Exclusively expressing - have I screwed this up already?(24 Posts)
I have a 1 week old in SCBU and I am pumping to establish my supply in hope I will eventually be able to BF when the baby is better (meanwhile he is getting my milk via bottle).
First baby we had lots of feeding problems in first few weeks and I never established a decent supply, and I am worried the same thing will happen again.
I've been pumping (with a decent Medela electric pump) 10mins per side about 5x a day for last three days, before which I was hand expressing (which I am lousy at).
I just read the advice on exclusive expressing on the Kellymom site and it says it is important to express at least 7x a day for a minimum of 20mins per side.
I'm only getting about 1oz (30ml) per breast each time I pump which seems like nowhere near enough.
Have I screwed this up again or do I have a hope of getting a decent supply going?
You need to express a lot more. 8-10 times a day. You haven't screwed anything up, just keep going. They will offer you a hospital Grade pump in SCBU and you can rent the same. It is a lot more efficient than the electric Medela and you can double pump. You need to really pump assiduously for the first 3 weeks- every 2-2.5 hours without fail. That will mimic your baby feeding and establish supply. Once that is done you can maybe pump 6-7 times a day.
I have a 26 weeker (now 39 weeks). I pumped 8-10 times for 3 weeks to get my supply going. We started with breastfeeding at 29 weeks. We are home now and have been for just under a month. He breastfeeds 3 times a day and has 6 bottles of expressed milk.
Keep going - for 20 minutes each side as you read. Are you able to have skin to skin contact as that should help?
30ml per breast per session is fine in Week 1 but you need to do it a lot more frequently basically.
Just keep pumping, even if you aren't getting anything. A newborn would feed at least 8-10 times in 24 hours so you need to pump the same. Pumping, even if nothing is coming out, will stimulate you to make more so just keep going.
Fingers crossed your little one is better soon.
It's still early days so you can increase your supply but your body needs to know more is needed.
You need to be pumping more frequently, as pp have said. Every 3 hours, and the middle of the night (between 1st and 4am) helps set the demand for that day so it's really important not to drop that one.
Hire a hospital grade pump - I got mine through the nct, think it was about £40 for a month but it was so much more efficient as I could double pump.
Pump until the flow initially slows. Rest for a minute, then start again. You should get another burst and this should include the "full fat" hind milk.
I only got 30ml with my medela too but it rapidly increased in the second week once I was doing the above.
Best of luck to you and hope your little one is well enough to come home soon x
Keep going. Up it to about 8 times a day, including once or twice through the night. It's brutal but I expressed for 8 months from starting this way. Good luck!
Gosh so many replies, thank you!
Luchi - we were both on the April antenatal threads - I am so glad to hear your DS is home, hope you are both doing well. Mine went to term but was unexpectedly unwell when born (he's recovering well though).
As long as I've not irreversibly messed things up that's the main thing! Last time after a bad start I tried so hard to get my supply back on track but it never happened.
eurochick I honestly don't think I could keep up exclusive expressing for 8 weeks, never mind 8 months!
I'd been stopping once flow stopped but I will keep going longer, and squeeze more sessions into the day. I've done one during the night most nights so far so will keep this up.
I EEd for almost a year, taking it a day at a time. Don't set deadlines now, just pump as often as you can, ideally with your baby/a pic of your baby in range.
Oats are brilliant for milk production, and make sure you're drinking enough. You'll crack it.
And definitely night pumping makes the most difference. Every 3 hours is the way to go.
Yes I recognised you seconds after pressing 'Post'. We can continue on that thread if that's easier. Just keep going. The way I managed was I told myself that if DS was home I would be awake and feeding. And expressing is easier in that you can delay it by 10 mins and make yourself a cup of tea before sitting down to it which you can't if you are breastfeeding an insanely hungry child. So I tried to replicate the normal breastfeeding pattern of a newborn.
A couple more questions for you expert expressers...
If you double pump, how do you manage to do it hands-free? I am currently sitting holding them on my boobs with my hands so I am immobile when pumping.
And do you sterilise everything between each session? I never used to but the SCBU experience has made me paranoid about hygiene.
Yes sterilising is a must. Milk is a huge source of bacteria.
And honestly I can't do it hands free. I will be honest and say I prefer single pumping because my boobs are oddly shaped and I use both hands then- one to get the boob into the right place and massage it as I pump and one to hold the funnel/pump.
I didn't do it hands free either. But once my milk came in properly I only needed 10 mins to pump.
And yes to sterilising everything. It's a bit of a faf but not worth the risk not to.
I used to pop a bit of clingfilm over the funnel and stick it in the fridge between collections during the day then give everything a proper soak in Milton overnight. I'm sterilising between each collection this time though!
Managed 2oz overnight and 3oz this morning, hopefully it'll keep increasing.
No you don't need to sterilise all the pump parts each time, just put it all in the fridge and wash/sterilise daily. I exclusively expressed for 6 months (and kept pumping for 9m) and it would have been literally impossible otherwise. I can't remember where I read this was okay but I found the same advice from multiple sources.
You can buy a special bra that holds the flanges in place but I never found it to work too well. They're about £10 on Amazon.
I had a bra from medela which worked well for hands free. I expressed until DD was 4 wks when she then started to suck properly and at 12 wks I don't need to express so hopefully in the future you will be able able to do it directly
I was expressing using my double electric pump every 2hrs for the first four weeks. It drained me. Both physicaly and emotionally. 10-15mins pumping then sterilising equipment and storing milk - I was getting about 5-6oz per breast per session so managed to store some in the freezer and donate. I tried desperately to get DD to latch but it just wouldnt happen. Big hugs for everyone expressing it really is an awfully hard but good thing to do.
I will say this though - in all honesty - if I fail to bf next time I will express for the first few weeks again, granted I have a good supply again, but I feel that it took too much time away from my baby. It isolated me for half an hour every hour and a half and made me paraniod about how much I was making.
Night expressing produces the most milk ime so get pumping at night and good luck!
Cheap solution for hands free is to cut an X in a thin-fabric bra and insert the flanges through there. Then use your hands to do lots of massaging to encourage milk flow. There is also some trick using two hair elastics which ends up hanging the pump from the shoulder clip on your nursing bra sleeve but it never really worked for me - have a Google and see if it suits you.
Oh and i agree with you about sterilising - you see lots online about breast milk not needing these precautions but which such a young infant, particularly if health concerns, I much prefer to sterilise.
Yes I sterilised - it was what they told me to do on scbu so I carried on. Had an electric steriliser so just quickly washed then bunged in there.
I didn't buy the medela bra - my boobs escape to the sides so the openings weren't in the right place. I got a cheapy crop top and cut holes where I needed holes to be! Meant I could have a cup of tea
I'm exclusively pumping currently as little girl won't latch. She's just over 3 weeks. I'm using a hospital grade pump, double pumping, pumping every 3 hours including overnight. I get about 90-120ml from a session. I'm worried that this isn't enough? Any thoughts?
That's perfect. At 3 weeks she wouldn't be drinking much more than that. The maximum you need to produce is roughly 750mls a day.
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