unable to express milk

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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bfmumma
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unable to express milk

Post by bfmumma » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:02 pm

Hi,
I am exclusively breastfeeding my 12 week old bub and cant seem to express milk now that she has her regular feeding times. In the early days I had to express when I felt engorged (which was maybe a few times) and even then I never got much maybe 20-40mls. I know I am giving her what she needs as we are having no issues. I had to leave my daughter with my sister for the morning and because I couldn't express milk she had to be given formula. This is my second child and I never had an issue with expressing before, I am not in a position to purchase another pump either. If I cant express are there any other natural milk options I can give my daughter?

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Nedsmum
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by Nedsmum » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:12 pm

It is perfectly fine to express 20-40mL at time, cool first then freeze. Have you tried hand expressing? There are so many tricks and techniques with expressing - it's not easy!

Did you find you got a bit fuller when you skipped the feed today? If you just want to leave the baby occasionally or for emergencies,s you can express randomly and freeze a 'stash'...

I would not leave expressed milk in more than 50mL lots as it is quite typical for a breastfed baby to only drink just enough to give them a full tummy feeling, or quench their thirst, rather than gulp down enormous bottles.

My kids rarely accepted a bottle, so I found I could leave them 4-5 hours at age 4+ months and they would have the tiniest bit of expressed milk on a spoon or from an open cup, and then hang out until I got back. This was good as they would then have a really good breastfeed and I would not have to express when i had a few hours off to myself!
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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fellare
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by fellare » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:20 pm

40 ml is actually nearly a full feed!!! Must babies drink. Between 500 to 1000ml a day and might have 12 feeds a day, so that is 40-90ml per feed. As nedsmum said there are many tricks. Have you given helpline a call? They can talk you through everything.

Expressing can be heavily influenced by how you feel. I used to get nothing on a Monday morning! Yet would express heaps on a Friday :roll: just plain stress.
Boobymonster weaned at 3.5yrs.
Ms Firestorm born august 2015
Whatever you perceive to believe, dream.... be free.... (eMDee)

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Yankee
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by Yankee » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:45 am

I found the same, that when I was full time bf but trying to build my supply, expressing between feeds only got 20-40 mL per session. Your body has worked out how much milk it needs to make to feed your baby, it's not used to making extra. I found that when I wanted to build up a bank of milk for the freezer, I would have to do so slowly over several sessions. Just cool down each portion of milk before you add them together, and only leave it 24 hours in the fridge before you put it in the freezer.

That being said, your mental state has a huge impact on how much you express - if you're worried about how much you're expressing it's likely to slow things down. Try to relax or distract yourself (reading the forum helps!) if you can.
DD born September 2013

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JMc
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by JMc » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:40 am

Can you no longer express anything? Is your pump all in working order? Sometimes my valve slips off and it doesn't make a seal properly so there's no suction.

I'm a terrible expresser. The last time I had to have a hot shower to get anything out even though I was completely engorged.

There are other options to formula, donated breast milk. There are website/Facebook pages about it. I've never used them, but I think there is one called human milk for human babies, and there is another one but I can't remember it, sorry!
DD - November 2009 (Breastfed 19 months)
DS1 - August 2011 (Breastfed 2 years and 8 months)
DS2 - November 2014 (Breastfeeding happily)

bfmumma
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Location: Ipswich

Re: unable to express milk

Post by bfmumma » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:01 pm

I cant express any milk at all. My pump is working fine just no milk is coming out...?? I had given bub my last lot of frozen milk (40ml, which was from about over a month ago from two pumping sessions) when my sister watched her and she wanted more milk so formula had to be given. I will keep trying with the pumping as I don't want to upset her tummy by giving formula. Thanks for the advice ladies. Will see how we go...

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Yankee
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by Yankee » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:05 pm

If it's any comfort, it's unlikely that the occasional formula feed will have an effect on your baby's digestion. And if it does, different brands of formula may suit your baby's digestion differently (my bub gets one formula top up a day and there was one brand that she didn't seem to like as much, each baby is different).

Good luck with the pumping. Have you tried hand-expressing first to get a little bit of milk going before you try the pump?
DD born September 2013

Snake Hips Mcroy
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by Snake Hips Mcroy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:26 pm

A few months ago I had to leave my baby for the evening and was having heaps of trouble expressing. Literally nothing was coming out. Then my baby woke up a cried and boom! 60ml came squirting out!

I think it goes to show how psychological it is. With my ds1 I had to express in the early days and after that it always came easy. With ds2 I never did and I just can't get in the zone unless he cries...
DS1 - born May 2011, breastfed for 26 months
DS2 - born Dec 2013, breastfeeding like a champ

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JMc
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Re: unable to express milk

Post by JMc » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:47 pm

Warm wet face cloth on your breast before you start? Watch something funny on tele? Express from one side while feeding bub from the other side? If you're getting nothing out it means you're not getting a let down, need to find some way to get one for the milk to flow.
DD - November 2009 (Breastfed 19 months)
DS1 - August 2011 (Breastfed 2 years and 8 months)
DS2 - November 2014 (Breastfeeding happily)

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