How long should I express milk for to give my baby the best start?

(15 Posts)
clrichards Fri 27-Nov-09 21:09:18

Hi all,

For reasons I won't get into here, I was unable to breast feed my baby when she was born and instead have been expressing milk and giving it to her in a bottle.
We have been feeding baby formula and breast milk for 3 weeks now and I'm wondering what a "reasonable" amount of time is to continue expressing milk for to ensure my baby has had a good start?
Does anyone know how long it takes to pass a decent level of immunity and anti-bodies on to baby?

thisisyesterday Fri 27-Nov-09 21:16:17

well the immunity and anti-bodies thing is an ongoing process, if you will. you'll always pass them on to her, even if you're still feeding a few years down the line they are benefitting/

but every breastfeed makes a difference, so it's maybe best to think of it that way? each breastfeed is good for your baby and you should stop when you feel ready tyo stop!

i believe that children's immune systems aren't really mature until around a year.

i think your baby has already had a good start, much better than many. and i think if it were me i would just carry on until i felt like i needed to stop.

have you seen anyone about getting her to feed direct from breast? that's an option if you didn't want to stop giving her breastmilk but no longer want to e4xcpress

clrichards Fri 27-Nov-09 21:30:12

I tried so hard to feed her from my breast right from the start for 2 weeks but she just would not latch on. I tried nipple shields, I've seen breast feeding counsellors, watched videos online, read books, had lots of great support from ladies at the la leche league, you name it, we've tried it! My baby just did not want to breast feed and I think once she had got used to a bottle there was no going back for her.
I am very conscious of the health benefits to my baby of breast milk hence why I have been expressing, I'm just not sure if it makes any difference to carry on or not?

thisisyesterday Fri 27-Nov-09 21:32:56

well, it def makes a difference.
was she checked for tongue tie? only she sounds just like my first baby who i ended up expressing for too!

clrichards Fri 27-Nov-09 21:36:08

Yes, she has been checked over and there is no obvious reason for her not latching on - she is just a fussy little madam!

thisisyesterday Fri 27-Nov-09 21:46:39

they're strange things babies, that's for sure.
i assumed they knew what to do and was really thrown when ds1 wouldn't even go near a boob without screaming lol

ThePinkOne Fri 27-Nov-09 21:54:13

Have you tried putting her to the breast again? Only a friend I met recently fully fed her DS expressed milk for weeks and finally decided to give up but thought, 'right, last try on the boob and then it's formula' and he took to it and she's still breastfeeding!

NotQuiteCockney Fri 27-Nov-09 21:59:44

It's probably worth pointing out - babies who don't breastfeed, it's because they can't, not because they don't want to.

Just because nobody has succeeded in finding a reason, doesn't mean there isn't one. Not to say there is a big sinister scary reason, but just, I don't think it's helpful for your future relationship to decide she's a 'fussy little madam' at three weeks.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 27-Nov-09 22:07:55

Message withdrawn

starmucks Fri 27-Nov-09 22:08:28

Harsh NQC.

I couldn't breast feed DS1 and managed to express for six weeks - during this period he was exclusively fed breast milk. Personally I found it really hard going and gave up because I wanted to enjoy time spent with DS rather than constantly expressing. It's a very personal thing, but don't feel like you've failed if you decide to ff.

priyag Fri 27-Nov-09 22:14:27

How often do you express and how much do you get ?

teenyweenytadpole Fri 27-Nov-09 22:15:54

I don't think there's any fixed answer to be honest it would theoretically be possible to keep going for ages, years even, but really the cut off point is more to do with you and how long you feel happy to keep expressing etc. It does actually get easier once your milk supply is established, 3 weeks is really not that long in terms of that all settling down for you. On a personal level I couldn't bf my first DD either (very similar story to yours) and gave expressed milk until she was four months old, felt that was okay but that was me - there really are no hard and fast rules here.

If it's any help DD2 latched on straight away and I bf her until she was 3 and a half so just because it didn't work for you this time doesn't mean it won't. I also second the suggestion of trying her at the breast again if you feel comfortable with it - a friend did this with non-bf a six week old and she did indeed latch on.

belindarose Fri 27-Nov-09 23:27:17

Maybe other people's stories don't help, but my DD (now 14 weeks) didn't latch on at all until she was 4 weeks - I was expressing - and is now fully breastfed. It was hard work and I made a mental deadline of 6 weeks when I was going to make a decision about what to do. Fortunately for us, we cracked it, but I'm sure this isn't possible for everyone. Anyway, well done for getting this far. It's so hard expressing with a new baby.

clrichards Sun 29-Nov-09 17:38:57

Thanks for all the comments ladies.

I don't get a huge amount with expressing to be honest, maybe 3oz a time (at the most) which is not enough to keep baby satisfied at the moment.

I know that expressing milk does not stimulate the breast in the same way as baby suckling and I can tell my supply is dropping already. So I either have to express even more often, or as has been suggested I am going to try to get her to latch on again and see how that goes. You never know, she might take it now that she is a bit bigger and more settled.

As notquitecockney says, she may just not be able to breast feed but its got to be worth a couple of final goes, we have nothing to loose eh?

I just feel so guilty for not feeding her myself, which is something I know I just need to get over.

By the way, the "fussy little madam" comment was intended as a light hearted tongue-in-cheek comment, you have to keep smiling in these situations or you'd go mad

rosiefean Tue 01-Dec-09 12:23:23

I had a nightmare BF as well, and wish I'd thought of expressing to continue giving him milk (not sure why it didn't occur to me, but it didn't until too late).

When I was in hospital trying to re-establish BF the midwives said to put baby to my breast for 20 mins each side (assuming he didn't latch correctly) and then express. Apparently even if they don't suck properly just seeing a baby at your boob can stimulate your supply - and if she latches then even more stimulation hits you.

Like others, I would suggest you speak to NCT or somesuch to see if you can get support to re-establish BF as I now know others who have had success at 6-8 weeks after formula feeding for some time. But if you can't take it or it doesn't work, don't feel bad. She'll grow just as well on formula and as long as she has a loving mum she'll be just fine.

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