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Exclusively expressing a 2nd time - this time I would have a toddler...anyone else done this?

(15 Posts)
StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 15:44:19

I have one DS who is 2 and a half, and am 18 weeks pregnant.

Before I had DS I always knew that breastfeeding might be a challenge as my nipples are very flat, inverted and don't stick out at all - in fact if pinched they sort of react in the same way as if you were to try to pinch a water balloon if that makes sense? Added to this DS was born at 31+3 by emergency c-section, and I expressed for him as he was being tube fed. I spent a long time trying to breastfeed and refusing any bottles (even of EBM) in case he got confused. He tried so hard, but he just couldn't latch on. Added to that, being prem meant that he was very very sleepy for the first few weeks. I eventually resorted to a nipple shield and that was seeming to work at first, so we were sent home. However, 4 days in his nappies were dry and green, he was more sleepy than ever and he had lost weight when the midwife visited. So I tried to express and found that instead of my usual 150ml, I managed 25ml - my supply had been dwindling because the nipple shields weren't enough stimulation it seems. At that point I thought "What am I doing?!" and got some recently expressed milk from the fridge and fed it to him in a bottle (which came with the steriliser). I cried and felt like I'd failed. However, I managed to give DS exclusively breastmilk (albeit EBM) for 6 months, and some breastmilk until he was over 7 months, when I stopped as it was getting harder to keep him occupied.

Well, fast forward to now and I'm pregnant. I can't face the idea of not giving my next child breastmilk as well, and am committed to the idea of expressing again, armed with all the knowledge I picked up along the way last time. The thing is, I am wondering how I will get anything done and will I be able to manage with a toddler AND a baby? I am imagining that Mumsnet being what it is someone out there will have done this! Any tips?

Sorry for the long post I do ramble on!

Loopymumsy Wed 22-Jul-09 17:38:20

Message withdrawn

Picante Wed 22-Jul-09 17:49:43

Definitely try to bf as it's v v difficult to exclusively express. I did it for a year with ds but can't now imagine trying to do it for number 2 with a 3 year old around.

Obvious tips if you have to express would be:

- hire a double electric pump
- figure out beforehand what your ds is going to be doing while you're expressing - will he be with you the whole time or does he go to nursery?

I've thought about this as well and decided that if I can't bf again, I shall formula feed and not feel guilty.

I wish you all the luck in the world that bf will work for you this time round. I figure if we're able to express we should be able to bf with the right support from the onset.

Fanjita Wed 22-Jul-09 21:08:34

Hi Strikeuptheband! Very interested to read your post and looking forward to some more answers myself to your question.

I am 26wks pregnant and have been pondering this myself as I have flat/inverted nips and didn't manage to bf DS1 (3.3) I exclusively expressed for 6months but can't imagine how feasible that would be with DS2 when he arrives. However, I have been searching old threads on MN for bf-ing tips for people with inverted/flat nips and it seems that alot of people who didn't manage it first time round were able to do so with their second child, especially those who'd expressed, as their nips had been drawn out from the pump. So I'm hoping that will be the case for me.

If I can't bf DS2 I will report back in 13wks or so how the expressing is going (or not) with a toddler around.

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 22:49:57

Thanks Fanjita grin. And good luck to you!

Loopsymumsy, my ds was actually in neonatal for 5 weeks, where they do have proper lactation consultants at all times - and I spent hours and hours with them. Not once did we get him to even latch on for a second - that's how bad it was. And it wasn't for lack of trying either - it just seemed impossible as there was absolutely nothing to latch onto. Knowing what I know from that time I am convinced it is futile. My nipples were not even slightly pulled out from having spent hours and hours on a double pump every day for 6 months. Obviously I will try next time, but not to the extent that I did last time (For the last 2 weeks he could have gone home if only I'd let them bottle feed him EBM - I refused as I didn't want him confused).

Picante, I wouldn't need to hire a double electric pump as I already still have my Ameda Lactaline. I used to mumsnet (and other computer related things) while I expressed (with an easy expressions halterneck on which was a godsend). Maybe I will have to spend that time with DS this time instead. I had 5 sets of double pumping flanges to save on washing up and a mini fridge upstairs (had to buy when our fridge broke, but it really was helpful in the middle of the night). I appreciate it will be hard, but I wanted to try.

I used to get a lot of people in feeding rooms telling me "I had problems breastfeeding my baby but I persevered and got there in the end." I feel that they did not appreciate the extent to which I tried and tried to do the impossible. I carried on trying to breastfeed (used breastflow bottles) until ds was 4 months old. He never once managed to even latch on. The nipple shields were a nightmare as there was nothing to keep them on - completely flat and soft - so he would flap his arms about and knock them off constantly. Obviously the major reason I stopped using them though is that it was ruining my supply to the extent that I'd have had to express afterwards anyway.

However, really what I was asking in my OP was if there was anyone who had done this with a toddler too and if they had any tips for managing to do this?

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 23:03:40

Also, for Fanjita and others who might want to exclusively express - some good links in case you haven't come across them.

and particularly this one

moaningminniewhingesagain Wed 22-Jul-09 23:04:46

I haven't exclusively expressed. But I expressed so that I could give DS top ups of EBM for his awful weight loss. DD was 21 mo when DS arrived.

I found it very very hard, as trying to care for a newborn, plus a very busy toddler, I was very glad when I was able to stop the topups. Like you though, I really wanted to avoid FF - did give some until expressing took off.

However, I was also spending HOURS trying to BF my sleepy baby, used a single pump, and was recovering from Csection.

It must have taken a lot of dedication to express so long last time, hopefully BF may be easier this time but if you have lots of help with the toddler you can only see how it goes?

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 23:21:09

Hi moaningminnie,

I had a C-section after DS too, but by the time he left the neonatal ward he was 5 weeks old so I guess I hadn't got it too hard there. I do have very little support though as we (DP, DS and I) live 200 miles away from both sets of parents (they're in opposite directions) - no family nearby.

DS isn't a difficult child generally, although I don't know how he'll be with a new sibling. I was lucky in that he slept well and was an utterly predictable child in his routines (set by himself). I appreciate that this time I might have to sometimes cut corners and if things get hard I might need to feed DC2 in a bouncy chair while expressing at the same time (never did this with DS as it didn't feel right, but I guess mothers of twins do it don't they?

My mother's attitude was "You won't be able to express this time like you did last time." but I would like to at least try my best. I believe it was the reason that DS didn't get so much as a cold for 7 months, or must have helped. This baby is likely to also be a prem, so even more reason that it's important I think.

earplugs Wed 22-Jul-09 23:23:35

Strike I think you're amazing! Why is it that when you mention that bf failed everyone automatically assumes its because you didn't get the right advice, didn't try hard enough or had unrealistic expections etc? I too had support from every so called expert under the sun - there wasn't a single lactation consultant in the SE that hadn't had their hands on my boobs and it still didn't happen for me (I actually managed to give breast milk one way or another for 5 months thro shields & expressing but the whole experience had a very negative effect on my relationship with my baby).

Am now trying for DC 2 and will try bf again but if it doesn't work will also go down the expressing route with a toddler in tow. I think the 'hands free kit' will be essential and maybe keeping a special bag of toys or books that are only pulled out during the expressing times might buy a few mins of time? I'm sure my toddler will be most interested in playing with the buttons on the pump itself so that in itself is going to be a challenge!
Wish you the very best of luck and if you do find the perfect way, please let us know!

MoshiMoshi Wed 22-Jul-09 23:31:52

About to feed so will be brief but after exclusively bfing DCs 1 & 2 I managed to feed DC3 EBM exclusively for 5 months (DC1 was 3 and DC2 was 1.5). It is possible! DC4 (now 12 weeks) is exclusively Bfed so DC3 was the sole reluctant feeder :-0. Have you tried using the Avent Nipplette in advance?

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 23:51:13

MoshiMoshi that's brilliant - managing to do it with 2 children. I take my hat off to you. Thanks, that's really encouraging!

Earplugs, I am very impressed that you managed to give breastmilk for that long. I was 'lucky' in that by the time I left hospital I already had a full milk supply so it was just a case of keeping it going. ALso being premature he didn't need that much milk at first so I had time to get my supply going - meaning I was able to avoid giving any formula feeds. With a full term baby I imagine this would be hard to achieve. I know what you mean about people assuming you didn't get the right help - I know this is the case so much of the time though so maybe that's why? Great idea about having a special bag of things they can only have when you are expressing - that should help make them more keen for you to do it grin.

The last link I posted above was very useful for me last time, and I think there are others on that forum with young children too. The only thing is it's a US site - I think in the US they do find it easier to express for longer as they often have to go back to work very soon and express there (so no baby or other children to watch). There are loads of great tips out there for increasing supply and for cutting down on washing up. I also learned on there that once you get to 12 weeks you can (tentatively) begin to reduce the number of times you express a day gradually - some people had it down to 3x a day by 5 months old, which must have helped them to keep going longer.

It's good to get some replies that show I'm not mad!

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 23:56:22

PS. Yes, I tried Niplette both before and during pregnancy and all it seemed to do was make me very sore and they didn't stick out any more. I also tried using it to create a nipple before trying to feed ds, but within a couple of seconds they would be completely flat again, no matter how long I left them on for. smile.

spinspinsugar Thu 23-Jul-09 07:36:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spinspinsugar Thu 23-Jul-09 07:38:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StrikeUpTheBand Thu 23-Jul-09 08:45:51

Hi spinspinsugar,

Thanks so much for your encouraging posts. I suppose that everyone with a toddler has some tricks up their sleeve for keeping them occupied when they're doing other things. DS isn't a particularly challenging child and can be relied upon to be kept busy for about 20 minutes with something as simple as eating an apple! Also, telly is a good standby.

Anyway, it isn't ALL bad. I remember about 3 months in feeling a bit sorry for myself sitting next to another mum at a baby group while she seemingly effortlessly breastfed her baby - until she started talking and it turns out she was having to bf every 90 minutes (timing from start-start of breastfeeds) and so was pretty much having to spend at least as much time as me if not more on feeding her baby. OK not so much washing up and she was actually with her baby while she was doing it, but it did make me think. Also, once you have some medela wipes, a hand pump and a few bottles you can be out of the house for hours on end and spend no more time in feeding rooms than a mother with a fairly demanding baby who is directly breastfed. On long car journeys to visit people (which you'd think would be a problem) I just waited until we were on the motorway and expressed in the car (I am not the driver grin) And EBM is far more versatile than formula isn't it as it keeps at room temperature for 6 hours, can be offered again at the next feed if it hasn't been finished, etc.

It's just that knowing what I do about how last time went I can now make an informed decision about what to do. I am also now 'ok' with the not breastfeeding part - I know that it wouldn't have made the bond with my son any stronger than it is.

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