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Do I need to express if not breastfeeding?

(16 Posts)
Coleminer Wed 20-Mar-13 07:55:56

Hi, have stopped breastfeeding as baby is losing weight and I'm not producing enough milk. However, since I stopped yesterday my boobs have started leaking and feel abit lumpy. Do I need to express or do I just leave them?

UsedToBeAPixie Wed 20-Mar-13 08:00:30

Hi there, you might need to express a little just to ensure you don't get any blockages - not loads, just a little every so often. Can you hand express? I'm rubbish at it, but it's probably the best way to take the edge off xx

Woodifer Wed 20-Mar-13 09:41:51

Hi miner are you set on stopping? The more you feed or express the more milk you produce - you CAN build up your supply if you want to continue breastfeeding/ mix feeding (and expressing could help that)

If not then pixie is right and a little bit of expressing (i.e. gradually reduce the amount you feed/express) can stop you getting blocked up. Massaging your boobs in a warm shower can help. If you express too much your body will keep producing milk as it thinks it is still feeding a baby. Your leaky boobs are actually an indication of how good your boobs are at producing milk!

Maybe try posting on the Breastfeeding/ Formula Feeding section for more specific advice.

I want to say you can find support for help with breastfeeding, without making you annoyed if you really don't want to.

UsedToBeAPixie Wed 20-Mar-13 10:33:57

Oh I'd second Woodifer there - any chance you could mix-feed? Or speak to someone about why baby seems to be losing weight - maybe breastfeeding helpline or La Leche League - before you stop? You might be able to up your supply.
Good luck with whichever you choose though,your body will adapt either way - as will baby smile

MyNameIsAnAnagram Wed 20-Mar-13 13:14:34

It's not a great idea to just stop without reducing feeds gradually as it can lead to issues like mastitis.

Do you want to stop? No problems if not, you can express (pump or hand) for comfort and to ease your supply down gradually.

If you don't want to stop and would rather carry on there are a lot of people out there (both on the feeding section and in rl) who may be able to help.

ZuleikaD Wed 20-Mar-13 13:38:00

How old is your baby? The Breast and Bottle Feeding board here on MN (under Feed The World) can be incredibly helpful - there are some breastfeeding counsellors (tiktok in particular) who post there and are often on hand with excellent advice. If you'd rather keep on going they will help!

If you're deadset on stopping, though, you will probably need to express to ease your supply off as otherwise you could end up with a nasty bout of mastitis.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Mar-13 13:52:19

Instead of expressing, could you feed your baby? You can give formula and breastfeed, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Or you could breastfeed and formula feed and slowly reduce the number of breastfeeds rather than stopping dead, which would be better in terms of avoiding mastitis.

Coleminer Thu 21-Mar-13 06:05:00

Thanks for the comments, am now expressing 3 times a day and she's getting about 9 ounces in total from that. The rest of the time I'm giving formula. Is that enough expressing to prevent my milk drying up?

ZuleikaD Thu 21-Mar-13 06:15:49

Expressing will never be as efficient as feeding if you do want to keep your supply from drying up - though it is possible to do it all on expressing you have to express about every two hours.

nellyjelly Thu 21-Mar-13 06:22:35

Speak to a bf counsellor asap. Best just to feed feed feed and do this bt bfing. You build up supply a doing it on demand means baby gets what they need. Easier to feed direct rather than express. Unless baby not latching on properly. Has this been checked?

Very unlikely you aren't producing enough milk. Works on supply and demand, more you feed, more you produce. A bit of weightloss jsut after birth is not unusual but you need some proper advice. Ask your midwife/helath visitor for advice re the weight gain but a bf counsellor can be really helpful.

Coleminer Thu 21-Mar-13 06:24:29

My problem is that I'm not producing enough milk which is why I'm only doing it 3 times a day. I have an electric pump on hire and am wondering whether to buy one but probably won't bother if by only expressing 3 times daily will cause my milk to go.

Meringue33 Thu 21-Mar-13 06:53:08

What makes you think you don't have enough? How much weight has baby lost as a % of birthweight and how many weeks old is s/he?

midori1999 Thu 21-Mar-13 07:31:56

Coleminer, if you're happy to give formula, then that's obviously perfectly fine. However, if you want to breastfeed, but obviously don't want your baby to lose weight, what help has been given to you to enable you to BF? Has anyone given suggestions as to how to improve weight gain while still breastfeeding, for example?

midori1999 Thu 21-Mar-13 08:03:10

Just too add, if you're getting 9oz a day from 3 expressing sessions, that's actually quite a lot of milk and although pumping isn't a good indicator of supply (in that let down can be affected if pumping and not feeding, not all women can pump, a pump will never be as efficient as baby etc) it does indicate you actually have plenty of milk there, most women can only pump 1-2oz per session.

noblegiraffe Thu 21-Mar-13 08:12:53

To maintain a good milk supply, 8-10 times a day is recommended.

Who has said you don't have enough milk? Weight loss in babies isn't usually due to mum not having enough milk (this is rare) but more likely a problem with feeding like not feeding enough or often enough (e.g. sleepy baby) or a problem with baby's latch or tongue tie; things which can be fixed with good advice.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Thu 21-Mar-13 13:21:21

Why do you think you aren't producting enough milk? yield from expressing is not a good way to assess how much milk you have by feeding directly as the two really aren't similar at all. Baby will be much more efficent than the pump. If you do want to stick at bfing (and obviously that's totally your decision, it's not complusory!) then you are far better off feeding as much as possible and offereing 2, 3 or even 4 sides per feed, to get your supply up. If you do want to carry on it would probably be a good idea to call one of the helplines (NCT, ABM or LLL) for advice from a BFC.

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