gravesend, DA12 2RL

Opening times and details

Little Gems Children’s Centre

03000 42 11 25 Lawn Road, Northfleet, Gravesend, DA11 9HB

Opening times and details

Bright Futures Children’s Centre

0300 042 0895 13 Packham Rd, Northfleet, Gravesend DA11 7JF

Opening times and details

Waterside Children’s Centre

0300 041 8700 Turner Cl, Ashford TN24 0PQ

Opening times and details

Sure Steps Children’s Centre

0300 041 8600 Phoenix Community Primary School,10 Belmont Rd, Kennington, Ashford TN24 9LS

Opening times and details

Murston Children’s Centre (Sittingbourne)

03000 420 896 Tonge Road Sittingbourne Kent

Opening times and details

Woodgrove Children’s Centre (Sittingbourne)

03000 42 08 98 Johnson Road Sittingbourne Kent

Opening times and details

Buckland and Whitfield Children’s Centre (Dover)

03000 414941 St Nicholas Church The Linces Dover Kent

Opening times and details

Dover Youth Hub (Linwood Youth Centre)

03000 420 008 Park Avenue Deal Kent

Opening times and details

Samphire Children’s Centre (Dover)

03000 420882 Aycliffe Primary School St Davids Avenue Aycliffe Dover Kent

Opening times and details

Little Hands Children’s Centre (Canterbury)

03000 410 014 Wincheap Primary School Hollowmead Canterbury Kent

Opening times and details

Swanscombe Children’s Centre

03000 415600 Coopers Road Swanscombe Kent

Opening times and details

Oakfield Children’s Centre (Dartford)

03000 411049 Oakfield Lane Dartford Kent

Opening times and details

Briary Children’s Centre (Herne Bay)

03000 420897 Greenhill Road (West) Herne Bay Kent

Opening times and details

Millmead Children’s Centre (Margate)

0300 0134740 Dane Valley Road, Dane Valley, Margate, CT9 3RU

Opening times and details

KCHFT at Little Forest Children’s Centre (Tunbridge Wells)

Temple Grove Academy, Friars Way, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 3UA

Opening times and details

Deal Breastfeeding Group at St Georges Church

St Georges Church, St Georges Road, Deal, CT14 6BA

Opening times and details

Baby Umbrella at Otford Village Memorial Hall

Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ

Opening times and details

Willow Children’s Centre

Brookfield Road, Ashford TN23 4EY

Opening times and details

Milton Court Children’s Centre

Milton Court Children's Centre, Brewery Road, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne ME10 2EE

Opening times and details

Snodland Youth and Children’s Centre

Snodland Youth and Children's Centre, Holmesdale School, Malling Road, Snodland, Kent ME6 5HS

Opening times and details

Dartford Valley Community Rugby Club

Dartford valley community rugby club, Cotton Ln, Stone, Greenhithe DA2 6PD

Opening times and details

Otford Village Memorial Hall (Sevenoaks)

Otford Village Memorial Hall, 28A High St, Otford, Sevenoaks TN14 5PQ

Opening times and details

Little Foxes Children’s Centre

0300 1233017 Little Foxes Children's Centre, Waveney Rd, Tonbridge TN10 3JU

Opening times and details

Knockhall Children’s Centre (Greenhithe)

0300 123 2075 Knockhall Children's Centre, Abbey Road Greenhithe, Kent , DA9 9HD

Opening times and details

Next Steps Children’s Centre (Gravesend)

0300 123 2076 Next Steps Children’s Centre, Cedar Ave, Gravesend DA12 5JT

Opening times and details

Six Bells Children’s Centre (Margate)

0300 0134740 Six Bells Children’s Centre, 201 High Street, Margate, CT9 1WH

Opening times and details

Riverside Children’s Centre (Canterbury)

0300 7900 156. Riverside Children's Centre, Kingsmead Road, Canterbury, CT2 7PH

Opening times and details

Seashells Children Centre (Sheerness)

0300 123 4014 Seashells Children Centre, Rose Street, Sheerness, ME12 1AW

Opening times and details

Poppy Children’s Centre (Herne Bay)

0300 7900 156 Poppy Children's Centre, Memorial Park, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG

Opening times and details

Woodlands Health Centre (Tonbridge)

0300 1233017 Woodlands Health Centre, 7 Allington Rd, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge TN12 6AX

Opening times and details

Christ Church (Tunbridge Wells)

Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1UT

Opening times and details

Castle Connections (Sheppey)

Castle Connections, Well Road, Queenborough, ME11 5AY

Opening times and details

Tonbridge Baptist Church (Tonbridge)

Tonbridge Baptist Church, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, TN10 3HZ

Opening times and details

Spice and baby Nelly, from Gravesend

''It makes me very proud when I look down at my daughter and see that she is happy and healthy because of me and only me!"

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