How many of you have express breast fed?

(51 Posts)
Spice17 Sat 12-Jan-13 10:30:58

I do because DD wouldn't really latch (tongue tie) but looking at the recent threads on BF and FF, I didn't see many comments on that option, am wondering if people just say they're BF when they're doing it? (which they obviously still are!)

I'm genuinely asking because my friends who BF think expressing sounds like hard work but compared to trying to carry on, for me it was a good solution.

The only thing is, you absolutely need a good pump or you'll find yourself sitting for half an hour getting nothing and at 3.00am that can be a bit soul destroying!

I'd be interested to know how people who do it find it and whether they would do it again (in place of even attempting BF?) I'd do it again even though the annoying microwave beeping noise after steralising the bottles sends me into a rage now!

zlist Sat 12-Jan-13 11:33:53

I expressed because I went back to work when DS was three months (only very part-time but 1-3 hours every day - I thought I would feed around this but I was very wrong!). I started pumping and offering a daily bottle of EBM from 5 weeks old.
As he was used to EBM and my supply was slow (monthly cycle) he would refuse me. I pretty much pumped exclusively to bring my supply back up for a few days each month. I maintained a 10+ oz over-supply the rest of the month. I froze a lot of that and ultimately ended up throwing a lot away. I did this until DS was 1 year old. Getting a double electric pump and pumping bra when he was 8 months old made me realise how much easier it would have been if I did that beforehand!
Although I had a love-hate thing with the pumping I would definitely do it again, whether I needed to or not.

zlist Sat 12-Jan-13 11:43:01

Sorry, my post isn't clear - I mean that I would feed him directly whenever I was with him and he would get EBM when I was at work/out and also at nearly every feed for 2 days once a month.

SanneSannes Sat 12-Jan-13 12:36:45

With DC1 i expressed one breast for 5 months, as that was how long it took him to be able to latch on due to an inverted nipple on that side. Breatsfed him normally on the other breast (and was awfully lopsided!!!) with dc2 did the same thing, but "only" for 3 months as she managed to latch on earlier. Hard work, especially if you are desparate to getbsome sleep and you spend free hours pumping instead- but definitely worth it.

Spice17 Sat 12-Jan-13 13:26:24

Wow, so impressed with all of us! I know it's tricky finding time to express when there are so many other demands. And for those saying that you 'just did it for 6 weeks' or whatever, well that's still brilliant and as for getting babies to latch back on after perseverence - amazing!

I ultimately feel it's best for my DD and am very glad I was able to do it this way but (and this may be taboo to say) I really miss and want to be able to have a 'proper' drink/night out - with DD well looked after by DH/DM obviously.

Just said to DH that I was thinking of weaning DD slowly off and onto FF and it felt like a dagger to my heart - how on earth do I decide and feel at peace with the decision......

BTW, the pump that I think most maternity wards use is the Medela Symphony, it's excellent but very expensive to buy (approx £300 - cheaper on Ebay) I hire mine at £45 a month but would have purchased it if I'd known would be EBF this long and I may even purchase beforehand next time.

funchum8am Sat 12-Jan-13 14:13:35

I am expressing as much as I can towards 2 feeds a day for 14 wk DD but supply doesn't seem to be good enough. I want DH to do a morning and evening ebm bottle so she is used to this when I return to work and he becomes the sahp next month. Currently I have 2 feeds' worth of ebm left in the freezer so am trying to express as much as I can else will have to do one ff per day and bf all the rest. I can't cease to do bottles completely as if we skip a day she then refuses them (only takes them from the childminder I use for the odd visit to work so we are doing daily bottles since she was there on Monday.). I need her to take bottles else DH will, Er, struggle to feed her when I go back to work!

I agree that expressing is the worst if both worlds, and have enormous respect for those who have made it work! I did it for 24 hours this week and it nearly killed me!

HDee Sat 12-Jan-13 14:18:11

I have a exclusively expressed a few times. Longest was for three months when my twins were in hospital. I uttly despised I, and felt physically ill just looking at the damned milking machine. I'd only ever do it again for a premature baby. Otherwise it's formula milk all the way for me.

Andcake Sat 12-Jan-13 18:10:38

After ds lost too much weight by day 5 we were readmitted to hospital. He seemed to latch well then fall asleep. (In fact he has the habit of latching well in front of any hv, mw etc then not at home.) back in hospital We fed him expressed milk through a tube and he never really got the hang of bf- no tongue tie no obvious reason to have bf trouble- basically it was ff or pumping and feeding by bottle to even be in with a chance at coming home.

I exclusively expressed for around 3 months but then when ds started sleeping through more I dropped that pump as it was too depressing/exhausting to pump alone at 3 am:-( before that my DP would do night feeds whilst I pumped. All sat together:-) ds would occasionally take the boob but I hated not knowing how much he was getting and occasionally it was a awful fight and I hated having ds basically scream and hit my boobs.

At 5 months I pump 2x a day which produces half his milk the rest is formula. It's becoming more difficult now as he often wants to be played with when I'm expressing in the morning. When I left the hospital I was basically told a plan to exclusively express was impossible. It's not-just hard work. Takes me about 30 mins per session with an avent and pump ( I get more by hand than electric).
I read somewhere that even 100 mls of bm a day give most of the benefits of bf so I plan to give him even a little as long as I can.

I have felt no bf group or dr really supportive and I haven't come across any one in rl who has exclusively expressed. Even on mn it's rarely discussed where tongue tie is often seen as the major problem and formula the devils brew.

One thing I do know is that feeding anything by bottle can as much of a bonding experience- in the early days I would leak whilst doing it so I see that as physical proof :-)

sharond101 Sat 12-Jan-13 22:16:16

Still going at 8 months. On the pump now!

sharond101 Sat 12-Jan-13 22:20:20

Should have added, DS couldn't latch due to muscle weakness in his jaw. It's not so bad now he feeds much less but initially it was so tough, every 3 hours. I felt very restricted in going out and that I missed out on family time attached to the pump however DS as never had a cold, upset tummy, infection etc so I believe it's given him the best start.

Teladi Sat 12-Jan-13 22:27:20

DD was delivered via forceps, was jaundiced and bruised, I had post-partum haemorrhage so was totally out of it when I was first trying to feed her, and then she never figured out how to latch. I EPed for 5 months, then I was too tired. My DD was a milk monster, and not a great sleeper, and I couldn't cut any pumps out without my supply suffering. If I had to do it over... I probably would do it again, I feel proud that I did it. It wasn't easy. Massive kudos to anyone who does it for any length of time.

And if people asked, I said she was exclusively breastfed, because in my opinion she was.

I don't plan any more DCs but if I did change my mind, top of my priority list would be establishing bf directly after delivery if at all possible. And if bf didn't work, I would probably ff. There is no way I could EP with 2 DC.

scuzy same happened to me - really tough and soul destroying - 5 years on I am over the disappoinment of it not working for us, but it was tough. Well done us [toasts]

comelywenchlywoo Sat 12-Jan-13 22:32:38

I expressed for a year. DS was born with a cleft palate so could not breastfeed. All his milk was EBM till he was 7 or 8 months and i started giving him a bottle of formula to supplement the EBM so I could reduce my expressing to three or four times a day.
I would agree with others that it's so time consuming and so much work. I dearly hope that I would be able to breastfeed any future DC, but if I had to express again I would give it a go. I did find it terribly isolating, and really wish there was more support for it. The lactation consultants would phone every once in a while to see if I was still using their pump (I was), but apart from that I don't think they knew what to do with me.
It's so nice to hear other's stories on here. Well done everyone. It's tough, but worth it. Funny to see that others found it hard to stop. I loathed it, but couldn't stop doing it. Looking back on it I now wonder how I kept going!!!

Sleepybunny Sun 13-Jan-13 01:30:29

Into week 9 of EBM, pumping every 3hrs 24hrs a day, DD feeding every 2-3 hrs and taking 3-4 oz per feed. (Also a fussy feeder taking anywhere from 10min to 1 hr to feed) feel slightly insane.

Can any exclusive Pumpers tell me

1) can you express enough for two feeds in one go and then pump every second feed instead without reducing supply?

2) she hasn't slept longer than 3 hours yet, does anyone know when she might consider going a little longer between feeds? I try offering her a bit more milk at each feed but she rarely takes more than 3oz.

Thinking I'll reassess the situation at 12 weeks, partner isn't very supportive. If I'm still doing 3 hourly pumping sessions might start introducing formula :-(

NatashaBee Sun 13-Jan-13 01:38:18

I managed 6 weeks of expressing before my supply dwindled off, I didn't realise until later that DS had a tongue tie and that was why he wouldn't latch on. It really is the worst of both worlds, even though I had a really good pump, I was utterly miserable. Kudos to all you people who've managed to keep going long term.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Sun 13-Jan-13 01:44:03

Yes I did it for 7 months. On average 3 bf feeds a day at home then I expressed.

I got a few bottles ahead IYSWIM. So I would express just after feeding him bm in a bottle if I was out.

I found the best way was to get up early in the morning, before he woke, and express then. Always a lot in the mornings.

Just set up an area by the bed for the electric pump, slap on a box set to watch and zone out is my advice!

comelywenchlywoo Sun 13-Jan-13 10:07:02

sleepybunny after a few months I dropped off the night pump and pumped double in the mornings. I would take off 200ml per breast in the morning and then 100ml per breast at lunch and then again at teatime and bedtime. I would be wary of reducing pumping frequency till it's well established. I think I only did this once he started sleeping better. I don't know when your little one will drink more, but in my experience they'll take what they'll take and there's no use stressing trying to get them to take more.
Remember, it doesn't have to be all or nothing with milk, you can still mix EBM and ff feeds (not in the same bottle). If it's getting too much consider reducing the amount of times in 24hrs you express to something like I was doing above. However, if you find supply is reducing and you don't want to lose it you'll have to reintroduce additional pumps to get it back (a pain in the ass!).
I would also second what binfull says, watch a dvd or iplayer while you pump, nothing worse than watching the drips fall into the bottle!
Finally, are you double pumping? because doing both sides at the same time reduces time and has been shown to boost production.
Above all, don't beat yourself up if it becomes unworkable for you. My DH works away for up to six weeks so I know how incredibly difficult it is to keep up alone. I think you're right to see how you feel at 12 weeks and then maybe try reducing pumpings rather than stopping altogether.
HTH

CheungFun Sun 13-Jan-13 10:15:35

DS and I never got the hang of breastfeeding, but I did express milk for him, but I never managed to express much at all, about 60mls for an hour pumping which was so depressing so I gave up after two weeks, I just felt my time was better spent sleeping as I was exhausted.

PrincessOfChina Sun 13-Jan-13 10:48:52

Just adding my experience really, as I don't think the option of expressing alongside FF is talked about too often.

I had a long, drawn out birth resulting in 3 lots of pethidine before an EMCS. As a result DD and I were both exhausted and out of it and breast feeding just did not work and I was too tired to explore why.

I began expressing on the ward and continued at home, twice a day for three months. This gave DD enough for roughly half her feeds at first, dropping eventually to half a feed. I really valued the time alone while expressing - DP would look after DD while I expressed.

Sleepybunny Sun 13-Jan-13 11:28:54

Thanks comelywenchlywoo, I've just ordered a second pump and plan to start double pumping! (Is it sad that I'm excited about that!?) hopefully it will make life easier.

Also the last two nights I have expressed 8oz so I can give her 4oz at her next feed (usually 2-3am) and skip pumping so I can have a bit more sleep. Then just express as normal after that. This is working so far! I'm hoping to do this once in the day time to so I can leave the house for longer than three hours! Lol!

Fingers crossed it gets easier, the 6 week growth spurt was hard going as she was taking the full 4oz (normally offer 4 and she'll take 3ish) every 2 hours at one point, so I had to cluster pump (if that's even a thing!) to boost my supply to keep up. I'm proud I managed it because it was blooming hard work pumping for an hour each time and only getting an hour break (just enough time to sterilise pump and bottles) before she was looking for the next feed and I'd be starting all over again. It was worth it as it really boosted my supply.

Guess I feel guilty for not being able to breast feed her, switching to formula would make me feel like I've let her down further. She's preterm too so I think I'm still hanging on to feelings of guilt about that too. Would never judge anyone who ff though, I'm lucky I can express and it is possible for me to do things this way.

comelywenchlywoo Sun 13-Jan-13 12:22:15

I completely understand how you feel. I would never judge anyone for feeding formula, but I cried when I had to give DS his first bottle after a growth spurt that left me behind in supply. You're doing so well, that cluster pumping sounds a nightmare. It was the relentless circle of pump feed pump feed that got to me too.

You are so right to be excited about the second pump - it should make a massive difference. I have one of those bra things that hold the "giving sets" on whilst you pump. I didn't think they were amazing, but it was useful to be able to have my hands free as DS got older. Let me know if you'd like it and I'll send it to you.

You could also consider getting a hand pump for when you're out an about. I used to sterilise it in it's box thing, take the lot with me and then tuck a muslin into my bra strap to protect my modesty whilst I pumped. I don't think I would have done it in a restaurant, but I would pump in the car whilst DH drove or at a close friends house etc. It allowed me to have that bit more freedom and I wouldn't stress if we were out later than I planned.

It will get easier. Your supply will get more established allowing you to pump less, your DD will start to take longer between feeds, and it just becomes part of life.

One of the positives is that when DS was about five months I was able to freeze enough milk for us to go away for two nights for our anniversary. DS stayed with Granny, we had two nights off and I could have a cheeky cocktail as I knew the milk I expressed whilst we were away would not go to DS. I couldn't have done that if I were breast-feeding ;)

Just, please, NEVER feel guilty (easier said than done). You have not in any way let DD down, you would not be letting her down if you gave her formula either. There's so much more to being a mum than the kind of milk we give our kids and you've done an amazing job expressing for as long as you have. I don't think people understand just how much work exressing is unless they've done it themselves. You're doing great!

Andcake Sun 13-Jan-13 13:05:10

Expressing is such an emotional roller coaster of feeling sad if bf didn't work, exhausted by the pump and a bit isolated by lack of support.

Everyone on here is amazing for doing it for however long. Glad I am not alone about feeling conflicted about stopping. Slowly I'm learning that how good a mum I am isn't just to do with bf and judging myself a failure before motherhood has really begun.

I would try to do it again witha 2 dc if need be but I do think bf helplines etc should mention exclusively pumping more and that mix feeding doesn't always fail.

Spice17 Sun 13-Jan-13 14:54:28

Having an emotional day today and reading this has made me feel a bit better about reducing the ebf and giving her more ff, still sad about it but I'm going to up the ff to approx 2-3 a day (DD has anything from 6-8 feeds per 24 hours and my supply feels like it's dwindling)

Has anyone had the problem where your DH/DP is not keen for you to reduce/up the ff feeds? Mine isn't very keen (and I totally get where he's coming from) but will respect whatever I want to do and that somehow makes me feel worse, wish I could stop beating myself up about it and worrying what people will think!

For what it's worth, my DM will be fine with it as she was suggesting I get DD onto formula when I was still in hospital with her confused so it's one extreme to the other. She was worried about the tiredness I think, I was like 'Mum, I'm honestly fine!'

Andcake Sun 13-Jan-13 16:52:58

Spice17 I've got the opposite where DP keeps on saying 'you know you can stop' and I keep on going as I beat myself up. I know i need to soon when ds weans as breakfast and pumping will make morning chaos.
But there was a period when DP just thought pumping was the normal amount of work a new mum would do NOT that it's the worse of both worlds. I think it took talking to some other 1st time mums to realise. Also our ds basically will not nap in his cot in the day so with pumping nothing was getting done. I think he had to see it to believe it...
Any small amount of bm is good so maybe try and get on a schedule or get dp on board for mixed feeding.. My morning and night pumps give 50% of milk and allows me wine with Sunday lunch as it will be out of my body by my next pump :-)

Londonmrss Sun 13-Jan-13 18:30:38

spice, well done you for persevering for this long.
I exclusively expressed for the first 4 weeks. I had immediate skin to skin and loads of visits from bf specialists, but she just wouldn't latch- she didn't find my nipple and when I forced it on her, she just had no idea what to do with it. then she became jaundiced and so was too sleepy to feed. a few weeks later, I tried with a nipple shield and she latched for a few seconds! we gradually weaned off expressed bottles until we were exclusively breastfeeding by 7 weeks and are still at 12 weeks.

when she wouldn't latch, I found it incredibly distressing- I just felt utterly rejected. additionally, exclusively pumping was so hard because the nights were hard enough anyway- wakeful baby, she needed feeding, then I would spend an hour settling her, then half an hour pumping, then do the steriliser and by the time I was finished it was practically time for the next feed so I hardly got any sleep.

had we not managed to latch with the shields (which I am still using as she still won't latch without them) I definitely wouldn't have been able to carry on. I really admire those of you that can exclusively pump long term! I was so upset and tired that I wasn't a healthy mum. my husband was fully in support of whatever my choice was and we are just lucky that we have made it work. I really believe that you have to put your needs first because an exhausted and miserable mummy isn't doing anyone any good. having a baby is hard enough so try and make it easier on yourself by making choices that work for you and never feeling guilty. if you are looking after yourself you are doing your best for your baby.

I still find bf really hard to be honest but for me it had been worth persevering.

preggersshock Sun 13-Jan-13 22:21:39

Really pleased to have found this thread!

DD is 11 weeks old; I am expressing and FF (not enough milk), have had endless problems & desperately wanted to BF but it wasn't to be. Thrush/mastitis, severe cracked nipples (almost lost the top of one) blocked ducts, DD unable to latch, undiagnosed tongue tie (finally picked up & treated at 6 weeks), not enough supply (never had engorged or leaky boobs :-().

For me expressing was the only alternative whilst my boobs recovered and repaired combined with formula (because of the supply issues), at 8 weeks I tried to latch back on but then struggled to get her to take formula & with reduced milk supply this wasn't healthy for her, she needed the formula quantity to put on weight). I am still preserving at 11 weeks - even though I can only get a couple of ounces a day into her of breast milk I believe some antibodies are better than none & with all these winter bugs about every 'little' bit helps... When do they start producing their own antibodies, I'll give up then ...

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