I have a 6 week old and for the last 2 weeks have been expressing a bottle of milk (125ml) for the evening to ensure a bit of extra sleep. To begin with it was no trouble at all, some days I even managed and extra bottle for the freezer, but for the last 2 days I have barely managed 80mls from 2 expressing sessions. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? And, more importantly, what can I do to get back to how things were? I am worried this means my milk is running dry already, which as a first time mum who is exclusively feeding wiht breast milk is very concerning. I have upped my calorie intake and have tried massaging so far.
I expressed every night for a few months and the volume of milk I got out varied a lot - I averaged around 5 fl oz, but some days only got 3 fl oz. My record was 9 fl oz!
I know it's easy for me to say, but I wouldn't worry (stressing makes it harder to express IME) and as long as your baby is happy (gaining weight/wet nappies/etc) I think it's unlikely your milk is running dry.
Maybe your baby is taking more milk at the feed before the expressing?
There is no need to up either calories or fluid intake. Your baby will get everything they need and there is no need to eat or drink extra. That is a myth
It would be very very rare for your milk to dry up. That is not how breastfeeding works. The more your baby removes milk, the more you make, it is that simple.
You express a 5oz bottle for the evening, how long then until your next feed? You may be unwittingly reducing your supply if the evening bottle means you go many hours without feeding at this early stage.
I do hope Tiktok comes along though to tell me off if I am wrong.
But don't panic, just keep feeding. Expressing is no reliable indicator of how much milk you make anyhow.
Thanks everyone, easy to panic when you don't know what you're doing so I really appreciate all the advice. What a fab website this is, without it I'd have been stressing, no doubt exacerbating the situation. Bit gutted about not needing to up the calorie intake - might ignore that bit of info Madmouse ;o)
Expression is no guide to what you make for your baby. Feeding stimulates hormones and let-down in a way expression just can't. If you suckle more, you'll stimulate supply more than extra expressing, I think. Expressing stimulates, obviously (it's how my son is fed, and at 13 weeks he weighed well over 13 pounds) but not in the same way as your baby suckling. It's pure supply and demand, without the emotional response factored in. If you have any supply worries, and you can comfortably bf, I'd definitely choose to bf more.
Also, are you expressing after the first feed or two when you wake up in the morning, as you usually have the most milk first thing? (Sure tiktok will say if that's wrong!)
I think fluids can matter, though not calories - but only if actually dehydrated. If my mouth is dry and my pee is orange, my supply drops. Drinking extra when not dehydrated, and I just pee more, so that doesn't help me.
Stress and worry makes it harder to get the milk out, so a nice chocolate eclair and tea before starting the session is my therapeutic remedy of choice. And a good DVD can help, too - sometimes I get stressed by a slow flow, then get distracted by the film, and suddenly realise I'm about to overflow the little bottle!
(Madmouse, I hope Monday went really well for you.)