Now that T is over 6 weeks, I’ve started to express properly now. There’s no particular reason why as I still intend on breastfeeding, I just feel it would be benefical to have a stash in the freezer in case all of a sudden I can’t feed. There’s also the occasions where S and I fancy may fancy getting my mum in to babysit, or when I may want S to feed T.
We already know, and are incredibly lucky, that T can bounce between bottle and breast, so on the occasions when he is bottle fed, I’m pleased knowing I can still breastfeed him after.
I’m trying to express either after a feed around the 2am/3am mark because I find I’m quite engorged by then, or at 6am before T’s 7am feed. Apparently your milk supply is at its peak between 3am and 5am. I’ve tried to express in the evening after his last feed but I find I’m not getting as much out – probably because my body now knows no milk is required after 9pm.
Generally, it’s really hard to decide when to express. Pumping before a feed means that T will then feed on hind milk straight away if I feed him straight after, however it means the expressed milk will be mostly foremilk. Expressing after a feed, however, means that I may not get as much out, but the bottle itself will be hind milk.
At the moment I’m often getting 3-6oz a session which I think is pretty good. Hopefully as time passes, I’ll get more.
I’m currently using an electric dual pump by Lactaline. I wasn’t too sure about spending the extra cash on a dual pump at first, but during the early days when I suddenly forgot to clean the first pump and bottle it was useful having a second on standby. I’ve used the two pumps at the same time once or twice but I often can’t concentrate on the two, and I end up looking like this:
I actually enjoy expressing, mainly because there’s something about getting something for free! But joking aside, I’m always worried about my supply, especially on days when T cluster feeds and just doesn’t seem satisfied. The thought of suddenly drying up scares me so I definitely want to make sure I’ve taken and stashed away as much as possible.
Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about expressing:-
Learn how your baby feeds.
Before you start expressing it’s good to know how your baby feeds so you can mimmick the action to get the milk flowing freely.
Know when to stop.
Your baby will come off the breast when they’re finished (hopefully) so learn to do the same, or risk a sore nipple.
Although you have the luxury of stopping if you need a wee or a drink, it’s still worth getting yourself comfy as it may have taken you a while to get the flow going.
Most expressing kits come with lids for the bottles, but I recommend getting breastmilk freezer bags. They’re easier to store than the bottles, whether you stand them up or lay them down, and it means you can empty the bottle into the bag and continue expressing.
Time your sessions
If you know your baby feeds at 8am don’t start expressing at 7.30am, unless you know you can express enough and be ready for baby in that space of time. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a sneaky session and your baby suddenly wants a feed. You have to quickly pack everything up,
From timing your feeds to storing the milk, BE CAREFUL. Expressing is one of the only activities where you run the risk of ACTUALLY crying over spilt milk.