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No to breastfeeding but yes to expressing?

(19 Posts)
Tilly8888 Fri 23-Sep-11 22:47:30

Hi Ladies, I've got a weird aversion to breastfeeding but as my baby will be born with some health issues I've been made to feel guilty if I don't decide to breastfeed. I was thinking maybe I could solely express my breastmilk and feed with a bottle - any thoughts? Please don't post if it's to scold me on my way of thinking about breastfeeding, have heard it all - I just want direct advice!

ButHeNeverDid Fri 23-Sep-11 22:50:15

I did this for three months. So it is possible. Best to hire a hospital grade pump.

You will probably get more help on an American forum as it's more common there.

DilysPrice Fri 23-Sep-11 22:52:44

It's possible, it's quite a lot of hassle. Some people manage to exclusively feed ebf, but some need to supplement with formula.
It should help provide additional antibodies and protect against gastrointestinal problems. You'd need to get a good breast pump, probably electric, though I did a load of expressing with a pair of hand pumps.

Dannygirl Fri 23-Sep-11 22:53:46

It's certainly possible to do, for a while. Expressing probably won't be as effective as feeding directly in terms of stimulating your milk supply, so it may dwindle after a while. The only thing is, it's a bit of a faff sterilising the bottles etc, as one of the benefits of breastfeeding is you don't have to do this if you are feeding directly. But of course it's worth doing if you can/want to, to get the benefits of the breast milk. My advice would be to try it and see how you get on, try not to have fixed ideas before your baby arrives, you might change your mind! Good luck whatever you decide xxx

amistillsexy Fri 23-Sep-11 22:56:15

I think it would be a very difficult thing to do, to be honest, although 'doable'.

It is easier for a baby to get milk out than it is for a breast pump. Expressing is very time-consuming, and you can't easily cuddle your baby while doing it. You then have to spend time feeding the expressed milk to the baby. By the time you've finished a feed, it could be time to start expressing another one, so you may be entering into a situation that will just leave you totally knackered.
Although breast milk is best for your baby, many babies are formula fed, and grow up healthy. It would be more important that you were rested and relaxed, to be honest, especially if your baby does have health problems. You will need all the energy you can get!

I had 3 babies, and I fed each of them using a mixture of formula, breast feeding and expressing. It was the expressing (and looking after the machinery!) that I was most fed up with each time!

GlaikitFizzog Fri 23-Sep-11 22:57:48

I did it for 19 weeks, its bloody hard work and you have to keep at it. Hire a hospital grade pump. Mine was direct from Medela and £45 per month (weighed up against the cost of formula justified it). Kellymom was by far the best website for advice.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Fri 23-Sep-11 22:58:50

i did it for a year with my DS and for 5 months with my DD. it is entirely possible. you do need to work hard in the early days to stimulate your supply. won't do just to try and express a couple of times a day. you need to express every couple of hours throughout the day and at least twice at night. it's a right royal pain in the arse with all the expressing and sterilising and then the feeding as i am sure you can imagine, but if you are determined to do it, you should be able to. you get quite inventive with storage / washing / sterilising / expressing in the car etc. if you are at home you can also store your breastpump in the fridge between 'expressing sessions' and not sterilise it every time. i never did this, tho, but i have read that you can.

bm freezes well, so empty a couple of shelves in your freezer, if you have one. you can buy sterile bags to freeze it in.

i expressed for a year with an avent hand pump - i got very efficient but i did wear out several valves in the process. i used to be able to express 9oz in about 10 mins. i got a double electric pump for DD but it seemed less effective somehow but i don't think my supply was as good with DD as it was with DS (DS fed on the breast to start off with and created himself a stonking supply, whereas DD was express-fed from about 2 weeks).

there are websites dedicated to mums who express solely. if you do a search on google, for expressyourselfmums you should find some links.

good luck! it can be done!

TruthSweet Fri 23-Sep-11 23:07:26

If you have time, have look at these links before baby is born:-

www.exclusivelypumping.com/ - Site supporting EPing mums

www.expressyourselfmums.co.uk/ - products for expressing (hands free pumping with a double electric is the way forward for a lot of EPing mums)

www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/index.html - Lots of practical information on how to express, how to store EBM, how to feed EBM, how to increase milk supply/wind down expressing, the works!

If you know you definitely don't want to bf directly but do want to provide EBM to your baby a little research and some canny purchasing/making/hiring can make your pumping be easy and less time consuming.

If you can hands free double pump you can still eat lunch, cuddle baby, change nappies (providing you don't bend too far forwards or the milk will come out the bottles!).

The more you pump in the early days, more you will hopefully produce later. If you only pump a little to start with you may set the bar too low and not be able to make more milk with out a lot of effort (voice of experience here). Of course all women differ and no one knows how things will play out with a baby until baby arrives even with a 2nd/3rd/4th++ baby.

Good luck with EPing and enjoy all the lovely newborn snuggles.

Tilly8888 Fri 23-Sep-11 23:22:50

OMG! Thanks so much for all the advice and support! I feel more confident about what to do now, can't thank you girls enough! xx

TruthSweet Fri 23-Sep-11 23:55:18

If you get any stick from anyone, tell them to shove it! (Not my professional opinion of course wink). Be confident in your choice and then people should respect that. 'This is what works for my family' is a good phrase to whip out if you get any questions.

Having said that don't be afraid if you do feel the urge to nurse your baby when they are born to actually do so. Just because you do it once (or more) doesn't mean you can't go on to EP in the future, it's not an either or thing.

I'm not saying you will or won't feel moved to do so (I felt physically compelled ot put my babies to nurse when they were born - thwarted by medical issues with 2 of them but the overwhelming urge was there) but just so you are aware it may happen and not get worried about it.

Oh, just so you know 'even' EPing mums are very welcome to call the bfing helplines and go to bfing support groups for information/assistance with EPing (inc. weaning down from pumping) so please don't feel shut out from support. (I know of a La Leche League Leader who EP'ed for at least a year and she became a leader after EP'ing!!)

ButHeNeverDid Sat 24-Sep-11 16:45:35

But not all professionals are supportive. An NCT bf counsellor reduced me to tears when I called up to get the number of a pump hire company!

If you do your research now you'll be fine when the baby arrives.

My record was 4 250 ml bottles in one sitting! Well ...... I was distracted on MN and so was sitting there for a while and I was pumping for twins.

pigletmania Sat 24-Sep-11 20:54:05

My SIL did this for 9 months as she does not like the idea of bf.

pigletmania Sat 24-Sep-11 20:54:29

She had an electric Medela swing breast pump though

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 24-Sep-11 20:58:59

No scolding, but it's bloody hard work to exclusively express feed.

Babies are quicker and more efficient at removing their milk themselves.

Can you imagine just you and your baby in a dimly lit room lying on a big bed with you on your side and your baby tucked into you? And then feeding?

I very vaguely remember my feelings before ds1 was born. I was very squeemish about it and nervous, and not too confident at how I could do it if anyone at all was around, and maybe not even then.

Somehow I turned into a massive advocate and breastfeeding peer supporter, fed my ds for 13 months and my dd for 26 months.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 25-Sep-11 07:35:10

It is entirely possible to do this, but as others have said, it's hard work!

How far away is your baby's birth? Could you possibly talk over your aversion with a counsellor in the interim? You may be able to reduce the aversion, or come up with strategies for dealing with health care professionals who don't respect your choices. Or both.

silkenladder Sun 25-Sep-11 07:48:11

I have several friends who exclusively expressed for differing periods of time. Two had premature babies, so were prescribed electric pumps. They both said they could have fed two babies with the amount of milk they produced, so that isn't necessarily a problem. However, they both found it a PITA. One gave up after 8 weeks and switched to formula, the other successfully taught her baby to feed directly from the breast.

Two other friends EP'd babies who had difficulty latching. Again, one eventually got the baby to feed directly (but it took 9 months before she could stop expressing!) The other switched to formula after 4 months.

People have given you good advice on where to look for advice and support, I just wanted to say take it one day at a time and remember that any bm your baby gets is going to give it the immune benefits, etc. FWIW, I also felt weird about the idea of bfing while I was pregnant (although not to the extent of a phobia), but after the birth it seemed completely natural and I went on to feed for 25 months.

Glitterybits Sun 25-Sep-11 11:42:07

My DS had a problematic tongue tie so, despite my best efforts, I literally couldn't feed him directly. I was subjected to so much guilt (both from health professionals and my own feelings of inadequacy) about this, that I did as you suggest. I bought a second hand hospital grade pump from eBay (about £65 - best money I ever spent) and spent the next 4 months expressing at least every 3 hours. It was hard work in terms of sterilisation and the time spent expressing and then feeding. It does mean that others can feed your baby the bottle, but the whole process does rather take over your life. You also can't miss a single pumping session if you don't want your milk supply to dry up because, as others have said, no pump in the world is as effective as your baby in terms of stimulating your milk supply. Eventually it dwindled anyway and I still had to supplement my starving baby with formula from the word go. There's nothing to stop you from doing combination feeding though. Slightly more practical, unless you want to be chained to your sofa pumping for the foreseeable - and it means your baby will be getting at least some of your milk. Good luck.

Tilly8888 Sun 25-Sep-11 13:01:27

Thanks girls I do appreciate all your advice. I will see how it goes!

auburnlizzy78 Sun 25-Sep-11 13:13:20

Hi Tilly8888, I was an exclusive expresser because direct BF didn't work out. I did it for 5.5 months before my GP told me to stop as I was exhausted, and the baby was having solid feeds by then so I was doing NOTHING but express, feed milk or feed solids. The baby was a rubbish napper after the first few months so it became more and more difficult in the later months to get enough time to do it! But I am still SO glad I did.

I ended up supplementing with formula because my son was so hungry and I simply did not have enough milk. I made about a litre a day, to within 30ml, every single day, and that should have been enough - but it was not even close to being enough by 5 months as he was 98th centile for height and weight. An average sized baby with an average appetite would have been much easier.

I used a Philips Avent single electric pump - it was fab. Can see why a double pump would have been more efficient though. Tommee Tippee pump is shit - got it as a spare and tested it, not efficient at all and lots of milk gets stuck in the rubber pipes - AVOID.

Here are some links to previous posts I have written with tips on expressing. Hope they help!

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/breast_and_bottle_feeding/1143859-Exclusively-expressing-happy-experiences/AllOnOnePage#23651598

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/breast_and_bottle_feeding/1116529-Expressing/AllOnOnePage#22999904

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