expressing and only getting a teaspoon full after ten mins...what am I doing wrong?

(51 Posts)
MostlyCake Tue 30-Jul-13 14:33:59

Combining bf on demand with expressing after each feed on mw advice to stimulate production. DS is 12 days old and as I had a problem with the latch my milk was slow to come through. According to Google, I should only express for ten mins but at the end of the time I literally have a teaspoon full if im lucky.

What am I doing wrong? Why have I got so little milk? I have until Thursday when the mw comes back to have a decent supply or I exoect ger to start pushing formula (ds nit putting on weight) - all advice welcome!

Thanks in advance

Simply, the pump isn't giving you the same stimulation as your baby gives you. Have you tried expressing one side while feeding on the other?

If you're feeding on demand you shouldn't need to express as well. Have you sought advice from a BF specialist rather than your MW, who may not know as much as you hope?

CaptainJamesTKirk Tue 30-Jul-13 14:57:30

I doubt you're doing anything wrong. I breastfed my DS for over 2 years and yet when I expressed I never ever got more than 15ml. That's a tablespoon. Ridiculous. I tried 2 different pumps (one highly recommended) and them gave up.

Twirlyhot Tue 30-Jul-13 14:59:06

How much comes out when you pump has no relation to how much is in there! There are women who breast feed for 9 months+ who never manage to express much at all.

Twirlyhot Tue 30-Jul-13 14:59:34

X post grin. See ^

Expressing is a bit of a learned skill.

Your baby is 12 days old - how much poo are you getting per 24 hour period? Only count the ones that are as big as a two pound coin.

How is his latch now? How often is he feeding per twenty-four hour period? Lots of feeding, lots of skin to skin, and maybe some breast compression, might all help ...

PurplePidjin Tue 30-Jul-13 15:00:14

You most likely have plenty of milk - i get no more than 1oz unless i skip a feed and ds is 8 months, sil went to 15 months and 2 years with hers and got barely a drop.

Expressing won't necessarily up your supply. Take to your sofa with your baby for lots of skin to skin contact. Eat lots and lots of healthy food, especially oats like porridge and flapjacks and drink lots and lots of water. If you live off microwaved jacket potatoes, bananas and salad sandwiches for a week, that's fine. But rest, eat and drink.

Is he generally content with plenty of wet nappies? Have you contacted La Leche League, Breastfeeding Network or a peer supporter through your midwife?

Congratulations thanks

Lagoonablue Tue 30-Jul-13 15:00:56

It is hard at first but it eventually works. You need to get a let down so keep your baby near when you do it.

FWIW and am no expert, just letting baby feed on demand can be more sucessful and less stressful.

FrussoHathor Tue 30-Jul-13 15:02:28

Are you expressing by hand or pump?

FrussoHathor Tue 30-Jul-13 15:06:04

Also expressing between 1-4am produces hormones the stimulate milk production, but can take a day or 2 to up your supply.
Eating oats works with me, and making sure you are drinking plenty of water.

mistlethrush Tue 30-Jul-13 15:10:35

I found that if I really wanted to express I didn't get any. However, if I was expressing just because I needed to (eg out all day away from DS) I got loads. Generally the less stressed about it I was the better. However, getting proper suction from the pump was also quite critical.

ChunkyPickle Tue 30-Jul-13 15:14:01

Best way to get the supply up is to just let the baby at it..

like Kirk, I BF for 2.5 years, yet never could get anything worth having out when expressing (tried all the standard stuff - different times of day, while DS was feeding on the other side, before, after, different types and sizes of attachement etc.)

All I got for my expressing trouble when trying to use it to express enough to supplement feed was bruised nipples (and DP getting cross, saying what a silly idea pumping and syringe feeding after BFing was, and that I should just sit on my bum for a couple of days, he'd keep me stocked with snacks, and we'd get the milk up the old fashioned way!)

mrsmartin1984 Tue 30-Jul-13 15:32:55

I only get a teaspoon unless I tandem feed. And the best way to stimulate supply is with your baby

Lioninthesun Tue 30-Jul-13 15:46:10

Try a hand hld pump if using an electric one too - my medela did nothing yet others swear by them. It is easier to do it while baby feeds too smile

MostlyCake Tue 30-Jul-13 15:51:29

Thanks for the responses!

Latch seems to be sorted except when he's tired - so more of a palaver at 3am when we're both knackered.

Im getting conflicting advice from the mw - have seen three different ones over the last ten days - one is adamant expressing is the only way to up my supply, one says not to bother and the third came on a day I was dead on my feet so said to leave it for a few days...then mw one came back and it was back to expressing!

Haven't tried tandem feefing/expressing was told to express only from the boob he last fed from. Also it makes a right racket so not very relaxing!

Im using an avent electric pump - not getting anything beyond a few drops by hand.

I had hoped that eventually I'd be able to express enough to let dh take one feed, is this unlikely?

Lioninthesun Tue 30-Jul-13 16:04:44

OP if you pm me I can send you my hand pump if you like - only tried it 3 times (single mum so not much use of expressing into bottles without a babysitter!) but it worked better for me --still took well over an hour to fill one bottle though!). It's Boots own brand so not expensive but suction was much much stronger. Shout if you want it!

Lioninthesun Tue 30-Jul-13 16:05:37

Apologies for strikeout fail and bracket forgetfulness there! Oops!

MostlyCake Wed 31-Jul-13 18:50:43

MW came again today and he's put on 30g. Still not up to birth weight after 14 days so advice was to add one or two formula feeds.

Lion, thanks so much for the offer but if it took you over an hour to get a bottle that would kill me at the moment! Any spare time is spent sleeping...!

FrussoHathor Wed 31-Jul-13 22:32:51

I find I have to start off by hand until a few drops have come out before the pump has any chance.

magpieC Wed 31-Jul-13 22:49:01

I had similar issues - DS took 5 weeks to regain birth weight and it was suggested I try expressing after a feed to help supply and to use as a top up - I was barely able to cover the bottom of a bottle. Even when things were well established and I was expressing so DP could give him a bottle I was lucky to get more than 40ml.

However, I would say check, check and recheck your latch - we had a posterior tongue tie diagnosed at 10 weeks which I definitely think contributed to our problems. Latch sometimes seemed ok and sometimes not so it took me a while to figure out that things weren't quite right!

Splatt34 Thu 01-Aug-13 07:26:29

With DD1 I spent weeks 4-6 of her life in a constant round of feeding, trying to express and giving it back. It was physically & emotionally draining. At 6 weeks she still only weighed 8lb (up 5oz from birth). We started giving formula top ups and she gained 21oz in 6 days & became a happy baby I could enjoy.

At 2 weeks DD2 weighed 8lb 3, not bad until you know she was 8lb 15 at birth! Have been combi feeding ever since (now 9 weeks).

You must work out your own priorities but combi feeding is a real option, it just doesn't get talked about very much

wokeupwithasmile Thu 01-Aug-13 08:04:32

Don't give up. I was in the same situation, just did not come out. Was using a medela pump, I thought it was me...I thought it was the pump...I kept trying periodically with no result, until one day it just worked. Now I express 150ml in 15 mins. I know it does not help you now, but perhaps you can keep it in the back of your mind.
Expressing after the feed does not work for me, it takes ages.i do it in the morning when they are full. If I can help you with my experience feel free to pm me.

ShoeWhore Thu 01-Aug-13 08:22:06

Glad to hear you have some weight gain. If you want to continue to increase your supply then I would carry on always offering the breast on demand - replacing bfs with formula will have the opp effect. (You could offer a ff top up instead in the short term?)

Milk production hormones are highest at night so bf as much as you can then.

When you express how are you doing it if you don't mind me asking? I had best results by mimicking the way a baby sucks - so quickly to start with and then a longer slower more powerful action once the milk starts to come out iyswim? I would expect you not to get so much to start with if your baby has already fed from that breast tbh.

Is your latch comfortable? Any sign if discomfort is a good indicator that something isn't right no matter what the mws say and in that case pls do get advice from a bfing counsellor.

Good luck OP - I struggled to get ds1 to feed at all but persevered and we did manage to sort out my supply (once he started latching on properly it increased massively) and I bfd him for just over a year in the end.

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 08:25:35

Not regaining birth weight in 14 days is quite normal isn't it?

I wouldn't start giving formula if you want to breastfeed.

Instead of expressing, have you tried switch feeding? Keep offering the other side when the baby comes off, so switch between sides 2,3,4,5 times in each feed.

CelticPromise Thu 01-Aug-13 09:23:03

MostlyCake sounds like you could do with some decent RL advice. Is there a local bf group you can go to? How many dirty nappies are you getting in a day, and how long and often is baby feeding? Adding formula can be counterproductive when you are trying to increase supply so before doing this I would get some RL support and have a feed observed.

dinnersinthedawg Thu 01-Aug-13 12:59:01

Not sure about the expressing but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone with the early latch problems and slow weight gain. My DD is 5 weeks tomorrow and when she was weighed yesterday she had finally got back up to her birth weight (7lb 9oz). Over the last couple of weeks the HV has been great and didn't suggest formula as she was happy the latch was now corrected and was comfortable in giving it a little time to see if the weight improved. I also took fenugreek which I think helped the supply. Good luck with it whatever you choose to do.

MostlyCake Thu 01-Aug-13 14:17:11

Hi my friend has sent me a number for a local support group who I'm going to call today to get advice.

Offering forumla at night seems crazy to me as it is replacing a feed but its frightening to think I'm not feeding him enough - failing to thrive is a devastating phrase especially when I'm feeling so vulnerable... Every mw appointment I end up crying.

Am trying switch feeding now, had been under the impression that to get the hind milk he should stay on the same boob for rhe whole feed but it really seemed that he was emptying it.

He has loads of wet and dirty nappies, around ten at night and a bit less during the day mostly yellow poop but has been green the last few - normal?

Its just a tricky time, we're all upset and worried and the easy option is to go fully to formula...I am worried that by not just giving up bf now he will stuggle to put on weight for another few weeks then ill be forced to go formula anyway. MW coming back tmro to weigh him, fingers crossed he's put on weight.

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 14:33:47

Did a midwife say "failure to thrive" to you?? If so that is utterly unacceptable! That's a very serious diagnosis and does not mean a baby who is a little slow to regain birthweight.

Don't worry about hindmilk - so long as you feed to your baby's cues then it will sort itself out. Some good info here:

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 14:41:39

There's some more info on things to do to help weight gain here too

monal Thu 01-Aug-13 15:05:06

This was me four weeks ago OP. I also cried every time I saw a doctor and my little girl took 3 weeks to get back to her birthweight. We have problems with latch, according to the lovely lactation consultant we saw she has a lip tie and posterior tongue tie, but no doctor I have found (France) will treat it. What has worked for us is nipple shields, in the end. Also like you I couldn't get anything expressing, either with a manual or electric pump, but now I can get a whopping six ounces in a night. I second the posters saying express in the dead of night. Has your LO been checked for tongue tie? And I know how scary it is when it seems like your baby isn't getting enough but look at all the wet and dirty nappies and stand your ground a little if they push formula on you. I hope the group is helpful and I hope she starts putting on the weight for you.

CelticPromise Thu 01-Aug-13 16:14:00

Glad you are getting some help. This is really not ' failure to thrive'! There are other indications of getting enough milk and one is pooey nappies. That and the weight gain are positive signs. Green poo can mean a few things, talk it all over with the support group. If midwife suggests formula, say you'd like to talk it over with bf support first, don't panic.

Hope the group are helpful today.

Splatt34 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:37:27

Mostlycake - as I said on my earlier post you must make your own choices, but adding a bit of formula as top ups needn't mean you switch fully to formula. When I added some formula at 2 weeks for DD2 she had 2-3 oz twice a day. I still cluster feed in the evenings and bf overnight. At 9 weeks she now has 4 x 3 oz top ups most days, sometimes more sometimes less. I had the same with DD1.

All I'm saying is by all means do what you need to do to ebf if that is what you want, but if you decide to give some formula that needn't mean you have to stop breast feeding.

MostlyCake Fri 02-Aug-13 22:26:50

Splat, how do you keep your supply up? Doesn't adding a formula feed in decrease your milk?

Jenny70 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:40:00

Every formula feed decreases your supply, so you enter a bad circle.

My advice #1 - dump the pump. Try hand expressing, even in shower - you don't need to collect milk to bottle feed, just send message to breats that more is needed.

Squeeze from top of breast to behind the nipple, never need to squeeze the aeroli bit at all(great if nipples sore).

I know midwives etc are hung up on weight, but sometimes your baby is smaller than average, and they are feeding fine, even though they are low percentile. But balancing that is the mums that don't make enough & baby does need artificial milk. Only a dr or you can decide which is true for your baby.

Personally, I would hand express & not collect (can collect if easy but often too awkward) and talk about medications to increase supply before introducing formula.

FrussoHathor Fri 02-Aug-13 23:08:49

The green poo is typical of when he's getting more fore-milk than hind milk. Which makes total sense if you are trying to up your supply by getting him to suckle little and often.

I second the poster who said to get him checked for posterior tongue tie. It's less obvious than your typical tongue tie. But the problems are the same.

Eating oats can help boost your supply, as can fenugreek. And remembering to drink lots of water.

dinnersinthedawg Sat 03-Aug-13 02:29:21

I read somewhere that it is best to express 1 hour after a feed - this gives the milk a chance to build up again after the feed but doesn't interfere the next feed (assuming 2-3 hour interval). If baby has fed well there will be nothing to express straight after a feed.

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 03:00:55

Spoke to a bf support person today who basically reiterated the same advice given by the mw. Because I live 9 whole miles from the town they won't come to visit me but I have to negotiate public transport to get into them for actual physical support...not impressed!

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 03:03:53

HV coming Monday so will try to get thru the weekend and hope her visit coincides with a feed.

I wont give up yet but this is so much harder than I ever expected.

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 03:11:53

There is a mw run group every Wednesday held in the health centre, I've still been in my pj's the lsst few times but will be going this week.

PurplePidjin Sat 03-Aug-13 07:22:10

Keep going, you're doing an amazing job. Make sure you eat, drink and rest smile

Unbrushed hair, half dressed, odd shoes, whatever. Get yourself to that support group. Mine has been an absolute life saver, and I've met some really good friends. Don't underestimate the power of someone saying "Yeah, i know, shit ain't it" brew

AlbertaCampion Sat 03-Aug-13 07:40:17

This could have been me with my DS! Both the pumping and the unwelcome pressure to top up with formula feeds when he was a couple of weeks old. Eventually the midwife said that I had the weekend to turn things around, or formula it would have to be. My solution: to feed EVERY two hours around the clock, for two days' straight. Not just little feeds, but as much as he would take. Hard bloom in' work - but he put on a good amount of weight and we were flying high.

The following week he developed reflux and we were back to square one, but that's another story! Suffice to say I carried on BF and all was fine in the end. He's now built like a little tank. grin

CelticPromise Sat 03-Aug-13 08:20:29

MostlyCake I am fed up on your behalf about lack of support angry I don't know about the service in your area but in mine it's almost entirely run by volunteers and it's not always easy for us to do home visits. I would give one of the national bf support lines a call- they are generally staffed counsellors who really know their stuff.

Feed feed feed, lots of skin to skin, and really focus on the latch each feed. If he's pooing plenty and already started to gain, chances are you've already turned it around. Good luck.

FrussoHathor Sat 03-Aug-13 08:31:28

Nct national support line 0300 330 0700

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sat 03-Aug-13 08:53:04

long time since I breastfed....for expressing I used a manual pump and I found I had to make sure the suction part was flush to my skin for it to work, couldn't express with the electric ones at all. Things that also worked were thinking about ds while expressing, works the same way as a crying baby starts your let-down reflex I suppose.

Incidentally with ds2 I was very ill and couldn't exclusively breastfeed for the first few weeks (I was producing, he wasn't latching, boobs were engorged but the electric pump at the hospital wasn't emptying them, I ended up doing it by hand) I reintroduced breastfeeding little and often alongside decreasing formula feeds and successfully breastfed him till age 2. he still thinks they're his.

Take care of yourself and your lovely 16 day old.

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 12:19:55

Thanks everyone, it helps so much to know other people have gone thru the same thing and to get sone encouragement. DH is completely on board with the bf but feels helpless and useless when I'm up all night and am knackered.

He has put on another 90g and is now only 100g off birth weight. We've decided to go cold turkey in formula and feed on demand for a week to give bf a chance to get properly established and if he's still gaining then continue with exclusively bf but if not then to add in formula.

I've been sitting in this chair feeding solidly from 8am and hourly between midnight and 6am... sigh...thank goodness for mumsnet talk archives!

FrussoHathor Sat 03-Aug-13 12:56:22

Hoping the weight gain continues. Keep a drink handy, and plenty of rest. DH could help by getting you drinks and snacks.

PurplePidjin Sat 03-Aug-13 18:46:56

My dp felt useless to start, so he started bringing me breakfast in bed - porridge with a banana and some dried fruit, as oats are meant to be good for supply - plus a big travel mug full of coffee. Feeding you is feeding the baby. Also, get them out for a walk together. We started at about 2 weeks, just 10 minutes round the block so i could have a bath in peace. Now at 8 months they're happy for 3+ hours without me (although there's no sign of the dreaded separation anxiety yet so i might eat those words in a few weeks!) Still, it's amazing how 20 minutes in a hot bath with a trashy book makes you feel like a human being again!

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sat 03-Aug-13 19:33:54

For what it's worth, my baby took 3 weeks to regain birthweight. Fortunately I had sensible midwives who knew about breastfeeding - once satisfied that he wasn't dehydrated or at imminent risk, they advised to just breastfeed more often, which I did (a lot!) I just kept offering at every opportunity, didn't wait for him to "ask", even set my alarm for nights.

Once he started putting on weight he was off and he is now almost 91st centile for weight and height.

PurplePidjin's advice for what your DP can do is great. Feeding and looking after you = feeding and looking after his baby. Make full use of him! smile

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 22:30:36

Thanks again everyone, I'm going to stick it out for now -the plan is to get to Saturday and see how things are going then to get to the next Saturday until we reach the mythical six week mark by which time I should have cracked it!

DP us great at feeding me! He's back to work on Tuesday though and I'm dreading it...If I can't gey

MostlyCake Sat 03-Aug-13 22:33:04

Thanks again everyone, I'm going to stick it out for now -the plan is to get to Saturday and see how things are going then to get to the next Saturday until we reach the mythical six week mark by which time I should have cracked it!

DP us great at feeding me! He's back to work on Tuesday though and I'm dreadingt...If I can't get a shower before 1pm when he's here I'm hardly going to manage on my own....

One hour at a time! I can do it! !

CelticPromise Sun 04-Aug-13 00:22:48

You can smile It's a great idea to set yourself targets. And do go to thebf group if you can, you might meet a mum who has been where you are. Well done for persevering, you're doing a hell of a job!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now