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How long should it take to express? Bit worried.

(23 Posts)
McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:08:51

It took me about three hours to get about 45ml (under 2 oz) of breast milk. I was using a hand pump, and it was my first time expressing (had baby almost 3 weeks ago)

I'm worried that if this is the small amount I get from expressing over such a long period, my baby is getting even less from her half hour/45 minute feeds...

She was weighed today by health visitor and although she hasn't lost weight since last time, she's hardly put any on. Going to BF clinic next Thursday, but in the meantime, does anyone on here know about this stuff?

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 15:16:44

It took me aaages to get what I thought was a pathetically small amount out when I first started expressing (about two hours to get one ounce) but my HV was full of praise, saying it was loads, and I'd done brilliantly. That kind of spurred me on and I started expressing regularly to give ds top ups in the evening as he was a bit of a rubbish feeder in the evenings.

I used to do it three times a day at the first three feeds of the morning (ie about 5am, 9am and lunchtime) and in total I'd get about 7oz out, but it took me a while to build up to that, about two months in total.

If you really want to express, for whatever reason, I really recommend getting a hospital grade double pump.. I hired one from Medela, and it was great, halved my pumping time down to the point when eventually I'd only need 15 mins at each session to give me my 7oz a day.

How old is your dd? My ds was born on the 50th centile, dropped to the 0.4 centile and then took about 6 months to climb back up to the 25th. I fretted masses about it at the time, but looking back, he was never unhealthy, he's incredibly robust now at 2 years old.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 15:17:23

Dur! I've just seen you said your dd was three weeks old. Sorry, brain befuddled today!

Tambajam Fri 11-Sep-09 15:18:00

It sounds like you weren't getting a 'letdown' i.e. the milk ejection reflex wasn't happening. This is surprisingly common and has very little to do with your milk supply overall. I could hardly pump a drop while at the same time I had mega oversupply and my son was zooming up the percentiles.

How are baby's nappies? A couple of poos in a day? Around 6 wet nappies in 24 hours. I take it she's back up to her birth weight. If you are seeing the nappies and she isn't losing weight I don't think you should be worrying.

There are some pumping tricks like warm compresses, relaxation techniques, starting off faster and fluttery to try and copy what the baby does. There are more tips here:
Letdown reflex is really tied with emotions. It's meant to happen with lovely warm baby attached to you. Very hard for some women to reproduce this with a plastic pump and while feeling anxious about what might come out.

Call one of the helplines if you'd like to talk it through with a bf counsellor.

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:20:33

Thanks so much for the replies, and the links.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 15:21:26

Don't worry, the amount you express bears no resemblance to the amount that you bf your baby!

I was always rubbish at expressing but DS kept putting the weight on. He was 9lb 5 oz at birth and took I think 4 weeks to recover his birth weight but as he was fed on demand and doing orange poos and plenty of wees the HV had no concerns, and soon enough he started gaining and gaining...

I understand it is frustrating as it would be nice to know how much milk your baby gets each feed but you can't and shouldn't even try to compare 3 hours of expressing to 3 hours of feeding.

If you still want to express for whatever reason, you can generally get more from an electric pump than from a hand pump. You can also generally express more if you are looking at your sleeping baby or watching one of those "birth stories" programmes on the TV! It can sometimes help to to try and express lying on your side or in the bath, when you are very relaxed.

Well done, it is hard work feeding a baby, hope the BF clinic is useful next week.

BertieBotts Fri 11-Sep-09 15:23:45

Don't worry Pumping outcome is absolutely no indication of supply.

Why do you want to express at the moment anyway? It seems very early. Best to concentrate on feeding her direct for the moment and getting to know her (I recommend spending all day in bed together, unless you have older DCs!)

Congratulations on your newborn

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 15:24:32

Tambajam is absolutely right about mindframe and letdown... I used to get very worked up about it and as soon as I learnt to relax it was much easier.

Two of the most successful pumping sessions I had were:

1) the morning after a friends wedding, I'd had a glass of champers the night before and a fab time, and was chomping on my breakfast in bed with pump attached I looked down and hey presto! In about ten mins I had about 10oz! I wasn't even thinking about it, dh and I were chatting about how lovely the wedding had been.

2) My mum and dad were taking dh, ds and I on holiday with them to St Lucia and I was sat at the computer with my mum booking the flights (with pumps attached of course) and again, about 12oz in no time at all.

Try to find the right way for you to relax. They do sometimes say looking at your baby helps, I used to put ds in his bouncy chair while he had a post feed doze, and I gazed at him while I pumped, but to be honest I used to get very good results watching something funny on telly too

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:24:46

I only really need to express for one day - I have a job interview on Tuesday and it's quite far away. Obv. can't take my baby with me, so partner will be in charge, and will have to feed her too.

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:25:36

Oh, and if I get the job, I'll have to express.

Bloody money situation. I don't even want the job.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 15:28:04

Good luck for Tuesday! Can your partner wait in the car with the baby so that you don't have to wait too long to get back to her?

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:28:57

We don't have a car...

Maybe we could borrow one.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 15:29:28

McSnail I had to express for work reasons too, which is why I started at 4 weeks, to a) build up a good supply and get the hang of expressing and b) to get ds happy with a bottle (as well as topping up his evening feeds)

I also built up a big store in the freezer, at one point I had 45 oz of milk in there

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:30:02

45oz?? Phew! Jealous.

cory Fri 11-Sep-09 15:30:44

takes a while to get used to expressing ime

also, if you can borrow/beg/steal an electrical pump, it makes life SO much easier

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:31:27

I think I'm going to have a look on Amazon for an electric one.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 15:44:37

If you can stretch to it, a double electric on will make all the difference, something about double stimulation, double let down, half the pumping time. I couldn't face a single one now, far too time consuming.

I'm not sure how much you've looked in to expressing, but I got in to an awful kerfuffle with all the expressing kit, I used to clean and sterilise all the pumping kit each time, so after an hour or so of pumping then 20 mins of cleaning etc, I only had about ten mins before I had to start the whole thing again as ds was hungry again. A lovely lady at LLL told me not to sterilise each time, just put the milk containers and the pumping bits that go on your nipples in the fridge until the next time, only wash and sterilise when you're finished for the day. It saves so much time!

McSnail Fri 11-Sep-09 15:51:33

Thanks for the tip. It's all a bit overwhelming...

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 16:02:11

It is at first, but trust me, it'll become as much as part of your daily routine as changing nappies!

DrCosyTiger Fri 11-Sep-09 17:00:02

Hi McSnail. You may also find you are more successful in the morning than any other time. I can get loads out first thing but almost nothing after about 5pm. Good luck with the job. Can totally relate - I go back to work in 2 weeks for purely financial reasons. Don't want to at all sad

DrCosyTiger Fri 11-Sep-09 17:35:45

Ps. I found it all almost impossibly overwhelming at your stage too, both expressing and things generally. I could barely even get my head round finding time to switch on the steriliser. I promise you it does get easier. And in the very short term for your job interview it wouldn't hurt your LO to have a couple of FFs. My DD has had one or two emergency FFs over the last 6 months and we are still very happily BFg.

HeadFairy Fri 11-Sep-09 17:38:47

DrCosyTiger is right, LLL told me not to express after 2pm, much more plentiful milk in the morning.

Catitainahatita Fri 11-Sep-09 17:58:48

Hello and congratulations on a) the bew baby! b) the job interview!

I expressed from the word go because I only got 12 weeks statutory maternity leave and had to go back to work when DS was barely 7 weeks old.
Electric pumps can be fine, but if you do get the job, and want to continue expressing you might like to think about a good manual one that is easily portable and can be used where there is no access to electricity (I had to express in my office, in my car, in the toliet, depending on where I was).

I used an avent manual breast pump and after getting used to the idea of pumping found it worked very well. Every one is right, btw, you have to achieve let down for it: and relaxation is the key. Also a photo of your baby and perhaps some clothes of hers for the smell. I work from 8 am to 3 pm and pumped 3-4 times in that space, getting an average of 15 oz a day for 3 feeds of 5 oz.

I did this for nearly 6 months so that my DS was breastfed until he started weaning and then I had to move onto formula, seeing as he was drinking less from me when I was at home and all in all my supply started to dwindle.

All this waffle to say that if finances are tight, a manual pump can do the job too.

Good luck.

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