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How do I stop expressing?

(13 Posts)
AntoinetteCosway Sat 23-Aug-14 07:57:32

DS is 10 days old and for various sad and frustrating reasons could not BF so I've been exclusive expressing. However, despite masses of help and support, three different pumps and every trick under the sun, I can't express enough without spending 12-16 hours a day on a machine. I would mix feed quite happily but it's the agony of taking so long to drain my breasts that I can't stand. All this goes to say that I've decided to stop and please don't be kind and ask if I'm sure or make suggestions about how to carry on because I'm past my wits end and have had so much active support and encouragement to no avail.

My breasts are constantly engorged, rock solid and lumpy. Should I just try and express for shorter periods of time for a few days? I don't want to prolong the agony but at the same time stopping outright seems like it would be torture. Obviously he's only 10 days old so I guess it's not well established but I've had a lot of milk since day 3-it's not the quantity that's been the problem, it's the sheer length of time it takes to feel comfortable and 'drained' if you see what I mean. I've spent 2 out of every 3 hours expressing or trying to.

RandomMess Sat 23-Aug-14 08:01:40

Just express little and often, just take enough off to reduce the engorgement so you're not in pain. It will take several days but your body will adjust and produce less and less and less.

I engorged very very badly with each baby so you have my empathies with just how painful it is! My babies slept long periods overnight and I used to have to express a little bit during the night to get rid of the pain it does settle down amazingly quickly.

Lastly - you do not have my permission to beat yourself up over needing to stop wink

AntoinetteCosway Sat 23-Aug-14 08:11:52

Thank you! So little and often-then increase times between expressing sessions? I spent an hour this morning getting half an ounce and still feel rock solid. Is it ok to wear those lansinoh heat patch things or will that make it worse? They do make me feel better but I don't want to encourage my body to make more milk.

RandomMess Sat 23-Aug-14 08:17:36

Is there still a national breastfeeding helpline - I think the NCT had one? I would call them with specific questions.

Massage the hard lumps etc to discourage mastitis, keep a close eye out for any red V sgins or similar.

Are you in pain or uncomfortable? I always found cool better than heat so I would ask about that. My understanding is that it's the amount demanded that creates the supply so as long as you are expressing less you will start producing less. A young baby probably would only demand a few ounces every couple of hours.

Aim to express as little as you cope with doing to not be in pain. I was in agony tbh.

AntoinetteCosway Sat 23-Aug-14 08:26:32

I'll give them a call-good idea. The whole thing has been agony from start to finish. I never imagined it could be so much more painful than labour!!

RandomMess Sat 23-Aug-14 08:30:07

Yeah that's one of the things no-one tells you about!

Weirdly it was only the Avent hand pump with the petal thing that ever got me to let down - breasts are strange things and once the engorgement stopped I couldn't express at all! With my last I expressed enough to donate a litre to the local bank and stock up for my baby in the freezer when I returned to work. She was the 3rd that I'd fed though so knew my body by then.

I had a nightmare feeding the first and even after tongue tie sorted blah de blah it was painful saw so many people. The next 2 it was a dream so just be open minded either way if you have another.

ColdCottage Sat 23-Aug-14 10:36:18

The Breast Feeding Network are wonderful. 0300 100 0212

However if it is just the time it takes my friend has managed to still pump for her DC who is 5 months by hiring a hospital grade pump. It is a double pump and takes her about 15-20 a go. Just FYI as I know you've decided to stop and everyone should do what is best for them. There is nothing wrong with this so like PP said don't be tough on yourself for this. Another friend pumped for 3 weeks and then went on to formula which these days is equally healthy.

Good luck with it, what ever you do, don't just stop. My friend didn't know any better and it was so painful. I think warm flannels and showers also help ease discomfort.

AntoinetteCosway Sat 23-Aug-14 11:00:42

The two hours is with a hospital grade double pump! I think my boobs just don't like machines...

My DD refused point blank to feed at all and I couldn't express a drop either so I keep telling myself that at least DS has had 10 days of breastmilk-it could gave been worse. And while I'm stopping he can carry on having whatever I manage to get out. Am doing 20 mins slots today and trying to ignore the pain between expressings.

Gooseysgirl Sat 23-Aug-14 11:05:53

thanks OP... I was you (and it happened twice, expressed for three weeks with both of my nipple refusing babies) I found that massaging my boobs helped and warm flannels, and I expressed less and less... It took a good few days and there was a bit of pain on the way but I took paracetamol which helped.

ColdCottage Sat 23-Aug-14 12:25:43

Oh poor you.

I have no luck expressing either, it takes me 40 mins to get 60ml so several days for just one feed if I want to leave DS for a few hours with my mum. I also didn't have much luck with the hospital pump - tried my friends.

You can take 2 paracetamol 4 times a day leaving a 4-6h gap. In between that you can take 2 ibuprofen up to 3 times a day with a 6h gap.

I am on a lot of drugs for back pain and am EBFing so have checked what I can take/been told by the doctor.

AntoinetteCosway Sat 23-Aug-14 12:58:18

Brilliant-I didn't know I could have ibuprofen too, thanks for that.

I am trying to look on the bright side: with formula DH and I will be able to share feeding and nights; I can play with DD without having to be hooked to a machine on the sofa; we can leave the house without having to get back to the pump every three hours.

I feel better for having decided. I'm waiting for the massive hormonal surge of guilt and misery though-I keep nearly bursting into tears at ridiculous things.

RandomMess Sat 23-Aug-14 13:25:27

You gave it a good go, that is a huge commitment you've given to get this for and yes 10 days of liquid gold - lots of colostrum filled bm, well done.

ColdCottage Sat 23-Aug-14 20:00:59

Another pro is don't warm up the formula. The baby won't know any difference. My friend who pumped for a month didn't and her baby was fine with it. Saves time and makes it easier while out.

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