Can anyone talk to me about expressing? Pros & Cons...

(67 Posts)
LuluLulabelle Tue 10-Mar-09 12:54:06

DD is now 6 weeks old and now, after a rocky start and some formula top ups at night in the earlier weeks, is EBF. Things feel like they are going well and she is now 9lb 11oz (birth weight 7lb 13oz).

I saw the health visitor yesterday and she told me to start expressing so that I could have a break and DH could feed DD while I sleep. I can't explain why but its something I no longer feel too comfortable with, even though we bought a Medela Swing for this purpose when I was pregnant. Although he tells me how proud he is that I am BF, I know that DH would love to give her a bottle. I just can't put my finger on the reason why I am reluctant to do it.

At the moment DD cluster feeds in the early evening then has a big feed at 10pm-ish, 2.30am/3am-ish and then 6.30am/7am-ish so I guess it would be the 10pm feed that I would express for.

So, I'd be grateful if you could tell me why you chose to express or not to express?

I don't know much about expressing and the practicalities of it but I asked the HV about it affecting my milk supply and she said to just express around the time that DH gives DD the bottle. That confused me a bit if the reason for expressing is to give me extra rest.

Your views would be mch appreciated.


slim22 Tue 10-Mar-09 13:10:42

she seems to be in a good pattern of feed/sleep every 3 to 4 hours.
If I was in your shoes I would not interfere. Not with her sleep routine and not with your supply which is still in the early stages of establishing according to demand.

That said, routines change so much at that stage!
So maybe she meant expressing occasionally so as to build up a small supply for when you are really shattered (the growth spurts - but really that is when it's important to feed on demand to build up supply)?

Btw, I always had better results expressing in the morning.

I'll leave it at that. I'm sure you'll have more knowledgeable mners on this soon,

Follow your instincts.

I wouldn't bother.

I hated expressing and would always rather bf than express.

Especially as you've ditched the formula top ups.

There is so much DH can do other than feeding (hand the baby straight over for winding and a cuddle after bf for example).

mondaymonday Tue 10-Mar-09 13:17:04

I don't see any reason to express unless you have to

I found it a nightmare as I could only express 2-3 oz at a time. I only ever expressed if I wanted to take a bottle out with me (DS was a very unsettled and fussy feeder and I was never able to bf in public because of this).

Also why bother with all that boiling/sterlising unless you have to?

mabel1973 Tue 10-Mar-09 13:31:38

I find it strange that your health visitor has advised you to express when BF is going well.
At 6 weeks I imagine she still sleeps alot during the day, so if she is your 1st could you rest while she is sleeping?
Dh can help out in other ways, or maybe just express every now and then, so he can bottle feed, but I wouldn't get into trying to do it everyday, it is just more pressure to put yourself under.
I was told by my 1st midwife that expressing does not have the same affect on your supply as BF, as so much of it is hormonal - not sure how true that is, she told me if that I continued to express rather than BF my supply would start to dwindle hmm

I expressed with DS1 quite a bit, but I found BF a struggle and he never seemed to latch on well with feeds taking up to an hour,I felt like I was stuck to the sofa, whereas when he was bottle fed it took about 15 minutes. however i am currently BF my 3rd child who is 14 weeks old and looking back I can see that DS1's failure to latch on was more about me than him and my other 2 children have both fed brilliantly, so I have never really bothered with expressing since.

alicecrail Tue 10-Mar-09 13:31:54

I had to express for my dd as i simply could not get her to feed and i had gallons of milk, she went from 7lb 4oz to 6lb 1oz in 7 days, i had no idea that she wasn't feeding, we just thought it was colic, until a hv was round on day 6 and noticed me trying to feed and realised dd just wasn't getting any milk, she helped me feed her and it was like a different baby, but by the evening having tried almost constantly since hv had left and not succeeded i was in tears. So i said to dh " get that steriliser on, i need bottles!" and i expressed by hand and after that feed dd slept solidly for 4 hrs in her moses basket, so i carried on. The next day hv came round again, weighed dd and said to me if i was happy to express to carry on as dd was obviously happier and i wasn't in tears. Got a hand pump and we were away. Once dh went back to work a week later we were all a lot less stressed and dd was putting weight back on nicely. In the afternoons we would get comfortable on the sofa and i would spend the afternoons feeding her myself, knowing i had milk in the fridge made me more relaxed and i would do it when dd wasn't too hungry and we learnt that way. Expressing was an absolute life saver.

Sorry this is so long blush

LuluLulabelle Tue 10-Mar-09 14:05:13

I think the HV was probably trying to help. She told me I seem a little "flat" compared to the last time she saw me (I was 36 weeks pregnant at the time- I have had a traumatic birth, BF challenges and broken sleep since then). I think that might be part of the reason her comment bothered me. I feel quite proud that BF is now going well and telling me I seem flat and to express makes me feel like I am not doing as well as I think.

Anyway, thats not important. I think you're all right, I can see the place for expressing - it makes sense that it helped you to relax and then feed your DD alicecrail*.

I think one of my concerns would be it affecting BF and I considered doing it for when we go out too, mondaymonday. I had a huge fear of feeding DD in public but we went shopping on Friday (my first proper trip out since the birth) and I had no choice but to feed her, I couldn't have let her wait until we got home. So I got over it and it was fine - we all ate at the same time in a coffee shop!

Anyway, I am going off track. I just wondered really if there was some big advantage with expressing that I was missing - or some big disadvantage for that matter.

Thanks for replying and sharing your experiences smile

mabel1973 Tue 10-Mar-09 14:28:18

Lulu - it sounds to me like you are doing really well! she was perhaps a bit concerened if you seemed tired, but it is very early days still, and I remember with DD that at about 6 weeks, it was probably hardest, she was having a growth spurt doing lots of crying, abit colicky etc, so I think it is normal to seem a bit 'flat' after all the initial excitement has owrn off, as long as it;s nothing more than that.
As for feeding in public, it gets easier, believe me by the time you get to DC3 you will be getting them out everywhere without a 2nd thought!

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 14:54:57

It really is each to their own on this one.
For me expressing was responsible for my continuing to BF much longer than I otherwise would.
I would BF in the morning and express immediately after the feed while DS rolled about on his baby gym and again after later feeds if I needed/wanted to express more.
This gave me the chance to get more sleep and to be able to leave DS and go out for some "adult time" to maintain some semblance of a social life.
The thing is that having that break for me was really important AND I found expressing a total breeze (I could express 9oz in about 10 mins even after a bf - mooooo grin )
If you think you would benefit from the flexibility it provides AND it works for you without adding to any stress levels then go for it, but not everyone wants to or indeed can.

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 14:58:49

FWIW I don't remember ever using expressed milk as an alternative to feeding in public. It was tricky at first but becomes a doddle in no time. I just became the pashmina queen!

For me it just offered the best of both worlds. If you do want to include it in your routine just be sure to not leave it too late - a few of my friends decided that they wanted what I had at about 4 months and by then their DCs weren't having any of it when the bottle was suggested.

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 15:03:44

Mabel, I've heard of mums (on MN) who ONLY express for whatever reason, and do so for months and months, so I don't think your HV is entirely correct.

I totally agree that if you can BF and it works for you that's great, but expressing can be helpful too. I fed all my children with breast milk, all expressed with a large electric pump hired from the NCT or La Leche League. The electric pump and regularity of expressing meant I fed my babies for up to 5 months successfully when I could not have directly BF physiologically.

Bubbaluv, that was timely - we must have been typing at the same time!! Guess I must be one of your examples

Twiga Tue 10-Mar-09 15:20:22

Expressing doesn't cause supply to dwindle - it's a supply and demand thing, that said a baby is more efficient than a pump so just because you can't express mujch doesn't mean a rubbish supply. I have a friend who for the first few months she bf gave only ebm due to various infections/problems before she finally got feeding going and it certainly had no efect on supply - for some it's a good compromise where there's been difficulties for whatever reason.

I donate ebm to our milk bank and am currently taking off a 9oz feed every day in addition to what dd2 is having (she's approaching 12 wks). I find expressing easy and am doing it as I'm really pleased to be near to somewhere that will take donations.

With my last two I expressed a little milk from time to time just to have a wee back up in case I wanted to nip out by myself at any point. To be honest didn't need to give bottles very often as was happy to either take baby out or nip home if I was close enough. Having some milk in reserve can be handy if you feel unwell - i suffer from migranes and it's been great on occasion to be able to go to bed and rest up when I have one knowing that dh can give a bottle if need be.

It sounds like your doing fab and I suspect your hv was just trying to be helpful - better to have one that worries a little rather than not bothering to check on you properly! The early weeks are tough on a sleep front so try to rest up if you can when your baby is sleeping - no shame in leaving the housework etc it'll keep and you'll feel better for it.

LuluLulabelle Tue 10-Mar-09 15:21:27

Bubbaluv, did it affect your milk supply at all? What time of day did you give DS the expressed milk?

LuluLulabelle Tue 10-Mar-09 15:26:35

Thanks Twiga, your reasons for expressing make a lot of sense.

I suppose what worries me about supply is if I drop a feed in the night will I struggle to feed DD at that time in future if I need to?

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 16:24:39

It increased my supply just as bfing more would have.
The time I gave it varied a lot at different ages. Earlier on it was mainly only if I was really shattered and wanted a full night's sleep and Dh would do it or if I was going out to dinner or whatever the babysitter gave it while I was out.
Later I used to give it to top-up and later substitute the last feed before bed. I had lots of supply, but giving the bottle I could encourage DS to take just that much more than he would if he was just BFing and this helped in getting him to sleep through. We used to call it Fois Gras feeding wink.
Froze lots which was great for if/when I got sick.

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 16:27:08

Lulu, You may well have been one of the Mums I was thinking of! grin
That was very well timed - you can be my exhibit A!

LuluLulabelle Tue 10-Mar-09 16:35:20

Lol! I am contemplating skipping the expressing Bubbaluv and just contacting your milk bank! grin

I guess I just need to try it then and see if its for us. I do find the idea of more sleep very appealing - and adult time, well that would be fab. I have nothing in the diary until or anniversary in June! Gives me plenty of time to practice then!

Thanks mumsnetters x


I expressed for dd. I used to express immediately after her feeds in the morning as I seemed to have more milk then. She used to have a bottle of ebm at around 6.30 pm and it seemed to help reduce the cluster feeds a bit (she was feeding constantly from 5-11pm and it was leaving me exhausted). Dh would get home from work and give her the bottle whilst I had an hour or so to relax/have a bath etc. It really helped "refresh" me for the evening feeds and broken nights.

Any extra, I used to freeze so that DH and I could have an evening out occasionally from when she was around 12 weeks (I mean about once every 2 months or so)

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 16:58:46

MultiTaskingMum, I meant to direct this to you rather than Lulu! blush
"Lulu, You may well have been one of the Mums I was thinking of!
That was very well timed - you can be my exhibit A!"

wastingmyeducation Tue 10-Mar-09 17:03:30

I wasn't bothered either way about expressing, until HCPs started suggesting it when DS had slow weight gain.
I got us back on track breast only.
FIL mentioned something about expressing, the second time DS needed feeding in public.
So I don't express ever, due to bloody-mindedness.

It's political too for me though. Breastfeeding is free and pumps, bottles etc. aren't.

But if I really needed to express I would.

ImpatientGriselda Tue 10-Mar-09 17:40:27

I expressed one bottle a day from 3 weeks (in the morning, took about 1 hour), so that DP could give DD the 11pm feed and I could give my poor nipples a rest.

I also found it very helpful to take a break from feeding in the evening; it meant that I was better able to deal with the middle of the night stint, and to get the rare night out without the pressure of having to be back to do a feed.

Another good reason for expressing was that my milk looked to be pretty poor quality come 11pm; the expressed morning milk was definitely creamier and more plentiful.

My final reason for expressing is that I really appreciated the fact that it meant that DP could do everything for DD that I could; seemed to cement the feeling for us that we were really in this together as a partnership.

I expressed for 3 months and then moved the 11pm feed to formula from 3 months. This didn't affect my milk supply, which I guess was pretty well established by that stage. I carried on BF until DD nearly 7 months.

Have to say, if we had another DC, I might switch to formula for that one bottle a day earlier than 3 months, as it was a great relief to stop all that pumping...grin

Thanks Bubbaluv
It also worked for me feeding triplets! (though after the first few weeks they had a mixture of EBM & formula as I could 'only' feed one-two of them) I had to give up as expressing took too much time each day and my other children needed me.

I bf and expessed milk for dp to do some of the 11pm feeds,and for back up. It's handy to have a bit in the freezer in case you're ill or want some extra sleep. Maybe just do a bit of expressing to see how you feel about it and for emergency supply. you don't have to do it so you have enough for 1 feed a day, even 1 or 2 bottles worth of ebm stashed at a time would be handy for the odd break. At least you have an electric one, I had a handpump and I'm sure my arms grew muscles!

barey Tue 10-Mar-09 18:38:36

I bf DD for 6 months and expressed every day - it was actively encouraged in hospital. This had a great effect on my milk supply obviously so I never felt that I had insufficient milk (as I did with DS and found BF much more difficult with him). Also it meant that DH could give DD a bottle at night so I could get some sleep and the transition from breast to bottle was easy. It was a bit of a bind initially but I would definitely recommend. And, dare I say it, a certain childcare expert who shall not be named recommends that you do it!

Wigeon Tue 10-Mar-09 19:19:24

I had intended to express so that DH could give the 10pm-ish feed, like you are considering, but to be honest the sterilising and pumping was more faff than simply just doing a breast-feed. But I do express from time to time so that I can leave my DD with DH and my body seems to adapt to whatever (ie sometimes expressing, sometimes not). When DD was small (she's now 8 months), I also found the morning was the easier time to express.

I don't think it would mean that in future you couldn't do the 10pm feed if sometimes you expressed - it's amazing how your milk supply adjusts to the baby's needs. When I express DD's bedtime milk (if I want to go out) she incredibly takes just a couple of drops less than what I've expressed - it's as if my boobs know exactly how much she'll need.

Personally I think that 6 weeks is quite early to start expressing - I only started expressing at 6 weeks as I hadn't had any problems establishing breast-feeding, but I think I would have waited a bit longer (eg 10 weeks) if I'd had problems.

Sounds like you are doing really well with BF-ing - good luck!

AnnVan Tue 10-Mar-09 19:56:56

I express, but not so that DP can do a regular bottle feed. I just have a supplyi in the freezer for times when I need to leave ds with someone, so they can feed him. I don't see the point in DP doing a feed at night (for my circumstances) and DP isn't bothered about feeding really. It is handy to have that little stash of stored milk though. (we're going to watch a movie this weekend, and are leaving DS with MIL and some ebm)

picklepud Tue 10-Mar-09 19:57:23

I expressed like mad with dd but when it came to it I couldn't bear for her to have the bottle. I did enjoy the fascination of seeing my milk (sorry!) and it gave me confidence that I was producing lots so it served its purpose! I did express again when I went back to work at eight months - wanted her to have something from me and to keep up supplies for when I stopped (it was only for a short time) but she only had it in a cup. I think the main reason I expressed when she was little was that I was worried she wouldn't take a bottle and that I wouldn't be able to get out in the evening. But fairly soon she would go to sleep at seven and although she didn't sleep through til at least six months I could be confident that she wouldn't need feeding if I went out for a drink with friends, cinema etc. I wasn't really up for trips away or all night sessions anyway!
I also worried about sterilising - I didn't trust my brain to cope with that and make it all hygienic whereas the breast feeding didn't take brain power.
DS is four months and I haven't expressed with him. It is much better for me and honestly I couldn't find the time to feed and express.
but this is how it is for me - this is not a recommendation.

cluttered Tue 10-Mar-09 20:00:53

I've only read some of the posts but am I the only one who expressed at the same time as BF? I had one of those Avent pumps and used to attach DS to one side and pump off the other once he'd let the milk down. This worked especially well when he was very small and only feeding off one side at a time but even later when he needed both sides during one feed I used to partly empty one side while he was feeding off the other.

The reason I expressed was I was determined to BF even though with both DS I had to return to FT work sooner than I would have liked (DS1 at 6 months, DS2 only 4 months). I managed to build up enough of a bank to leave BM with the childminder although this ran out eventually with DS1 and he had to have formula during the day. (I did express at work a couple of times during the day but it definitely did reduce my milk supply at those times) However with DS2 I managed to exclusively BF for 6 months up until weaning and even after that my milk bank lasted until he was 11 months so he nearly managed to avoid formula altogether!

Another good reason for expressing as other posters have said is that your DH could do one of the feeds with EBM to give you more sleep. If you have more than one DC and can't nap while the baby is sleeping it is wonderful to be able to sleep through a feed occasionally and IME doesn't affect your supply at all if it's not missed regularly.

Good luck!

toddlerama Tue 10-Mar-09 20:09:07

I think that sometimes expressing can be a problem just because of the extra faff. If your baby is gaining weight well and you are proud of yourself for establishing BF (as you should be!) why add equipment that needs to be sterilised to the mix?

You have said that you feel a bit uncomfortable about it, and I would say that you need to respect that instinct.

DH can do loads of things with your lovely baby - as Haven'tSleptForAYear suggested.

Winding and cuddling were entirely my DH's job at night when I breast fed my daughter (only for 4 weeks mind) as I was so knackered and upset about everything I needed him to do that. He was absolutely vital to me breast feeding even for that long. Without his encouragement and handholding throughout the feed (and the sobbing handover at the end), I wouldn't have lasted 1 week! I could handle it during the day, but when I was tired the motivation to keep going was non-existent. Partners can be almost just as important to breast feeding successfully as, well, breasts!!

Alishanty Tue 10-Mar-09 20:15:47

I have expressed in the early days with my ds I was so sore, so I needed to, to allow my nipples time to heal. And I have expressed (in advance, small amounts) in preparation for a night out but personally I wouldn't express to give myself 'a break'. It takes up time expressing, and I find if I am in the house, it's just easier for me to feed the baby than wait for dp to heat up the milk etc etc. Your hv is probably just trying to help but it could take up more time and energy than just feeding the baby.

SnowlightMcKenzie Tue 10-Mar-09 20:44:22

It's a bit like working part-time.Some mothers think they get the best of both worlds, others think they get the worst.

IMO If it ain't broken don't fix it.

If you ever DO decide to express, do it on the down turn of a growth spurt, when you are feeling full a lot more than your baby needs to feed. That way you maintain your supply for the next growth spurt and build up a stock for a night out or a lie in (if your boobs will allow).


hmmSleep Tue 10-Mar-09 20:52:07

The main reason I expressed with my ds is that my dd completely refused a bottle and I had a really hard time weaning her off the breast when I wanted to stop breastfeeding at 11 months, (due to being pregnant with ds). I couldn't go out without dd for those 11 months unless I knew she'd had her fill, well I could, but my dh was left with a rather grumpy baby to look after.

I still breastfed ds but gave him one bottle of expressed milk every other day from 6 weeks just to get him used to taking the bottle, not only did this mean I could nip out if need be without worrying but when I finally decided to stop breastfeeding it was a far easier transition.

Having said that, I really hated the actual process of expressing, found it a very long, uncomfortable and messy process. Tried the hand and electric pump and electric worked best for me. Found it best to express first thing in the morning and easier if my ds was in the room.

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 21:04:06

So am I really the only one who found expressing incredibly quick? My earlier moooo was a joke, but am now wondering if I may be part fresian!? blush
My biggest problem was that if I lost concentration the bottle would overflow all down my front!
BTW, if you're going to express make sure you do a search for the old thread about the advice from Great Ormond St about steralising (i.e. it's bollocks and totally unneccessary even for tiny premmies).

Bubbaluv Tue 10-Mar-09 21:09:54
gerbo Tue 10-Mar-09 21:15:01


I had a tricky start to bf, although eventually everything settled nicely and we fed happily for 9 months! - and I also felt worried/concerned about starting to express as I'd done some to get my flow up and frankly hated the thought of repeating it as I found it draining, time-consuming and depressing sterilising all that bloody equipment!

So I agree - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I did all the feeding for 9 months and you couldn't find a dad and daughter who are closer despite me taking the feeding responsibility.

Just go with the flow and follow your instinct. Don't be pressured as you feel 'it must make life easier' because if there was an emergency you could always buy ready made formula if you couldn't feed.

I enjoyed exclusive bf and never felt the need to, to be brief!! Good luck.

EightiesChick Tue 10-Mar-09 21:43:25

Hi Lulu,
I have just started expressing, last week, when my DS was 7 weeks. My supply was good and BF was well established early on, but even so I waited till after 6 weeks on my HV's advice. It's gone fine - my DS is happy to take a bottle.

My reason for getting started when I did was to be able to give him medicine - he's been prescribed infant Gaviscon but hated taking it in water as you're instructed to do it when BFing. So I expressed milk and put the Gaviscon in that, and he took it like a lamb - made life much less stressful for both of us and my DH. However, I had always intended to express at some point for the reasons many other posters have given: it will be nice to be able to have the treat of sleeping through a feed sometime, though we haven't done that yet, and also to go out and be able to leave a bottle for DS. As it happens I will be going to a funeral next week and don't want to have to take DS, so the expressing will help with that.

So far I've frozen some as back up and am planning to pump not every day, but quite often to have some extra around. I might try Bubbaluv's idea of giving a larger amount via a bottle as last feed of the evening, and see if that encourages longer sleeping. But I have got by fine without it for 6 weeks so if you really don't want to, don't feel you have to. The sterilising and so on is, TBH, quite a faff compared to just BFing - but I will put up with it.

Bubbaluv Wed 11-Mar-09 07:45:03

EightysChick - have a look at the link I posted below re steralising. It's worth taking into consideration even if you choose to ignore it in the end.

guineamango Wed 11-Mar-09 08:42:00

Hi I expressed and found it a great help. My DH could give a bottle which he loved and I could go to the gym or have a rest. I expressed from when my dd was 3 weeks to about 9 months. I just got into a routine of doing it every morning when I had more milk or after a feed. It helped me get my DD into a good bedtime routine and she slept through from 9 weeks. I used an avent hand pump.
But as others have said, it's up to you. Sounds like you HV was trying to help you.
Congratulations on your new baby and well done on Bf this far.

Qally Wed 11-Mar-09 09:41:06

I've been exclusively express feeding my son, who is now 20 weeks. I get 1.6 litres a day. That does not look to me like a dwindling/inadequate supply, in fact it outpaces his demand - and he's on the 90th centile, too. He had a week of supplementary formula when it became apparent that bf wasn't going to keep him alive, and my supply had dropped temporarily as he wasn't getting enough out, but that's been it.

Hormones definitely help, no question, and it's far easier to feed than express if you can. But it's perfectly possible if necessary, and you can find time when the baby will sit or sleep/someone to hold the baby! If you get the milk out, regularly and thoroughly, then your body will replace it, simple as that. But it is all the work of bottlefeeding and breastfeeding, and none of the emotional rewards of the latter, and I'd not bother if I had the choice.

Congratulations on having worked to establish feeding, and don't bother to express if it doesn't strike you as helpful, is my advice.

Bramshott Wed 11-Mar-09 09:54:00

I didn't express very much because I am very lazy grin!

blackrock Wed 11-Mar-09 10:09:54

Several of my friends have done this very successfully as some the other posters here.

I found it difficult and despite having all the equipment, it took ages to get any milk and was more tiring than just BF. Once I got into the swing of BF, it was easier just to carry on. I got a bit stressed about the expressing, but should not have worried...s try it, but don't worry if it doesn't work for you. I hope you have success though.

Twiga Wed 11-Mar-09 11:35:50

Lulu, like I've sais it's a supply and demand thing, dropping a feed in the night for a couple days or a while won't mean you won't be able to feed at that time in the future. Your body will adjust back round. I've seen this in practice when feeding mine esp when they were ill and off their solid food, my supply upped over a couple of days to meet the extra feeds.

independiente Wed 11-Mar-09 14:51:30

Quite honestly, I would stick to what you are most comfortable with. Your DH can do bath/after-feed cuddle, perhaps? I would agree with the posts that say if it's working well, go with the flow ('scuse pun!!).
I only expressed when I absolutely had to (knew I'd be away for a feed or two), and to be honest that wasn't until 5 months. I'm sure your HV is genuinely trying to help, but I don't always agree with some of the things they say ...

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 11-Mar-09 16:21:44

I had to express initially because DS wouldn't latch, so expressing was the only way to feed him sometimes - and then I continued to help build up my supply.

I rarely express now, just feeding is so much easier. Now that he goes longer between feeds I can have a couple of glasses of wine in the evening and know that it will be a while before I need to feed him again.

Having said that I am planning to express for a family party we are having here in a couple of weeks time, and I really must start now as I don't get much off expressing unless it's first thing. I have read that thread on sterilising - or not!! - with interest as it was the bane of my bloody life when DS was tiny. I shan't bother any longer seeing as everything goes through the dishwasher anyway.

Scrumplet Wed 11-Mar-09 18:13:35

I expressed because I knew that when DS was three months old, we would be bridesmaid and best man at the wedding of close friends, and we wanted to be able to focus on them for the day. Our parents took care of DS between them.

I never knew if there was a particular feed I should have expressed - maybe not, since my milk was for this wedding day and a few other odd, one-off occasions. So I used to pump one boob in the morning (pump went in the steriliser at night) while DS fed on the other, and then DS would finish off the pumped boob (he was way more efficient than the pump!). This worked fine, becoming a routine, and it got it out of the way first thing and freed the day up.

I was able to express enough for the wedding (and I pumped at the wedding roughly when I would have fed DS, as my boobs needed draining), plus the odd evening out and the odd feed when I simply needed a bigger chunk of sleep.

Worked for me. HTH.

AnnasBananas Wed 11-Mar-09 20:33:19

You are doing an absolutely brilliant job bf dd! Well done!! You are right to feel proud.

Trust your instincts about expressing. If you feel you want to it's always useful to have some 'extra' in the freezer in the case of being completely shattered/tired/sick etc. But if you can't face the pump then don't bother.

It works well for some, and not for others.

But, rest assured, by bf'ing directly your dd is feeding in the most efficient she'll decide when she's had enough rather than you wondering how many ounces she should be taking.

pickles30 Wed 11-Mar-09 21:06:11

Hi i am new. i have a question re defrosting frozen breastmilk and wondered how long it will keep for once defrosted? we could be out of a few hours and it would be more convenient to use previously expressed milk. do i take in in the freezer bag and tip into bottle when i want to use it, or do that at home? help!

tigerdriver Wed 11-Mar-09 21:14:14

I did what cluttered did - had DS on one side and an Avent pump on the other. Did this first thing in the morning and every evening, so I had fresh and frozen milk to take to the CM, and DS had no formula at all. I was very pleased though to stop (14 months) as it was timeconsuming, mainly all the sterilising etc.

MiniMarmite Wed 11-Mar-09 21:45:34

Hi Lulu

I expressed day and night for the first 12 weeks to enable DH to feed DS last thing in the evening and it was an absolute Godsend for those first few months. I loved the extra sleep and DH loved giving the bottle feed. Later on it was useful as DS does not breastfeed well in public (he's too nosey) and so giving him a bottle on the ocassional outing helped me be less stressed about going out.

Eventually, as we began to get more sleep, I found the expressing intruded into my evening too much and I slept better if I gave a feed before going to bed (due to the prolactin I guess) so I got a bit lazy for a few weeks...and then DS started refusing a bottle so I no longer had the option...and to be honest I don't think it gained me that much by that point anyway. The main reason for doing it at that point was to enable me to go out in the day if my Mum could take care of DS (which didn't happen very often anyway).

So, next time round I think I might express at the beginning to get more sleep and give DH the opportunity but it is a big commitment to keep up longer term.

Donkeyswife Thu 12-Mar-09 00:08:09

Hi Lulu, I expressed with ds from being 2 weeks old to when he was 13 months and am doing the same with my dd who is 7 months. The reason I do this is so that my dh can do the night feeds at the weekend and I get some sleep.No other reason at all. I express twice a day, morning and night. It can be a bit of a faff expressing but for me it;s worth it when I get an undisturbed night's sleep at the weekend.

But, as most of these comments here say, it's entirely up to you. You shoudl do what feels right for you.

ssouthall Thu 12-Mar-09 09:19:56

Haven't read the whole thread so I apologise if I am repeating what other's have already said.

My only advice would be that having had to top up with formula your DD is obviously ok with taking a bottle. You may find if you completely stop a bottle you may struggle to get her to take one again in how ever many weeks or months when you want to go out, return to work, become ill, etc etc.

I only mention this as I have several friends who have had difficulty getting their child to take a bottle and has meant they have had to continue breastfeeding even when they have wanted to reduce feeding...the children are all 6mths plus btw.

Just worth considering but mummy knows best so what ever u decide will be fine I'm sure.

spursmummy Thu 12-Mar-09 10:15:19

Hello Lulu. I expressed from when my dd was 4 months old as I went back to work and because dd was intolerant of cow's milk - she threw up every brand of formula we tried till we worked out what was happening. Dd also hated bottles so once we got her onto bottles I stopped directly breast-feeding her altogether so we wouldn't have any trouble trying to switch between the two (she has been lovely but very strong-willed right from the word go!)

It was hard at the start, and before I got the hang of it I threw the pump around the room several times out of frustration, but once I got the hang of it I was producing about 34-36oz a day. I used a hand pump as I found an electric one too painful, too slow and really noisy! I finally stopped when she was 10 months old when dd was able to eat food with a special formula in it.

Do what you're comfortable with. My situation was an extreme one, ultimately you'll know what suits you best.

shortcircuit Thu 12-Mar-09 11:14:52

it sounds like you've done great with the bf, so do what you feels right.

With my DD2 I had all these plans of expressing, but the reality was, I couldn't be bothered. If you're ill, then can still lay in bed with you & feed. (embarrased to say I spent the whole day in bed with DD2 after a hangover, she was fine though, slept & fed !)

LuluLulabelle Thu 12-Mar-09 12:37:02

Thanks everyone for replying and apologies for not posting sooner. DD wouldn't sleep in her moses basket yesterday and I hate one-handed typing.

Your responses made a lot of sense I think in an ideal world I would just feed her myself. The tiredness isn't too much of an issue really and I enjoy feeding her in the night.

I think my reluctance to express is down to my own insecurities. She is 6 weeks old and doesn't look at me any differently to the way she looks at anyone else. Feeding her is the only thing that only I can do. I am having a running battle with various family members at the moment who keep plucking DD out of my arms to give me a "break". Its embarrassing - to the point where I am saying "no, she's fine with me" and they're saying "no, come on you need a break". I think really its that they want to cuddle her but it feels a bit like them taking over/knowing best/undermining my parenting (prolific offenders: MIL & step-dad). She seems to smile for everyone else but me and I suppose part of me is worried that if I start expressing its a step towards them taking that off me too and my role as her mum reducing further. Maybe as she gets older I'll be more comfortable with that part of it.

I feel ok about feeding her in the night, I am tired but not as exhausted as I have been. However, I hadn't thought about how/what to feed her when I can't. I have to spend a few days in the office this year as part of keeping in touch while on mat leave. So having a supply of EBM would be useful/probably essential.

DD feeds an awful lot during the day but mch less at night (last night I fed her at 8.30pm then she didn't wake until 2.30am and that was only because I woke her because I was terrified she was dead. I know. Dramatic.) My boobs were really full this morning so its probably a good time to express.

Thanks again for telling me what worked for you.

Lulu xx

Ginni Thu 12-Mar-09 13:45:57

you have my sympathies regarding MIL and step dad taking over, it makes perfect sense why you are reluctant to express because of this.

By the way, you don't have to attend work for keeping in touch days when on maternity leave, you have the right to refuse them if you wish - it's something i've been looking into myself - there are some very knowledgable people on the Employment board if you want to know more.

Good luck, and it sounds like you're doing really great with everything!

LuluLulabelle Thu 12-Mar-09 14:09:07

Wow, thanks Ginni. I had no idea. The way our mat leave policy documents phrase it makes it sound compulsory.

I have to say I hate the idea of it. I was even hoping to keep mine extra short using BF as an excuse/reason!

Bubbaluv Thu 12-Mar-09 14:39:19

Oh Lulu,
Don't worry too much about others saying odd things when they want to cuddle your baby. It's hard to say "My turn, my turn" without sounding like a toddler, so people come up with all sorts of reasons/excuses as to why it would appropriate for you to hand over your little bundle. I totally remember the feeling though.
On that basis, if you do decide to express just don't tell them or they will want to do the bottle feed! It's not something you need to discuss with people until it suits you to do so (if you want them to babysit).
You sound like you are doing a fabulous job and I bet all your family and friends can see that. The assumption that you need a break is just a general assumption made about ALL mothers of tiny babies - it really is NOT a judgement of your abilities or level of coping. Good luck with whatever you decide. smile

LuluLulabelle Thu 12-Mar-09 17:08:15

Lol Bubbaluv - I think next time they do it I'm going to think "my turn, my turn" - that should help. My stepdad and mum argued yesterday over who should hold DD while I ate. I said I could eat one-handed or put her in her bouncy chair - it was like I hadn't spoken. Each of them was making out she was a burden on the other. SD won and walked the floor with DD (who was calm and didn't need soothing) while his dinner went cold. Silly.


Havind read your thread, lots of your anxieties seemed very similar to mine a year ago (DS is now 15 months). I was scared, above all, that DS would love his Daddy or whoever else, more than me. I wouldn't worry about it though, its just not going to happen. Even if Daddy gives baby a bottle every now and then

I also second Bubbaluv's explanations about everyone wanting to hold baby. It's such a privilege holding a newborn: don't be surprised people fight over it. And don't be too reticent to hand her over! I know you want to be with her every second; but you also need some time to eat (one handed is not a very relaxing way to eat); shower; nap; etc. To take good care of her, you need to take good care of yourself first!

Oh and the expressing can be useful if you want to pop out some where for an hour; for what ever reason. Then you can go and not worry about her being hungry in your absence. If you pump regularly in the morning, you'll always have some on standby. You don't have to use it; but its there. It certainly will not affect your supply at all.

Enjoy these weeks!

Forgot to add: at 6 weeks babies don't look at anyone any differently. It'll be a couple of months or more before that.

I had to go back to work after 3 months (and carried on expressing) and got really upset that DS didn't mind at all being left with some one.

In fact, he didn't mind at all until he was nearly 12 months old, when suddenly he decided he liked being with mummy best.

This will happen for your DD too. Just give it time.

lizzid Thu 12-Mar-09 20:51:48

I felt really weird about expressing for ds. I had no problems with bfing so not worried about that per se but it just looked so odd to me to see him with a bottle in his mouth, even when my husband was feeding him! not sure why just the sight of it freaked me out, maybe i felt usurped or something. Plus my DH kept pressurising (sp) me to take a break and leave ds with his dad as he lives locally hmm and think i was keen to avoid this so kept 'forgetting' to express so I could have an excuse for taking him with. wink

I did express every now and then from 8 weeks (in morning as found only time I had enough spare) but usually found ds would then wake up hungry and there wouldn't be enough spare as I'd expressed it all and he'd get grumpy and couldn't face the idea of doing it regularly which I supposed would have solved the problem.

was just too much hassle, plus as I've been attempting to continue to work part-time from home and baby was terrible sleeper and very hungry baby til quite recently (now 6 months and getting slightly better...) I just didn't want to spend my spare half-hour during his morning nap pumping! (which is how long it took by the time I'd faffed around sterilising!

I KNEW it would be fine to just put stuff in the dishwasher but got completely freaked out when someone told me you had to sterilise the stuff just before you pumped/added the milk otherwise it would be unsterile again...blush Can't believe I even thought about worrying about that!

having said that, I do it every now and then so I can go get my hair done, leave ds with mil for very occasional dinner out, (though haven't done it for ages cos he's been so hard to settle and needs to be bf to sleep if he wakes up.)

was also paranoid about him not taking a bottle so tried again recently after not doing it for months and he took it no problem!

LuluLulabelle Fri 13-Mar-09 09:50:44

lizzid I feel exactly like that - I feel weird about the idea of seeing her with a bottle in her mouth.

However, I remembered this morning that I have agreed to sit an exam in June (in a panic about finding the time to study with a small baby).

DH has said he'll take a week off work so that I can revise nearer the time so it looks like, the more I think about it, expressing is going to be a must.

Unless, of course, they let me BF during the exam...bit distracting though.

feralgirl Fri 13-Mar-09 12:00:55

On a slightly seperate note/ issue, I would recommend expressing and getting someone (let them argue over who does it) to give a bottle fairly regularly. We were doing this from 6wo - 10 wo so that DH could give me a night off once a week but then got lazy and went ten days without doing it and now DS flatly refuses to take a bottle at all!
I hated watching anyone else feed him and had to leave the room, now I really wish he would!

organicnicola Fri 13-Mar-09 14:47:05

Do what your 'gut' tells you to. I never wanted mine to have a bottle even though my DH would've loved to feed them. 6 weeks is still very young, enjoy your baby"! wink

reluctant1stimer Fri 13-Mar-09 16:18:39

Don't know about pro's and cons of this, I only got dh to do one night feed for me and it was more trouble than it was worth as he made so much noise getting up and didn't know about the temperature, position etc. I do express the odd bottle for him to through the day though as its so lovely for the two of them to have that special time together, they gaze at each other and its so lovely to watch. well worth it.

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