I think I'm doing it all wrong, help!

Share you hints and tips for expressing and storing breastmilk. Whether expressing just occasionally or exclusively, share and support one another here.
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I think I'm doing it all wrong, help!

Post by Stay_home_Mum » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:44 pm

I have been exclusively breastfeeding for the last 3 months.

I'd like to start expressing, so my partner can feed my daughter 1 night out of the week to give me a break. Im also curious to see if my daughter is fed the right amount of breast milk in a bottle that she'll sleep for longer at night. My daughters wakes up anywhere between 2 to 4 hrs in the night as she's hungry.

I tried expressing with dr browns manual pump, however after a few mins only a couple of drops came out. It seems like at that rate it will take me a month just to get enough for one feed. I need some pointers on how to express milk with a decent flow.

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Re: I think I'm doing it all wrong, help!

Post by AussieBritLu » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:04 pm

Have you checked out the website www.breastfeeding.asn.au and under information there's a section on expressing? There's some useful information there. Also you could call the Helpline on 1800 686 268 (1800 mum2mum) and speak to a breastfeeding counsellor as they may have some useful info/advice for you also?

I couldn't express very much myself.....so I gave up with it.
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Re: I think I'm doing it all wrong, help!

Post by Mummy woo! » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:43 pm

Hi SHM and welcome to the forum.

I'll just offer a few points and suggest you check out the resources ABL pointed to, and give the helpline a call to discuss.

The helpline can talk to you about how to get the milk flowing, either hand expressing or with a pump. Some mums are never able to pump a drop, but many can learn to trigger a let-down. Your pump isn't a brand ABA recommends and we find a good pump makes all the difference - now you are only aiming for one feed a week so I'm not saying to go out a buy a new pump, just that it might be a factor.

The helpline can also talk with you about feeding and sleep, and make some suggestions for how to get a little mum-time while caring for a little bub.

Good luck with it all and stick around to chat :-D
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Re: I think I'm doing it all wrong, help!

Post by MamaMagoO? » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:09 pm

I'm going to suggest you call the helpline and have a chat to a counsellor as well. She'll be able to help you improve your ability to express -it is very much a learned skill that comes more naturally to some than to others (I was one for whom it never got very easy- but then I never practiced that much). The trick is learning how to trigger a letdown- which is quite easy when you have a gorgeous little baby attached to your breast but some what harder when it is a cold lump of plastic that you do not love as much as life itself. There are a lot of tricks you can learn to help your body to respond better to the pump.

But also it would be good to talk over your reasons for wanting to express and perhaps working out if there are some alternatives that you could also use. I'm hearing that you are finding the night waking difficult to cope with. And it is really hard. But what if I told you that it is really normal for babies to wake that frequently in the night and that giving her a bottle may not make her sleep longer. Babies wake frequently over night not because that have not had the 'right' amount of breastmilk but because breastmilk is easily digested. She may have a very full tummy when she falls asleep at night anyway and then its all digested and she wakes up hungry. Another thing to bare in mind is that our bodies actually product higher levels of the hormone responsible for breastmilk production in the early hours of the morning. Which means our breasts are ready to feed over night. If you skip a night feed you run the risk of becoming over-full which can be extremely uncomfortable but also can potentially lead to mastitis . Many mums find that by expressing milk for Dad to feed to bub over night they do not end up getting more sleep as they wake up when the baby wakes anyway, then they lie awake listening while dad gets up and fumbles around in the kitchen trying to warm the bottle, meanwhile baby is getting hungrier and screaming more frantically, then finally dad is giving bub the bottle and everything is calmer but mum still can't sleep as she's wondering how its all going. Finally she does fall back to sleep only to be woken an hour later by breasts that feel like they are going to explode. Plus she has increased the workload of the day to include washing bottles and expressing equipment as well as expressing.

Perhaps there are other ways to manage the night feeding so you are still well rested. Can you co-sleep so you don't have to get out of bed to feed bub? If you don't feel comfortable with that can DH bring bub too you for a feed and then take her back to bed after? Can you catch up on sleep while your baby naps during the day? Can you go to bed earlier at night and/or get up later in the morning? This last one was actually the one that was my saving grace when my eldest was a baby. I made it my policy to go to be by 9:00 every night and not to get up until 9:00 the next morning. I was woken up numerous times in this 12 hours but I figured out that I was actually getting a good 8 hours sleep every night by doing this. It also helped that we co-slept (although not necessarily bed-sharing) so I didn't have to get out of bed to feed but I still think this could help even if not co-sleeping. Unfortunately I found this strategy impossible with number 2 as there was a toddler to get up for but that is another story.

I hope that helps. Hang in there. This time shall pass. It will get easier.
Little Magoo 07/08. Breastfed for 3yrs3mths.
Miss Magoo 10/11. Breastfed for 4yrs3mths.

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