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  • "joL" started this thread

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Thursday, July 8th 2010, 11:27am

Expressing from birth?

Hi was wondering if anyone has any advice? I am goin to bottle feed as breastfeeding is not for me. However i would like to give my baby breast milk. I was wondering has anyone expressed successfully from birth and how long they were able to keep producing milk? Also any links or advice would be very much appreciated.

JoJo xx

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Thursday, July 8th 2010, 1:13pm

Hi there,

I'm sorry, I can't really help as I breastfed (and still am) but I know expressing just doesn't stimulate you to produce as much milk as breastfeeding does and I don't think you can do it for months and months on end ... mind you, you do hear about mums of prem babies managing to express for ages whilst their babies are in NICU / Special Care. I think we have some mums on FZ who have done exactly that, so hopefully one of them will be along soon to give you some answers.


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Thursday, July 8th 2010, 1:18pm


Have a look at this section Breastfeeding

Also from the amazing Bells who knows everything about everything about breastfeeding...

The problem with expressing is that your body is less effective at maintaining your milk supply than if you were solely breastfeeding as the stimulation is not the same. So, if you're expressing every day at a certain time, you may find that you produce slightly less milk; as time goes on you may find that expressed milk is diminishing you may find that you need to 'top up' with formula. Once the baby is having top ups of formula he wont be demanding the breast milk and your milk will diminish even more to you need to top up even more with formula.....etc etc etc.... Gradually some Mums get to the stage where they find they don't have enough milk.

Some Mums have babies in SCBU and can only express as their babies are too small to breastfeed, some women fantastically manage weeks of sole expressing (I'm absilutely in awe of these women) but usually after weeks or months, they find that their milk diminishes and they then have to move on to formula. It's just because expressing isn't as stimulating for body or mind, the less the body is stimulated, the less milk it produces, the less it's stimulated, the less it produces.....etc etc

This cycle doesn't just happen with expressing, it happens with mix feeding too. As baby demands less breastmilk, you produce less breastmilk and baby isn't satisfied after a breastfeed. This is especially the case at night as your body produced a huge percentage of your milk making hormones at night. If you replace night time bottles with formula then you're not going to produce as much milk...and the cycle starts all over again...not enough milk, hungry baby, top ups with formula, less milk....etc.

Just a flying visit from me but this thread may be useful in explaining why expressing doesn't yield as much as nursing....

Babies are very good at getting milk out of the breast. And like Jessica said, expressing just doesn't stimulate you to produce as much milk. Its their sucking that gets the breasts going.

I tried to bf but O wouldn't suck so ended up formula feeding.

But have a look at the section above. There is loads of info in there chick.

Our miracle was born on 25.02.2010!!



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Thursday, July 8th 2010, 2:24pm

Hi there,

I didn't do this myself but have a friend who successfully managed for 13 weeks. She deserves a medal for managing to keep going this long. Lots of difficulties with this as pointed out in the post from Bells but something else to point out is simply the amount of time this will take because you'll need to factor in the time to express plus the time to feed your baby. Not everyone finds expressing very easy and I kinow quite a few ladies who are able to breastfeed easily but have never been able to express much.

best of luck xxx

me 38, DP 44, ttc since 2005
BFP May 07 - HB seen @ 8 wks but CRL only 7 weeks, m/c @ 9 wks
BFP Jan 08 -m/c @ 11 wks (D&C)
BFP Jun 08 - early loss
BFP Dec 08 - HB & CRL ok @ 8 wks, but sac too small, m/c @ 9 wks
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Thursday, July 8th 2010, 5:56pm


I did have to express milk from the start when my son was born. He was 5 weeks early and his suckling mechanism wasn't developed properly and he was in neonatal for a bit. I ended up giving him formula as well as expressed breast milk as I was't producing enough. I wasn't too well after he was born so I didn't see him for about 36hr and as a result my milk didn't come through properly. I managed to combine feeding for 6 weeks and then I changed to all formula milk as it was just too time consuming as also due to the fact that I had retained products and therefore wasn't very well.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

J x

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Monday, August 23rd 2010, 12:40pm

I expressed for several weeks with DD1 - she was tube fed for a few weeks, in SCBU, as she was born 2 months early, so I would express at the hospital, and at home. I think I lasted 5/6 weeks.


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Monday, August 23rd 2010, 5:46pm

I lasted 11 weeks with my DD1 but she wasn't exclusively breastfed and my milk was given along with formula as I could only produce a little bit and don't respond well to a pump. The other thing to mention is that to maintain any kind of supply of breastmilk you need to express FREQUENTLY, every 2 hours. this is a real PITA because you need to wash your hands and wash and scrub all your equipment and then sterilise it every single time, including in the night. You are in effect getting all the hassle of formula feeding with none of the 'convenience' and bypassing the biggest convenience of breastfeeding which is that you don't need any equipment. Hand expressing is another thing to look at as it can yield a better supply than a pump and there's less equipment to wash.

The other thing I would say is just try breastfeeding, even if you get 3 days worth of colostrum (the first milk you produce) into your baby and then switch to formula, you are making a huge difference to his/her furture well being. You might find you feel completely differently about it once your baby is here and all your hormonal responses and natural instincts come in to play. You might love it.

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Monday, August 23rd 2010, 11:00pm

My twins were born early and spent 3 weeks in SCBU where they were exclusively fed breast milk via a nose tube as they had not yet developed their sucking mechanism. When they came home I did a mix of breast feeding and expressing until they were about 10 weeks old. I do believe it is possible to express enough to exclusively feed breast milk as I used to get 4-6 ozs out of each breast with 20 minutes of pumping 4 or 5 time a day and I managed to build up a huge stock for my freezer.

To get my milk properly established it was necessary to express every three hours round the clock as though I was feeding my babies. That meant setting the alarm to get up at 1am, 4am, 7am etc. and it was really tough in the beginning. Since you will still need to feed your baby as well, you might find your time is better spent breast feeding rather than expressing and then bottle feeding.

You don't say why breast feeding isn't for you, but if it is because you are uncomfortable with feeding in public (as I was) maybe you could breast feed at home and use expressed milk when you are out.

Whatever, you decide, I'm sure it will be the right decision for you.

Good luck.
Newly Wed

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Friday, August 27th 2010, 12:41am

Hi Jo,
my son Harrison was born 13 weeks early and spent 12 weeks in nicu, he has been home for 16 days now and today is the first day i have had to give him full formula as after 13 weeks of pumping on a hospital grade pump my milk has dried up ! I had to take drugs to re-establish the supply at 10 weeks but that only lasts whilst you are taking it. It really is a labour of love! Good Luck!
1st cycle ARGC June 08
BFP in July 08
Blighted ovum at 1st scan.
1st Fet starting,hoping for transfer early Dec,abandoned
start medicated fet in Jan 09
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Late miscarriage at 21 weeks ( Charlie and Libby,perfect but born too soon)
Harrison Charlie born at 27 weeks and doing well



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Friday, August 27th 2010, 11:41pm

Hi Jo
I bf my dd until she was 10 months old but we had a rocky start and i didn't think that we were going to be able to manage it. She couldn't latch on because of a tongue-tie and so i had to express, the midwife showed me how to hand express but i didn't get on well with that and it took me half an hour to fill a 2.5ml syringe. Eventually when i managed to get a pump i could fill a bottle with a couple of ounces every few hours which was enough to feed her every other feed and i gave her formula in between. I kept putting her on the breast though which really stimulated my supply, had i not done so i dont think i would have been able to give her very much at all. After a few weeks i was getting 6 or 7oz out each time i expressed.

What i would say is that it's not impossible and it's great that you want your baby to benefit from your breastmilk, afterall, it's there and it's free and SO good for your baby. However, once baby is born, you may feel differently and if you get the urge to put your baby on the boob then try it, it's so much easier if they can get it straight from the source!

ICSI May 08 - BFP
Our beautiful baby girl was born February 2009
Jan 2010 natural BFP M/C 9 weeks
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