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Reccs and experiences with expressers?

(15 Posts)
saranga Sun 13-Apr-14 14:35:58

I'm 7 months gone and thinking about buying a breastmilk expresser. I've been advised that an electronic one is better than the hand pumps.

What do you guys think? Do I need to buy one before the birth or can I wait until a few weeks after? The electronic ones are really expensive.. (£76+). I plan to breastfeed but I'm also pretty mindful that I might not be able to breastfeed - in which case do I need an expresser?

I looked at a video on how to use an expresser and to be honest it just looks painful, like your nipple is being suctioned down the pump. Does it mimic how the baby sucks? Is it painful? It looks horrible, like a torture device.

As you can probably tell, I'm not terribly enthused about using an expresser... I'd like the boyfriend to assist with feedings but presumably he can do that with formula milk even if I'm breastfeeding?
We aren't that well off and I'm anxioous about buying something which will cause me pain and stress and so might not get used.


Bb14 Sun 13-Apr-14 15:20:41

Don't buy yet! I managed fine with hand expressing. Takes a bit if getting used to but it's easy to learn, no sterilising of pumps and free! There are loads of demos on you tube.

saranga Sun 13-Apr-14 17:37:10

What do you mean by hand expressing?

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Sun 13-Apr-14 17:49:14

Exactly what it says - you express using your hands rather than a machine/pump smile

In terms of your questions:

- No, it shouldn't hurt
- No electronic are not necessarily better, different people have different preferences
- You can add in formula feeds, but all means. But this can mess with supply, particularly if the feeds you are missing are night ones. You'd probably be best having a specific read up. Generally you are better giving things a few weeks to settled down before you start missing feeds for formula instead. As the baby gets older, it becomes less of an issue.
-No, you don't need a pump if you end up formula feeding. Why would you?

Personally, I would hold off and see how you go. You might find that bf-ing doesn't work out, and you've wasted money. You might find that bf-ing goes so well you don't bother expressing and wait a few months before adding some formula. You might find that you can hand express or get on with a manual pump.

If you think you might buy a second hand pump, look into open and closed systems. Only closed systems should ever, every be sold on (which rules out the popular Medela Swing). Also, you may be able to rent a pump to try out from people like the NCT.

Hope that helps a bit. smile

saranga Sun 13-Apr-14 18:58:02

Thank you penguins, that is helpful.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 13-Apr-14 19:15:01

I'm solely expressing as dd is tube fed atm. For now and again a hand pump is ok. For any regular sessions id go electric. I'm using an Ardo Calypso and its excellent.
Personally if either buy secondhand from eBay or fb, or see what local support groups have to loan or rent.
I have a Tommee Tippee closer to nature pump. I won't recommend it. every time I use it I end up blocked and engorged. sad

SweepTheHalls Sun 13-Apr-14 19:18:57

It does look terrifying, but I promise isn't at all! My advice would be not to even think about expressing initially, the volumes you get in the early days are so depressing! Work on getting feeding established, then if you want to express for done feeds, add in once you have the feeding cracked. I used the avent electric one and got on really well with that. I had a manual one first, which was useless, and ended up sending DH to the 24 hr tesco when DS was a month old as he went on strike for 8 hours, my boobs felt like they were going to explode!!!

theborrower Sun 13-Apr-14 19:56:06

I would also recommend waiting to see if you really need one or not. I did because I had loads of issues BFing (long story) and hand expressing/hand pump were tiring because I had to do it so much - you'll want an electric one in this situation! I had/have a Medela Swing. Just wait and see. Larger Boots stores or getting it online should be quick enough.

SicknSpan Sun 13-Apr-14 20:02:23

The electric ones have lots if different settings so you can set it at a gentle pace to begin with that is comfortable for you and then turn up the suction as your let down starts and the milk is flowing better. Same principle applies with the hand pumps, you can control how "hard" you make it pump. It shouldn't hurt unless you start off going hell for leather without building up to it!

I used a medela electric one with ds1 which was great but noisy, and the avent hand pump for ds2 which I must admit was more comfortable. Will be using it again for imminent ds1 but like a pp said, no need to really worry about it until feeding is established (although I did find it relieved some serious pressure the day my milk came in!)

For me hand expressing just didn't work as well as a pump, and I found that what I did manage to express was feeble and I made a total mess!

Good luck.

saranga Sun 13-Apr-14 20:23:13

Thanks guys.

Another question - what if I can't breastfeed? Should I get a few boxes of formula in just in case? If I have problems breastfeeding how long do I let it go on for before switching to formula? I don't want the child to starve.
Quite frankly, I'm terrified.

theborrower Sun 13-Apr-14 20:49:05

I planned to BF so had no equipment whatsoever. I left hospital with a baby who couldn't latch and needed formula from her 1st day as she was low birthweight. I came home with a baby cup, syringes and some instant formula a kind midwife let me have. DH went to shops next day.

Mine was an extreme case, but personally I would recommend that at the very least you have a bottle of sterilising fluid in the house, and perhaps a carton of instant formula. You nay need neither. But if you do, they're there. If you need anything else, send your OH to the shops the next day.

To answer your question about switching to formula - there's no right answer. Besides, you may not have any issues at all! But ask for support, see a BF clinic etc if you do have issues.

Btw, I managed to mix feed DD until about 6 months, until she stopped taking the breast. So it's not always either/or. But don't be terrified! Good luck x

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Sun 13-Apr-14 20:52:31

Don't be terrified.

You won't allow your baby to starve and your midwives will be keeping a close eye on you both in the initial couple of weeks. And after that there will be baby clinics, etc if you are having any ongoing problems. They monitor your baby's weight and give you signs to look for of good feeding.

On breastfeeding, physical inability to breastfeed is really pretty rare. What is more common (though by no means inevitable or the norm, lots of people have no real difficulties at all) is to have some form of problem - like a poor latch, low supply or tongue tie. What makes a difference there is (i) whether breastfeeding is a high priority to you. Understandably for some people it isn't. (ii) whether you get good support. If you get good support, you have a really good chance of putting things right. If you don't, you don't. (Just as an aside, breastfeeding can be a really emotional issue and I am not saying that those who had support and still had problems didn't try hard enough. I am just saying that with genuinely good support, the odds are in your favour).

I have breastfed two children, planning on doing so with no. 3 and have had no problems bar a bit of engorgement and getting the hang of it with no. 1.

Some people find it helpful to have formula and bottles in the house because it gives them confidence. Others find that, if things are going badly one day ,having it right there is too much of a temptation to give in. If you do get some in, one box is masses. Or a few cartons. The shops don't close down the day you have the baby! What I would do personally though is have a couple of bottles, know your nearest shops/garages that sell formula, read up on safe preparation. That way, if you want to give a bottle, you're not getting to grips with it all in a stressed situation.

If breastfeeding is important to you, I would also read up on what is 'normal' (especially if those around you have mostly formula fed, as expectations around patterns of feeding can be very different) and look for local sources of support for the early days. You may well get given a list of these from your MW anyway.

Hope that helps a bit.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 13-Apr-14 20:52:49

well ive just had DD2 and although I bf the other 2, I covered all of my bases. I'm a cold water steriliser convert and these are very cheap and always come in handy for dummies, breast pumps etc. Secondly hand they cost next to nothing, new less than £20. A couple of bottles for emergencies and a handful of small bottles of pre mixed formula to have to hand in a hurry and you're pretty covered.
The chances are, with a little perseverance you'll be able to breast feed fine. Baby gets colostrum at first and needs very little for the first two or three days. I saved mine before birth and dd had 5mls (1tsp) each feed, which is apparently masses.
The most important thing is to not stress about it. Stress will mess up your supply given half a chance.
Just remember, BF is what you are designed to do. BF is your default setting. Its not necessarily always easy but problems are the exception. Not the rule. A there's absolutely nothing to say you will have any problems at all.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 13-Apr-14 20:56:51

Research your local BF support. In my area they are called Pink Ladies. They are absolutely flipping marvellous. There's no guilt that DD is tube fed, they support me to try her at the breast but also have given me a special feeding bottle to try. They're full of ideas and suggestions. They've loaned me an electric pump. Definitely find your local help.

saranga Sun 13-Apr-14 21:13:44

Thanks guys.

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