Exclusive Expressing Support

Share you hints and tips for expressing and storing breastmilk. Whether expressing just occasionally or exclusively, share and support one another here.

Exclusive Expressing Support

Postby Ebony » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:17 pm

This is a thread for people who are exclusively expressing and want to share their experiences or are curious about the experiences of others.

This thread is also a support thread for people expressing exclusively, because (just like direct breastfeeding), there are good days and not so good days and sometimes you need a hill-top to stand and scream on, and then a bunch of people from the next hill-top to hand out hugs. And maybe cookies. Those yummy milk-making cookies. Similarly, we all need stories of inspiration to keep us going.

Here are some questions that have been running through my head in my current low-period.

1) How many times do you express in a 24 period?

2) How much milk do you express per day? Does your supply remain consistent throughout the day or do you notice a marked difference between expressing in the morning and evening?

3) Do you have a set time routine for expressing or do you just wing it?

4) Do you find that expressing is incredibly tedious, especially in comparison to breastfeeding?

5) What do you do while you express?

6) How long have you been exclusively expressing?

7) Got any tips for making expressing easier and/or more enjoyable?

My answers are:

- I usually express about 9 times a day. On a slack day it's 7 (but never any less) and on a good day 10.

- I can express between 500mL and 700mL a day, depending on how many times I managed to fit into the day and how slack I've been lately. Usually it hovers around the 600mL mark though. I have a marked difference between morning and night- in the morning I express an average of 200mL but by afternoon it's only 50mL.

- I wing it. I'm planning on making a routine though. Generally it's every two hours or so with a longer stretch at night.

- Lately I'm finding it exceptionally tedious and keep finding ways to ignore the fact that I should be expressing. Right now I'm making this thread, but I should be expressing. I'm late...

- I like to read. I find that letting my thoughts wander helps with the let-down. The more mindless the book, the better the let-down. Therefore I've taken to reading some pretty ridiculous books that if I wasn't expressing, would bore a hole in my brain from the boredom. Television is the next best thing.

- I've been expressing exclusively for nearly 3 months. A drop in the pond compared to some people.

- Make someone else wash the bottles. Think of something you want (like a book or the phone), then sit down and start your let-down without it. Ask someone else to get it for you and when they click their tongue at you announce like a martyr "Well, I would get it, but I'm expressing and just got a let-down".

Okay, that last part wasn't serious but you get the idea!
~Ebby Ebby~
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Postby Widget » Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:52 pm

I exclusively express and have been doing so for nearly 6 months. I can totally agree about sometimes wanting to shout or throw my pump out the window. Congratulations for expressing for as long as you have. It is quite an achievement. It appears our LO were born on the same day.

1) How many times do you express in a 24 period? 5-6

2) How much milk do you express per day? Does your supply remain consistent throughout the day or do you notice a marked difference between expressing in the morning and evening? I get about 700-750mls per day first thing in the morning I get about 250-300 and then from 50-100ml each session.

3) Do you have a set time routine for expressing or do you just wing it? set routine 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, 9 I figure my baby is sleeping through the night so wouldn't be feeding anyway and I am getting enough for her with the 5-6 sessions

4) Do you find that expressing is incredibly tedious, especially in comparison to breastfeeding? yes, double the effort

5) What do you do while you express? read, watch tv or watch Dd playing on the floor

6) How long have you been exclusively expressing? nearly 6 months since DD was about 3-4weeks old

7) Got any tips for making expressing easier and/or more enjoyable? I use a medication to help keep my supply up. I just think of how good it is for my LO getting my liquid gold. I am finding it harder now that she is moving more so I may start slowing down my expressing to 3 times and comping with FF. I tried putting a stash in the freezer but she won't drink it unless it is fresh so my 20 or so bottles will need to be thrown out. I am hoping to get to 9 months then I return to work and I will have to supplement anyway as I won't be able to pump quite as much.
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Postby Ebony » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:58 pm

Yes, the 27th of February 2007. It was a good day, wasn't it?

I was using blessed thistle/fenugreek/brewer's yeast at first but I keep forgetting to replace them. I wasn't doing much better with them anyway. I wish I had 20 bottles of frozen EBM! We're using fresh milk too, but it has more to do with the constant struggle to keep up let alone find spare EBM to freeze. He's never tried frozen EBM, I never thought about babies rejecting it before.
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Postby JennyD » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:39 pm

I am exclusively expressing and have been doing so for about 3 months.

To answer your questions.

1. How many times do you express in 24 hours? 6

2. How much milk do you express? About 1500mls, milk supply does fluctuate between 200 mls to 300 at a session, but doesn't seem to be affected by time of day, more by how much I've eaten and drunk between last session and now. If I don't drink a couple of glasses of water between pumping I'll find I get less milk. I always get a bit less at 9pm, usually around 200mls.

3. Expressing times? 2am, 6.45 am (wake the kids at 7.30 for school), 10.30am, 2pm, 5.30pm and 9pm (then off to bed, usually a bit later than 9 though)

4. Do you find expressing tedious? Yes. Breastfeeding is so much better. I miss breastfeeding sooooo much.

5. What do you do while you express? work on the computer. Read the forum. I'm currently working on my Cert IV in Breastfeeding Education, then I am planning on returning to study for work later on. Also I play with DS if he is awake, or I read bedtime stories to kids, or whatever, something that doesn't require movement.

6. How long have you been exclusively expressing? About 3 months, since DS was 2 weeks old

7. Any tips to make it easier? I do hands free expressing, with lacky bands, I got the idea from kellymom. Check the hands free thread on this section. I find I get more milk if I'm not thinking about it, although that could be because when I'm not thinking about it I do it for longer, don't watch the clock, or the bottle, but make sure it doesn't overflow. i also think that co-sleeping makes a big difference, because I cuddle DS all night. The night feed is a real juggle, I want to sleep, but I know night feeds are good for supply, so I always do it. Two sets of flanges so I don't have to wash up after the night time express and just stay up long enough to express.

And yes, I do find it frustrating, there are so many things I'd rather do, like sleep.

Jenny
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Postby miss_fortunate22 » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:36 am

Yes, I exculsivly express for DD who is curently in hospital (born 14 weeks early) and also for my 14 month old boy. This is the 2nd time I have had to do this, Wheh Douglas was born, he was also prem and in hospital for the first 5 weeks, but I continued expressing (not exclusivly, but he had good times and not so good times on the breast) for 4 months or so.

1) How many times do you express in a 24 period? I try to expess at least 8, never less then 7 on a good day 10

2) How much milk do you express per day? Does your supply remain consistent throughout the day or do you notice a marked difference between expressing in the morning and evening? I have a great supply, I usually get 100-150ml per boob per expression, so 200-300ml per time up to 2lts per 24hr. I have noticed when I wake up at 2am i get huge amounts, and a little less late at night.

3) Do you have a set time routine for expressing or do you just wing it?
sort of. I try for 4 times before miday, 4 before midnight and sometimes midday as well. I also hand express some in the shower, just to keep my supply going

4) Do you find that expressing is incredibly tedious, especially in comparison to breastfeeding? I do, in comparison to breastfeeding. I found ABM feeding tedious during my pregnancy, so at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this, and hopefully I wont be doing it for that much longer. Even if once she comes home I still express for Doug (and I hope he takes back to feeding himself :-D ) I would still much rather express then the alternative

5) What do you do while you express?I usually do it while Doug is asleep and just sit in front of the telle, for the times that he is awake, we both watch a w*****s dvd. It's the only way I can keep him in the one spot and an eye on him!!

6) How long have you been exclusively expressing? This time? 7 weeks, last time I exclusivly expressed for 5 weeks, continued until 4 months

7) Got any tips for making expressing easier and/or more enjoyable?yeah, don't constantly try to look at the bottle like i do, my neck is totally stuffed now!! :lol:
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Postby ~Zoe~ » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:37 am

HI

1) How many times do you express in a 24 period?
10 times

2) How much milk do you express per day?
1000mls - 1200mls
Does your supply remain consistent throughout the day or do you notice a marked difference between expressing in the morning and evening?
During the day I get roughly 90-100mls, overnight I get roughly 175-200mls and same first thing in the morning.

3) Do you have a set time routine for expressing or do you just wing it?
Trying to stick to a routine. 2hrly during the day from 6am - 10pm then once overnight when I feed bub.

4) Do you find that expressing is incredibly tedious, especially in comparison to breastfeeding?
Compared to BF I find expressing easy. I'm all done including washing pump in under 15mins. I do find it taxing on my time especially since I'm doing it so often during the day.

5) What do you do while you express?
Read big boys books, watch telly, on computer.

6) How long have you been exclusively expressing?
about a week and a half. I did have one half (.Y.) feed on Saturday, but unfortunately it was a once off.

7) Got any tips for making expressing easier and/or more enjoyable?
No still learning.


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Postby Jules&Ben » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:33 am

This is an interesting thread - but for me, the most interesting question would be, What reasons / events led to the need to exclusively express, for you and your baby?

I've never been there myself, but I have a friend who did it for six months and I have great respect for those mums who do this - and I am just interested in the different reasons and circumstances that make it necessary.

Hats off to all you expressing heroines!
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Postby Ebony » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:55 am

I'm actually writing about the events that led to my exclusive expressing. It's quite therapeutic, in a way. The short version is that we have some breast refusal issues we haven't been able to work through (not yet, I've still got a tiny bit of hope left).

Here's my update (which I write mostly for myself, not because it's interesting):

My supply was getting lower and expressing more frequently was insane (considering I was already doing it 8 or 9 times every day) and not really boosting it enough. The herbs weren't exactly cutting it either. I consulted the experts and now I've been prescribed medication. I'm allergic to one of the kinds that help with milk so I was pinning all my hopes on the second one, and luckily I've responded very well to it. I'm only taking a half-dose because I have to deal with a conservative doctor, but in all honesty I think I'm just fine taking the half-dose.
I've made myself an expressing schedule, and I've been able to drop the amount of times per day from 9 to 6 and end up with about 800-900mL. It was a brilliant day the night I cracked the 700mL mark, and I was ecstatic when I got just over 800mL the next day. Then I started letting it even out so I was getting an average of 800mL. Obviously, if I wanted to get more milk I could express as frequently as before but I'm giving myself a bit of a 'break', and I'll start building a freezer supply soon (this is exciting, because I've never quite been able to express enough for the whole day, and now there's a possibility of having enough to freeze). I heard people around the forum saying their LO's won't drink frozen milk so I tested it out first by freezing a small amount and giving it to him when I was sure he was hungry. He was happy to drink it.
This morning I slept in a little and when I woke expressed 430mL, which is a serious record for me. I wasn't very comfortable when I woke, I'm not even sure how I could sleep in being that full. I did spend half an hour cuddling with Alex beforehand so that probably had a lot to do with it too. It was pleasing though, to see signs of success when it's been such a struggle. I don't think it'll be all smooth sailing now though, I plan on weaning from the medication as soon as I've built a small freezer stash and I'm sure my supply is stable.

Well, that's my update. I'm feeling better about expressing and it's been easier lately.

So, I hope everyone else is still going well with expressing. Feel free to update anything if you like. Take care!
~Ebby Ebby~
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Postby miss_fortunate22 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:08 am

Wow, that wasn't boring to read Ebony, you have done so well to keep it up :smt041

Well, my reason is just that my babies have all been prem and sadly I had to stop feeding DS during the pregnancy, so i'm hoping he wants to take back to the boob, but if he doesn't I will at least try and keep the expressing up
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Postby mum bow » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:10 am

) How many times do you express in a 24 period? 10 -12

2) How much milk do you express per day? 1200mls - 1500mls
(my supply is currently the lowest it has been...worried that things are drying up)

Does your supply remain consistent throughout the day or do you notice a marked difference between expressing in the morning and evening?
During the night and first thing in the morning i express the most.

3) Do you have a set time routine for expressing or do you just wing it?
A few times in between each feed, just before i go to bed and once during the night.

4) Do you find that expressing is incredibly tedious, especially in comparison to breastfeeding? Yes in one way...its hard work, but i also find it easier when i am out, you can share the feeding with your DH & family and breastfeeding was not for me...i didn't find it as this 'wonderful experience!' others find it.

5) What do you do while you express? play with bubs, internet..read, watch tv. i try to relax as much as possible, keep my legs elevated. I find it really hard to relax...but i just try to distract myself from what i am doing.

6) How long have you been exclusively expressing? 15 weeks

7) Got any tips for making expressing easier and/or more enjoyable?
Not really...i just think..i only have to keep this up for a short period of time...my DD is healthy and happy and i am putting in 110% as a mother...not just giving in. I also think of how far i have come...and keep setting new goals for myself...

A question for others?? How long do you want to do this for?
I would love to be able to do it for 12 months...but i need to hear some successful longterm stories.

You are all doing a fantastic job...keep up the great work!!!
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Postby JennyD » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:30 pm

My reason for expressing full time is that DS2 was born with a tight labial frenelum (like tongue tie but on top lip), this made it impossible for him to attach properly and milk the breast. It was only fixed two weeks ago, when he was four months, so he is not back on the breast yet. I still hope, but at 22 weeks, I think it is pretty unlikely, until I read Andrea saying she got her baby back on at 24 weeks. Gives me some hope.

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Postby Widget » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:37 pm

I am exclusively expressing because my DD has swallowing issues. She needs to have thickener added to her bottle or she chokes. The paed and speechies feel that this is something she will grow out of. I started exclusively expressing when she was 3 1/2 weeks old because she would clamp down on the nipple and not suck so that the milk would just trickle out not gush. In those first 3 1/2 weeks we would let her suck for a while with her choking then I would express and syringe feed her the extra that she needed (I didn't want nipple confusion). We have been trying to get her back on the breast but it isn't happening. I had hoped nipple shields would work but no luck with them either. In a way I feel I have the best of both worlds. Ella is getting the liquid gold and her daddy gets to spend time feeding her as well and I get a little break. In saying that though I am over expressing but I keep going as some sort of penance for not being able to bf when I so sure that I would be able to do it.
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Postby Ebony » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:06 pm

I couldn't find this thread to update, but it caught my eye as I changed pages, so here I am saying where we're up to.

The milk-boosting prescription I was taking started making me sick (side-effects like bad headaches, nausea, continuously thirsty, all kinds of icky things) and because I'm allergic to the other kind this was my only chance. I've been feeling pretty crushed because I just couldn't support my baby exclusively expressing without the medication, and now I can't rely on the medication either. When I weaned myself from the medication (over the course of a week), my supply dropped from being able to feed my baby all day and store a feed in the freezer most days to only being able to feed him before bed. So, we're slowly weaning.

Weaning from expressing feels really strange. I've talked over how to go about it with a counsellor, and decided that I'll just drop a session every month or so. Doing it this way should mean I'm able to offer at least some EBM up until his birthday, but my supply is quite sensitive so I'm unsure what will actually happen. I've got mixed feelings about weaning, I alternate between being devastated that I can't give my baby breastmilk for as long as I wanted and looking forward to spending an extra couple of hours playing and cuddling instead of expressing. I suppose though, everyone has to stop eventually, be it due to issues or simply babies growing up.

I haven't told any family or friends that we're weaning, because I'm not ready for the smugness yet. I might just neglect to mention it at all, seeing as we use a bottle to feed EBM anyway, it's possible they'll never notice. Is that too awful?

I'm hoping everyone else is doing well.

P.S. I plan to keep this thread updated, in case it helps anyone in the future. Everyone else, feel free to keep posting about how your expressing is going, or ask questions.
~Ebby Ebby~
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Postby adeline » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:51 pm

Hi there,

I am happy I found this forum. I am very confused atm. :?
This is our situation:

Alyssa was born 18/09/07 with a rare condition called vocal cord paralysis which means she had breathing issues and had to be fed through an NG tube. I have been expressing for nearly 8 weeks now and got used to it. I did it because I set myself a goal of giving her the best for at least 3 months. We have been using a special feeding bottle(like those used for Cleft palate babies) and she is now able to take full feeds with it.

Now that her breathing is under control(it fixed itself and she is now also able to cry) she seems to be able to breastfeed. She seems to be attaching ok but I am not sure she is getting enough cause its hard to tell if I am empty. :roll:

It just seems that since I offered the breast yest and today she completely refuses the bottle. So I guess I am faced with a choice. I am happy to keep expressing/bottle feeding cause I enjoy it and this way she can be fed by dad too. I can do that to 6 months no worries.
The other way is to fully breastfeed but I dont wana be stressed about weight gain/not getting enough...

Sorry I rambled on, probably not at the right place but I admire all of you for doing this and I fully understanfd how hard it is.

Must go to bed now, loooooooooooong day
Dont have a siggie yet but I just had to include a piccie cause she smiles a lot now. Today we took the tube off!!! Happy moment but scary cause no more easy top ups. Its up to me to keep the weight gain without help.

Adeline
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ETA: I use the Medela electric and read a book while milking or I use the manual when out. I also massage to help the flow and get enough rather quickly(100 mls every 3/4 hours or so)
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Postby goldnugget » Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:08 pm

omg i have just been reading this thread out of interest and just want to say what a marvelous effort you have all made to provide your babies with breastmilk. i know how hard it is just to express occassionally. well done to you all on such amazing strength and persistence.
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