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It's time to stop expressing - how do I do it?

(18 Posts)
Anothermrssmith Sat 25-Jan-14 20:35:27

I realise I'm opening myself up to being called every name under the sun here but looking for some friendly advice on this.

My DD is 3 weeks old and while I tried to breastfeed she couldn't latch,however milk was literally pouring out of me so have been pumping and feeding her expressed breast milk through a bottle since she was a few days old. Have continued feeding her this way exclusively and she has had no formula at all. My supply is still good but I just can't do it anymore.

I've spent the last week feeling like crap as I have been constantly dehydrated and despite drinking pint after pint of water I can't get my hydration levels back up. My husband,who works nights, is back at work and im worried i'll take a turn for the worse while he's away. i'm a type 1 diabetic and my blood sugar levels are all over the place, sky high then crashing down. I'm developing what looks like a blister on one nipple (Christ knows how that happened),I'm stuck in the house pretty much all day everyday because I start leaking with no warning and have no local friends for company and my boobs are agony. We are also going away in a few weeks with friends and I'm pumping so much if I was still doing it when we go I wouldn't see anyone (it takes me about 40mins to pump each side about 7 times a day). I feel like I'm pumping so much I'm missing out on time with my daughter and daddy gets all the nice cuddles. Im glad i've expressed and know i've gave her a good start but its time for me to go back to feeling human again.

Google seems to be giving mixed results on how best to stop my milk coming in,anyone been in the same boat with any advice?

puntasticusername Sat 25-Jan-14 21:32:56

Hey, if anyone flames you for this, I will personally virtually lamp them for you grin well done for persisting with the expressing for this long. It sounds really hard. I bloody hate expressing myself - I could never feed a baby exclusively that way. Kudos to you.

Just a thought - you said you couldn't get a good latch when you first tried feeding directly. Would it be worth having another go at it now? Three weeks in, you might have more luck.

I don't have any expertise to answer the question you actually asked I'm afraid! Hopefully someone else who can will be along soon. In the meantime, good luck and good wishes to you.

Anothermrssmith Sat 25-Jan-14 23:04:06

Thanks puntastic, have been trying to get her to latch every couple of days since we came home from the hospital but no joy.

Vixjane Sun 26-Jan-14 02:18:34

I exclusively express to feed my lo at the moment. As far as i'm aware the best way to stop is to increase the times in between eachpump over a few days. Ie if you pump every 3 hours start pumping every 4 hours etc as this will slowly decrease your supply. It may feel like you have more at first as you will express more milk than your normal pumping session due to the extra time but your body will learn that themilk isn't needed as frequently and will adjust until you no longer pump at all. X

isisisis Sun 26-Jan-14 04:29:50

Nothing to add other than you have done so, so well. I bloody hate expressing, I couldn't of done what you've done.

ThisIsYourSong Sun 26-Jan-14 04:54:58

Exclusively expressing is bloody hard. I stopped cold turkey with my twins and would not recommend this, having subsequently had mastitis, I am really lucky I didn't get it.

Cutting down expressing times would be a good start (40 minutes is a long time). Then cut out feeds one at a time, making sure you aren't engorged between each one.

How are you feeling about it all? I felt terribly guilty giving up, it was a very hard decision to make.

ThisIsYourSong Sun 26-Jan-14 04:57:37

Meant to add, you can get medication to dry you up. The constantly leaking etc does calm down, but not til six weeks or so. Basically when expressing (or feeding) you are telling your body that your baby is hungry so the more you express, the more your body produces.

McBaby Sun 26-Jan-14 08:26:32

It would be useful to find a local lactation consultant to work with they can help you with your latch if you do want to continue feeding or can help you cut down expressing slowly so you don't mastitis.

You may have a blister from the pump if the flange is the wrong size or just because the pump is so aggressive you can also put Vaseline on the inside of the flange to reduce the friction of the nipple on the flange.

SpottyTeacakes Sun 26-Jan-14 08:31:54

Well done for getting this far. I exclusively pumped for 1.5 weeks when ds was in SCBU. I went on to ebf so not sure how you can wind it down.

I'm type 1 too. Breastfeeding does make your levels low. Be ready to go back to pre preg insulin regime once you stop pumping. Try not to worry too much about your levels at the moment as they really do take a good three months to settle down if you're not bf. sorry if that sounds at all patronising blush I stopped bf ds in September and I still haven't managed to sort my levels.

Lozzapops Sun 26-Jan-14 10:07:29

Well done for getting this far!! Exclusively pumping is hard work, I have done this for my baby since birth, and she is 3 months old now, there were many many times I just wanted pack it all in. The advice I always saw was "never stop on a bad day" and that would always spur me into trying the next day and the next.

HOWEVER. I haven't got my own health problems to contend with, and your health is the most important thing to keep you well and able to look after your baby. I would echo the advice of previous posters. Cut down the amount of time you are expressing, as well as the number of pumps per day. Do this gradually. So for eg, you're currently doing 40 minutes, 7 times a day. Cut this down to 30 mins, 6 times a day. Do this for 3 days or so. Then go down to 20/25 mins, 5 times a day for a few days. And so on... You will probably feel uncomfortable and full, but stick with it, get some good quality breast pads and change them frequently. Wear a bra that is on the tighter side as well if you can manage it.

As mentioned, there are medications that can help dry up your supply. Decongestants, such as sudofed, are known to carry this as a main side effect. Of course, I'm not suggesting you should go out and get some without medical advice wink

If you do decide to carry on expressing, know that it does get better! You can gradually cut down on the number of pumps per day, and get your life back! If you decide to stop, know that you have done a wonderful thing for your baby, and have managed to do something that is bloody hard work!

Anothermrssmith Sun 26-Jan-14 13:39:34

Thanks for the advice everyone,it all makes a lot more sense than what I've been reading online so far!

yoursong now I've made the decision to stop I'm happy with it though I've spent days agonising over it. In an ideal world I would keep going but realise if I'm this miserable about it now I'm now giving my daughter the best I can be. My attitude towards breastfeeding was try it,if it works out great and if not at least you tried so i'm just glad I've held in there this long.

mcbaby a local breastfeeding support worker has been to see us and the problem isn't that she CAN'T latch it's more that she can't stay latched. She gets on,manages a few sucks,falls off get frustrated and upset then can't get back on as result. Even the consultant was stumped by it and had no advice other than keep trying because I'm doing everything right.

McBaby Sun 26-Jan-14 14:27:44

I would find another opinion on the latch. There will be a reason it's just figuring out what the problem is. It could be an issue with tongue tie so the baby latches but then gets tired v quickly or can't transfer milk effectively so gets frustrated.

I had to visit a large number of experts and bf drop ins to find someone who could help me.

ThisIsYourSong Mon 27-Jan-14 08:03:21

Great that you have made your peace with it. I would second what McBaby has said though, that it could be a problem that can be fixed e.g. tongue tie. I am just saying this as I wished someone had given me some direction, and I not trying to put pressure on you or to make you feel like you have to defend your decision as how it is going at the moment is clearly not working.

This is a really good article about tongue ties, which can cause a problem with latching.

Really do just ignore if you have made your decision and are happily carrying through with it, but posting just in case...

Jims Mon 27-Jan-14 08:21:06

Again, just to throw in the mix to say that a hospital grade pump would cut down your expressing time prob by at least half if not more. Medela hire them direct on a next day courier and is still prob cheaper than formula.

Having said that i have no idea about the diabetes blood sugar levels. Can also recommend cutting down v gradually if you do decide to switch.

Best of luck

Shellywelly1973 Mon 27-Jan-14 08:31:28

Well done for expressing for as long as you have. I've done this with a previous baby & it's absolutely exhausting.

Look after yourself. Being diabetic & expressing/bf should not be underestimated.

Anothermrssmith Mon 27-Jan-14 13:20:09

Thanks for the suggestions re tounge tie but she's been checked by both midwife in hospital and community midwife and that's not an issue.

Cut down expressing yesterday to 5 times at 30 mins each and have to say was pleasantly surprised,my boobs are remarkably pain free and almost no leaks,even overnight was just a few spots. Of course it could be my supply would be naturally diminishing anyway but I'm hoping its a good sign. It's a bit sad to see my fridge, which was jammed full of expressed milk,starting to empty but I'm still happy with my decision and I have about 20 bags of milk in my freezer to give her as well so even when I stop pumping completely she'll still get a few days of feeds before needing formula.

Lozzapops Mon 27-Jan-14 16:59:35

That's great, so glad it seems to be working out well for you. Please do continue to update, I would be curious to know how it goes so I know what to expect when I stop pumping. All the best!

Anothermrssmith Sat 08-Feb-14 22:18:30

Just to update you lozzapops, stopping expressing has gone remarkably well. After a few days I was only pumping when I got up in the morning and before bed,getting about 150ml each time (had been getting 150ml each boob so supply was obviously diminishing) now stopped expressing altogether and just the odd spot of leaking during the night. I had one hellish day a few days in where my boobs were agony and I felt really ill,was worried I was getting mastitis but felt fine the next day.

DD is now exclusively on formula and doing well,had a day or two where her bowels seems a bit backed up but HV assured me that was to be expected and she's now back to normal. Really pleased I expressed as log as I did but glad I'm done with it now.

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