Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:21 am
Post subject: Expressing breast milk help and advice please.
Some of you may know from previous posts I've just had a beautiful baby girl (Scarlett) who is now a week old and who I'm breast feeding. This is my first and I'm entirely new to this!
To my surprise, when she was born I didn't really get any help with breast feeding and ive just been learning myself by trial and error. I don't feel very supported at the moment and it's starting to get me down a bit. I'm trying my best and I'm half demand feeding at the moment but I feel so run down. I keep reminding myself this us best for Scarlett, and it is! It's just so tying.
I only recently found out I should be swapping boobs during feeds. I wasn't doing this (I genuinely didn't know I had to) which would explain why she wasn't going long between feeds.
Anyway, I'd really like to express my milk so I can try doing both. This way OH can do some feeds, it's convenient when I'm out and about, and it'll give my boobs a rest lol. They're so sore I'm using the lansinoh but it's still quite painful when she latches on.
I have a manual breast pump. I think it's tommy tippie. I'd just like to ask your lovely ladies some questions about it?
When am I allowed to express?
When I do express, do I do it before or after feeds or between them when Scarlett is sleeping?
How much should I expect to express at first?
How should I introduce the bottle to her routine?
How can I bring the bottle to her routine but not make her refuse the breast as well? I still want to use my breast but just when I'm at home and I'm relaxed and quiet, at bedtime and lunchtimes fit example.
And does anyone have any tips or advice in general?
I'm sorry it's a long one but I feel so low about it because I love breast feeding Scarlett but I'm so tired! When I talk to midwives and health visitors about it they just say I'm doing it correctly and that's about it. I feel like they read off a script of government medical guidelines sometimes. And my own mother says these guidelines gave changed loads since I was a baby and I turned out okay lol
Thanks for reading
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:27 am
The advice is not to swap boobs. You should empty one boob (not that mine ever emptied) to make sure baby gets both fore and hind milk. If you swap boobs then they end up getting a lot of foremilk which is more watery and won't fill them up. If you empty a boob and they're still hungry then you should offer the other boob. Swapping boobs is what they used to advise you to do ages ago so will probably be what your Mum, etc tells you to do.
I used to express from the other side just after Jamie fed. I'd also express if he went longer than normal between feeds. You probably won't get that much off initially. I used to be able to manage three oz easily but I leaked so much I squirted milk everywhere whenever I took a pad off! What you'll find is that it slows down but if you keep expressing then you'll get more out again.
Personally I wouldn't introduce a bottle yet (you can start expressing though and freeze it). I think the recommendation is 6 weeks but I'd certainly leave it a bit so that she gets more used to feeding off of you. I never had any problems with Jamie. He only very occasionally had a bottle (when I was out) but happily took it. If you do have problems then try staying out of the room while your oh feeds her as they can smell your milk and that can make them refuse the bottle
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:29 am
it's tricky because they're not all the same ? So for some things there no right or wrong way
You should only swop boobs if as Liberty said they've drained one side (they tend to feel soft when they're empty and your baby might get annoyed ) and are clearly still hungry , as that ensures they've got fore and hind milk from that boob and the hind milk has more fat in it ,
If I needed to express i would do it from the side i wasn't feeding on during a feed as that way the let down reflex is already there and they other side would often leak anyway
When to start expressing is the tricky bit, i had to do it from the start last time as my son was in special care and was only getting small amounts to start but it did build up, but the advice is to get used to breast feeding first normally and wait until your supply settles down and matches baby's (too soon and you could find that at the next feed you haven't got enough milk for her and have to use what you expressed ) and bottles again a tricky one , my last had bottles before he breast fed when he was in scbu but luckily he latched on no problems and had the ocassional bottle then over the next few months and as long as it was milk he didn't care
but my DD didn't like bottles and when she finally took them suddenly wouldn't breast feed and just stopped overnight so i think thats just down to the baby and there's no set time
Expressing and only feeding for some feeds is quite hard work though ,(I couldn't wait to switch over to breast feeding with my son) because you need to express regularly still to keep your supply going and then you have the extra hassle of bottles and sterilising , plus your body will still use the energy to make the milk , and i found the breast pump made my boobs more sore than my baby
i know it's hard with your first as your nipples have to toughen up but it does get better If I were you i wouldn't try intoducing more than one expressed feed at a time and then give it at least a week before introducing another , to give your body a chance to get used to the changes xx
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:27 am
Well done for Breastfeeding. I would say the first 8 weeks it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It does get so much easier though so if your determined stick at it. I always thought how much more tired I would be if had to wash, sterilse and make up bottles.
As for swapping boobs I still only feed from one breast at a time and George jumped up two centiles on his growth chart before we started weaning so was getting more than enough like that.
6 weeks is the advised time to start expressing, It's to let your supply establish and so Baby takes to breastfeeding well. Remember your Baby is learning as well. George is going well now and generally goes 3-4 hours between feeds and 12 hours at night. He used to feed for around 1/2 hour, now it's 10 minutes. I''m doing nothing different he's just got bigger and better at it.
I found the Breastfeeding network really helpful http://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/ you can call them. They also run groups you can go along to. I like to go as at a lot of the other things I go to everyone was bottle feeding and the standard response to any problem I had with George was 'but you are still breastfeeding'.
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:46 am
I knew I could rely on you ladies lol. It's so hard to stay motivated doing this when you've no encouragement. I do like breast feeding but I'm so worried on doing it wrong and I'm just so tired sometimes! I'm sure you all know the feeling.
I'm glad some of you have said certain things because like I said, I thought I was doing it wrong. Her feeds aren't lasting as long now. She usually pulls off during a feed at which point I try and wind her gently because recently she has been burping when I do it which is why I think she pulls off. Then I try putting her back on and she feeds again.
In finding the length between feeds is longer now too, average about 3 hours. Do you think the time between feeds being longer and her feeds being shorter (20 minutes usually) is because my milk is of more substance now and satisfying her more?
I do feel a lot better with all your encouragement and advice so thank you again.
Also the midwife weighed her yesterday and she's not lost much. She was born 6lbs 1oz and now weight 5lbs 14.5oz so surely that means her feeds are filling her substantially?
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Yeah that's fine. They say they can lose up to 10%. Even Jamie lost a bit before he shot up off the growth chart
I would guess its because your milk has come in now so is filling her up and also because she isn't having to feed to bring the milk in. Also, she'll get better at it and become more and more efficient at feeding
Bf is one of the hardest things I did and you should be proud of however long you feed for. I remember when Jamie was around three months and going through a growth spurt and just feeding constantly (although he never went more than two hours) just sitting on the floor and sobbing. I don't think anyone really tells you how tough it is going to be
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:45 pm
Oh and in terms of feeling tired and run down - didn't you have a c-section? I had an emergency one and found I felt awful to begin with (not helped by Jamie sleeping for a max of 3 hours in 24!) but after my wound started to heal I suddenly felt much better even though nothing had changed
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:00 pm
Yes I had a c-section. My tummy does still feel sore. Luckily OH does help me quite a bit. I feel I'm recovering quite well actually! It's just walking that's a bit of a pain at the moment. I usually practically run when I'm walking but currently I feel like a snail lol.
The breast feeding has been getting easier over the last few days. I feel so much better about it how because I enjoy feeds Instead of dreading them. The pain is less now too. It's a bit toe curling when she first latches on but it doesn't take long for that to stop.
I've took all your advice and am sticking to one boob unless she empties one too. It's working really well. She detaches herself when she's full and she never really goes for more after I wind her. She's started taking longer between feeds too which I'm pleased about. I'm so tired recently so the bigger gaps are a godsend!
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:18 pm
I think the tiredness sounds like a combination of new mum tiredness and the section probably didn't help , I know i was shocked at how drained I felt after my first as I'd only had natural births i mean you get tired anyway with the night feeds, but you are recovering from surgery as well so you need to rest more :)Have you had your iron levels chceked as well, because low iron is common cause of feeling very tired
I'm so glad things are settling down for you now , sounds like she's getting the hang of it now as well and it does get so much easier once it's all established xx
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:37 pm
With Sophia, I would feed on one side till empty then offer her the second side each feed and she would usually drain both sides. With Josh, he tends to go for just one side each feed and will refuse the second side.
They recommend waiting till six weeks when bf is well established before offering a bottle.
I think you can start expressing whenever you want. With sophia, because she wasnt feeding wella t first after the section, i was expressing after every feed tyo encourage my supply. Nightmare as she fed for an hour and a half, then was expressing for an hour then she would be up for the next feed!
I think i used to express in the evening about an hour after a feed, but cant remember properly.
I would be cautious starting to use bottles just yet (not coz of nipple confusion, i dont believe it does cause confusion if introduced straight away, but just my opinion) because expressing is not as effeicient as your baby feeding from you and it could diminish your milk supply.
Hope all goes well,
Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:49 pm
I think it sounds like your doing a super job!!!!!!!
I agree with everything the others have said but would also like to add my pennys worth if its ok i do go on alit so apologies
I never wanted to breastfeed (thought id feel odd n uncomfortable as it was my first etc). Intended to breastfeed for few dats until milk came in then express for all bottle feeds. People warned me it would be tough but i thought breast was best but wanted oh to be totally involved for various reasons. Well those early days were hell im sad to say, im convinced i didnt make milk n dont know why but i was feeding for 2-4 hours at a time every 4 hours n she lost 13% by day 10!!!
I hired a hospital grade double pump but got 10ml off if lucky, i did it for 30 mins between n after feeds n over a day i once managed a 150ml bottle!!!!! I made the devision to introduce firmula feeds to top up breastfeeding n expressing feeds. It was hard!!!! I dont agree that the sterilising etc was hard its not, for me sitting trying to feed for hours then expressing then sterilising was hard!!!!! After 4-6 weeks i sent the machine back n relued totally on formula.
Now the mw told me i could introduce top up bottle feeds at any time n that
Nipple confusion was a myth n to be honest issy never had an issue swapping between breast n bottle. She also tried a dummy b again they say you shouldnt but she was fine, she only used it till around 14 weeks.
If i ever have another id go with what made me feel healthier as i truely felt dead in those first weeks n i regret not enjoyinv those early days, as breastfeeding expressing n bottle feeding for me was tough!! So much so my sil who watched me go through it n breastfed her first, has just had her second, n she didnt settle after breast n seemed hungry. My sil boobs r bleeding red raw n she knows how to breastfeed! Shes made the decision at 5 days to formula feed n im glad as long as she doesnt feel as tired n bad as i did.
I guess my view is if u want to add in a bottle of expressed now do it. Ur health n energy is vital and to me the first days are most important regarding breastmilk. No baby matches books n guidelines they are all different - urs could be quite happy with mix n match or they may not. If your too tired doing what ur doing n it doesnt improve in a few days id try other things too. I know alot of the girls ended up having great experiences just breastfeeding but i would not be here today if id of carried on. Mothers insticts r key - go with what you feel, not what you think you should do
But i have a feeling you will do just dandy xx
Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:03 pm
The advice you have already been given answers your questions so I won't repeat but wanted to say a HUGE congratulations for breastfeeding and sticking at it when it got hard. I ploughed through the first few weeks too and am SO glad I did! It is so worth it and every time you are shattered and sore remind yourself that it does get easier and better! *hugs* Well done you!
If you don't feel you are getting support - seek out a support group in your area - SureStart centres often have links and meetings for you to go to for extra support from breastfeeding counsellors - I found my local meet a godsend!
Also - re: the swapping boobs... my little boy has only just started emptying one and demanding the other now - and he's 12 weeks old today. I panicked that I wouldn't know when this was happening and that I wasn't being generous enough with my boobs but you do know! Baby will feed normally but then latch off and on and if you feel your boob it will be really soft... that is when boob is empty and you can swap over. If baby has had enough then they just won't want the second boob... or they'll be asleep! Samuel will ask for the second boob probably about 3 feeds a day - the rest of the time, one is enough!
Hope that helps *hugs* xxx