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Can you express (pump) colostrum?

(23 Posts)
Billy11 Sun 20-May-12 17:58:54

Last time I planned to breastfeed and found out a week later that I am one of those women....no matter what...I just would only produce a very limited amount of milk a day...this time I would like to pump from the start to avoid nipple confusion...But since colostrum is so little ...do you actually pump it and feed it with a bottle...it would only make like a few drops rite?
What are other mums doin for new borns if you def only want to pump and use a bottle?

HorribleDay Sun 20-May-12 18:02:02

I BF but antenatally expressed clostrum for DS due to my pre existing diabetes and high risk of problems for us both postnatally. Expressed into tiny pots that came with Tommee Tipped bottles (they sit in the top on the bottle to carry powder I think) then drew up into tiny syringes and he was fed from those while I was unwell.

lemniscate Sun 20-May-12 18:07:41

In answer to tour qn, hand expressing is much better for colostrum as so little comes out and it's so thick. You can then syringe it up and into your baby's mouth.

But in general, your experience last time won't necessarily have any bearing this time. Rather than deciding to pump first, id say It might be worth talking to your mw about getting feeding support in hospital, identify the hospital feeding co-ordinator and/or talk with a bf counsellor or perr supporter about your concerns. They can all help ensure that your positioning and attachmemt are optimal, and help you identify other signs that your baby is getting enough. In the early days it is normal for your baby to feed little and often - their tummy is the size of a marble, so they can't take much in. So if your baby feeds a lot this is good and not a sign that they're unsatisfied.

Hope that helps a bit. Sure more knowledgeable folks will be along soon smile

Billy11 Sun 20-May-12 19:16:38

Thanks i think i may just try bfeedin the first few days then .... last time the so called bfeedin councellors advice starved my baby ... no wet nappies etc for days
so im a bit scared tro take their advice ajain
even this time just like last there are no chanjes to my breasts at all...my mum was like that as well
just afraid that baby will refuse bottle and formula if i start off with breast?

blackteaplease Sun 20-May-12 20:20:33

Agree with horribleday, dd wasn't interested in latching for approx 18 hours after the birth. The midwife showed me how to hand express into a pot and syringe feed. I didn't really get the hang of pumping for a while and could only ever get a few ounces out but seemed to have plenty of milk when dd latched on.

Can you call la leche league for advice? Rather than the nhs breastfeeding counsellers?

Inneedofsanity Sun 20-May-12 21:14:13

My DS was rushed straight into NICU at birth and I pumped from the first day, using a medela electric pump. Got loads of colostrum which was tube fed to him when he was well enough.

I then started breastfeeding him after about 10 days, when his ventilator came out, and by the time he was 3 weeks, he was taking my expressed milk from a bottle happily too. We breast and bottle fed breast milk for 8 months.

It worked for us, he was happy as long as he was getting the milk! He did have a very strong suck reflex though.. shock grin

Inneedofsanity Sun 20-May-12 21:16:10

Meant to say I kept pumping for about 4 months, and froze the excess, which we worked through in date order. And no nipple/teat confusion either, the boy just wanted food!

monkeymoma Sun 20-May-12 21:16:19

I expressed colostrum, used an electric pump. there was only a little bit in the bottle so that was sucked up in a syringe then fed through a syringe, wasn't enough to bottle feed

Billy11 Sun 20-May-12 22:49:06

thanks so much ladies really appreciate u sharin your experiences

SarryB Mon 21-May-12 08:56:41

I pumped some with a hand-pump for my little boy (4 weeks old now) - I managed to get 50ml (using both boobs), it took about 30 minutes I think. I had loads of colostrum. Totally worth it, as LO refused to BF for the first two weeks.

He now feeds brilliantly from both me and bottle. No nipple confusion! But like someone else said, he does have a VERY strong suck reflex.

Lunarlyte Mon 21-May-12 09:11:42

Oh, you sound like me! BF didnt work out with DD1 for various reasons, but I was determined to BF DD2.

Didn't work out again, though - little milk, a screamig baby, ENORMOUS engorged breasts that she wouldn't latch onto. I didn't like my boobs; thy were heavy and pulled me down; I was advised by MW to express to soften my breasts but I cried when expressing these pathetic bits of milk that for what felt like hours that only satisfied her for an hour.

As DD1 is a shining example if a bottlefed baby, I decided that it was best for all of us if DD2 was bottlefed instead. I felt very guilty with DD1, but comfortable with my decision with DD2. I know some women can overcome these initial difficulties with BF, but ... It just didn't feel worth it all to me.

Whatever you decide to do - good luck! x

Billy11 Mon 21-May-12 12:00:05

I thouht i was the only one with this issue...
I also felt very very bad for not bfeedin but my peadiatrian after three weeks said your baby is healty and you will just depress yourself if you carry on expressin a whole day for just 30 mls of milk...so i stopped...
i do still want to to it for first few weeks...if i had loads of colostrum that be fantastic...will just have to pump and see...
im afraid of wastin the milk pumpin as some of it will stay in the pump etc...
will def top up strait away with formula ...my dauhter drank 30 mls of formula a few times on the first day whereas i was told babys have a tummy size of a walnut
she looked like an overdue baby and had done a meconeum as well...and was still dehydrated after a few days of bfeedin...
Anyway ...
will post once i decided what to do ..still a bit confused...dont fancy messin around with syrinjes after my c section

Spiritedwolf Mon 21-May-12 12:47:35

Billy, hand expressing those first few colostrum feeds into a small cup will mean that none is lost in the pump. You should be able to get help to do this, talk it over with your midwife or a breastfeeding councillor.

You really don't need to top up with formula straight away, baby's are designed that colostrum is enough until the full breastmilk comes in. Just because it is possible using a bottle to stuff them full of formula/expressed milk, doesn't mean that it is necessary to do so. They are set up to eat little and often, which is perfect for stimulating your breasts to produce. If they have a tummy full of formula then they won't feel hungry, won't suckle as often and your breasts miss the message that you need to produce more milk.

I totally understand topping up with a small amount of cup fed expressed milk or formula if the baby is taking a while to figure out how to latch, in order to take the edge of hunger so that baby can try again at nursing, so I'm not saying that all top ups are evil, but you don't need to top up as a matter of course if baby is suckling well.

Try reading 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' for lots of advice on how your breasts work, how to hand express etc.

Its worth noting that not all women find expressing possible, this doesn't mean that they don't have enough milk when the baby nurses - it is to do with their let down mechanism not being stimulated enough by the pump.

Billy11 Tue 22-May-12 00:37:40

Trust me, with me the issue was def NOT havin enouh milk to express and I drove myself crazy cuz everyone around me kept sayin its how you do it I etc...
I read all the books under the rainbow for bfeedin but unfortunately none of them take in to consideration that a hormonal imbalance can also cause you to produce milk which is insufficient for your baby ...
The only people who seemed to understand strait away were doctors..peadiatrician and my obstetrician ..
I am sorry I must sound very bitter towards lactation nurses and pro bfeed promoters...
I just feel it is a one sided pressure on women without understandin the medical complications of hormones in some women albeit rare..

Some women unfortunately despite of a well latchin baby just do not produce much milk...it has to do with hormonal imbalances which lactation nurses just dont seem to understand...so i will express what i can and top up if i need to

So I suppose I will just have to pump...at least i know how much my baby is drinkin

I did bfeed colostrum last time...not sure howmany drops came out...but my baby kept cryin and cryin and cryin till she was fed the formula which settled her down
I supposed I am bit scarred by the fact that I ended up what the peadiatrician called starvin my baby last time so wont take the same risks this time
I feel extremely frustrated when ppl say it is up to you if you like to formula feed....because it is not! unfortunatly its not a choice

The first time I was all for doin it all naturally the birth and feedin..if there is one thin i have learned it is that nature doesnt always do what it is suposed to and it can actually be harmful for mother and baby to limit yourself to the natural way of doin thins
I am also in for an elcs this time as last time my 'natural' birth left me with a fractured coccyx bone and pelvic hip and knee joints that are damajed for life''

Not sayin bfeein isnt the best way ...it is and not sayin vajinal birth shoundt be the first choice ....but its not rite for all women and babies...

So here we are...will def try the breast milk a try ...this time only with a pump so i can measure ...and formula when needed...

Thanks so much ladies...

lostlenore Tue 22-May-12 03:29:33

My DD was in SCBU for 9 days and tube fed to start with. The MW's were excellent at encouraging you to express on the ward to build up a good supply and even woke me up in the middle of the night to do it. I hand expressed colostrum until my milk came in on day three when they let me use a pump which was the most wonderful thing ever imho....

lemniscate Tue 22-May-12 07:59:19

Hi billy - understood! A hormonal issue can make a difference, didn't realise that was the cause when you first posted. Sometimes first time experience of low supply doesn't predict second time (was my situation), but in your circs can see it might.

I would suggest you ask for help with hand expressing colostrum as it is more effective than a pump for colostrum because it's so thick. You may also want to try bf (and then top up if you and drs feel its the right thing) as babies are usually better than pumps at getting out what milk is there.

Best wishes to you and your baby x

Billy11 Tue 22-May-12 10:47:31

Yes ladies I think you ar right
Will def ask for help with the pumping and see how it goes...
I was in tears for weeks as I felt so guilty for not bein able to breastfeed
Will have more realistic expectations this time round

Cuddler Tue 22-May-12 12:35:18

I think it sounds like your kind of expecting to not be able to breastfeed,do you really want to?i do honestly think that you have to think "i am going to bf" rather than "i might, or i will see how it goes" if its important to you then put your foot down and get the support you need,i had to and when i did it went swimmingly.bf is natural but its a lost art,so we need the support there as sometimes it can be hard in the beginnig.try le leche league,i found the nhs midwives were hit and miss tbh,read as much as you can and remind yourself constantly that nearly all women are biologically capable of breastfeeding,it just comes easier to some than others,that really helped me.

Cuddler Tue 22-May-12 12:37:13

sorry i didnt see that long post up there about your hormonal imbalance?is there anyway you can look into that being sorted out or improving it?dont give up if you dont want to x

sc2987 Tue 22-May-12 14:16:46

What condition do you have that causes the problem, Billy11?

Sometimes doctors don't know much about breastfeeding even if they can diagnose a hormonal problem, so it may be possible to exclusively breastfeed even with the condition (with various adjustments). But in order to give you better advice it would help if we knew what your medical condition was.

From what you said about your breasts not changing, that made me think of tubular hypoplastic breasts - is this what you have?

FutureNannyOgg Tue 22-May-12 14:45:41

You will get better specialised support from a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) than a BFC or midwife, there is a site here to find one www.lcgb.org/consultants_local.html, some hospitals will have one on site too, but you need to ask for someone with IBCLC certification. They can help you prepare for expressing colostrum and will have a better handle on your hormone situation than a BFC or Paediatrician, so might be able to find ways around mix feeding in a way that is sustainable for you but doesn't deprive baby.

Billy11 Tue 22-May-12 17:17:48

Thanks future nanny. I will try n get help in expressing

Billy11 Tue 22-May-12 17:41:05

It is an 'unexplained' hormonal imbalance that doesnt seem to match any of the existing recognised imbalances...bit like 'unexlpained' infertility where you can try for years but its not to be pinpointed what is causin the problem...

I will def ask for help pumpin but am not willin to try all the thins i tried last time ..it just stressed me out ...and the milk never came properly anyway ...

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