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Any advice on breast feeding and expressing milk(67 Posts)
I am a first time mum and I am hoping to breast feed and express milk. I know it varies from person to person how well this goes but any advice would be appreciated. Should I get a double or a single electric pump? What extras do I need to go with breast pump? When is the best time to try and express? I am looking at getting a second hand one and cleaning and sterilising thoroughly!
Oh god don't if you don't have to. Mastitis - messing your milk supply up. It's just not worth it.
Best pump you can get if you do have to. Hospital grade is kindest - do nct still rent them out.
Expressing is an emotional as well as a physical response. I can’t personally can’t do but it works for lots of people. I don’t know how people fit it in the early days at all.
The kellymom website is a good place to start.
I used a hospital grade double pumped and pumped exclusively for almost six months so it’s doable. I rented mine from a company in Staffordshire for around £30 per month. You’ll need to pump very regularly if you’re going to go down that road
I use a hakka it's a silicon breastpump that you can use on the opposite breast. I generally only use it at night as that's when I get the most. But it's the best £13 I ever spent. Also I found that trying to pump and breastfeed was a complete faff during the day as my LO fed every hour and half.
There are a variety of different ones. I was given a medela freestyle which can be used as a single or double breast pump. At first I didnt like it but now my LO goes longer between feeds it works great.
Don't pump till your supply is established. Once you are over the first painful bit and the feeding has settled down you should be fine. Use lansinoh cream for your nipples after every feed to help with healing.
I used to pump once a day in the morning when my baby went down for his morning nap. My supply adjusted then. I used a medulla swing pump. I'll see if I can find a link. You can buy bags to freeze the milk in till you need it or put it in the fridge. My first born never really liked the bottle but I used easy flow tests with my second and she got the hang of it much quicker!
Get feeding established first, good luck. It's great if you get on with it. Don't worry too much if it doesn't work out, some people find it really hard to express even if they can feed. You will probably find it better to post on the feeding threads for more in depth advice and discussion.
Oh I forgot about Kelly mom, that is a great site for advice.
Hakka is good if you breastfeed as it collects the let down that would otherwise be wasted from the other breast.
A double electric pump is better for your sanity (and milk supply) than a single.
A bottle with a breast like teat (like Medela’s) which is harder for the baby to drink milk from will help reduce the risks of nipple preference.
Don’t express for the first 6 weeks if possible - build your supply by breastfeeding as it can improve bonding; and if it works well you won’t need to express.
Join a breastfeeding group if you can too.
Oh and if you get a bleb ( a blocked nipple duct) feed more from that side. To reduce the pain try and massage it in the shower to remove the milk that is backing up behing it.
I agree don’t unless you have to to.
Is you baby going to be delivered early and are you expressing while baby is in NICU?
Expressing is a faff, but dc has had major latch issues and I find the smell of formula really off- putting, so I've been exclusively pumping for nearly 4 months now.
Obviously baby gets the benefits of breastmilk and you get the benefit of other people being able to give a feed. I don't think there's any hassle-free way to feed a baby, it just depends which set of pros and cons you find most tolerable.
Decent breast pumps are not cheap to buy new. Maybe try one out while in hospital/ borrow from the breastfeeding clinic if that kind of support is available to you. Closed system breast pumps sometimes come up for sale second hand. You can sterilise all the relevant parts of these pumps so it's still hygienic. Only downside is that if it has been used a lot the motor might be knackered.
If you decide to express frequently (and who knows, your baby may be a genius breastfeeder) then yes, get an electric double pump. A single pump may save you twenty quid on initial outlay but will double the length of every expressing session. A manual pump would give you RSI.
Kellymom is excellent.
As someone who exclusively breast pumped for just over 3 months I can't think of anything I'd rather do less than that! Hoping I'm going to be able to exclusively bf this next one.
But definitely double electric pump. And look on Amazon for some extra containers you can pump into and store as they tend to come with just one. You may not end up using them all as you'll be bf-ing as well but it's always good to have plenty stored up that you can rotate.
I am unable to get any useful amount out with a pump! But had plenty of milk.
Don't panic if your supply takes awhile (I had no milk for 5 days, and not enough for 3 weeks) to increase to meet demand especially if birth isn't straight forward.
Reusable breast pads and that purple nipple cream are essential. I read a tip on here to start using the nipple cream 6 weeks before due date to avoid sore nipples and I did and didn't get sore nipples.
Focus on getting breastfeeding established (6ish weeks) before pumping otherwise it can result in poor supply or over supply. A haakaa pump is great for collecting let down milk from side not feeding on. Electric double or single depends really on how often you are planning to give a bottle.
With second hand pumps it’s important to look for a closed system pump (Kelly mom site has a list). If it’s not a closed system it means it can’t be fully sterilised so should not be used second hand.
Also worth remembering that some people find pumping easy, others can’t get a drop out- it doesn’t mean that you can successfully breastfeed though. I know a lot of people find it more work to pump than to just feed by the time you factor in the sterilising, bottle feeding, time spent pumping etc.
Extras to go with the pump:
Reusable heat packs
Milk storage bags
The best time to express:
If it's in the early days then every 2-3 hours during the day and at least once during the night. (This is why the electric double pump is a necessity).
I used the Spectra S2 double electric pump, it's hospital grade but at a much more reasonable price - found it great.
Pumping is hard work for sure, if it's "worth it" depends on the reasons you want to do it. For me, my older child was only 14 months when her sister came along so I didn't think it fair to have the baby attached to me round the clock. Pumping was great as I could leave the baby with DH or my mum and take older DD out one-on-one.
Also great, if like me you NEED time to yourself. The baby enjoyed the benefits of breast milk while I enjoyed the freedom of days out/occasional night away childfree.
The best time to pump is apparently early morning in terms of output. As mentioned above kellymom website is very comprehensive and covers all you'll need to know.
Agree with the comments about not expressing for first few weeks, it seriously messes up your supply and you'll likely end up making too much milk then dicing with blocked ducts and mastitis. I fed from breast for 16 months, once they get past about 9 months the amount the feed really drops off so you aren't so chained to them!
If you intend on pumping a lot, then invest in a double electric pump- I used the Ardo calypso and it's great. As good as the Medela and cheaper
Also, I had the medela hand pump which I actually got a lot more use overall! £18 I think I was, I'll use that with my next one I think
Tbh it’s a mega hassle- worst of both worlds- and takes twice as long as you have to pump and then sterilise everything too (so you get the downside of bottle feeding but not the upside). I did it exclusively the second time for 2 weeks but only because my baby was in scbu so I had no choice.
Perhaps wait until the baby is here before you spend any mega money. I planned to buy an electric pump but never actually found the need. I had a small manual pump and used that whilst DS was having his first feed of the day on the other side. Usually got enough for one bottle so popped in the fridge or freezer as DS didn't have a bottle everyday. If you know you will need to pump then I think a double might be worth it so your not pumping for as long?
My advice is not to worry about expressing for the month - use that time to focus on getting to grips with breastfeeding. You and baby might have some issues to begin with (tongue tie, latch/positioning, other) but even if you don't it's a good idea to take the pressure off and make sure your supply is good and baby is feeding well.
As a first step I would suggest using a Haakaa pump (or similar) which you can pop on one boob while baby is feeding from the other. You won't necessarily get huge amounts of milk (sometimes I got a decent amount, sometimes barely anything) but it's very low effort and doesn't take any extra time. Just watch out for a wriggly baby knocking the pump off your boob, or knocking it over when you've put it down (I did one cry over spilt milk ) If you and your DP wanted, he could use the milk you've expressed this way to try introducing a bottle, and if this works he could continue doing so occasionally. Personally I think 4-6 weeks is a good age to try this.
If you're anything like me you won't get huge amounts from a Haakaa but it's still helpful for baby to get used to taking a bottle.
Then if you want to do "proper" expressing to get higher volumes of milk, you will need a double electric pump, as it's the most efficient way. You could hire one, or if buying second hand, make sure you buy a closed system pump (not open system which cannot be fully sterilised). I used the Ardo Calypso which is a closed system double electric pump. I used it during nap time or in the evening, and I also used it when I went back to work (this was helpful in the beginning to avoid engorgement and discomfort, and keep up supply a bit, although my boobs did settle down and I was able to reduce and then stop expressing at work).
Expressing does take extra time and effort and I would say it's definitely worth it if you want to give yourself a break (for a longer stretch of sleep, a few hours to yourself away from baby, or a date night) without using formula. But do consider cost/benefit and don't put too much pressure on yourself. I did get frustrated when I tried to express and didn't get much.
God don’t do it unless you really want to and definitely not until your supply is established at around 6 weeks.
I’m still feeding DS at 14 months and I’m massively pro breastfeeding. Expressing is shite, so time consuming and mentally draining.
Hi everyone, thank you so much for all of your advice. Based on what people have said I am going to hold fire buying an electric pump incase I do not use it as they are pricey. I really like the idea of the Haakaa as a starting point so might buy one of these for now and if after 6 weeks or so I want to try and express I will look into other pumps. I plan on breastfeeding - expressing was mainly do DP can feed her, give me a little free time or extra sleep and maybe allow me to have the odd glass of wine! If I had major problems with breast feeding I would originally just use formula or try combo feeding! As the Haakaa claims to collect the milk which would have been otherwise wasted from other breast while you are feeding can you use this from the very beginning rather than waiting the 6 weeks or so?
You don't have to wait 6 weeks but I advised waiting 4 weeks or so to get hang of breastfeeding before introducing a bottle.
You can definitely have the odd glass of wine when breastfeeding.
My two DC were EBF and I found it very easy.
However, I could never express. So I agree with PP - no point in investing in pricey equipment at this point.
Assuming you are having baby soon/during lockdown, I would probably just feed the baby myself. Sleep when baby sleeps (most newborns will sleep at the end of a feed) and DH can look after them whilst you get a proper rest.
Oh, and I definitely had more than the odd glass of wine whilst breastfeeding Good luck!
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