I have a lovely 6 week old son who is as good as gold, but is incredibly hungry! Breastfeeding is going well, but he demands food every 2 hours-ish - right through the night. That means that by the time he's fed and settled again I'm getting a maximum of around a one hour stretch of sleep ever. I'm getting more and more exhausted as time goes on, and the doctor has suggested expressing.
The problem is I don't know where to begin. I'm intimidated by the idea.
- does expressed milk need to be kept in the fridge right up until it's used? - does it need warming?
- what do I need to buy to get started?
- when to express?
For me, expressing meant more effort and stress.
Are you co-sleeping? Let the housework slide and just look after yourself and your little one. Although it doesn't feel like it, this will pass very quickly. There is also a growth spurt at 6 weeks.
It's so tough at the beginning, but your baby sounds very normal and like he knows what he's doing.
Is there anyone else who can help?
However, kellymom has loads of information on expressing. I am also not sure when you will be able to express whilst he is feeding so frequently?
Also sounds like you are doing fab. Frequent feeding now is normal and good for ensuring adequate supply.
Sorry but I think your doctor is a bit off the mark!
Every 2 hrs sounds pretty much like what my DD did at that age. Although she did give me slightly longer breaks through the night.
I never managed to find time to express until she was reliably going to bed at a reasonable time in the evening - then I started expressing in front of the TV after dinner. She was about 5 months old I think. Prior to that, I have no idea how I would have fit in an expressing session and it was always easier just to feed her directly... They do say that the best time to pump is in the morning, after baby's first-thing feed, as milk production is highest in the small hours, gradually decreasing throughout the day.
But, in answer to your questions
- Expressed milk can keep out of the fridge for an hour or so, but best to fridge it straight away until you use it. Kellymom website has more precise info on how long you can keep it out/ in fridge/ in freezer for.
- You don't have to warm it, but many babies prefer it warm (i.e body temp or so). Do do that, put it in a bottle/ cup and put the bottle/ cup in a bowl of warm water. Don't heat bm in a microwave
- You probably need a pump (depending on how often you are going to pump should dictate what type you get - manual pumps are cheap, but can be hard work to use. If buying an electric pump, consider spending a bit more for a 'closed system' one (eg. Ardo Calypso) as these are more hygienic and you can sell it on with a clear conscience when your'e finished with it. Some women get on with hand-expressing - you can look up exactly how to do that online, I think.
Thank you for the replies.
My mum has said not to bother as it's too much work, but my sister made a good point. I have to go back to work when he's about 6 months old so it might be good to establish taking a bottle before then. I'm going to give expressing a go this week, and if it doesn't work and I'm still getting no sleep at night might try one formula feed last thing...
So can anyone give me a list of what I need to buy to get started? I have a hand pump but that's it. I guess I need a couple of bottles, but I can just sterilise them in a pan of water can't I?
I exclusively expressed for 9months and mixed fed for 3. It is possible. PM your email address and I'll pass on some useful info. There is a small community of ee'ers out there! Good luck
EBM can be kept out of the fridge for hours before use. It's actually magical
See here: kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/milkstorage/milkstorage/
Honestly, I don't think expressing will get you any more rest, unless you express one feed for DH to give baby in the evening so you can get a head start in bed. Lots of families do this (either with EBM or formula). Lots of families also exclusively express or mix feed, but to me it seems like the worst of both worlds, and I've done both.
The ISIS sleep study has some interesting data on what normal sleep looks like for babies: www.isisonline.org.uk
I agree with PP re possible growth spurt, letting the chores slide etc. I felt like a turned a corner at about 6 weeks. I just work up one day and everything made a bit more sense and some of the chaos had subsided.
You're doing fabulously....keep going
Really, thanks for the very helpful replies. So good to get the info
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