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Expressing for partner to do feeds

(23 Posts)
Joy27 Thu 17-Sep-09 14:12:21

My partner is keen to do at least one feed a day when our baby is born in Jan/Feb, perhaps more (he reckons he'll happily do the night feeds- wonder how that will pan out once he starts back at work, ha ha...)

Our plan is for me to express milk- so between 1 and 3 bottles a day I would have thought. TBH though I don't even have a clue how many times a baby wakes up at night and needs feeding! Total novice, as you can see.

Does anyone have any experience of sharing feeds with their partner and using breastmilk exclusively? Advice would be much appreciated.

Did it all work out or was it not worth the hassle? Did the baby "mind"? Which breast pumps were great/rubbish for this way of feeding? How do you store the milk? Do you need to warm it up?!

Sorry for all the questions! I've had a rifle through past threads but can't find anything which describes what we're planning to do. Am clueless but really want to make this work.


thighsmadeofcheddar Thu 17-Sep-09 14:16:13

We did this, we did a 10pm feed with expressed milk from about 4 weeks. It was great as I could go to bed early and then have a good stretch before night time feeds.

I used the Avent pump, got the electric one but used the manual function as found it easier. Stored the milk in the fridge and gently warmed it up.

We both really liked doing this, it felt good for me to rest and good for my DH to be invovled.

MrsBadger Thu 17-Sep-09 14:24:05

just keep an open mind

IME expressing was time-consuming and a considerable hassle and certainly not worth doing routinely when I could just feed dd instead.
What was worth doing was expressing enough to have the odd night out, and also expressing once I went back to work so she could have ebm at nursery.

I'd also question the sensibleness and fairness of a father (back at work in a full time job) doing night feeds vs a mother (on matleave and able to nap in the day while the baby does)...

What worked for us was making dh responsible for 'bathtime' ie stories, songs, bath and pyjamas, which took about an hour, while I put my feet up. Then I took over for the bedtime feed.

tiktok Thu 17-Sep-09 14:51:59

Agree with MrsB - and would say pretty strongly that expressing can be hard work, time consuming and unnecessary if it's to be done in order for dad to be involved.

Bonding doesn't happen with feeding ie the moving of milk (A) into baby's digestive system (B) - it's the interaction around feeding that does the bonding and these interactions are found in many, many other practical aspects of a baby's care and lots of impractical aspects too, like cuddling, singing, talking, holding, face pulling...all the lovely communication and responsiveness that comes with getting to know your baby.

Fathers sometimes don't realise this and they think they (and the baby) may miss out if they don't do some of the feeding.

CMOTdibbler Thu 17-Sep-09 15:00:35

I think he might feel differently about nightfeeds when it comes down to waking up to crying baby, going downstairs, getting milk out of fridge, warming it up, sitting and feeding baby, then getting them settled etc. As opposed to you rolling over, getting baby, snoozing whilst they feed as you lie down, then eventually putting a fast asleep baby back..

FWIW, as I went back to travelling for work when DS was 6 months old, DH certainly did his share of night feeds with EBM. He tells me that sitting in the cold at night whilst wishing you were asleep is not a good bonding experience hmm

I got more sleep in the early days by going to bed really early, then DH would stay up with DS until he wanted a feed, would then change him and bring him to me in bed so that I could then feed him whilst snoozing

Joy27 Thu 17-Sep-09 15:07:58

Good points made re other things being "bonding" other than just feeding. And I totally agree about it seeming unfair for the man to get up in the night- it was completely his suggestion and I am quite prepared and happy for this not to transpire!

I think we're going to make it work for at least one feed a day, and see how it goes- it may turn out to be a big hassle, but we'll see. Thanks for the tips thighs.

londonmackem Thu 17-Sep-09 15:09:48

I personally think you would be lucky to express enough for more than one feed per day as it is so time consuming and a hassle. Are you going to express while your husband feeds the baby as you need to think about how this will affect you milk supply? For example, you express in the day he gives 3 feeds in the evening/at night - you are not being stimulated loss of milk supply in the morning - struggling to express etc (plus painful boobs!).
My husband does 1 or 2 feeds a week so our daughter doesn't forget that she doesn't mind taking a bottle! I am freezing milk for when I go out.
In terms of bonding I feel that I bond with my daughter just as much through cuddles as feeding her - I just see it as a really efficient way of doing things.

Joy27 Thu 17-Sep-09 15:10:02

Thanks, I actually hadn't thought about other ways in which we could make our routine work to give me a break and him some bonding time- so all your points are good food for thought.

londonmackem Thu 17-Sep-09 15:14:33

Sorry I didn't read your post properly. I have the medela swing and really like it but I didn't buy it until I had established breastfeeding as it is expensive. Also talk to your HV about when to start as I was recommended 6 weeks - many people do it earlier but our latching was not perfect so I waited until about week 5.
We warm the milk in hot (not boiling water in a jug) as it is usually straight out of the fridge but some babies will take it at room temperature. You can store it in the fridge (1-3days depending on what you read) and freeze it in Lansinoh bags.

Ladyem Thu 17-Sep-09 15:16:53

I would agree that expressing is a real faff. I wanted to breastfeed my first child and she just could latch on so I expressed continually for 4 weeks while she learned how to latch on and TBH the last thing you'll want to be doing when you've eventually got half an hour to yourself is to sit pumping milk, when you could be having a snooze or a cuppa!!

I continued to express once I was breastfeeding to help keep my supply up (not sure why I thought it was necessary, but I did anyway!!) and I got really stressed at trying to find an hour to sit quietly and express when all DD wanted to do was play or have a cuddle. (BTW I used the 'Medula mini electric' pump which was great. Costs about £50, but well worth the money! You can also buy bags that clip on so that you can express directly into them so less mess.)

This time round (DS 3.5 weeks old) I am just breast feeding as I decided that there was no way I was going to stress myself out with expressing this time!! DH helps out in other ways. I think that bathing the baby is a lovely bonding experience for Dads. And also gives you a little time to have a rest before the bedtime feed.

There will be plenty of time in a few months for your DH to feed the baby, whether it be if you decide to wean onto bottles/cups after 6+ months or when you start on solid foods.

Sorry for the long post!! I just don't want you to go through the stress that I did as it can really spoil the first few months with your LO.

AppleAndBlackberry Thu 17-Sep-09 15:29:34

At the moment I am expressing one feed a day at around 9am and my DH gives the first morning feed the next day at around 7 so I can stay in bed for a bit. There's no way I would be able to express enough for all the night feeds in the day though. Most women have loads more milk at night so it doesn't really make sense to replace a night feed, but you could do an evening or morning one. Don't feel pressured into it if you don't want to though, especially in the early days when you're trying to get the hang of it.

Forgot to say my DD is 6 weeks.

Wattinger Thu 17-Sep-09 15:31:59

Hi Joy,

I used the Philips Avent manual breast pump, it was one of the cheapest ones around and you can get them in TK Maxx or Argos. I found it really easy to use and I always managed to pump quite a lot of milk out!

I expressed every day but my gorgeous little bugger of a baby would not EVER take a bottle and/or expressed milk from anyone! After 6 months of daily pumping and sterilising faff plus spending a fortune on different teat/ bottle combinations I gave up and admitted DS was a BF addict.

I actually found it OK to do all the night BFs, I just lay DS down on my bed (with bedguard and following good co- sleeping guidelines), plugged him on and we both usually fell asleep. If we didn't have a good night I would catch up on sleep in the day - which of course DP couldn't do as he had to go to work grin

Lerato Thu 17-Sep-09 21:24:04

Well, if you are like me, then you may not be able to express at all. Could hardly get any out, never mind a whole bottle. Too stressful. Didn't bother at all with DD2. Straight breast feeding much easier.

Grendle Thu 17-Sep-09 23:23:45

Agree with much of what has been said about expressing being a faff. Expressing 3 whole bottles a day is likely unrealistic. Many mums only manage to express 1/2 an oz or so the first few times they try. Totally normal and says nothing about your supply, but means several expressing sessions may be needed to get even one bottle. That's a lot of faffing around. Even if you can express 3 whole feeds a day, you'd probably find you need to express when the baby is being bottlefed in order to maintain that level of supply.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Sep-09 23:25:56

I think everyone else has given really good advice.

One thing which hasn't been mentioned - and something that bothered all of us in my NCT group in the early days - is that if you express, you are not taking all the milk out of the breast, more will be made for your baby as they suck (if that makes sense).

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 17-Sep-09 23:34:55

Yes, I agree that expressing isn't necessary as a general rule, however if you don't express, then the corollary being that there isn't any back up or reserve, and it tends to be more difficult if you try and express at a later stage.

I couldn't express anything whilst b/fing DD. Nothing. Or very little. I started at around 10 months.

But with DS, started expressing at around 2 -3 months, and managed about 120 ml approx every morning. This was useful in that DP could give DS a bottle if needed, so if I wanted to go out for a few hours, then I didn't need to worry. The freedom alone was invaluable. (or at least the idea of freedom as I wouldn't really go out for more than a couple of hours...)

See how you feel when your DC is born. As far as I was concerned, the night feedings were not so much about the pure feeding aspect, but the cuddling, being close, and the quiet time.

cory Fri 18-Sep-09 11:10:47

we did this with ds, to give me a chance to sleep 4 hrs in a row as I had been quite ill pre-delivery

electric breast-pump far the best, but they do cost a bit to hire

as for the father-bonding thing: we always found nappy changes are the best times for bonding anyway, so he won't miss out if you find you don't want to express

PuzzleRocks Fri 18-Sep-09 11:17:30

Neither of mine have ever had a bottle. DH was in charge of nappies and baths and as much play/cuddle time as him working would allow.
Both of mine are unquestionably Daddy's girls.

Good luck if it is what you want to do, but from a bonding perspective it is unnecessary.

twirlymum Fri 18-Sep-09 11:24:05

I also used the Avent pump, which I found really easy to use, and reasonably priced too.
Just bear in mind that if a baby never learns how to suck from a bottle, it can be a problem too. My SiL had an emergency op on her appendix when her dd was a few months old, and she would not take a bottle, it was a nightmare for her.
Obviously bf is easier, no sterilising etc, but I found by expressing some feeds I had the best of both worlds.

pippa251 Fri 18-Sep-09 11:59:49

My dd is 8 weeks now and I have been expressing from about 2 weeks- and I've found it a godsend!

I wanted DP to be able to feed her to give me a bit of freedom to go to the gym etc on his days off- I've found having the 2 hours away a life saver- without having to worry about getting back for feeding time and having a bit of me time (even if i don't actually take 2 hours off its great knowing that I have the option). grin

Also my DP really enjoys feeding her as he feels 'useful'. He loves the connection and the faces she pulls.

However, I would echo what others have said about the night time feeds- we actually tried it once and it was far more hassle than it was worth- she is happy to take a bottle during the day but had none of it during the night- she only wants breast- I think it's more of a comfort thing.

Currantly I express about 6-8oz a day- and I find expressing in the morning the best time for me- I also donate breast milk to my local hospital- so even if I wont use it I can give it away- ensuring I express a similar ammount every day to keep my supply up. (if that makes sense)

Having a supply of expressed milk also means you and DH can have a night off once in a while- we went out for the first time yesterday and let grandma do the feeding! wink

ParanoidAtAllTimes Fri 18-Sep-09 17:53:15

Hi Joy,

This is my 1st post on here! Your situation sounds similar to ours so I thought I'd give my two pennies worth.

I started expressing when ds was about 5 weeks, when I felt bfing was comfortably established. I use the Medela swing (£90 but I found it very effective and pain free). Ds screamed a bit when dp 1st tried to give him the bottle but soon got the hang of it when we realised that fridge-cold probably wasn't the most pleasant way to take breastmilk! (We warm it by immersing the bottle in warm water for a while)

I tend to express about 2-3 oz in one go which is usually enough for 1 feed (ds is 9 weeks now), and find the morning is best. I bf through the night on all week nights, pump each day towards the end of the week (ending up with 3-4 bottles in the fridge) and dp does the whole night on a Saturday. This 'night off' keeps me going through the week.

Dp loves feeding ds in terms of bonding but I agree with others in this thread that there are plenty of other ways eg bathing, nappy changing.

Sorry for long post, HTH

Beveridge Fri 18-Sep-09 22:59:35

I was expressing like billy-o at the beginning but I found it was getting more difficult to find the time to do it (the expressing with an electric pump is a piece of cake, it's the sterilising of everything afterwards that a total timeconsuming pain)as DD's body clock changed (no more going back to sleep after 6.30am feed so no peace to do it).Felt the expressing/bottle thing was defeating a huge advantage of BF i.e. convenience so I haven't bothered (now got a freezer full in case of a genuine emergency anyway)unless I have a specific trip out coming up.

Also found DD is always much windier with a bottle, resulting in more screaming and being harder to settle ....not what you want at bedtime, really so DH has only done the odd night of feeds when Mummy has had too many units (I love Alcohol Maths!). Thing is, you'll also be tuned into your wee one so when they wake you will, and you can't help but listen in for any problems so it's not really a break. Much more helpful is if DH gets up with the baby at the weekends at about 8am so you have the bed to yourself for a lie-in, returning with said infant only for feeding. They can bond all they want then, DD is especially fresh and chirpy first thing (unlike her mother) so it probably makes for a better quality of interaction!

Newb Sat 19-Sep-09 22:01:22

I keep a bottle of expressed in the fridge so DH can feed when I have my night out a week. Then I pump to replace it later that night when I get back (just the one glass of wine for me so she gets a bottle every 2 or 3 days which I like cos it keeps her used to both, figure this will be easier in terms of her taking a bottle when I finish bf. Also have built up 4 or 5 feeds worth of frozen for emergencies. Also have box of formula just in case - though have no idea how to use it

Mornings are easier to express more milk. I have a medela swing which is great and seems to get a lot out.

For me the advantage of expressing is a security thing, she can be fed breast milk even if baby and boob are parted for more than a couple of hours....

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