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Teach me how to combination bf and express please!

(19 Posts)
MotherPanda Thu 21-Jul-11 17:26:26


I Am currently waiting for the arrival of our first baby (she's late!), and i've decided that I'd like to breastfeed, but would also like to express milk so that my partner can share feeds, and I'm hoping that i might have enough so that I could donate to a milk bank too. I have dreams of a freezer full of organised breast milk pots... with little dates stamped on them...

Although guidance says not to try expressing till 6 weeks - I'm hoping to start much sooner than that, because I would like to build up my supply and teach our baby that there are two ways to feed from an early stage - so that we don't risk her refusing the bottle later. This makes sense to me - but is it reckless?

I'm trying to figure out a sort of routine that I could start from week 1 maybe, perhaps pumping first thing in the morning and then demand feeding on the breast for the rest of the day etc - what worked for you? Or did you feed off one breast and pump on the other?

I am a bit of a control freak, and do like routines (so I know having a baby is going to be a shock!), but would love to hear about how you fed your babies smile

tiktok Thu 21-Jul-11 18:20:39

MotherPanda, none of what you are thinking about is impossible, but there are major drawbacks to all of it, and you need to know what they are before you set your heart on this plan. You also need to know other stuff about how babies develop and learn. I'm gonna put the points down in no particular order:

* expressing is not always easy, or quick, or effective - most women find that it is a skill/knack they get better at, but very few find it anything less than a bit of a chore, even once a day
* babies do not need to learn there are two ways of getting food from early on - they can and do learn to bottle feed or cup feed at any age, and of course learn to use hands, and spoon feed and then later to use a knife and fork smile There's no reason why you need to 'teach' bottle feeding at 1 day or 1 week or 1 month or whatever, for fear of the baby 'never' learning. Yes, some babies do get so keen on the breast they resist the bottle but this is by no means inevitable, and there are many 'tricks' that can help...and if desperate they can cup feed
* fathers absolutely do not need to share feeding - if you are concerned about ways he can help there are a zillion others. They bond with/attach to their babies just as well in many other ways, too
* donating to a breastmilk bank is lovely, but wait and see how life pans out - as I said, it is a chore
* there really, really, really is enough to do with a newborn in caring, cuddling, feeding, without trying to fit in the business of sterilising the pump, sorting out the bottles, storing the bottles...none of which you have to do at this early stage

Others will post with experiences as well I am sure.

Hope all goes well whatever you decide to do smile

posterofagirl Thu 21-Jul-11 19:18:04

I have to express on my left as dd hates it sad and it is a royal pita.

I only get about 1oz off per session for 20 minutes work including sterilising and baby normally wakes and cries because she can smell milk turning it into a sticky juggling match.

I would wait and see what your babies feeding/ sleeping pattern is first.

I admire your ambition though grin

MigGril Thu 21-Jul-11 22:14:26

Some great advice from tictok.

Just one point I'd like to add. Don't get to hung up on routines. Small baby's grow and change at such a fast pace what suites them one week mite not the next. Espically with feeding try to just go with the flow and relax, it'll save you a lot of stressing.

MotherPanda Fri 22-Jul-11 10:19:42

Thanks for the advice guys - I'm sure you're all right. It being my first I really don't have a clue how we'll take to anything. tiktok - I'm glad you said babies don't need to learn two ways to feed early on, this was definetely one of my worries.

Feeding from the breast will always be my priority, I'd still like to try expressing - but as you say, maybe it isn't so important to start early on - which I'm pleased to hear. I'm certainly not going to stress over it.

I know dads don't have to share feeds, but it's something my DH (called him partner earlier!) would like to do, so if I can I will - but again, won't stress about it if it doesn't work out.

Milk bank is certainly the most ambitious plan of all - but that is certainly something for the future, and bottom of my priorities really.

Letting go of routine is going to be the tricky bit of parenting for me!

So... I'll see how we both feel smile

pipoca Fri 22-Jul-11 10:36:00

you may find even though you have plenty of milk you can only express such a tiny amount it's not worth bothering. I have a 9 week old DD who is ebf and I have no supply issues but can never get more than a dribble with a pump so I don't bother.

MotherPanda Fri 22-Jul-11 16:31:14

I had heard that you cant get as much out with expressing - i suppose its about finding the right pump for you? Certainly sounds like something that will need some practice.

Cosmosis Fri 22-Jul-11 17:43:42

It's not necessarily as simple as the right pump, plenty of women struggle with expressing full stop, hand or pump. Some women find it easy, you won't know which you are till you try.

drcrab Fri 22-Jul-11 17:51:34

Routines.. Ah. I was abit of a control freak w no 1 child. Wasn't anymore by the time no 2 arrived.

Anyway... If you are going to pump I'd suggest you buy an electric one. Itll save you alot of grief.

Nipple confusion - haven't found that with either child. DS is 3.5 years old now and bf till nearly 2 years. He also had the dummy and some bottles. DD is 10 months. Bf still and has bottles too. No nipple confusion.

Oh one last thing: if you are really keen to bf you need to give it time and persevere. Devote enough time to bf and get comfortable. Forget time scales etc baby will feed as much as he wants. Good luck.

MotherPanda Fri 22-Jul-11 17:57:27

Sounds like me and the sofa are going to get to know each other very well in the next few weeks. smile

RitaMorgan Fri 22-Jul-11 20:43:47

I would just say give yourself a break in the first few weeks - looking after a newborn and establishing breastfeeding is hard work even without worrying about expressing, sterilising and washing bottles. Maybe re-evaluate at 4-6 weeks.

japhrimel Fri 22-Jul-11 20:51:31

Wait and see and at least, give it a few weeks if you can.

You may have unexpected issues, like I did with DD in SCBU at first, and have to express early on. Or you may be fine. So I wouldn't get a pump yet, in case you find you're needing to pump for regular top-ups or tube-feeds with a sicky baby, in which case a good double electric pump (I like the Ameda Lactaline best) is needed. If your LO does need SCBU, the hospital will have pumps while you're in there and you can get DH to order one online for when you come home. Otherwise, order one when you're home.

If you don't need to pump in the first few weeks, don't. It's a recipe for over-supply, engorgement, blocked ducts and mastitis IME. Wait till your supply is settling down to what baby needs and then start a regular daily pumping session to start building up a stash in a way that lets your supply adjust gradually.

Latch and confusion issues when using a bottle very early are a right PITA too.

Getting in touch with your local milk bank now is a great idea though! Most banks require you to start donating before LO is 6 months old and it can take a little while to sort out.

Having said that, what you really need is to be lining up as much breastfeeding support - websites, helplines, BFCs, clinics, support groups, lactation consultants, etc - as you can now. Most people who breastfeed newborns don't make it to 6 weeks, usually not out of choice but through lack of support and poor advice.

japhrimel Fri 22-Jul-11 20:53:53

Oh, one other thing I forgot. Babies under 6 mo need approx. 750ml breastmilk a day. So an emergency stash for 2-3 days is actually loads of milk! You'll probably want to build up your stash before donating to a milk bank so that your LO can have your milk if you need to take ABs or something that don't agree with them.

I went through my 2 day stash whilst on ABs and never built it back up before DD got to 6 months, so never donated.

MotherPanda Sat 23-Jul-11 08:47:17

Thank you japhrimel - I'm lucky to be in the centre of town so have lots of local clinics and support groups. Really pleased that the nct offer breastfeeding advice on the phone or in person too - FOR FREE!

I'm really determined to breastfeed - so getting all the support is very important to me. I know a lot of people say not to be heartbroken if you need to use formula, but I know I will be.

Thank you everyone for telling me your experiences smile

TittyBojangles Sat 23-Jul-11 09:52:13

I expressed very early on, not sure why really tbh, but it did cause a few oversupply problems and I wish I hadn't. I stopped expressing and sorted out my oversupply ishoos.

After a couple of months I got into a routine of expressing in the morning and freezing (for the milk bank) and it really was a pita, though of course worthwhile.

Have only used tiny bits of my ebm for my own DS as he didnt take to a bottle easily and tbh it was easier to just feed him myself, so never really an issue. DH helps in plenty of other ways, feeding is my job, and fortunately I have no social life so have never needed anyone else to be able to feed him smile.

DS is now nearly 9mo and just manages fine without milk when I am not around.

Great that you are detemined to bf, as you definately do need a bit of determination, though of course this isn't always enough and knowing where to access help if needed is essential. If you haven't already then go to one of the bf groups BEFORE you have your LO as you can get some useful advice, meet other bf mums and make it all less daunting for when you go with your baby. And kellymom is a great website (as well as here of course) for info.

booberella Sat 23-Jul-11 11:16:32

I am also a bit of a control freak and wanted to do exactly what you plan to do. There is so much conflicting advice and everyone will tell you different things- you need to decide for yourself.
My DD is now 4 weeks old- my cousin has a 5 month old, she tried to introduce a bottle of ebm at 6 weeks like she was advised- her ds point blank refused to take it and still does. He still feeds every 2 hours so she can't be away from him. Her advice to me was try a bottle at 1 week. I thought that was a little early- so left it till 3 weeks and there was no problem. However, in agreement with a lot of people, expressing is a big fat pain in the arse and harder than I thought it would be. I can usually only get 1-1.5 oz at a time which is half a feed. She had a bottle last night so I could go see Harry Potter but as she'd missed a feed from me my boobs leaked all night, were rock hard by morning and I managed to express 3.5oz this morning, a personal record. So it probably does mess with your supply. Also- don't try expressing when baby is in a growth spurt and feeding every hour!! You will get bugger all! Good luck :-) you may find it's just not worth it!

fraktious Sat 23-Jul-11 11:41:37

I didn't have time to express for nearly the first month! I also had chronic oversupply so didn't want to make it worse.

Now I need to express so DS can have EBM while I'm at work and honestly if I didn't have to then I wouldn't. I'd love to donate to a milk bank but there aren't any in the country I live in. That would probably be better motivation for me because, as people have said, it's a chore and cuddling your baby is much more fun than imitating a dairy cow.

MotherPanda Sat 23-Jul-11 17:24:47

Fraktious - where you live? I thought milk banks in hospitals where pretty universal.

fraktious Sat 23-Jul-11 19:40:54

Ile de la Reunion. It's in the Indian Ocean next to Mauritius.

I would love to donate as I think it's a really worthwhile thing to do but it's just not available here.

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