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How realistic is feeding with expressed milk exclusively?

(12 Posts)
stickybean Thu 09-May-13 21:35:28

I'm feeding my 4 week old and it has been difficult from the start. He had Tongue tie which was snipped in the hospital but he was still unable to latch.
The breastfeeding counsellor has given me exercises to help improve his ability to
move his tongue. But he still won't latch.

I offer him the breast at each feed and he screams in frustration. Shakes his head from side to side and can't / won't close his mouth.
I end up supplementing each feed with at least 2oz of expressed milk. If he hasn't latched on at all he will drink 4oz.

He had not yet regained his birth weight.
I am at my wits end. I have plenty of milk but he won't take it.

I want to fix the latch and just breastfeed like a normal breastfeeding mum. But if I can't (or if I lose the will to live first) how realistic is it to exclusively express?
Is it sustainable long term?

Does anyone have any experience?
Each feed is taking two hours of screaming, refusal to latch, giving bottle and then expressing. I have other kids and I don't have the time to do it.
I feel awfulhmm

NMM Thu 09-May-13 21:45:09


Gosh, I could've have written this! Had exactly the same experience. I think my DS was traumatised from repeatedly being forced to latch by well-meaning midwives/HVs/Lactation Consultants and not getting anything in return. He would go puce, arch backwards and become v distressed when held to the breast. Distressing for him and me!

If it's any help, I fed DS exclusively with EBM for 9 months. It was hard work, but DH and I got quite efficient at the whole thing after a couple of weeks.

Shesparkles Thu 09-May-13 21:48:29

Like NMM says, it's hard work for the first few weeks till you get your supply established and find a rhythm that suits you, but it can be done. I fed my ds this way for a year, and it just became a way of life smile

sleepyhead Thu 09-May-13 21:48:50

I was expressing virtually exclusively for the last 2 weeks (hopefully back to direct feeding now). I also expressed for ds1 when he was your ds's age for about a month.

It's worked for me and I think if you make sure you express regularly and have a good robust supply then it's possible long term. I was on a thread years ago with other mnetters who were exclusively expressing for their dcs and some did so for 4-6 months.

What I've been doing this time is express just before he's due a feed (doesn't work for demand feeding very well and I'm lucky that ds2 is a fairly regular 3 hour, 4oz feeder). So I'm expressing 4oz a time, 8 times in 24 hours and feeding virtually everything I express rather than trying to get ahead of myself. I did this because I wanted to go back to feeding directly though and didn't want to get out of sync or overstimulate my supply though.

If I was doing it longer term then I'd want to have a few feeds "banked" to let me feed on demand more, and I'd express between feeds rather than just before. I do think in the early weeks though you ideally want to express at least as often as dc feeds. Obviously if you can't get a full feed each time you might need to do it more often.

Kellymom has a whole section on expressing which has loads of useful info about expressing long term including rough quantities.

If you decide to go for it then it's still worth trying to feed directly from time to time. My problems were solved by ds1 just getting bigger and finding it easier to latch on.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 09-May-13 22:04:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cravingdairy Thu 09-May-13 22:10:53

Apologies if you have tried this but I found latching much easier by doing laid back nursing AKA biological nurturing. Basically plonking baby on my bare chest as I leaned back on a chair or sofa, and letting her find her own way. It made a huge difference to us.

stickybean Thu 09-May-13 22:37:02

That's so helpful, thank you all so much. And thanks for the hugs.
I'm feeling more reassured that it is possible should I go down this route.

How many times a day do you think I would need to pump? At the moment he only eats 5 times in 24 hours. Which I know is not enough for a new born. I am pumping more than that though to keep ahead of it and also pumping through the night.

stickybean Thu 09-May-13 22:37:43

I haven't tried biological nurturing. Off to have a google now.

NMM Thu 09-May-13 22:55:11

It certainly is "doable" if you feel it's the right way forward for you.

We got very blasé about expressing. I remember being stuck in a queue on the M3, me pumping away in passenger seat and Police pulling alongside. Luckily grabbed pashmina, so DH spared "no Officer, wife's boob not distracting me at all..." line.

Also, we drove to a French ski resort when DS was about 6 wks, so we needed to pump/feed v regularly. We would stop at an Aire de Rest and immediately dash in to check number of ladies' loo cubicles. <4 = no chance of me hogging one to express as high chance of queuing ladies spotting that one cubicle was never becoming free. >4 cubicles = carte blanche to pump away disruption-free!

See, you will even have 'fun' doing it! Seriously though, hope things improve for you soon.

lotsofcheese Fri 10-May-13 05:52:50

I'm in a similar situation in that dd won't feed from me (due to being premature & being tube/bottle fed on nicu). Am losing the will to live!!! Hate my breast pump & feel I'm being a crappy parent to ds, who is stuck in front of tv all day while I pump/feed.

Just do whatever is right for you - there's no medals in this business!!!

stickybean Fri 10-May-13 12:49:00

Lotsofcheese, I totally understand what you mean about feeling like a crappy parent hmm

It's only short term but it doesn't feel like it.

Sending lots of hugs and empathy your way.

TwitchyTail Fri 10-May-13 13:06:00

Agree with NMM that while pumping is really time-consuming and tedious at first, you will quickly become a breastpump ninja. I got 4oz at a petrol station under a pashmina on the way to a wedding last week, in the time it took DH to get and pay for petrol grin With a cheap manual pump no less. Guys washing the cars next to me hadn't a clue.

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