Wanting to exclusively express(31 Posts)
I'm pregnant with 2nd child and I'm hoping to Breastfeed.
When I had my first child I was very young and the support for breastfeeding just wasn't there, so I only managed 2 weeks and was left with blistered nipples, pain and going to formula was a big releif that baby could now feed!
I have very large droopy breasts(tmi sorry) and I was looking into expressing and bottle feeding each feed as I know I will not fail in this like I did breast feeding, just wanted to know has anyone else got experience in this, and can it be done, how did you do it, basically words of wisdom from those who have been there done it.
I express fed when baby stopped latching and it took forever! You have all the time needed to express, then feed, then sterilise everything, then back to expressing. Next time I'll try everything I can to persevere with breast feeding, just because of the time element. I was so frazzled I am sure it contributed to my PND.
Honestly, expressing and bottle feeding is an utter, complete pita.
It's worst of both worlds, feeding takes twice as long, and your life is just a cycle of sterilising, expressing, and feeding.
It worried me that you say you know you won't fail. Without being a downer, exclusively expressing is very challenging as it simply isn't as effective at stimulating your supply as a baby. So you nearly always do end up formula feeding as it's very hard to keep up your supply expressing, but if you start formula supplememting, that will decrease your supply even further..
Get some good breastfeeding advice, give it a try, and go from there if you want to express/formula feed.
Kellymom.com gives excellent advice, have a good read.
I expressed, with DD, due to having lost my milk on one side (so I used to do it after every feed, plus get up in the night when I was over-full, even after she started sleeping through). Honestly, so much hassle if there's not a really good reason for it. You've got all the bottles to do, plus the pump which has to be washed & sterilised every time. And storing the milk - the bags aren't by cheap. By 2 weeks you are still in the raw, "ouch every time they latch on" phase. My DD was similar (hence losing my milk on one side). She got better at feeding though, & your nipples get used to it as the baby gets better at feeding. I used to cry every time & grit my teeth, but by 6 weeks it was totally fine. Honestly, just breastfeeding is so much easier. You can even do it while half asleep.
The Kellymom site is great.
Expressing is not easy. Nor is it pain free - I found electric pumps quite uncomfortable. And it takes bloody ages to get enough oz.
I would buy some Lanisoh, have a box of Multi Mam compresses in the house and try it.
Oh and "droopy" can be handy - you can manipulate the breast easier and it's definitely easier when BFing lying down at night as you can do either top or bottom breast whilst lying on the same side as there's some stretch, so you can alternate without having to turn over and rearrange everybody.
I agree with the others. Expressing is a complete pain - time consuming and not necessarily pain free (I had a split nipple). I did it because I had a premmie who never got the hang of latching but I would much prefer to have breast fed her.
Thankyou all so much for your responses!! My other child is now 14 so I really have no clue on how hard it is. I would love to be able to breast feed, maybe I'm giving up in my head and looking for an easy option before I've already tried. My memory's of trying to breast feed are so depressing, I was 16, was told how to do it, never shown, and as baby kept losing weight I was told to go on to formula, by this stage I was so blistered and sore I felt like a complete failure. I think I'm going to get watching YouTube videos about latching and positions and change my mind set to I can do it,, Thankyou
Make use of the staff at the hospital. Keep asking for help with latch and positioning, as it's harder to access support once you're home.
The breastfeeding support woman who popped her head round door when I was in hospital with DD said if I was going to spend any time watching videos to watch ones by Dr Jack Newman over any others.
Fortunately I was incredibly lucky and DD got the hang of breastfeeding straightaway (I was useless) with a few tips on position from the breastfeeding support lady, so I didn't end up watching any, but I have spent a lot of time on the Kellymom website and I noticed it also links to Jack Newman a lot.
I've also been lent a DVD 'breastfeeding without tears' (download version link here www.dukevideo.com/prdGUDVD5116ED/Breastfeeding-without-tears-Download) which was recommended by a couple of friends. I've watched the first 30 minutes of it and found what I did see really interesting/useful.
I have been trying to express once a day just to get DD used to an occasional bottle so I can have a bit of flexibility, I can vouch for the fact that it is a complete faff in comparison to breastfeeding.
Even though DD got the hang of breastfeeding straightaway it was still painful for me for a week. My mum was very supportive and said one thing that stuck with me and helped me through the really tough bits...
'Breastfeeding is like wearing in a new pair of shoes, it will rub at first but eventually will become like a comfy pair of slippers' and she was absolutely right.
If it hadn't been for the extremely early support (as in within the first few hours) from the breastfeeding support woman and my mum I think I would have possibly really struggled with breastfeeding too, which seems ridiculous now it has become second nature.
Your not 16 this time round, if you want to give breastfeeding another go you now have the power of age, experience, confidence and MN collective knowledge . Arm yourself with a tube of nipple cream and see how you get on. Good luck!
I agree with pastabest
Its interesting because people say that if you have pain/bleeding/soreness etc there's something wrong with the latch. In my experience, my baby had a great latch but i still had some soreness for the first few weeks, not unbearable though with the help of some nipple cream! I do think it's completely normal, it's a sensitive part of the body. I do think the skin becomes desensitised to it during the first few weeks.
Of course if it's extremely sore, bleeding, etc then that's a sign the latch might not be quite right.
If the latch isn't right straight away it doesn't mean you've failed - it's something mother and baby both learn. It takes the baby some practice to get their bit right too! And a lot of the latch stuff has to do with positioning and getting you and the baby really comfortable. I'm sure with the help of a kind and experienced Midwife, breastfeeding counsellor, or peer supporter you will manage it
I do think it's worth giving it a go - breastfeeding really is easier and more convenient than expressing or formula feeding once you get over the initial hurdles.
I found breastfeeding my first dc incredibly painful and really struggled with the latch so I gave up after less than a week. I tried expressing but wasn't successful with that either. With my second dc I had a very different experience, it was difficult and painful at first, but I had great support by the specialist 'breastfeeding lady' sent by the health visitor (no idea what her actual job title is!) and eventually I was able to breastfeed without pain. I think exclusively expressing is generally the hardest option of all, unless you are lucky enough to have a really good supply, but it's worth keeping your mind open to all options and accessing any support available.
Thankyou I will be looking on the website and watching the videos, this is probably a really stupid question ( I don't care I need all the help I can get!!£ but,, is there any way before the baby's here that I can "toughen up" my nipples??
No need to toughen them up!
My advice would be to keep an open mind, to do some research, round up your friends who have successfully BF (AVOID the ones who want to dump their own issues onto you by telling you their horror stories - there's a time to listen to other people's problems, but this isn't it!), and get yourself some BF stuff. You don't actually need anything apart from boobs and baby, but since you're already anxious (understandably) why not treat yourself to a lovely nursing cushion, have a look for what nursing bras you might like (if you have ££ there are some really lovely ones), maybe nursing tops if you're large of nork and want to make things easy, a lovely water bottle to keep with you.
I have BF two babies for a long time and they were completely different in their patterns. OK, so a latch is a latch, but the duration, the amount they fussed, the sicky and non-sicky one, frequency etc was totally different so there's a good chance you won't have the same issues.
You can get your 14 yo to wait on you!
...and a carrier. That's something you really do need to do some research on as there are a million different sorts.
No you can't toughen them up in advance but with Lanisoh after every feed from delivery (keep one tube downstairs and one upstairs) and do your research about what a good latch looks like (& how to use a wet fingertip to detach a bad latch), it won't be too bad.
Basically you have to squash your nipple like a hamburger and shove it in. Seriously, Google hamburger + breastfeeding!
And sports bras are a godsend as you can just hoick your boob out and sleep in them too.
Make use of the staff at the hospital. Keep asking for help with latch and positioning, as it's harder to access support once you're home.
Unless the hospital have specialist breastfeeding support workers be very wary of hospital advice. To start with they're understaffed, and secondly they're rarely trained, or even have any up to date experience of breastfeeding.
I was constantly being offered formula as "she can't be feeding again", and to "give yourself a break". Top ups are the easy answer to breastfeeding issues, but usually causes more problems.
Helping with latch usually involves a m/w grabbing a boob and shoving it in the baby's mouth.
If you have a friend who has successfully breastfed long term you might be better asking if they'll come and visit you.
Lansinoh is by far the best nipple cream. Apply it before and after every single feed and its great to help avoid the worst of the skin soreness.
I expressed to then bottle feed for two weeks as we had latch issues, it was exhausting, since then been feeding with a shield which is much better.
There is so much more information and support for BF than there was 14 years ago. And while it definitely shouldn't be this way, it's easier to access the support at 30 than it is as a teenager.
Get in touch with your local NCT branch and suss out what their breastfeeding support is like. Also Children's Centres sometimes run breastfeeding groups, and look for a local branch of the Baby Café.
The most important thing is to suss out your sources of support before you start. And I think that the biggest change is that the internet is here now. Mumsnet, for example, is fantastic because you can post at 3am with a question and somebody will be online and know the answer. A website called kellymom also has the answer to almost any breastfeeding question.
Good luck! I am sure that you will be fine.
If you want to express then invest in the absolute best machine you can afford. I had awful issues bf and tried to express but was using a little pump (only one DP could find on bank holiday weekend). The hospital grade pumps save so much time.
Give bf a go and see what happens, hopefully you will be surprised. Support is a lot better than it used to be.
If you do express only then you may want to have some formula on hand. I remember hysterically crying over spilling 8oz of freshly pumped milk with 2 week DS cluster feeding - definitely didn't help the PND situation. I though it was all or nothing and no other option even entered my head.
Sorry, another one who expressed exclusively for twelve weeks - it damn near killed me.
If you are determined, get an electric double pump.
Good luck OP
I have some relevant experience here! I exclusively BF DD from 5 weeks to 12 months (some supplementing and expressing initially to get supply up).
With DS I assumed I would do the same but he was not efficient at emptying my breast and I am feeding on one side only (for medical reasons) so don't have much spare milk. For the first 7 weeks I BF and then expressed after every feed to build my supply and ensure he got enough milk. I also supplemented about 10% of his intake as formula. Since 7 weeks I have been expressing more and since about 10 weeks (now at 16 weeks) I've been exclusively expressing. I was expressing 8 times per day in the beginning but can now express a full supply in 5 pumps of 20 minutes. I wanted DS to have exclusive breast milk and exclusive pumping was easier than breastfeeding AND expressing, which seemed to be necessary in his case for him to get enough milk.
I have 4 Medela hand pumps and sterilise them in an electric steamer twice per day - it's really not very time consuming. As far as supply, with DD I could never express very much and I thought it was true that pumps can never be as efficient as babies, but my body is now used to pumping and I think my supply is at least as good now as it was for my DD. I am expressing a full supply from one side only - it was time consuming in first month or so to build it up, but it can be done!
I agree with other posters that you should try direct breastfeeding first - this is more convinient. However, if you find it doesn't work out I'd say exclusive pumping is a viable option and I'm more positive about it than other posters seem to be. There are advantages. I can take DD out or go out alone and leave DS with dad much more easily than if I was breastfeeding directly. It's also much easier to go back to work than with DD who wouldn't take a bottle.
I expressed exclusively for 9 months and 1 yr for my two. There is a lot of online support out there for ee. If you choose to do it search for ee Facebook groups - some of these helped me greatly.
Do you have any breastfeeding cafés or similar near you? Worth checking out what support is available in advance so you know where to go if you need help. I struggled at first with bf dd (we got there eventually) but one thing I never suffered was pain so you may not have to worry about that at all. I think it's harder than formula feeding to start with, but once you've both got the hang of it, it's the easiest thing in the world.
I know that they are not encouraged (due to potential nipple confusion) but nipple shields were a god send for me. I'd use them periodically just to give my nipples chance to recover. I honestly don't know if I'd have managed without them!
And yes, like PPs, definitely lansinoh is a must!
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