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Expressing breast milk

(14 Posts)
jenna13 Tue 26-Jul-11 20:31:41

Hi my dd is 12 days old and I'd like to start expressing milk so that someone else can feed her occaisionaly so that I can have a bit of a break as I'm starting to feel like a zombie/milk machine. I spoke to my midwife and she said if I start expressing milk I'll get mastitis and if we use any bottles it'll confuse my dd and ruin bf. Is there anyway of doing it without that happening? Just need some general advice as I really need a little break, even if it's just so her grandma can take her out for a few hours so I can get some sleep.

midori1999 Tue 26-Jul-11 21:44:18

I am not sure, but I think pumping much prior to 6 weeks can mess with your supply, but I don't think that automatically means you'll get mastitis. I am no expert though.

Giving bottles before 6 weeks can apparently cause nipple confusion, but I've heard of far more people not giving a bottle early and then their DC refusing a bottle than of babies refusing the breast after they had a bottle, but again, I'm no expert.

I hand expressed a couple of ounces when my DD was 6 days old and gave that and DD to my DH to take downstairs as I was desperate for some rest. It doesn't seem to have done any harm (I have had mastitis but doubt that was the cause). I think it's probably best to try and avoid it prior to 6 weeks, and you should ideally express to 'replace' the feed someone gives by bottle anyway, but if you're desperate I'd imagine the odd expressed bottle will do less harm to your BF relationship than being exhausted and possibly resentful.

FloweryBoots Tue 26-Jul-11 21:47:51

I'm no expert but I'll try to help. You won't automatically get mastitis if you express. I think the problem here is that you might get over full if you miss a feed/feeds which could potentially lead to mastitis. It depends on how long you go without feeding and just how your body copes with it. You might find you need to express whilst you're away from your baby so you don't get too full and uncomfortable. This will reduce risk of problems like blocked ducts and mastitis.

Your baby might not get confused, and even if she does, it won't neciserily ruin breast feeding, but it genuinely could cause you difficulties. Some babies seem to be able to handle a mix of bottles and breast from an early age with no probs, but others don't, either rejecting bottle or breast, or not latching properly or feeding efficiently at the breast after having bottle. Feeding from a bottle takes less effort then breast feeding which a lot of what can cause issues.

Generally the recomendation is not to express until you've got breast feeeding well established. 6 weeks is often qutoed with this, but it took me 3 months to feel we had feeding well established! Certainly I found in the early weeks I was feeding so frequently there wasn't ever a long enough gap between feeds for me to express and actually get more then a drop out so it was pointless until feeds settled down a bit and started to space out slightly.

I'm afraid I don't have any advice on how you can do this and make it work but as I say, I'm no expert and hopefully someone beter informed then I will be along to help you out soon.

If you decide to wait a little while longer before starting expressing for some feeds, could you get grandma to come to the house and baby sit whilst you stay upstairs having a bath/sleep/reading a book etc. with strict instructions she bring DD to you only for a feed and at no other time? Not the same as having them out of the house (and hearing range!) but perhaps give you the chance for a least a little bit of you time.

FloweryBoots Tue 26-Jul-11 21:50:55

Oh, and in the early days and weeks your body is building up your milk supply and learning how much to make so expressing and missing feeds etc. can cause problems with your supply.

But well done on feeding so far, and good luck with the future.

LikeACandleButNotQuite Tue 26-Jul-11 21:59:57

Oooh, very interested in this, as I want to introduce a bottle a day (of EBM) after a week so DH can join in and give me a breather enjoy feeding LO. Five months gone at the mo.

I have tried to read up on the subject, and one ahem controversial specific book advises to express whatever is leftover after baby is full from their feed, each feed, and freeze to use in future. Also, when using expressed milk, try and make sure to express some around the time you would normally feed, so your body gets used to making certain amounts at certain times of the day.

Few months till I actually get to test this theory, but will have a good try! Not sure if that helps?

PenguinArmy Tue 26-Jul-11 23:06:00

likeacake that advice could lead to over supply issues.

A lot of people start expressing around 3 weeks if taking a bottle is important to them (it's a split camp as to whether wait until 6 weeks or not), although you should feel like feeding is settling down and established.

As someone else said the danger with mastitis is they get a heavy bottle at night and then go longer before their next feed leading to engorgement for you. Also night feeds are the best for increasing supply.

Most people pick one time a day and express then, but this is normally for ease and to build up supply at that time for storing (so in a few weeks). If you're just expressing here and there whenever you can fit in that's fine but yield may be lower. Do not try and store them up in the freezer (oversupply) but express to replace feeds.

Finally don't compare FF and BM amounts as they are completely different. A lot of babies only have 3oz of EBM no matter what age. Overfeeding can be a issue (as it is a very different technique). Look up kellymom and the pumping mom section. It's got loads of great stuff including techniques for how to bottle feed the breast fed baby to try and avoid certain issues, amounts for feed and storage time.

harverina Tue 26-Jul-11 23:34:47

Hi Jenna,

There is alot of different advice about expressing and different people have different opinions. It is probably best that breastfeeding is properly established before beginning to express and offer your dd a bottle. I found that we were ready around 6 weeks. Skipping feeds so early on can really affect your a bottle when you should be feeding sends a message to your breasts that milk is not needed. It can also lead to engorgement - if your baby is not nursing, but is instead feeding from a bottle, your breasts may become engorged and this can lead to mastitis - this may be what your midwife is referring to. However, you will not necessarily get mastisis.

Some women chose to express and offer a bottle very early on and do so successfully. Others find that it really affects breastfeeding. Even if it is your own expressed breast milk in the bottle, one bottle a day can lead to a baby starting to feed less well at the breast and the increasing “need” to give more bottle can lead to two, then three etc etc.

Re: nipple confusion, there is again alot of different opinions about this. Personally I found that when I gave my DD a bottle she did seem fussier at the breast afterwards because the flow from the bottle was so much faster.

I am saying all this but I totally understand the exhaustion you are experiencing at the moment. It can feel sooo biggest peice of advice would be to sleep when your DD does. Seriously, make the most of the time in between feeds to eat, sleep and rest. It really will get easer over time - before you know it you'll have a bit more time in between feeds. What you are feeling is normal - I was so shocked by how much my DD fed and how often!

When you do decide to express, as far as I am aware, it is recommended that you express immediatly after your baby has fed. Hand expression, if done properly, is gentler on your breasts, but I found using a pump faster. In the early days, you will need to express when your baby would normally be feeding (i.e when they are getting the bottle) to maintain your supply and prevent engorgement. This gets easier over time though.

Likeacandle, it is not recommended that you frequently use frozen breastmilk for feeds - if you have frozen it, chances are it is weeks old and the composition of the milk may not be the same as your current composition. Someone will correct me if I am wrong about this.

Re: dads playing a role - feeding is one of the many elements of parenting. Dads can get involved in so many other ways. I'd really discourage against expressing and offering a bottle fot his reason alone.

LikeACandleButNotQuite Tue 26-Jul-11 23:58:25

harverina I don''t dispute that there are many many ways parents bond with their baby, and did not for one second suggest that would be the only reason for introducing a bottle and expressing regularly. Similarly, freezing milk as I go, I will be using it regularly and don't imagine that it will be weeks old, though it can be safely stored for up to 6 months.

Also, whilst yes, expressing and feeding may lead to 'oversupply', this surely helps whe the baby reaches a growth spurt, a time when it seems breastfeeding is not enough and some top the baby up with formula?

PenguinArmy Wed 27-Jul-11 00:02:58

the best way to get through a growth spurt is to feed the baby more and giving expressed milk in the first few growth spurts (below a couple of months) can lead to the body not getting the signals to produce more milk and therefore not having enough of a supply.

Freezing milk is better once your past the first two months (and I used milk more than 6 months old at that point).

Women with oversupply have problems with unhappy babies due to getting too much foremilk and is not something to be desired. It is also more likely to lead to mastitis as engorgement is so much more easily obtained.

Growth spurts can be very challenging and hard to keep going without topping up but only because we're not used to the concept of a baby feeding 12 times in a day as being normal.

harverina Wed 27-Jul-11 00:08:45

But breastfeeding is enough during a growth spurt - your baby will feed more to increase supply. Formula is not needed. The best thing that you can do during a grwoth spurt (and any other time) is to breastfeed on demand. That might mean that you are nursing very frequently for periods. It doesnt mean that you do not have enough milk.

Kellymom is great for info re; breastfeeding - your doing the right thing reading up on it now. I had no idea what was happening when my DD first had a growth spurt. See [ here].

Re: safe storage, this rally depends on your freezer and fridge temperature.

harverina Wed 27-Jul-11 00:09:54

Ahhhh sorry.... here

And x-post penguin! Oops!

mooshy1970 Wed 27-Jul-11 00:16:12

there is no benefit to an oversupply. maybe lactose overload, windy baby with green frothy poo . possible poor weight gain and even milk stasis from blocked ducts etc. I,d advise you spend the extra time thinking of ways to maybe get some more rest in between or durin feeds rather then bringing in expressing on top of feeding . IMO breast pumps are too readily available and if not needed can often lead to unnecessary probes. put it away for a few weeks unless for some reason you have to be separated from your baby and need to use it then. it's hard but babies do feed round the clock in the early days because their tummies are so tiny and breast milk is so easily digestible they need to feed frequently . our partner can still hold and cuddle the baby while you have some rest . have you tried feeding lying down ? I managed to dose in the early days and DH kept close eye on us and brought me lovely food and drinks. . . Lonely memories when I look back now non exhausted ! Hope you have a good night x

pyjamalover Thu 28-Jul-11 09:47:22

just to add that during growth spurts kick back in front of the telly all day and feed feed feed - actually quite relaxing once you give in to it!

(although have to admit that overnight and by day 3 of each one I was tearing my hair out a bit!)

Lynders Fri 29-Jul-11 23:22:36

Hey Jenna,
email me for a copy of my advice leaflet on expressing which i hope can answer some queries for u.


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