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Expressing help? Can't get anything out!(16 Posts)
Hi - long story short I'm trying to express milk for DD who is 7 months now. She will not will not take a bottle or a cup so I've not really expressed on a regular basis since she was about 12 weeks when I stopped as it was all going down the plug hole. Anyway she still doesn't take a bottle or cup (in spite of lots of trying and advice and hand holding on here and IRL) but I wanted to express a supply that I can use to cook her food with / add to her food for when she goes to nursery so she's at least getting some milk in during the day...probably won't help with hydration levels but just general nutrition? Anyway I've been trying to express daily for past two weeks and can get almost zilch, like not even half an ounce each try. Am trying in the mornings. It just won't work! Am using Tommy tippee electric pump which worked before and reluctant to spend £££ on different pump unless it'll definitely work . I'm sure I have enough milk as DD gets no other fluids (we offer!) and is grand.
Argh. Sorry so long. Not a long story bloody short at all . I'm a bit frazzled over the whole thing tbh. Anyway basically has anyone managed to be able to build up their expressing amount and how did you do it?
I had to express from birth so can't help too much but I think
If you set aside a particular time to express in the day, think of it as an extra feed. You won't get anything for a few days but eventually your body will realise that you need the extra milk as its created eventually when it's demanded. I think it comes eventually. I think this is where I went wrong expressing the first time, I couldn't get much out so assumed there was none there it you have to be consistent about it each day. Good luck
I didn't get on with the electric pump but the manual one was ace. Have you tried looking at photos or videos of LO to get you going? I found I had a good let down when I watched a short video I'd taken of LO breastfeeding.
I tried expressing with a particular pump and got next to nothing. Tried a more expensive one and it's great. I don't think pumps are "one-size-fits-all". Could you rent one to see whether it makes a difference? We can rent from a pharmacy where I live.
Also, the advice above re: persistence
Can you hand express?
Does the pump have a removable comfort cushion in the part that goes on the breast ? If so try it without that or try a different size. Also a small amount of repositioning on the breast can make a difference
The tommee tipper ones crap imo- have you and tried a manual ? If it's just occasional use you would be fine with a manual - I've used medela pumps ,( 2 manual pumps at the same time up to 2 months then I bought a medela freestyle) try expressing after you've fed in morning and maybe have a hot shower or bath before doing it. It may relax you about it too!
I'm another one who doesn't find expressing easy.
I second the comments about the pump, I couldn't get that one to work for me either. Ended up with a top of the range medela one which was much better- it uses different rhythms to mimic latching and then feeding phases and feels much more realistic.
I was surprised at how much of an emotional/hormonal thing feeding is- found it helped to:
Be somewhere relaxing and comfortable
Be thinking of the baby, looking at photos, listening to songs I sing with her a lot, even smells that reminded me of her.
It's also not worth putting too much pressure on yourself- it's OK to cook with cows milk for infants which will give them some of the nutrients from milk. Some of the components of breastmilk get destroyed under heat so cooking with it will loose some of the benefits anyway. And final one- once your supply is established and you've been feeding for a while you can keep just one or two feeds a day going almost indefinitely, so baby could get her milk fix before and after work and she starts and nursery. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't put too much pressure on yourself, baby can still benefit even if expressing didn't really work for you.
Also once my DD was away from me whilst I was at work ( with my mum or at nursery) she would happily drink formula or when she 12months old cows milk from a cup or a bottle. She had one or two bfs before I went to work in the morning and then an evening and bedtime feed. My supply was fine. I never managed to express any decent amount (tried all sorts of pumps) think the stress of knowing it might be poured down the sink makes it worse. Just think of formula or cows milk as one of the foods an older baby has as part of a mixed diet and be happy she is still getting the benefits of breastfeeding too.
Agree, if you are stressing about it, then your let down won't be good. Are your mornings busy? Is there another time you could sit and relax, as the others have said, look at photos of her etc, but do something you enjoy - watch a good film or relaxing trashy TV, with nice food.
If you don't manage it, she's had the best start.
I also agree about maybe trying a different pump. I had an electric avent one and was getting very little 1oz max at times. It went kaput last night so I bought a Lansinoh manual one today and have been getting 5Oz per breast so definitely worth a try.
My health visitor also told me evenings are the best time to pump not mornings, something to do with hormone levels, not sure how accurate that is.
Hey all - sorry, just getting to read replies now, thanks so much. Have an avent manual pump but it doesn't work at all at all so don't think that's the answer unfortunately. Haven't tried the pump without cushion though so will do that (sounds ouch...?!).
Thanks for supportive comments generally, I am majorly stressing mostly due to bottle refusal and know it isn't helpful. Hopefully she just moves on with drinking water / formula in next month...
Try having a massive bowl of porridge an hour or two before you pump. If you don't like porridge plain then you can mix the oats with yogurt and fruit etc
I found it really boosted my supply and enabled me to express more. There is some evidence for this, it's not just an old wives tale
Also try not to worry too much. My ds went to nursery at 9 months still refusing bottles of ebm or formula. He made up for it with food consumption and continued to bf at other times and continued to do so until he was almost two. He did quite happily take to cows milk at about a year though.
I had similar problems at 16 weeks when I got back to work and just decided to give formula.
At 7 months, with weaning, I'd just offer the breast more often at home and weekends.
Having said that, expressing worked best for me in a hot shower with hand expressing. But not so great trying to get it into a cup.
I found that the older DS got the less easy it was to express - sorry!
Hand expressing until you get letdown can help, and then switching to the pump. Also, try to express when you're "due" a feed though that isn't really how it works at 7 months.
Can you record her crying and play it back when you want to express? Or look at her sleeping while you express. Or look back at pictures/videos of when she was newborn and try to get into that mindset.
Warmth can help too. A warm flannel on the breast or even getting into a hot bath to express (just be careful not to drop the pump in the water!) can help stimulate milk flow.
Try not to worry too much. It's not essential that you have breast milk to cook with. I was giving mine cow's milk in food at 7 months. You may find that at nursery your dd will take a cup, especially if a lot of the others are and you're not there.
Sometimes if they can see (and smell!) Mum they will refuse any other drink but breast.
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