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Infant feeding

Expressing milk

18 replies

user1492282695 · 11/11/2017 15:11


My 5 week DD is breastfed, though has had a few bottles of formula over about 10 days whilst she was getting up to birthweight. I am keen for any milk she has to be breast milk but I have difficulty expressing much milk! Even when I hired a hospital grade pump. I may try hand expression instead, has anyone has success with this then machines don’t work? And how do you collect the milk? Thank you Smile

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PeapodBurgundy · 11/11/2017 21:00

I had a mare with expressing (and feeding in general if I'm honest). I had a manual and electric pump (I tried several brands on hire before purchasing), but I had better sucess with the manual if I was just expressing. If I was expressing off one side, and feeding DS off the other, I'd use the electric which was easier. I tried a Haaka, but I never had enough milk for anything to leak into it. I used it for hand expressing into though, so it's still had its use.

Cantfindanycement · 11/11/2017 21:42

A jug is good to collect milk when hand expressing. Definitely try that if pump not working for you. I tried several different electric pumps and a manual pump and they were all different, working to varying degrees. I found the most efficient was hand expressing to get milk flowing (or a suck from baby) and then the electric pump.
The pump on one of the hospital wards really didn’t work for me at all. I only knew the pump was the difference though, as the different brand one on neonatal had worked!

Sashkin · 11/11/2017 21:44

Do you definitely have the right size flange for the pump? That made a massive difference to me (needed a smaller size).

Sashkin · 11/11/2017 21:45

Also what time of day are you expressing? I get much more in the mornings than I do in the evenings, even if I’ve just fed DS.

user1492282695 · 16/11/2017 11:08

Hi thanks everyone for the replies, sorry for delayed response!

I tried the hand expressing but too tricky as milk flows rather than spurts so would just run down my boob! I’ve expressed this morning and got 1.5oz of one boob. Problem is is when I try and put baby down she wakes up and wants feeding again! So have been expressing while holding her. I think the flange if the right size, I find I get more with the faster less suction movement on manual, has anyone else had this? Also has anyone has success adding a pump between feeds first thing in morning to train boobs to make another feed, to then bottle feed later on!

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PeapodBurgundy · 16/11/2017 17:12

See if you could pick up a second hand Haaka for hand expressing (or borrow one if you can). That would catch any flow as well as squirts. At first, I would feed DS, then express for 30 mins off each side (if DS didn't want feeding again in that time, which he often did,it was utter hellon earth). While I was expressing, if somebody else was there, I'd hand DS over for a top up feed from the milk I expressed last time, if I was on my own, I'd top up feed, then express.
DS was tongue tied, and nobody would acknowledge it for weeks, so I had to express to keep my supply up, and to keep him fed.
It did work for us, and within 8 weeks of his TT being revised, we were exclusively BF without expressing or topping up. It was exhausing though, I didn't have more than 20 mins sleep at a time for the first 11 weeks, as DS would feed for literally hours at a time sometimes, then by the time I'd expressed, more often than not, he's want to go back on again.
Have you got access to a lactation consultant?

user1492282695 · 16/11/2017 20:30

Oh my that is one intense routine! Well done for managing that! I will check out the haakaa thank you! I feel that I may have to head down this route too as baby weighed today and has dropped down her centile again after no formula feeds for a week (she was only having 2oz top up once a day). I wonder if she is feeding effectively enough and maybe just not getting last bits of milk. When did it reach the point where you established supply and could relax a bit?

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PeapodBurgundy · 16/11/2017 21:06

I had a bad birth experience which was as far away from what I hoped for as it could be; I was flatly determined I was going to BF as I already felt I'd failed at labour and birth, I wasn't going to fail at BF too. My slightly more rational self sees it differently now, but at the time that's how I felt. I think I went slightly mad after having him, I certainly had a nasty bout of PND that I'm only coming out of now.
He had hs TT revised the day before he turned 7 weeks, by 10 weeks he'd stopped having any formula top ups (he was having one most days in the early hours of the morning) and cut out some of his breast milk top ups. By 12 weeks he was exclusively breastfed, I kept expressing for a few weeks even though he wasn't drinking any of it. I was genuinely scared my milk would dry up. But I woke up one day, and I'd leaked allover the bed, so that combined with a few full bottles of BM in the freezer was enough to give me the confidence to stop expressing. He's just turned 20 months and everything has been completely plain sailing since then.
I hated breastfeeding for so long, but once we ironed out the kinks I love it. He's phased out a lot of feeds now. The only ones he reliably has every day, is the one before his nap, and the one before bed. If we're out, he doesn't bother, some days if we're athome, he's never off them, but I always have enough these days. It's so easy now, I'm glad I stuck with it, but I know it's not that simple for everyone. xxx

user1492282695 · 16/11/2017 21:06

Sorry you already said it was 8 weeks you didn’t have to top up 😳 also any tips on how to make sure the supplements or topping up won’t effect existing supply? Thank you Smile

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user1492282695 · 16/11/2017 22:08

Ah PeapodBurgundy, thank you for sharing your success story, it helps me realise that it isn’t always plain sailing. Glad to here you are coming out the other side now Smile see I do love breastfeeding and really want to continue but worried about not being able to meet her needs if EBF!

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user1492282695 · 16/11/2017 22:10

Can I also ask what the symptoms of TT were for both of you?

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Misspilly88 · 16/11/2017 22:12

The way I was taught was fast, less suxktion to start with and then when the milk starts to flow go slower but more suction. Mimics how baby stimulates the milk.

PeapodBurgundy · 16/11/2017 22:34

I just expressed every time he was having a bottle, so my boobs knew he was wanting to feed. I know that worry, and I hope you do manage to get yourselves sorted.
The TT symptoms for me were flat, blanched nipples after every feed, which progressed to black nipples (the whole nipple was blood blistered by two weeks), there was always pain when he latched on, but again this progressed to the pain for the full feed after about a week. The milk I was expressing had blood in it, it was a nightmare!
DS was fussy and frustrated on the boob from his first feed just after he was born. He'd be trying to feed, then come off, shake his head, then try to re-latch, and he'd do that for hours at a time, swapping from side to side to try and get him to latch. He'd fall asleep during a feed, but be really unsettled, and wake soon after, wanting to feed again. He was honestly on the boob more than he was off, but he never seemed satisfied, he never got that milk drunk face you see in little babies until he was a few months old. He would have a white coating on his tongue that was repeatedly misdiagnsed as thrush, even though it would go away between feeds. He had terrible wind, and would dribble most of his milk back out down the sides of his mouth when he was having a bottle. He would scream for hours and hours in the night, I don't know if it was hunger, or pain from the wind.

He also turned out to have a cows milk protein intolerance which won't have helped anything either.

If you suspect a TT see a lactation consultant, not just a midwife/HV, as they're commonly missed and misdiagnosed.

tiredmumsclub88 · 17/11/2017 04:33

I have a 11 week old DS (7 weeks corrected). Have been expressing since day 3 as advised by the hospital and have found it draining as well as BF- and so have limited it to 1 pump a day to give myself a break recently. HOWEVER 😏 I’ve just invested in a BeeMom- it’s a silicon Breast ‘pump’. You attach it to the opposite side you are feeding on whilst feeding, and it catches the let down milk. Am currently doing the early morning feed, and have collected in the last 10 mins 70mls, which would’ve taken me about 1/2 hour on my electric pump (which is a really good one). I have been a stressing about leaving DS with people for fear he will run out of EBM. Not anymore. Today I’ve pumped 300ml alone in just 4 feeds with no stress or additional time at all ☺️ £9.99 from Amazon. Absolute game changer.
PS - I’m not sponsored by these people- I found it on a Facebook ad ☺️ good luck x

Catscatsandmorecats · 17/11/2017 04:56

Another fan of pumping from one side whilst feeding from the other here. I get loads out that way. I do it first thing in the morning when my supply is best and always offer DS the pumped side after to finish off, which sometimes he does so pumping need not impose on offering both boobs.

You need to find what works for you, I found it bloody tricky at first with DS1 - DH and I would be faffing for ages getting the pump together, in the right place etc, now I can put the pump together, get the baby, start feeding and pumping in no time at all whilst wrestling with a toddler! So it does take time to get used to but once you get going it's great. I just need to get DS2 to take a bottle now...

Ignore those saying there's no need to pump/they martyred on through etc. Yes, of course there is no need for some but a break to allow an exhausted mum time to rest/exercise/work if needed is essential for others. I also know someone who was injured and had several hours in hospital when she couldn't feed - her family had a dreadful time trying to get anything into the baby which was stressful for everyone and for that reason alone I think having some spare milk and a baby who will take a bottle is a good idea.

Anyway, good luck OP, I am sure you'll be able to find a way that works for you.

user1492282695 · 17/11/2017 14:25

@tiredmumsclub88 haha it’s ok it must be a good product! WinkMy let down isn’t great though as in I don’t leak milk? Do you think the suction would still work?

I like that my daughter or my partner can also feed her. Primarily we started with a bottle daily due to poor weight gain, my supply always seems one step behind her needs! I feed before and after and express too following feeds so hopefully will catch up and then expressing can be about building up some milk for other feeds.

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tiredmumsclub88 · 17/11/2017 18:33

@user1492282695 I didn’t think I leaked much either, but it not only collects but pumps (with suction alone) too, eradicating the need for an electric pump. For £9.99 and the relief of not having to be (as we put it) “hooked up to the cravendale”. X

user1492282695 · 17/11/2017 19:37

Haha yes I feel like a dairy cow! Would be great to have something “hands free” and maybe more dignified  I’m going to order one now, delivery tomorrow thank you Prime....will let you know how I get on! @tiredmumsclub88

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