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Talk to me about express breast feeding(13 Posts)
Due in 10 weeks and it has always been my plan to breast feed at least until I go back to work, however I also know some women and/or babies just don't get on with it. If that happens to me I was thinking I would express milk and use that instead of formula however it's not something I've heard of many people doing, is there any reason for that?
As I said, I'm not the type who will beat myself up if breast feeding doesn't work out but i'm wondering how practical my plan is in reality, has anyone else done this?
I know people who have done this, well one woman to be precise. She expressed in the morning. I found expressing was completely impractical. Took bloody ages to get weeny bits out. Guess it is different for different people.
I have very limited experience of this, however, I have one friend who couldn't get on with BFing at all. She said she can express max two out of six bottles that her baby has every day.
I think it is hard to express enough, but you are certainly doing your baby a big favour bumy expressing some as then they are still getting the benefits of some breast milk.
Some people can find it works ok for them, but it means you're doing twice as much work, which isn't fun for the frequency a newborn feeds!! I was always able to express a reasonable amount but I think I'm in the minority, and I know my supply suffered for it. I'd plan for breastfeeding personally, I wouldn't plan for expressing on a regular basis, as I said I had to do it for a while (I was unwell following the birth) and it was tough going.
I know someone who did this. Her baby didn't have any formula. It was hard work but she was able to express plenty, every few hours. Some women do find it difficult to express much at all but for others, they can get a lot of milk. There are lots of ways to increase your milk supply too. If you do express exclusively you will want a very good pump (pref hospital grade - they can be loaned by hospitals and organisations such as the nct). Hopefully it will all eork out at the breast though! With the right support, almost anyone can breastfeed successfully.
It's often harder to build up and maintain a good supply when expressing only, the baby is usually more effective than any pump at removing milk and the baby stimulates you body more effectively to make make. It's hard work, and you can miss out on some of the reasons why BF can be so lovely - eg you can faff with sterilising and bottles etc plus the physical action of BF has benefits as well as the milk having benefits.
As PP said though, it would certainly be beneficial to the baby to carry on with some breast milk whether expressed or directly, if you chose to FF too.
If you want to BF a good plan is to build up a network of support now, so if you have any trouble you can get help with it quickly - the vast majority of problems are very fixable
Maybe see if there are any BF groups nearby? Most welcome pregnant women who want to find out more and they are great for those questions you have that aren't in the books - like where to get good bras locally, which cafes are really welcoming, how to find in front of your dad/grandad/whoever without dying of embarrassment
Gather some numbers of the BF helplines and put them in your phone
Maybe a book to read
while you still have time ? Bestfeeding or Kate Evans The Food of Love are good.
A calm birth can mean it's easier to get started, maybe bear in mind when doing your birth plan and think whether you might aim to avoid epidural/pethidine etc if you can (obviously your plans might change when birth comes around but pethidine /diamorphine can make babies quite sleepy for quite a while and it can affect BF sometimes) And skin to skin time after the birth can be really helpful, plus skilled help to show you how to get the baby attached well. It's really important they can show you how to do it yourself rather than plonking the baby on for you.
Interest points from all of you,suppose I hadnt thought much about the demands of expressing vs breast feeding and formula feeding. But you have made me realise that there's nothing wrong with expressing one or two bottles a day and supplementing with formula,as you say it's still something. Thanks for the tips as well manifesting about looking into local breastfeeding support groups,that's definatley something I'll dig into to. I actually know a girl who worked as a breastfeeding support volunteer at the local maternity hospital but she's moved away now to study midwifery,typical ;) she'll be able to give me contacts though I'm sure.
I can't express at all but I know quite a few women who did two of them exclusively and there top tips
If possible try to get baby to feed from you at first then gradually introduce bottles as expressing is apparently easier if your milks already in.
Sure start sturgeons nct and places like that often lend out breast pumps quite decent ones.
If you struggle with one type of pump remember that there are others if a electric pump does not work for you try a hand pump or hand expressing as some methods will be more effective for different people.
They say its easier to express either after a warm bath or in it or with a warm flannel on your breasts(if not using electric pump) and with baby near by.
Breast milk bags tend to be cheaper from amazon than chemists.
Re breast milk bags - if you're anywhere near a Home Bargains they are dirt cheap in there but don't always have them in stock so worth picking some up at this stage if you see them.
I expressed with ease with my first and although at the start there is only drips and drabs it does build up. my advice - start with a hand pump then move to an electric pump.
My first baby had IUGR and so was very small and weak.I was also very ill following serious complications at the end of my pregnancy. He couldn't bf at first, he just fell asleep with the effort of sucking, and so I expressed for him. Within a couple of weeks I found that I couldn't express enough to meet his demands and so had to top up with formula. I also found expressing for every feed to be very time consuming and restrictive. We were on a 3 hour cycle of wake baby, feed him expressed milk (and ff top up if needed), express for next feed, wash up and sterilise all equipment., go back to sleep myself. This meant that I would get 1.5 hours sleep max in any 3 hour period which was exhausting. It also meant going out to any baby groups was difficult unless I skipped an expressing session. However, I was determined that he should have breast milk even if it couldn't be exclusive and by 12 weeks he was able to bf without me having to express and bottle feed him. We continued to mix feed until 8 months.
So it is an option, but not am easy one IME. If you do go down this route I would agree with earlier suggestions that you need a hospital grade pump, the normal ones are just not up to the job if you are using them so frequently (I ended up burning the motor out on mine) and are not as effective.
I am now bf 2 week old dd. No health issues for either of us this time and it is so much easier.
IMHO, if you and baby are both healthy after the birth then the easiest option is to get lots of support to bf rather than set out to feed expressed milk from the start.
Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy
Not much to add to the above posts other than at 3 weeks something just clicked with my baby and I and breastfeeding was suddenly a breeze.
I've found expressing messes with my supply quite badly and I get either painfully engorged or feels like he's not getting enough, so I'm just sticking to straight from the breast on demand now. It's much much easier once you've cracked it - and you will, be confident.
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