Am I doing the right thing re expressing?!(12 Posts)
Hi I need a bit of advice regarding combining breastfeeding and expressing. My dd is a week old and we've had a bit of trouble feeding. She had real trouble latching and we had to resort to using nipple shields. My nipples are so sore that I'm not able to wean her off them ( she has taken the nipple a few times but if she's a bit grumpy it's not happening). She lost a bit too much weight in her first few days and the mw put her on a strict feeding plan where I was expressing after every feed ( every two hours or less) and whilst I was doing so my partner gave her the previous ebm. She put on almost double the weight she ' had to' and now we're cutting down to ebm as a top up after every other feed ( she feeds from 10 minutes to over an hour. I have been able to express between 30ml - 90 ml after feeds and at night my partner has been giving her a bottle of ebm on its own so I can have a rest. The mw seemed to want me to cut out the use of shields and expressing a lot early on but even though I enjoy feeding her I have really sore nipples so a lot of the feeds are quite painful. She seems to switch quite happily between the bottle of ebm and the nipple and she's doing lots of wees and poos so I don't see why I can't carry on using shields and topping up a couple of times a day with ebm. We've been doing everything we've been told but I'm starting to feel a bit like I want to have control over my boobs and how they're used! My main priority is that my dd is healthy and a second is my own well being I don't mind if that's achieved with ebm and nipple shields.Feeling stressed about not doing 'it right' isn't how I want to be spending this time. Does what I'm doing sound ok?
Congratulations, and it sounds like you're doing a great job!
Personally, I think that if you've got sore nips and the shields are helping you to continue BFing, then stick with them for now - maybe give it a go without say once a day, just so you can see how you're faring?
Lansinoh is your friend - get a tube and put some on before and after feeding (you only need a bit, a little goes a long way!), it will help with the soreness.
In general, sore nips usually mean that the latch isn't quite right -
With a newborn, they are so small that a little adjustment can go a long way. Try to make sure that you're starting off nose to nipple, then waiting for that moment when she tips her head back and opens wide to bring her on. It can be tricky, but you'll get there!
Good luck, it's sounds like you're doing great!
My DD had some feeding difficulties due to low birth weight and we had to use nipple shields. We used them for about 6 weeks in total. Each feed I would try without them. If she latched, great, if not, i used the shield. Within about 3 weeks we were only using them maybe 1 in 4 feeds. Expressing is good because it reduces your risk of mastitis (with the shields the breast isn't totally drained). I think you should keep going until your nipples heal. Then try without them but there's no harm in using them while you still need to!
I agree with zippy, sounds like you're doing great.
Sounds similar to the beginning of my breastfeeding journey so huge congratulations on sticking out feeding & expressing, I know how draining & time consuming it is!
I agree, pain generally means latch isn't right. Has the midwife observed a feed to see if she can spit anything? Are there any breastfeeding support groups you can visit? Real life 'hands on' help could help massively.
I never had blockages mastitis etc & I think regularly expressing avoided all that so silver lining !
I got DS off nipple shields at 8 weeks - he was stronger with a bigger mouth which I believe helped massively. We are still going strong & he is 6 months. Nipple shields make feeds longer too & feeding is very tiring for wee babies so if you can I urge youto try & wean off the shields at some point. But either way you are breastfeeding which is great for you both!
Congratulations on your DD & health to enjoy.
Shields are perfectly fine if they help you to get over the first few weeks of breastfeeding and keep going. Midwives and lactation support staff hate shields and always will tell you to avoid using them but I did up until my DD was 10 weeks and they never affected my supply or anything.
The only thing I would say is that shoelds can disguise latch issues so if there are any latch issues now you may end up having to resolve them again further down the line when you want to feed shield-free. My view was though that feeding with shields is better than no breastfeeding at all!
This is great and reassuring advice! I really want to stick with breastfeeding so I think for the next week or so I'm going to ban visitors, have lots of skin to skin and just concentrate on feeding /I think the latch with the shields is ok but it can be painful as my nipples are already sore, I've been trying to wean her off the shields but it's quite difficult ( we did manage one successful feed without the shield this morning- I think I caught her at exactly the right time when she was hungry but not so hungry she was grumpy) but right now I think as long as she's getting breastmilk that's the most important thing.
It sounds like you're doing great to me - well done!
The only thing that concerns me about your post is you say your partner has been giving a bottle if ebm on its own to give you a break. The overnight feeds do absolute wonders for building and maintaining supply because your hormone levels are naturally high at night (early early morning), so skipping these feeds may reduce your supply. If it is bearable, it would be better to feed directly for overnight feeds and have the rest at another time of day.
A quick update - today we managed to do every feed without the shields- she seems much more content and the feeds take a lot less time. Also decided that the best thing about my dp giving her ebm at night was for me to breastfeed and then he tops it up with ebm so she's well fed and I can sneak to bed for a bit before the next feed. Thanks for all your encouraging messages I've found feeding really hard but when it goes well it feels so good!
I've always had very sore nipples for the first week or two - it's pretty normal (chunks falling off and whatnot) - mine usually settle after a couple of weeks. I've never bothered with shields but if she is having trouble latching then it's a good interim measure.
I had to express with dc3 (tube fed). I lasted six weeks expressing - after that I switched to formula - I found breastfeeding far easier once it was established. Expressing was exhausting, especially when real life resumed/ dh back at work etc.
Good luck - you are doing really well x
Fantastic update. Feeds are so much quicker arnt they!
And not to give you false hope but DS started sleeping through the night at roughly the same time, I think because he was much more satisfied.
OP my DD is 19 days old and I've just got a feeding cushion which helps massively with getting het into a good position and there give a good latch. Makes it much less sore.
But the godsend has been my local breastfeeding peer support group. Get along to your local one - they can observe your latch and offer real time support, which the MW can't always.
But sounds like you are doing great with her putting on so much weight.
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