Prevalence and Outcomes of Breast Milk Expressing in Women With Healthy Term Infants

A Systematic Review

Helene M Johns; Della A Forster; Lisa H Amir; Helen L McLachlan


BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013;13(212) 

In This Article


The literature search for this paper included a search of Medline, CINAHL, JSTOR, ProQuest Central, PsycINFO, PubMed databases and the Cochrane library with no limit on the year of publication. Reference lists of identified papers were also examined. A hand search of consumer-focused breastfeeding newsletters was undertaken at the ABA Lactation Resource Centre in Melbourne, Australia which holds a collection of more than 18,000 documents related to human lactation. Relevant media and conference proceedings and personal communications were also searched. Only English language papers were included. Keywords used were: milk expression, breast milk expression, breast milk pumping, prevalence, outcomes, statistics and data. The date of the most recent electronic search was 26 February 2013.

Most of the articles identified in the search were specifically about expressing breast milk for sick and/or premature infants and therefore not relevant for this review, however these groups were included in the original search to ensure all relevant articles were located. A flowchart was developed according to PRISMA guidelines to summarise articles obtained in the literature search.[21] This tool is used to illustrate how many references have been located, the number of exclusions and the criteria for and number of eventual inclusions in the completed review.

All papers about expressing breast milk for healthy term infants were considered for inclusion. Papers about expressing that focused exclusively on premature infants were not included except where relevant for other aspects of this literature review (eg, Methods of expressing).

In the Results, the literature has been classified according to: prevalence of breast milk expressing, methods of expressing and reasons why women express. In addition outcomes and other implications of expressing are included. In each section the type and quality of papers identified is described and the papers are summarised and presented in tables under topic headings.