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How much to express

(8 Posts)
ARV1981 Thu 03-Dec-15 21:20:39

I really don't know how much breast milk I need to express.

It's not a usual situation.

My sister is pg with twins, 30 weeks today. Her waters broke last night, but so far the babies are staying put. The hospital are doing everything possible to keep them inside her for as long as possible.

I have an 11 week old baby, and had already suggested to my dsis that I express some for her (I found breastfeeding really hard at first, and though she successfully bf my nephew, I know she is daunted by feeding twins, so I want to help take the pressure off her). She initially said "no, we'll be fine", but as the twins will be premature (the best-case-scenario is that they will arrive at 35 weeks), the nicu drs have said my milk will be very helpful to them.

I've managed to express off some for her today, but I don't really know how much they'll need. I am obviously prioritising my son in all this.

Am I right in thinking that the more I express, the more I'll produce, and effectively there'll be enough for everyone?

Also how long will the milk keep in the freezer?

villainousbroodmare Thu 03-Dec-15 21:29:41

I'd say any is better than none, and it will safely stay frozen for 6-12 months, apparently. I suppose you should pump after DS has fed; that's what I do to build up freezer stores. If I'm diligent, I get 150ml a day or more. I don't know that you'll necessarily manage to produce enough to single-handedly double-boobedly feed three infants but it'll go some way towards it, maybe with DSis and maybe also some ff depending on how things go. You'd better freeze it in very small quantities though; 50ml per freezer bag would be my guess.
I'm just guessing but that seems to make sense to me.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 03-Dec-15 21:31:39

I think that's a wonderful thing to do and to answer your question, they won't need very much at all. My twins were born at 27 weeks and 6 days - my DS couldn't even tolerate 1 ml an hour, it was 1 ml every 2 hours. I appreciate they'll be older than that but you're talking 10s of ml rather than 100s.

On a tangent, I'm quite surprised the Dr's are suggesting this. I was told that the colostrum was very important and even if that is all she can express until her milk comes in, it'll still be worthwhile.

Just one other point. Your sister may not feel like this but from my own experience and other people who've had premature babies, there can be feelings of inadequacy / guilt / that you've somehow let your babies down because you couldn't get to term. If you then amplify that by having to have your sister express milk for them, it might make her feel even worse. You are obviously just doing whatever you can to help, and that's lovely, just tread carefully because it's a really difficult time. Good luck to you both xx

ARV1981 Thu 03-Dec-15 22:43:55

Villainous - thank you for the tip to store it in smaller bags. I hadn't thought of this - it makes perfect sense!!

Namechanged - you're absolutely right - colostrum is the best thing for them. The idea is to top up with my milk, not to replace hers. I'm sorry you felt inadequate/guilty about your premature babies, it must be really difficult to go through. I'm sure you know this, but it's nobodies fault when this happens, it just happens. I've spoken to my sister about how she's feeling and she's just pleased that her babies will definitely get some breast milk.

I'm doing this to help ease the pressure. I found establishing bfing very very hard and almost gave up plenty of times. I just want to do what I can. And in my family, we show love by feeding people!!! grin

TitusAndromedon Fri 04-Dec-15 00:02:28

Just to give you a sense of volumes, my twins were born at 37 weeks and they are two weeks old now. They still only have about 50ml per three hourly feed. Sometimes, particularly in the evenings, they want more, but I would freeze the milk in 20ml or 30ml servings because it is very unlikely they will cope with much more than that very quickly. Hope they stay put and are healthy and well.

icclemunchy Fri 04-Dec-15 00:13:24

Expressing for a friends baby ready for her to have a hospital stay early next year. Her baby is older but my method may help.

I express around an hour after i feed my DD (she's 10monhs so has her own little routine now) as many feeds as I can and whatever I get goes in the back of the fridge. It can be anything between one oz or three depending on the time of day/ how much DD has fed. Then at the end of the day I decant that day's milk into bags 2oz in each and freeze.

DD was a NICU baby and it's hard work, it's a very lovely thing you're offering for your sis. DD had donor milk which was fan but it would of been amazing for me to be able to give her milk from someone related to me

namechangedtoday15 Fri 04-Dec-15 00:17:44

Love your quip about showing love by feeding people smile

eeyore2 Fri 04-Dec-15 04:10:28

My NICU baby was probably similar in size to the likely weight of your sister's baby. For the first couple of days she had donor breast milk supplemented by hand expressed colostrum (mine). Once my milk came in we switched to my expressed milk only. The amounts for the first couple of days are teeny tiny so yes only freeze in amounts of 30 - 50 mls and they will use that for a day's feed. I agree that it would have been lovely to have had a known donor rather than an anonymous one. If you want to put some milk aside for later on it may help to know that by the time we left hospital she was having around 35-40 mls 3 hourly so again you only need a little bit in each freezer bag. Good luck to her

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