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Help with expressing(8 Posts)
Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on how to express milk successfully. I want to build up a bit of a freezer stash for emergencies and be able to leave milk for evenings out or when I go back to work. DS is only 10 weeks but I'd like to give it a try sooner rather than later, so I can adjust my expectations if I really can't get much.
Unfortunately my first experience of pumping was horrific - we were readmitted to hospital because DS lost a lot of weight by day 5. They had me pumping every 2 hours through the night with a hospital grade pump and I was getting only drops out. My milk didn't come in properly till day 7 and then it was with a whimper not a bang.
Anyway, I have had a few goes at pumping since and not got more than about an ounce each time. I'm also finding it hard to fit pumping in, by the time I've got the (single electric) pump all set up and ready to go, DS needs feeding/changing/entertaining. He's a wriggly feeder so it's hard to express one side while he feeds on the other. I also have a haakaa but it doesn't fit my boobs brilliantly and DS is prone to kicking it off as he feeds on the other side. I did try hand expressing but it was very slow going.
Any words of wisdom greatly appreciated - what should I do to maximise my chances of successfully expressing?
First of all: what kind of pump are you using? Is it an electric one? The hand-operated ones are usually rubish in my opinion.
A good time to express is straight after a feed. Your boobs will be stimulated then and you don't need to spend any time massaging or getting them "ready" as such, and hopefully your baby will be settled and resting at that point so you have a bit of peace and quiet. Although this will mean that the first few sessions you will not be getting a lot of milk, you should produce more milk quite quickly this way and have bigger volumes within a couple of days.
Also, try and massage your breasts during expressing by gently but firmly stroking or rolling your hand from the top and sides of the breast towards the nipple. This will ensure you are expressing all the milk. Good luck! Expressing can be hard to start with.
When do you intend to go back to work?
I always found that the expressed milk thing was just not as straight forward as it is made out to be...
Mine rarely took it and often waited until I returned at the end of a rare night out and breastfed anyway..
Expressing can also interrupt the natural production and demand cycle.
My advice would be to get the breastfeeding established and worry about it when you need to..
Often you won't get anymore than an ounce or two anyhow...
Thank you both for your helpful replies.
I have been given both a hand pump and a single electric one, I've not noticed much of a difference in yield, but the manual one does hurt my wrists after a while!
I'm not going back to work till October but I'd heard expressing can take a while to get the hang of so wanted to at least try it sooner rather than later as breastfeeding is going well now. DS will be well into weaning by then so hopefully I won't need loads. Maybe I'll get a bit of practice in but not go too crazy with for a while yet.
That sounds sensible...don't forget that your milk combination will be slightly different for an older baby than a younger one also....the main aim is not to put yourself under too much pressure!!
I came on to pretty much start the same thread - right down to our babies being the same age.
I'm not going to start my own now as I think we need the same advice. Perfect, I'm all for time-saving measures .
Just keep persecering, you'll get to know best times to pump. I can feel when my boobs are full. I can get between 4-6 ounces out in 10mins at the right time. Other times can get 2 or 3oz
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