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Has anyone exclusively expressed?

(29 Posts)
SASASI Sun 31-Aug-14 09:52:43

Really struggling to breastfeed. He had really bad tongue tie which was snipped (twice) at 10days. From birth I expressed & he got it in a cup then a bottle. I have tried it breastfeed since & he best latches with a nipple shield but it's stressful. He us very agitated, screaming etc every time I try to get him to latch & it's breaking my heart. He falls asleep after a minute or two & that's a constant pattern. He ended up badly jaundiced last week due to lack of fluids.

Breastfeeding just isn't working out, im constantly worrying that a) he's not getting enough so b) I end up expressing so I don't get blocked ducts & so there will be milk ready for him in the way he will take it

I have had help with breastfeeding & they can get him latched on & it seems ok but when it's just me it seems impossible - my boobs are huge & I can't even see what he is doing! When he screams the house down its just so upsetting. Doesn't help there's a constant influx of visitors which is stressing me out too.

So I'm considering purchasing a double breast pump & exclusively expressing as long as I can - whilst breastfeeding would be ideal I'm but going to make my son ill over it or stress myself out any further, I feel like I am not enjoying these previous days as I'm constantly worried about his next feed.
Has anyone done this successfully? Any hints or tips??

SASASI Sun 31-Aug-14 09:53:42

Excuse typos! Carpal tunnel!

time2deal Sun 31-Aug-14 13:34:46

I'm expressing only as my baby is in NICU. They say if you are doing it then hire a proper hospital strength pump as others aren't really designed for full time expressing.

We hired the medela symphony and I can express both boobs together in about 15 mins. The only issue to getting myself up to do it as I don't have the baby to remind me, so i have to uae alarms through the night.

We pay £45 a month, with an initial extra cost for funnels and things that you keep. I think its discounted for NICU babies, so not sure the real cost.

eurochick Sun 31-Aug-14 13:46:11

I've been exclusively expressing for 6 weeks. Like time, my baby was premature and couldn't latch on to begin with. Now she can but won't take a full feed and clearly prefers a bottle. I hired a hospital grade pump from Ardo, on my mw's recommendation. The baby is gaining weight brilliantly, so I am sticking with it for now.

The worst thing is the time consuming nature of separating output and input! Between feeding her, expressing, and sterilising bottles and pumping equipment, it's pretty much a full time job. It should get easier as she gets bigger and can go for longer between feeds.

Babetti Tue 02-Sep-14 17:54:27

It's not easy but it's possible! I exclusively expressed for the first two months, topped up with one bottle of formula for the last feed of the day during the third month and am now slowly changing to formula - one bottle or so a week.

Like a crazy person I used the Medela Swing for the first month while I was trying to establish breastfeeding. After a month, it just wasn't happening so hired the Medela Symphony for the next two months. This cut expressing time from 40 min to 15 min a session (4 hrs a day to 1.5hrs) which made life easier! I'm back to the Medela Swing now as I'm expressing just twice a day for 20 min each session. He's on three formula and two ebm bottles at the moment.

I left the sterilising to my DH and it did mean he could give the 11pm bottle which was great. It's not easy - it takes the time of breastfeeding without actually being able to cuddle up to your baby and feed him and the expense and time of formula with hiring the machine and doing all the sterilising - but I would do it again! I felt like I was giving him the best start I could despite breastfeeding not working for us.

BadPenny Tue 02-Sep-14 20:13:18

I know someone who expressed exclusively for over a year - her top tips were to get a pumping bra, and she bought two Medela Swing pumps on special offer rather than a double, because she thought it had better reviews than the doubles.

I was pretty bad at pumping, but at one point I hired a Symphony (was trying unsuccessfully to up my supply by pumping after each feed) - it packed in after a month or so and the replacement pump was so much better - made me wonder how often these hire pumps get serviced. Probably only when they pack in.

Another tip - US sites have a lot of info on pumping because of the lack of maternity leave - best of luck!

Swex Tue 02-Sep-14 20:18:47

Hi. I absolutely feel for you. Bf can be difficult. I agree with first reply (2 nicu babies here) get a double pump medela symphony on hire - it's marvellous. I exclusively expressed for five months with first and managed to swap expressing for bf after 2 months with second. Good luck

HumpheadWrasse Tue 02-Sep-14 20:27:05

I expressed for 6 months, it is possible with a good electric pump. I'm not sure what type I had, it was provided by the hospital but it was a big blue box thing.

It wasn't easy though, as eurochick says it's difficult fitting in feeding and pumping. Combined with a baby that hardly seemed to sleep it was a pretty awful time, looking back. With the benefit of hindsight, if I was in that situation again I'd probably switch to formula and use the extra time for cuddles and catching up on some sleep, but it's difficult to think like that when you're knackered and stressed and sold on the benefits of breastfeeding. Try not to overthink it and don't beat yourself up whatever route you end up taking.

Lollipop11 Tue 02-Sep-14 20:33:05

Hello! I am exclusively expressing - purely because once baby is hungry she goes wild and won't consider feeding from the breast as she wants it there and then- four days in hospital with loads of midwives trying to establish breastfeeding- in the end they advised expressing. I've got the mothercare innosense pump and I find it really good, i express every three hours and I'm just about keeping up with demand! It would be nice to have some spare mind! Baby gained a pound in two weeks so it seems to be working! It's a faff having to pump and sterilise but you get used to holding baby with one hand and pumping with the other smile

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 02-Sep-14 20:44:05

Similar story to you but without the tongue tie. Loads of weight loss (not me unfortunately), jaundice, phototherapy etc.
I expressed every feed for 8 weeks using a Medala swing. It was knackering as was also trying to get DD to latch at every other feed. I'd give heron more than ten mins then topped her up with bm in a bottle before she dozed off.

In order to get a break I supplemented with 90ml formula twice a day. By 12 weeks she'd moved over to ebf. Hitting 10lbs was a big turning point.


tinkerbellvspredator Tue 02-Sep-14 20:47:42

I managed 2 months and mixed for 1 month it was very very difficult. I couldn't get much milk so pumping for an hour with double pump for example and still only just having enough, it would have been much easier if I had a better supply.

Ilikesweetpeas Tue 02-Sep-14 20:52:15

Hi, I did this for 7 months, it's hard work but definitely possible despite my HV assuring me it couldn't be done! Make sure you keep very well hydrated and pump as often as possible, especially early on. Good luck!

Andcake Tue 02-Sep-14 20:53:36

I expressed for 6 months but was mix feeding from 4 months. Hard going but I suppose is better than the not bf guilt but then it is the worst of both worlds. Sneered at in public for bottle feeding etc. I tried electric pumps but found I was quicker and got more with a hand pump ( yes I know) and could get other things done. You need a supportive DP - mine would feed ds bm from bottle whilst I pumped at night.
Even a little bm is good. I did if because ds refused to bf and lost loads of weight - feel asleep at the breast etc

SASASI Wed 03-Sep-14 11:32:18

Thank you all so much for replying.
I wonder if I am giving up breast feeding too quickly?? I know it can take time to establish but he's been doing so well, weight wise, dirty wet nappies etc I don't want to set him back.
I'm having a confidence crisis whatever way I turn!
Thanks ladies

CelticPromise Wed 03-Sep-14 11:43:21

Sure it can be done as others have said. If you want to continue to try bf keep going to groups if you can- sometimes a bit of 'boob boot camp' can be very helpful. smile Also don't feel that whatever you decide there is no going back- a peer supporter I know was supporting a Mum to exclusively express but she kept trying latch from time to time and baby latched on in the bath aged 5 months! Not saying you should persevere that long if you don't want to, just saying what's possible. Also look up bottle nursing to continue bf benefits like closeness, eye contact, skin to skin etc.

I wish you all the best. I am a NICU Mum so I have exclusively expressed for a while.

eurochick Wed 03-Sep-14 21:43:49

To add to what I said upthread, I have recently had some success getting her on the boob with nipple shields. I guess they provide a fairly similar mouth sensation to bottles so she can get to grips with them. We tend to do main feeds with expressed milk but top up snacks or one feed a day using the shields to get her used to them. Maybe one day she will move from the shields to latching on. We will see!

Andcake Wed 03-Sep-14 22:33:02

Keep trying to get her back on the boob whilst expressing. I had some success but then mastitis got me hmm but I had a friend who transferred over. I also got a random repulsion of bf where watching ds ( or any other baby )do it made me want to puke but I would still try. Breast shells were also a savour as would collect from other spouting boob whilst I fed or expressed. I think expressing gave me an over supply and ds had bm for a month after I stopped expressing from the freezer.

Tipsykisses Wed 03-Sep-14 22:53:58

How old is your Ds ?

If you really want to keep breast feeding then I would put a ban on all visitors for the next few days , take yourself & Ds to bed ,keep your fluids high and let your Dp fetch you food and drinks whilst you continue latching & finding a position that your ds is happy with .

I'd speak to midwife also to make sure your ds is continuing to gain weight & if the few days of concentrating on breast feeding doesn't work then Of course it's possible to express full time as pp have explained.

Some babies take to the breast instantly others don't & need time , my eldest dd had a cleft palate & we struggled a lot but we got there .

I would offer your Ds the breast when he's awake & happy before he gets to the stage that he's starving and panicking if that makes sense .

Good luck thanks
It's not easy x

SASASI Thu 04-Sep-14 08:24:46

He is 19 days...he goes on better with a nipple shield this past wk but rarely takes enough for a full feed so still ends up with an expressed top up. So stressful trying to do both!
OH won't let me ban visitors but I might just start taking the baby up the stairs. OH is back to work next wk so I plan on having a couple of days in bed next wk with him.
Thanks again everyone , hopefully next wk there will be improvements!

CelticPromise Thu 04-Sep-14 09:42:40

What makes you think he hasn't taken enough? When I am supporting mums to drop top ups we often talk about dropping one at a time when you feel more full and feeding goes better. Often this is first thing in the morning. After offering both sides don't top up, just wait and see when baby wants more. You could try this if you wanted to, just dropping one top up to start with.

Does OH understand what's going on with feeding? He doesn't sound that supportive. Visitors are a pita when baby is so young.

KateTheShrew Thu 04-Sep-14 11:59:19

I had a v similar experience to TreadSoftly. Expressed for 8 weeks when baby was losing weight due to unexplained inefficient feeding (had numerous hospital appointments and tests, but no definitive answer). At 11 weeks I managed to get him back to bf. I found the constant expressing, feeding, sterilizing at the same time as trying to get DS back to the breast very stressful and depressing and while it worked out for us in the end, if he hadn't got the hang of bf after those 8 weeks I would have switched to ff rather than keep expressing. So do keep trying to get you baby back to the breast if that's what you want to do, but don't feel you have to keep expressing if it's getting too hard.

Also, if you are going to try to get him back to bf getting support from your HV or midwife as PPs have suggested is a really good idea. My HV was a huge help and came out to weigh DS regularly while we were transitioning from expressing to direct bf. This gave me the confidence to stop expressing as I could see he was gaining weight and so was definitely getting enough. If I'd been going it alone I probably would have been too worried as we had so many scares with his weight in the early days. Good luck whatever you decide smile

Teladi Thu 04-Sep-14 12:30:04

I exclusively expressed for 5 months with my DD. She never latched, after a traumatic birth, and I found the whole trying to bf thing so stressful that I just decided to stop trying quite early on, but I still wanted her to have the benefits of breastmilk. It was an enormous faff and I wish that I had been able to chill out enough to keep trying to get her latched. Unfortunately I found becoming a mum such an enormous shock (perhaps not the right word - obviously I knew I was having a baby!), that I just had to kind of let some things go. If you are not wound as tightly as I was, I would recommend you keep trying to get your baby to take it from the source!

Second the recommendations for a pumping bra and a good double pump (I knew I was going to express so on day 3 bought an Ameda Lactaline). It'll help build your supply in between bfing attempts. Drink drink drink, and get some box sets on the go, I'm not sure if this is scientific but when I was feeling relaxed and OK (not very often in the beginning) the output from my pump was much better!

KateTheShrew Thu 04-Sep-14 13:28:51

Yy to pumping bra, but it doesn't have to be an expensive one: an old sports bra with holes cut in it will do the trick. Not v glamorous, but then none of it is grin

SASASI Thu 04-Sep-14 19:06:40

He latches on for 20mins one side, then 10/15mins the other, falls asleep & when put in Moses basket screams blue murder! I though he was well sleeping after a feed earlier but 10mins after woke up while I was in the shower & took 3 1/2 oz of expressed!!
I'm really going to preservere, I'm feeling a bit stronger physically this wk after c-section so hopefully we turn some more corners soon.
Visitors are such a pain in the ass, although mean well. I just don't have the confidence to try & feed Infront of anyone other than OH & my parents.
MIL clearly thinks I am torturing baby when he's squealing & I'm trying to latch him on. Grr.

CelticPromise Thu 04-Sep-14 21:43:45

When he is latched you could try breast compressions to encourage him to keep feeding. It's not unusual for babies to do as you describe though, wake up after a short time and feed again. You could try putting him back on the breast, back to first side and then second again, if you want to. You always have milk. Lots of babies wake when put down too, regardless of how they are fed. You could try a sling if you like.

There is a goodarticle called the Babes Guide to Bottle Feeding on the Best for Babes website (think it is an Aus one). It is interesting on the mechanics of bottle feeding and why babies might take a lot from a bottle.

Hope it gets easier soon. Are there any bf groups you can attend?

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