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Let-down when expressing

(18 Posts)
Tissy Tue 23-Apr-02 15:00:24

A friend of mine, due to go back to work soon, is having great problems expressing milk- she has an Avent hand pump. She says that she can only ever get an ounce out after a lot of trying, and has started giving her baby a bottle of formula at lunchtime in readiness for going back to work. She says that she doesn't ever feel her let- down even when the baby is suckling, and I think that she is only getting fore-milk out with the pump. I've suggested all the usual things such as feeding the baby on the other side at the same time, and trying in the bath, but so far no luck- any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Azzie Tue 23-Apr-02 15:24:59

Tissy, has your friend tried other pumps? I ask because I had no success whatsoever with the Avent pump, or a Boots version, but expressed very successfully with a Medela electric pump that I got mail order on the recommendation of my NCT antenatal teacher. Changing pumps made a big difference to me.

jasper Tue 23-Apr-02 15:55:59

Tissy, I too had the same problem . ( Still do) NO sensation of let down. COuld not express a drop with hand pump and it was sore too.

Hand expressing was much better, as was medela mini electric pump.

Tissy Tue 23-Apr-02 18:10:27

Thanks for the replies- I've given her the numbers of the Medela and Ameda rental people, and hope she has a go with an electric pump.

florenceuk Wed 24-Apr-02 09:26:21

I had the same problem with the Avent pump - I found gently massaging and stroking my breast beforehand until letdown occurred (when drops of milk appeared on the nipple) very helpful. Here's a link:

The massage technique is at the bottom.

LKM Wed 24-Apr-02 12:59:20

I have found the Ameda electric pump (40 pounds to hire for 30 days then 20 pounds per month) good. The ability to pump from both breasts simultaneously means no loss from the other breast through leakage while doing the first one. I can get close to 8oz a session (15-20 mins) by this method.

maras Wed 24-Apr-02 13:30:11

I've posted on another thread about this a few months ago. But briefly - I returned to part time work when both mine were v young and sucessfully bf/pumped so they never had to have formula. I used the Meleda mini electric (about£40). It's battery or mains, but works much better on the mains (-but still fine for expressing when you have to on battery power). Best way I found (when stocking up at home) - was to feed my baby on one side and express at the same time on the other. Instant let down triggered by the baby and it saves so much time. Bit tricky to start with, dp had to lend a hand before I got the hang of balancing everything, but brilliant once you've worked out the logistics. I remember with ds (my first) spending every spare minute while he napped at the kitchen table only ever getting one or two onces - hopeless! Then with no 2 - I suddenly thought of doing both at once. Hope this helps!

bundle Wed 24-Apr-02 13:31:37

I had great success with the Avent handpump when I went back to work when dd 6 and a half months. I used to look at photos of her when I was expressing....and whoosh! a minimum of 7oz.

Tillysmummy Wed 24-Apr-02 14:02:07

Another tip is to have baby on one boob whilst expressing from the other. Works a treat although you feel a bit like a cow !!

Avent pump worked well for me too.

Barca Wed 24-Apr-02 17:47:13

That pump didn't work for me either - in fact I think she's doing well as I couldn't get a drop out!

Look for the Lindam electric breast pump (Boots and Babies R Us stock it) - its yellow. Noisy but really effective.

jenny2998 Wed 24-Apr-02 21:22:14

I'm a little bit of an expert on this (even if I do say so myself!!!)I expressed milk for 10 months for my little boy who was born with a cleft lip and palate and couldn't breast-feed properly. I started with hand-pumps which were virtually useless, then I moved on to an electric pump, leant to me by the midwife - I'm not sure if it would be available at this stage or if it's just for newborns...might be worth asking??? Finally I gave up with the pump and started expressing by hand - this worked for me for several months - I actually found it worked better than any of the pumps...and is cheaper/more portable etc.

Lilia Wed 24-Apr-02 21:44:15


I had the same problem, but I just try to express in the morning when my brests are really full.

Cityfreak Thu 25-Apr-02 09:48:29

I learnt how to express with the Avent handpump, but when I hired an electric pump, it was a disaster and I gave it back after 3 days. It was just too scary and dairy-like for me. I had a masterplan to freeze vast quantities before returning to work, and keep him fully breastfed after I went back to work. I never was able to express enough milk for that, but I still think it was very worthwhile expressing as much as possible (usually 4 oz) at lunchtimes, because it made me more comfortable and it helped to maintain my milk supply when I was away from my baby all day long. I hope your friend will carry on breastfeeding even if it means moving on to more mixed feeding. It was always the best moment of my day when I got home from work exhausted and nursed my baby.

Cairistiona Sun 28-Apr-02 12:04:59

My baby would/could not breast feed until 10 weeks so I expressed but had to use some formula too. I found expressing less frequently was better for me - 3 times a day, say. It's easiest when your boobs are full in the morning and also easier to keep going once you get the flow started.

I tried in the bath but didn't find that worked for me - but you could give it a shot. Just sitting somewhere quiet (and tidy) with no distractions - I liked the rocking chair best.

I used the Avent hand pump which worked fine for me, but my nipples got pretty sore at times. sometimes it took a long time to get started but you just have to try not to get stressed about it - easier said than done - because that makes it harder.

motherinferior Sat 06-Sep-03 13:45:47

I'd like to update this thread - any further suggestions? When I breastfeed, the let-down is unmistakable (and can be really quite painful); when I express, I get milk but don't get nearly the same thing, which I know is pretty standard. B/fing while expressing works well - or would be if I could sort out the logistics a bit better; but I need to be able to express when the baby isn't actually there.

Hot flannels?

Pictures of the baby?

Glass of wine (perhaps not feasible during the morning teabreak)?


Karen99 Sat 06-Sep-03 14:00:15

Tissy, let your friend know that I have NEVER felt a let down since the first three days of BF (when milk came in), but have a very plentiful supply. My DS is 11weeks and we bought an Ameda mini pump for about £80 (worth the investment since this is baby #1 and I'm hoping to repeat for baby #2 when the time comes!). As with the other ladies I do find expressing in the morning the best, especially after putting a hot flanel on the breast. Also if she is giving a bottle feed of expressed milk in place of a BF, ie. DH is giving the bottle, she can express to make sure engorgement doesn't happen.

aloha Sat 06-Sep-03 14:28:14

MiF I never, ever felt a letdown when b/f. But when I expressed having not breastfed there was loads. Personally I think it's unrealistic to feed AND expect loads when expressing (though do doubt others will have a different experience). I'd get a lot in one go if I fed at, say 6.30am, then went to work (perhaps with a little top up for baby before he went to childminders at 8.30, then didn't express until 1.30- 2pm (after lunch) - got plenty - 7-8oz or more. Then fed baby again at around 6.30 when I got home and then again before bed at 8.30ish. That way he still got five feeds at least with only one expressing and the amount expressed was usually split into two bottles - maybe 5oz and 2/3oz.

Pimpernel Sat 06-Sep-03 16:10:22

motherinferior, I found that reading a gossip mag helped my let-down at work. I think it just helped not to be concentrating on the milk coming out - the milk came out much more readily when I wasn't willing it out. Had to be a gossip mag though - woodworking mags just didn't have the same effect!

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