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trying antenatal expressing - nothing coming out at all! Help!

(21 Posts)
parentsvsPIL Mon 24-Oct-16 06:40:34

Am 35+2, midwife has VERY strongly recommended starting antenatal expressing, as DS may be delivered on 36+6, and will be very big (estimated 3.5 kg / 7 lb 11 at 36+6; or 4.5 kg+/ 10 lb + if delivered at 39 weeks).

Have tried and tried, but absolutely nothing is coming out. I've been following the instructions here and have tried during/straight after warm shower.

Midwife is useless and just says "well some people just can't do it" or "well some people just don't try, really, because they just want to use formula because they think it's easier" and then goes on to talk at me about all the benefits of breastfeeding/ antenatal expressing, then says "but, well, it's not for everyone". She seems convinced that I don't want to breastfeed at all, because I said months ago that if BF didn't work out then I'd switch to formula. I was hardly saying I didn't want to breastfeed!

Mindtrope Mon 24-Oct-16 06:45:23

Change midwife. This is crap advice. Why is she suggesting this at all?

SleepForTheWeak Mon 24-Oct-16 06:50:45

Hi parents, your midwife doesn't sound very helpful. The mere fact you are trying to express colostrum at this stage shows you are keen to give your baby the best start.

The advice on that sheet sounds quite sound. Unfortunately it is just easier for some people to do. The more relaxed you are the more likely you'll have success (easier said than done I know!!).

The advice I was given was after the massage, make a C with your thumb and index finger and start about 2inches back from your nipple (or where you can feel the breast tissue change texture). Gently squeeze (but don't pull), it might take some time before you get anything at all. If you do, rotate your fingers when the colostrum stops flowing so you are stimulating all the milk ducts around your breast.

I didn't hand express colostrum before birth, but it was a life saver to me after DD was born (not latching, poor weight gain etc) so don't worry if you can't do it now - in all likelihood you'll have more success when baby is born and you can syringe and store the colostrum for baby then.

Good luck with it all!

eurochick Mon 24-Oct-16 06:53:31

I tried this too as my daughter needed to be delivered early. I couldn't get a single drop. But my milk came in fine once she was out.

parentsvsPIL Mon 24-Oct-16 06:56:09

She's generally utterly crap, and for various reasons I've got fed up with her and asked around other local midwives, but no-one else will take me on this close to delivery. Probably because midwives here are self-employed and don't get paid for an obstetrician-led elective CS. So I'm stuck with her passive-aggressive crapness.

However - starting attempts to express colostrum at 35 weeks is only a week earlier than normal advice, isn't it? If DS is big he will be at risk for hypoglycaemia after birth, so having a ready supply of colostrum is probably advisable in case I end up having a general anaesthetic or something. So it seems logical to try - but I just can't get anything at all to happen.

Mindtrope Mon 24-Oct-16 07:03:32

Is this a community midwife or hospital?

I really can't see any benefit in expressing colostrum at this stage. ( And I am a qualified breastfeeding counsellor). If your baby has sugar problem it can be dealt with in other ways. Even if you have a GA you baby will be fine.

parentsvsPIL Mon 24-Oct-16 07:09:25

Mindtrope - am in a different country where all primary maternity care is midwife-led, and they are all community-based/ self-employed. When required they refer to obstetricians for the obstetrics aspects, but retain control of other midwifery stuff including the first few weeks postpartum, particularly, establishing breastfeeding. So she is supposed to know what she's on about... but this isn't the first thing where she hasn't necessarily given good advice.

However - if I were to attempt to express - is having nothing come out a bad sign, or a sign I'm doing it wrong, or is it just fairly normal at this stage & may well fix itself after the birth?

Cantchooseaname Mon 24-Oct-16 07:12:07

Oh man I feel for you. I was told from growth scan that DD was 8lb 13oz at 36 weeks! Spent hours express long colostrum, labelling, freezing... Took into hospital when induced at 38 weeks. That was the last I saw of it! They didn't move it from antenatal to delivery. No one checked my or DD blood glucose (despite GD).
I always got more (ml - such a tiny amount) from one side than the other. What I was watching on tv had an impact- nothing 'heavy'.
Also, DD was born weighing 7lb 3oz at 38 weeks. There was a lot of scaremongering around her size, and a lot of decisions made because of it.
Does your area have baby bistro type drop ins? Ours has a specialist breastfeeding nurse who was a lifesaver. Maybe get in touch with them?
Good luck- and don't feel pressurised into anything!

Mindtrope Mon 24-Oct-16 07:14:18

OP, it's not a bad sign at all. In fact I think the majority of women would be unable to express anything at this stage. Many can't express even when they have a good milk supply after birth. It's nothing to worry about. Colostrum is produced in such tiny quantities even after birth, teaspoonful amounts at best.
I would be looking for another midwife..

pussinwellyboots Mon 24-Oct-16 07:22:50

Ignore her, and there's no reason why you can't successfully breast feed a big baby. DS was 10lb 8oz and was totally fine.

AppleMagic Mon 24-Oct-16 07:28:39

I did this for dc2 but would have had no clue if I hadn't already bfed dc1.

Fwiw when dc2 was born with hypoglycaemia, the consultant insisted he had formula top-ups anyway despite my diabetic specialist midwife insisting antenatally how much better colostrum would be.

eurochick Mon 24-Oct-16 08:11:39

See my earlier post - it's not a bad sign. I got nothing before the birth. Had no problems expressing afterwards. Please try not to worry.

parentsvsPIL Mon 24-Oct-16 22:27:51

gave it another try this morning - 2 very small bright yellow drops each side. Hurrah.

Now I guess I just need to give it a go a few times a day, and get some syringes from somewhere...

SleepForTheWeak Mon 24-Oct-16 22:50:04

That's great parents!!

Your midwife should be able to get you some syringes (seen as she's so helpful!)

TheClacksAreDown Tue 25-Oct-16 17:42:30

I expressed antenatally as I have gestational diabetes and colostrum can be very useful if low blood sugars. I started at 36 weeks and I'm afraid it took until over 37 weeks before I got more than minuscule amounts. But even shortly before delivery I was only getting 2-3ml per day. However in total I had 20ml which the consultants were surprised with.

How have they determined that the baby may be very big?

parentsvsPIL Tue 25-Oct-16 19:54:48

Head & abdominal circumference consistently 97th centile for dates (and dates are definitely correct) no matter who does the ultrasound...

Fingers crossed i can get some today - got a few syringes from the hospital.

parentsvsPIL Thu 27-Oct-16 02:21:09

Not working particularly well- have managed a grand total of 4 drops since I got the syringes on Tuesday. Still, persevering is teaching me about where milk ducts are, so I guess there's some point to it, even if my body's not cooperating with the main point....

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Thu 27-Oct-16 02:50:48

I had to do this. For the first ten attempts nothing came out. Then I changed how I did it. I sat in my bed, in privacy. I massaged my breasts and watched hand expression videos on YouTube. Ha this sounds so rude. I would make the C hold and squeeze gently. Eventually tiny beads of colostrum would appear on my nipples. I used a teaspoon to collect them then would suck them up with a syringe. I would never get more than a ml at a session but the midwives said that was ok as every drop counted. Stick at it. Good luck.

greynunu Fri 28-Oct-16 13:50:36

I found YouTube videos really helpful too - once I figured out what search terms to use! Be warned, there are some, ahem, adult videos out there masquerading as tutorials shock

TTToddlers Fri 28-Oct-16 14:09:49

Agree with others - your midwife doesn't sound particularly helpful or supportive!
I wouldn't worry too much about nothing coming out before your baby is born - it's true that some people find it easier than others, but your milk production will be triggered once your placenta detaches so it will most likely be fine once your baby is born.
You may need to continue to express at the start and supplement with formula for the first few days if your milk is slow to come in - I did that with both DD and DS - helped to reduce a lot of tears. In fact, I ended up choosing to express exclusively for both as I found it so much less stressful.
It sounds like you're being sensible and open minded about it all which is great! Hope this helps and good luck with the delivery!!

parentsvsPIL Sat 29-Oct-16 00:43:23

Thanks smile

Still nothing coming out other than those precious 4 drops a few days ago, but as everyone has said, at worst, things are likely to pick up once DS and the placenta are out. Feeling exhausted & wildly hormonal today so maybe that's a good sign (probably irrelevant... who knows...)

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