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Expressng and bottle feeding new born.... how to ensure good supply?

(17 Posts)
Bumble01 Tue 05-Aug-08 19:20:01

Hello all,
my wife is expressing milk and bottle feeding our newborn. However she is worried that her milk supply (colustrum at this point) wont increse and keep up with demand. At the moment he drinks about 60ml every 2-3 hours.

Any suggestions or advice on how to keep things flowing?

We are doing lots of skin to skin, during feeding and at other times.

babyOcho Tue 05-Aug-08 19:22:47

How old is he?

Is she putting him on the breast at all?

princesslina Tue 05-Aug-08 19:24:46

While is is colostrum it is more quality rather than quantity, when her milk comes in there will be a greater quantity and generally the more baby feeds (or in your wifes case she expresses) the more milk her body produces. There is no reason that her supply should drop. How is she expressing, some women find some pumps more effective and efficient than others.

Out of curiosity why expressing rather than breastfeeding?

Skin to Skin is fantastic so you are working along the right lines, hope that you are enjoying your new bundle of joy. COngratulations btw.

ephrinedaily Tue 05-Aug-08 19:24:57

I was advised with my prem baby to express every 3 hours, especially during the night, to maintain supply (i.e 8 times in 24 hours). It is very very hard. When was your baby born? Is there a reason he/she can't latch on at the moment i.e. will this situation change?

Have a look on kellymomif she's getting 60ml at this stage she's doing well. Hope someone more qualified comes on soon and good luck.

GordonTheGopher Tue 05-Aug-08 19:29:55

If there is no question of breastfeeding then it is perfectly possible to 'exclusively pump'. I did it for a year.

Top tips:

Get a double electric pump.

Pump every 2 hours for 10-15 min, including one pump at night.

Sometimes if I stopped for five min, I got another 'let-down' of milk.

After a few weeks she will be able to reduce the number of pumps a day but make sure she reduces it very slowly otherwise she will notice a sharp drop in supply.

Hopefully her milk will come in. Kellymom's a great site.

moondog Tue 05-Aug-08 19:30:51


ephrinedaily Tue 05-Aug-08 19:34:02

Gordon I just want to say congratulations for exclusively pumping for a year.

GordonTheGopher Tue 05-Aug-08 19:35:02

Ooh thanks. I think I was a bit mental to do it myself!

Bumble01 Tue 05-Aug-08 21:35:38

Hi All,
we are using an electric pump (Mendela swing I think), and its got two phases which are supposed to immitate the way the baby sucks.

He is 5 days old today. The reason we're not breastfeeding is that we tried it, but the baby had trouble latching on etc, my wife was getting more and more anxious about the whole situation and starting to resent the baby. Writing this Im thinking "Only 5 days", but trust me it seemed like a month.

Despite seeing cranial osteopaths, NHS and NCT breast feeding consellors etc things didnt improve until today, but which by which time we have moved to bottles.

The baby loves it, and is very calm after a bottle feed, as is Mum.

We are putting him on the breast, and intending to do about a bf a day, if he wants it.

The only concern is that the pump doesnt convince her body that there is a huge demand from our little fellow and her supply dwindles, but from reading mumsnet and talking to others it seems as long as we keep pumping, her body will rise to the challenge.

Anyone know if there is a lag between a rise in demand and supply?

throckenholt Tue 05-Aug-08 21:45:26

hang in there - many babies can take up to a month to figure out how to suck (mine did !). No-one seems to talk about this - but when you are in this situation it would help to know you are not the only one. There is nothing wrong (normally) - it needs time and patience.

Try to keep calm, use formula when you need to without feeling guilty.

Express often - every 3 hours (as you would feed a newborn) for about 20 mins. Double pump if you can.

DONT worry about how much is coming out - tiny babies don't need much.

And have as much skin to skin time as possible - and when she is feeling calm have a go at latching on - and give up as soon as either of them get stressed and try again another time.

If it works in the end then great - if not - well you tried - it is the best you can do. Forget about it and get on with all the other things babies need. Don't feel guilty.

thisisyesterday Tue 05-Aug-08 21:59:54

hi bumble, I had the exact same problem with my ds1.
if your wife would like to breastfeed, (which I can assure you is far, far less hassle than expressing and bottle feeding) then it's important to get lots of skin to skin and keep offering the breast before the bottle.

fwiw, ds1 latched on when he was a grand old 10 days old, and then breastfed exclusively. it was fantastic, like he suddenly just "got it"
so there is hope!

with pumping, you do need to up it during growth spurts, just as baby would do if feeding directly.
and some people can have supply issues further down the road,
I know a lady who was exclusively pumping for her little girl who couldn't feed who did end up taking domperidone to increase her supply

ephrinedaily Tue 05-Aug-08 22:02:12

Yes I would second what throckenholt said. My baby eventually (after bottle feeding expressed milk for first couple of weeks) latched on at day 16 after loads of screaming effort on both our parts .

He eventually latched on properly in the bath - see if your wife would like to try this, cos you both feel calm and relaxed, lights down, no awkward positioning of baby / shoving his head on just sort of floated around and went 'oh look a nipple! I'll try that! '. At 5 days old it's not too late. I really feel for you both it's a stressful time, especially as some babies / women seem to find it much easier.

Bumble01 Tue 05-Aug-08 22:22:21

Hi All,
thanks for the advice. I think one of the major problems is that by bottle feeding we see how much the litte guy is drinking.... something that is very important to her. We will continue to offer the breast, but I dont think we will move back to bf exclusively.

thisisyesterday Tue 05-Aug-08 22:33:57

it's very easy to get sucked into the "i know how much he's taking" thing.
I found it quite difficult when I went on to exclusively bf ds1, not knowing how much he was taking.

but do bear in mind that:
a baby can get milk out much more effectively than any pump
and if she has already established a good supply and is producing enough for all his feeds then there is no reason why he wouldn't be taking enough, if you see what I mean?

it is hard though, taking a leap of faith and trusting your body

princesslina Tue 05-Aug-08 22:46:14

Have you considered using a supplemental feeding aid? This way baby could have the milk at the breast and you would be sure how much she was taking, whilst stimulating flow at the same time.... I can point you in the direction of more info on this if oyu would like feel free to email me on caroline at temporarynanny dot co dot uk
You can also practice getting the baby to latch onto the finger and if necessary finger feed using a supplemental feeding aid also. It depends how important it is for you to continue breastfeeding.

Also have a look at this web site:

it is fantastic and also dr jack answers your emails personally, the dvd is also really good, I have one and have learnt a lot from it.

5 days is still early days

throckenholt Wed 06-Aug-08 07:40:08

you have to try and get away from the volume thing - because one thing you learn in the end is all babies are different and they haven't read the manual - they don't know how much they are "supposed" to be feeding (mine never took a 9oz bottle - rarely over 6oz).

Also - it is much easier to gulp down milk from a bottle - even if they don't need it - mine often used to do that and then 5 mins later throw it all up again - right over me - soul destroying if it was expressed milk I sweated to get (not quite so bad if it was formula) !.

You have to learn to trust your body and the baby to do the right thing - and you have to realise it is not an innate thing - you both have to learn how to do it.

I would say (having done expressing for 9 months for my twins, 1 month for my ds1, and breastfed for 12 months for ds1) - if you can get breastfeeding sorted it is by far the easiest way - anywhere any time it is always on tap (so to speak).

I know in those first few days/weeks it is so easy to get screwed up by the stress of it all - but time and staying calm are the ways to solve it (and use formula to get you through the first few weeks if needed) - once you get the latch sorted - supply and demand kicks in - the more your baby feeds the more you make (more the vast majority of people). So - do what you need to get through the first few days and do as much skin time and chances to latch as possible without getting really stressed about it (my monster screamed as if it was poison for the first 3 weeks when near a nipple - but he did finally latch at about 4 weeks and went on to breast feed for a year).

Pruners Wed 06-Aug-08 08:23:00

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