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exhausted new mum & expressing so can rest

(11 Posts)
Rootatoot Wed 31-Aug-11 16:19:52


I'm a new mum to baby boy of nearly 5 weeks old and I have been exclusively breast feeding him. It's gone well in terms of him latching on well and putting on weight, but he rarely goes more than 2-3 hours between feeds. The last week or so, have been very challenging at night. He will end up in a cycle of feeding, nappy, feeding, nappy which can go on for hours and hours. It actually went for nearly 5 hours last weekend and I was in a right state.

So I've now got my pump and have no problem expressing but I wanted to know how this is meant to work so that perhaps I can get a little rest and my DH can do a night feed here and there. Friends have said that when they were expressing they would need to pump around same time baby was due a feed cos otherwise they would be uncomfortable. I don't really understand this though as surely this defeats the object of why you want to express in first place?

Please help - tired and confused and not much time to go online and find info out!

mamsnet Wed 31-Aug-11 16:37:29

First of all, congrats on your new baby!

IMHO I think you might be starting a little early with the expressing... Often it just throws another stress into the equation, and is unlikely to help all that much yet.

If you insist, try expressing in the morning when, theoretically, you have more milk. Your baby is still feeding very frequently, though, and you will have to be careful not to go too long between feeds as it's extremely easy tomget engorged and suffer mastitis in those early days.

You probably won't believe me but at 5 weeks your baby will most likely start going a little longer at night soon..

Have you tried feeding lying down? Many mothers, myself included, swear by how much better it works for all concerned at night time.

Are you distinguishing clearly between night and day feeds? Feeding with minimal indirect light and no stimulation at night time, for example.. And unless the baby has poked, there's no need to change their nappy after every feed.. It tends to wake them up a bit too..

I hope I haven't offended by stating the obvious or anything.. Youmsound so tired..

Oh, and is brilliant for bf help.. As well as this section, of course!

Good luck

mamsnet Wed 31-Aug-11 16:39:26

Poked??? Pooed!!!

Bloody iPad!

BaronessBomburst Wed 31-Aug-11 17:37:20

I personally found that expressing didn't work for me. We tried it - a well meaning aunt sent me to bed, and DH gave DS a bottle of expressed milk, but I woke up with incredibly sore swollen boobs, and the bed was soaked in milk. The cleaning up involved was far worse than the feed I'd been 'spared'. Also, I would worry that at 5 weeks it might still affect your supply, especially as the milk producing hormone is most active at night.

It will start to get easier, but it might be better if you get your DH to do other things to help. I got mine to wait on me hand and foot, providing drinks and sandwiches whilst I just lay down and fed.

lilham Wed 31-Aug-11 18:39:15

I found expressing ends up more work for me than just feeding. The whole sterilizing and pumping is such a faff. And my DD never really took to the bottle so DH didn't enjoy it either. Also she can do a bf in 10min but took like 30min to drink 50ml.

Rant aside. I pumped in the morning and store the milk in the fridge. DH gave a bottle some time in the evening. We didnt do dreamfeed back then so it's usually when he arrived home.

I guess you just pick a tome that suits you and go for it.

lilham Wed 31-Aug-11 18:44:05

I should add I pump on the side my DD didnt feed on first feed in the morning. I found better result when the boob feels full and leaking a bit. This could be in the ungodly hour of 6am. Once she starts her very frequent feeds in the morning, I couldn't pump much at all.

Rootatoot Thu 01-Sep-11 15:47:54

mamsnet - thanks for advice. Not offended at all. Grateful for all help at the mo! I think it helps to have things restated even if I have heard it before, re: day/night atmosphere for baby etc. Helps it stick in my tired brain!

Had a MUCH better night last night. I think I had a short nap yesterday tea time then felt much more chilled out and able to cope in the evening. I just went with what baby wanted (fed from 6 - 10 or so I think, more or less with just short breaks in between, then he settled down around midnight and went 3-4 hours between feeds then. FAB!)

I expressed milk couple days ago but then we didn't get around to using it. It didn't seem to upset my supply at all and I found it pretty easy to do so it's good to know at least I CAN do it. May try baby again with it soon as I know there is a 'window' where you need baby to get used to a bottle if you are ever going to need one. He's 5 weeks old now so maybe try him again next week.

Thanks for link - that's really good site. smile

Baroness - my DH is not particularly good at helping around house though he is getting better. I think he is that smitten that he'd love to be able to give our LO a bottle of my milk, but I have explained about supply and how bf works. Anything baby related and he is way more helpful than to do with the housework!

I think we may give the expressing a go and just see what happens, but I'm hoping last night is an indication that the non-stop nappy/feed marathons are just a phase.

witchwithallthetrimmings Thu 01-Sep-11 15:56:35

it takes as long (if not longer) to express a given quantity than for your baby to drink it direct; so expressing unlikely to give you more rest.

in the night <<whispers>> it is alright not to change the nappy unless he is done a big poo

lilham Thu 01-Sep-11 18:47:55

Have you got your DH try bathing, baby massage and putting baby to sleep? The last one is especially invaluable I found. I can give my DH a crying baby and he can calm her down by rocking and cuddling. A few mums in my group says their DH can't settle baby at all. In the long run I think it'll give you a lot more rest, and ofc lovely bonding for your DH too.

And you know when your LO is really hungry or she just wants a warm body. At first your DH might try to hand a crying baby back to you, iyswim.

Moulesfrites Thu 01-Sep-11 18:52:35

IME expressing is far more hassle than just feeding - probably not what you want to hear, but the washing, sterilising, pumping then feeding used to feel too much like hard work to me, plus it could mess up your supply.

It is still very early days, and while it feels like an eternity at the minute, your lo will begin to settle down and the nights will get easier.

I think you should consider alternative ways to get more sleep. Is there someone who can take baby out in the pram for an hour while you nap? Or look into safe co-sleeping and feed lying down?

kalo12 Thu 01-Sep-11 19:04:20

congrats too. i have a 7 week old (2nd ds) and i agree expressing is more hassle at this stage. my baby also wakes every 2 hours and also has nights of 4 hour wakefulness. its exhausting (but less so second time round).

i do not change nappy unless there is poo in the night or vest is wet. maybe your dh would be more help taking care of you and chores at home. after the final feed at about 5 am when i know the baby will not go back to sleep easily i wake my dh and he takes him for a couple of hours until he needs to get ready for work and this arrangement works quite well. so i geet a rest in the morning.

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