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Expressing - how much?

(16 Posts)
musica Thu 13-Nov-03 10:02:59

How much is it normal to express in one go? I have just gone back to work after dd's birth (she's 3 months now), but since I only work very part time, I'm trying to express enough milk during the week for her day at nursery. My plan has been to express in the morning about an hour after her first feed, as that's when I feel there is most milk available. I'm using the Avent pump, and I usually get about 2 ounces in one go. Sometimes it's more (up to 4, but that is unusual), or sometimes less (down to 1). Should I be trying to eke more out, or is this a normal amount?


mears Thu 13-Nov-03 10:17:07

You can only get out what you can get out IYKWIM. I used to express at various times in the day or evening, especially if I was aware of fullness when the babes were sleeping. I found that expressing just before going to bed was a good time. I also expressed prior to feeding sometimes because the baby always gets milk even when you have just expressed. A tip to getting more milk in less time is to keep switching from side to side rather that say 10mins each side. Watch the milk flowing - when it starts to slow down, switch to the other breast. Then when the milk slows, switch back. You might switch quite a few times and one breast may express better than the other. The milk is let down in spurts and as you express on one side, the letdown is working on the other. You maybe do all that already Babies vary in the amount they way. At 3 months she may take 4oz. I froze bathches in 2 and 4 oz so that if 4 oz wasn't enough, there was another small amount that could be defrosted if needed. HTH.

mears Thu 13-Nov-03 10:19:52

Sorry - didn't answer question about amount. It will vary greatly. Any amount is good. If you only get 2 oz a time, then express more than once. Will you need to express at work. Will you work a full day. I expressed missed feeds at work to replace what was used at home. The most I expresses was 8 oz, but that was during the night when I was night shift and had missed feeds.

motherinferior Thu 13-Nov-03 10:48:56

I think you also build up as you go along. I've found an amazing difference between what I get out now (huge overflowing amounts), when I'm doing a full day without dd2, and the amounts I expressed in the mornings while fully b/feeding. How long do you express for?

throckenholt Thu 13-Nov-03 11:36:15

when I expressed for my DS at about 6 months I was typically getting about 2-4 oz at a go - I usually pumped a few times a day using an avent hand pump. This gradually decreased over time.

With my twins I exclusively expressed (little blighters wouldn't latch on). I got maximum of about 10oz in one go first thing in the morning, sometimes as little as 4oz at other sessions. I double pumped using an electric pump.

Generally make sure you are not dehydrated, don't stress about it - that is sure to reduce supply !, and massage helps too.

If you don't get to pump much, your baby will probably adjust and feed more when you are at home (my DS did - he wouldn't touch bottles - most of what I pumped went into rice puddings and suchlike)

Good luck

musica Thu 13-Nov-03 12:12:28

Thanks for the advice. I am working a shortish day (9 to 4:30), and can either go and feed her at lunchtime myself, or express a bottle. At work I do express more, as it is a missed feed. Mears, I'll try expressing just before going to bed as well - that's a good idea.

Motherinferior - usually about 20 minutes or so.

Do you think that I should stick with the Avent pump, or do you think it would be worth my while getting an electric one? (I'm being a bit pigheaded about not giving dd formula - I had problems feeding ds, and he was on mixed feeding from being a week old, so I feel I want to avoid formula at all costs with dd just to prove I can do it, as well as the benefits to her!).

mears Thu 13-Nov-03 12:30:05

I hand expressed - have you tried it? Much faster, doesn't cost anything

motherinferior Thu 13-Nov-03 12:42:25

I honestly think it might be worth *seeing* what an electric is like - I returned to the avent, and like it, but that's partly because I melted part of the medela electric one.

Mears is on a one-woman crusade. How MUCH quicker, then?

mears Thu 13-Nov-03 22:41:11

LOTS quicker. Can I say that is wasn't until baby number 4 that I got to be such an expert. I expressed milk for the specail care baby unit as well then. Where I worked at the time I couldn't always leave for a break to get to the electric breast pump ( I was working in labour ward) so i tries hand expressing. It was so quick in comparison and so much less hassle. No bits to sterilise. FAB

musica Sun 16-Nov-03 23:18:56

Thanks! I have tried hand expressing but without much success.

I've been wondering if I'm being a bit mean to dd - she is not cherubic (although her brother never was either) and although she is thriving she's not putting on lots of weight, and I'm beginning to think she should maybe have supplements. I was going to try and bfeed exclusively to 6 months, but maybe I should start solids earlier?

She is extremely content and happy, and sleeps all night, but just isn't growing all that much. Tell me I'm being paranoid...

throckenholt Mon 17-Nov-03 08:43:27

is she falling down the charts ? If not then don't worry. Usually they can digest milk easier than solids so should be able to get more nutrients from milk.

I would stick with the avent pump - electric ones are very expensive, and you won't necessarily get more (although it may be quicker).

pidge Mon 17-Nov-03 09:56:26

Musica - sounds to me like you're doing fantastically and I would say keep going with the exclusive bfeeding as your dd is happy and thriving. Her weight gain may be slower, but it doesn't sound like there's particular cause for concern.

I also put off solids till 6 months and expressed at work for my dd - and the amount I got varied from 2 oz per session some days to 6-8oz others. I got much better at the expressing over the weeks as I got more practised (and more relaxed about it). I used the Avent pump and found it fine - also tried hand-expressing with not much success, but mears has some top tips on this and next time I have a baby I'm going to give it another go.

I also expressed every evening at about 9.30pm after my dd had gone to bed - I only ever got 2-3 oz out but it's amazing how that builds up over time in the freezer.

mears Mon 17-Nov-03 11:01:51

Hand expressing is a mind over matter thing. It isn't for everyone
Please do not be paranoid by your dd's size. My dd was tiny in comparison to her brothers. I was determined to exclusively feed her till 6 months and did. Health is not all about weight gain. All the other indicators you mention are importnat too. Can I also say that when dd started solids, her weight gain was still slow. Keep to the faith

pupuce Mon 17-Nov-03 11:24:10

Musica..... if she is growing length wise she will be fine... all babies do slow down in their weight growth... otherwise they'd be obese at 1!
As you say your DD is happy..... so why think there is trouble

pidge Mon 17-Nov-03 11:25:42

Yup - forgot to say in my earlier message that people seem to think solids are going to work some kind of miracle on the weight front, but realistically the amount of solid food a baby is going to eat in the first couple of months isn't usually going to make a huge difference. And pureed fruit / vegetables will have fewer calories than milk.

I think some babies are destined to be large and some are destined to be small and they're almost pre-programmed to take a certain amount of milk / food. My own dd is like a string bean - long and thin, always has been and probably always will be!

throckenholt Mon 17-Nov-03 13:44:06

just to add to the last comment. I have identical twins. When they were born there was a 2lb weight difference. When they were milk only the bigger one consistently drank more (couldn't get little one to take any more), but now they eat roughly the same with solids, sometimes littley eats more. But they still have their 2lb gap. They are both growing but each following their own path. It seems they are happy on their growth curves and we can't do much to change it !

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