Expressing - no milk after 4 minutes - is this normal?

(5 Posts)
eagleray Fri 08-Mar-13 23:15:01

DD is 6 weeks old and since she was a few days old I have been BF with formula top-ups (due to weight loss issues). I've also been expressing (with an electric pump) regularly and in the beginning could only manage dismal amounts. This has improved, but still seems a small amount compared to other people.

I know that many people apparently can only express small amounts (compared to what the baby will be taking) but what bothers me a bit is that after 3/4 minutes on the pump there is virtually nothing left! Is this short period of time normal? Over time, I can see that I can express a higher volume of milk in this time period but never seem to be able to sustain the flow past the first few minutes!

This morning I did 4 minutes each side and got 50ml in total, and think this is a record for me (30ml is more like the norm)

Can anyone tell me if this sounds normal or not?

abbyfromoz Fri 08-Mar-13 23:19:52

I found a manual (hand pump) worked better than the machine one (which frankly put me off based on the fact it sounded like a mooing cow- let alone how slow it was) ...it goes without saying the more you feed the more you have- so if you are topping up with formula feeds make sure you are still pumping.
There are certain times of the day you will have more- this last pump may just be a low time of the day?
Also I know this might sound obvious but you neeeed to drink water.
I hope this helps.

MinnesotaNice Fri 08-Mar-13 23:20:41

When I used to express, I generally got 2 (rarely 3) letdowns. After awhile, they were like clockwork. The first one would occur shortly after beginning to pump and then a second letdown about 8 mins later, I think. It's been a few years, so my recollection is iffy. It sounds to me like you might not be pumping for long enough to get the next letdown?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 08-Mar-13 23:20:48

I had an electric pump to begin with, and it helped me boost supply but I never got enough from it to actually give much to DS1.
On the recommendation of a friend, I bought a cheap TT handheld pump, and the amount I got increased hugely almost overnight - because when you have a manual pump you can mimic your baby's feeding rhythm.

You might notice that when your DD feeds, she sucks fast to get the letdown, and then it slows as she feeds, then she might pause and then suck fast again to get another letdown. If you can copy that pattern as closely as you can then you will get the most milk.

I also used to pump while I fed, or while I was looking at DS1 sleeping - the second is definitely easier to do with a hand-held!

eagleray Sat 09-Mar-13 23:41:52

grin re the mooing cow - this is EXACTLY how I've been describing the pump since I got it!

That's very interesting re the manual pump - I think there may be one in a bag of stuff a friend gave me for the baby so I'll dig it out. Hadn't occurred to me that a manual would give better results.

I tried pumping for a longer period of time today and didn't see an obvious second letdown, but did manage to get more milk out of the session, which was good. I also got more than I ever have done before at the first session today, so good to see that things are still improving each day!

The drinking water thing should be obvious but admit to being terrible for not drinking enough blush I keep bottles of water dotted around the house but still never get round to drinking enough. Will try harder!

Thanks all of you for your help and suggestions smile

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