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Possible to exclusively express for 20 wo?

(17 Posts)
smk84 Mon 22-Oct-12 16:44:11

Ds and i have had a rough time with bf, it's going very wrong at the mo. I have posted lots about it, but won't bore you with the details here. He was ebf til 18 weeks , introduced evebbottlec as weight gainnwas so poor,and now will hardly feed from me. My supply must have dipped but I am not ready to give up. Do you think I could do this? I have a medela freestyle double pump.,thank you.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 22-Oct-12 20:25:19

Don't know but hopefully this will BUMP for you smk

whenwill Mon 22-Oct-12 20:44:31

llleague said there can be flow confustion with bottle so can choose to feed less from you (dd would hold out for bottle in eve. if we were out). I suppose esp. if your ds doesn't comfort feed.

Give this pumping thing a good go if you can. People are different with amounts they can express but speed and volume does get more with time.

Maybe if you can pump your supply up- takes ages- you may be able to get him back on in the future. Find an old bra and cut holes in it and stuff funnels through it so it's handsfree! work towards getting a good balance of 'fore/hind' milk by aiming to express a whole feed and give the evening milk (or at least fatty/thicker milk) in the evening etc. To do it long term most people would need to express (or feed) at least 6 times a day I imagine.

Try to feed at night yourself though maybe pick ds up and feed at 10pm or something- i don't normally like the idea of dreamfeeding as it can encourage them to wake up more times in the night and disrupts sleep that been going well... but it might get him feeding from you more.

smk84 Mon 22-Oct-12 21:09:40

Thanks so much for your reply when, and than you for bumping for me Julie. When I think pumping to up my supply so I am quite full as he comes to feed is my only hope now. He will feed from me after his long sleep in the night and I am full then, and I think that's why it works.
When I have been struggling to decide when to pump as I am always trying to encourage him back to the breast, so eg if he won't stay on long after he just wakes up from a nap and I pump then, there's not much there if I try again to feed him when he is going back down for a nap. Then I can't pump when he's asleep cos he often needs holding, but if I do manage it, he never sleeps for much more than an hour, so then when he wakes I am offering a boob with not much in. This is why I can't fit in pumping! So considering just pumping when I have given his bottle whe he wakes, and just letting him comfort to sleep if he will.
Does anyone know if babies lose the ability to latch if they don't latch for too long? I know my ds1 did, but he was old 2 weeks when we gave his first bottle.
When, when you have pumped, how did you organise it?

balkanscot Mon 22-Oct-12 21:31:02

I used to pump 6x a day, for 30 minutes per each pumping session (with a double electric pump). I lasted about 8 weeks, then I dropped to 5 x a day (still keeping to 30 minutes per pump) for another 4 weeks when I gave up due to sheer exhaustion (mental and physical). It does take a lot out of you, everything you do you need to plan very carefully to fit around pumping sessions (I used to pump every 3 hours). I didn't pump during the night as I just couldn't face it - and because I would get very little if I pumped late at night. I would get about 160-180 ml per session overall which would account for about 3/4 of DS's daily feed then, the rest I had to top with formula.

DS would only ever latch on via nipple shields and even then every BF would be hit and miss. In the end the reflux he suffered finished off the last ray of hope I held about being able to successfully EBF - too much pulling on and off (and never mastering a good holding technique - I crippled my back every time I held him) which stressed me out so much I was a nervous wreck before the start of every feed. Hence my decision to express. I would have like to have expressed for 6 months but I just couldn't get past 3 months. Had to wade through a mountain of crippling feelings of guilt/failure, couldn't look at my breasts for a while as I saw them as a failure, etc.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, smk94, you have already done so much for your DS. thanks

NicolaSeal Tue 23-Oct-12 07:16:49

Hi there. My lo stopped bf at about 3 months (I'm still not completely sure why) but, after much heartache, I accepted it and exclusively pumped until she was 11 months. It is hard work but, in my view, was worth it. I hired a hospital grade pump, which I found was the most successful. Every woman's supply is different, but there are things you can do to increase it. The website below was of huge support to me, when I just wanted to give up, and it has lots of tips (in the form of a beginners guide) to get you started and keep you going.

http://www.ivillage.com/forums/forum/18045#

I wish you lots of luck xx

Shesparkles Tue 23-Oct-12 07:22:58

It IS possible-I exclusively expressed for a year, but it does take a lot of dedication. I've c+p what I once fair about it elsewhere

Admittedly it was really hard for the first few weeks, as the way I thought of it was that I had to be a feed "ahead", so it meant that I had to have a bottle of milk ready to feed before I expressed the next bottle. I did it by religiously expressing every 2 hours or so (mind you at times the little so and so was feeding every 2 hours!), so that if he was actually feeding every 3 hours, I was getting a little stock built up. (I'm sorry if this reads like gobbledegook but it's sooo hard to get across in type rather than speech)
After a week or so of expressing every couple of hours, I found that I then had maybe 2 or 3 bottles of milk in the fridge, so that's when I moved on to expressing after I'd fed him, so I was effectively replacing what he'd just had from the fridge.

The 1 thing I had to be careful about was if I was out and about and he was having a bottle of milk, then I wasn't getting the chance to express until I got home, so you have to watch you don't leave it too long between each expressing session in the early days. Then again, if I did leave it a bit too long, I felt like my boobs were going to explode anyway!

I'm not sure if this is your 1st baby, so I'm saying this on the assumption that it is! After a couple of months of feeding, your breasts almost produce milk on demand so you don't get the "full" feeling that you do in the early days, and I was able to relax a bit more about when I expressed, but still working on the idea that if he had bottles in a day, then I expressed 4 times a day.

I never set out to breast feed for as long as I did, but that's how well the expressing worked for me, so I didn't see the point in spending money on formula if I could do it myself!

What I would say though, from speaking with other mums, is that I seem to be able to express a lot of milk very easily, and not everyone is able to do it as easily. Maybe that was the case, or maybe it was because I was so "religious" about it in the early days-who knows?

I probably come over all evangelical about it, but it's just what worked for me, and it's not something that's usually presented as an option at ante-natal classes/baby clinics etc. No matter how successful I was at breast feeding, or expressing, I'm still very much of the opinion that each mum has to do what's best for her and her baby....and for some people that might mean either using formula or a combination of breast and formula. There are a lot of "breast feeding !!!!!" around, especially if it's your first baby, but IGNORE THEM and do what's best for you and your baby.

I hope I've explained it in a remotely understandable way, but if there's any part which doesn't make sense, please get back to me and I'll try to explain it a bit better.

Oh, and if you do manage to do something like what I did, remember, and make sure that those around you remember that you're breast feeding even if it's coming via a bottle, and you do need to have allowances made for the extra load it places on your body (god I sound so old fashioned!)

bitbot Tue 23-Oct-12 08:19:39

I exclusively pumped for 5 months....very hard work as I needed to pump 6 times a day, with one in the night to keep supply up. But I was expressing 32oz of milk a day. Getting the supply up to that level I was permently attached to the breast pump, expressing 30mins each hour...also used the medela. Hth wink

balletmoo Tue 23-Oct-12 08:39:33

My DS was 6 weeks prem and too small to latch on so I expressed for 8 weeks after he was born.

I hired a hospital grade pump for that time and then used a Medela pump after that.

It was bloody hard work and I agree about needing to a) have a stock in the freezer and b) be a feed ahead.

Other things to be wary of: you are more likely to have blocked ducts with expressing as a baby is much more efficient at getting milk out than a machine! But you do get used to clearing them by massage.

It probably took 4-5 months for me to properly abandon the pump but I could not have done without it at first. I am still BF now and he is 2.2 grin

Hope that helps!

whenwill Tue 23-Oct-12 09:25:30

I posted about my pumping on your 'why is breastfeeding so difficult?' thread.

I became really attuned to when my supply was dipping and only need to pump a bit around that time. The first two times though I didn;t know what was going on and even my morning supply was decreasing so I pumped day and night in tears every 2/3 hours. Was way too much! but I was feeding dd too and pumping (usually straight after I fed her no matter what) for 30-45 mins- just to get as many let downs as poss. I had one medela swing pump only but manually expressed at same time off other side.

She was a rubbish sleepeer. 20-45 mins max. naps. Pumping took all my time but only for 3 days. She always fed well at night/asleep and I would say increased my supply then to get most of her 24 hour milk in two guzzling night feeds.

whenwill Tue 23-Oct-12 09:39:11

when I had pumping sorted she was only waking 3 mins for 3.30 feed 7-6.15 but I've pmed you

smk84 Tue 23-Oct-12 10:50:29

Thank you so much for the replies. I only have a couple of minutes here but I am so grateful that you have shared your experiences. I think there is hope for us once things settle down. I have a 3yo ds so hoping we can work around things. I want to reply properly individually, but can't right now so I will be back later.

aamia Tue 23-Oct-12 13:11:42

Hi, just posting to say good luck really! I pumped for two days pre tt snip for mine and it was surprisingly ok. I just pumped whenever he fed (every 2-3hrs) and it was actually SO much easier than bf as it took far less time (probably because DS was rubbish at getting milk out of me at that point so the pump by comparison was much more efficient!).

Hope you get some really fab advice on here so that pumping really works for you!

smk84 Tue 23-Oct-12 18:00:38

Balkan thank you for sharing your experience, I really empathise with what happened to you, I had similar feelings when I had to stop feeding ds1 at 4 weeks. Making it to 20 weeks has been so hard and I don't know if I have any ore to give. Everything is all over the place at the mo and my pnd is probably getting worse. Sorry have to go again, will finish pst later.

caramelwaffle Tue 23-Oct-12 21:46:12

Yes: It is possible. Good luck.

p.s. Might it be possible to speak to someone - G.P. (?) - about your PND?

smk84 Fri 02-Nov-12 19:04:18

Sorry I haven't finished my earlier post before now its been really rough, but am ow getting there with the pnd I think. Feeding is almost entirely useless, so just debating whether to cut out direct bf altogether and pump.
Thank you Aamia, and thank you when. I need to figure out a plan and my brain isn't really working properly!

SuiGeneris Fri 02-Nov-12 19:34:50

Hi there, sorry to hear bfding has been so difficult. I don't know your story but I wonder whether it is worth speaking to a lactation consultant/peer supporter etc to try and sort the underlying issues.
I had lots of bfding problems with DS1 until about 16-18 weeks and saw about 10 different people about it, eventually person no.10 said something that clicked and I moved back from exclusive pumping to feeding from the breast. It then got better and better and we breastfed until 23 months.
I guess what I am trying to say is that things can still take a definite turn for the better and that it is worth trying as once it works it is a lot easier and more enjoyable than pumping.

Also, I think I understand where you are coming from: when breastfeeding is so difficult you are thinking about pumping exclusively, it is difficult to believe things can get better... I know I saw pumping as the only workable option and was v sad about it, but also resigned... But take a leap of faith, it is worth it.

On the practicalities: I had a Medela single pump and pumped 30-45 mins per side every three hours, day and night. Like posters above I liked to stay a feed ahead, ideally two, which was very difficult despite having a pumping session more than DS fed (he slept 11-5am, while I pumped around 2am too)....

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