Expressing during the night?

I am expressing only as my 3week old baby has struggled to latch on from the beginning.

Is there anyone else out there who has expressed only and did they do it during the night?

I know that emptying my breasts every 4hrs will give me the best chance of making as much milk as possible so I have been using the pump after every feed, but doing this in the middle of the night is such a pain. I don't want my milk supply to decrease if I stop pumping in the night though. Anyone suggest anything?

13 Replies

  • They say best time to pump is after the feed around 7am ish thts often been the case for me..I hav tried other times and not been too successful. U shudnt hav to pump all night..just do it if it works b4 bed and when u wake..

  • I expressed from about 5 weeks. I was told by my health visitor that expressing during the night is just as important as apparently at night your milk is richer. I know it's hard and very tiring. I did the same expressed after every feed. I started to struggle to produce enough milk for feeds so started to introduce formula as needed . I was disappointed that I had to do this but it took the pressure of not getting enough milk! Also I knew my baby was getting all the correct vitamins etc. from bout 4 months we have been on formula. One thing I will recommend is hireling a Mandela pump wish I had done this sooner as I believe I prob could have expressed for longer. (link can be found on mothercare site). It is a hospital grade and irs much more comfortable to use. I found my electric pump very uncomfortable after a while. The Mandela pump is designed for long term use where as most others are not. It had a more natural pumping action and can cut down the pumping time and is quiet!

    Good luck and I wish you both well

  • Hi I also had to do this and was told that your hormone levels are highest between midnight and 5 and that I should aim to pump twice during this period, I know it's not ideal. Good luck

  • Hello I would recommend getting in touch with La Leche league leader and they will be able to check your baby's latch or for tongue tie etc. There are ladies out there who express only but it is very hard work! Hopefully with some help you will get the latch sorted but don't suffer alone. It took my baby 7 weeks to get the hang of latching and for my nipples to stop hurting. Breastfeeding is a new skill which you both have to learn. Good luck and well done for getting this far!

    0845 120 2918

  • Also l agree with choo, I hired a madela pump like the one you get in the hospital and could express 90ml in about 10 minutes.

  • you definitely need to express at night (sorry) & at least every 4hrs. You can hire electric pumps (NCT have pump agents) that do both sides simultaneously which will save you valuable time. Your baby may still latch, plenty of skin to skin time-I know one who did it at 7 weeks.

  • Believe it or not but I did it for a full 9 months day and night, was tiring but rewarding as I saw my hungry little girl thriving, my shoulder and back were aching, also my breasts of course but that was my only option as she was just too lazy to suck on the breast so after a 4 weeks of tears and worry, the MW and HV asked me to do what I feel right .

    Luckily I had lots of milk maybe coz It was my first and I was 23

  • Have you tried using nipple shields? My LO really struggled to latch on at the beginning too and using shields helps get the nipples into a better shape for baby to latch on to. Start off with a shield and then take it away half way through a feed so baby learns how to latch on to your breast without it.

  • I have the same problem with my son. He is now 5 weeks old.

    I eventually started to use nipple shields when he was 3 weeks.

    When we came home from hospital it was very stressful pumping through the night but worth the rewards if you stick with it. I was bottle feeding him breast milk which I really didn't want to do. But at least he was getting the goodness from breast milk. I had to hire a Medela pump for 2 weeks which was amazing and really helped my milk production. They say best time to pump is 1-5 am.

    We now use nipple shields all the time. Sometimes he will latch on the right breast which is good progress. Now and again I will give him a bottle (breast milk) as I cannot tell how much he is getting from the breast.

    I have bought a Medela swing breast pump as I now only pump once or twice a day.

    Am less stressed and baby is happy too.

    It also helped going to a breastfeeding clinic in my area. In fact they were the ones that suggested I try a nipple shield.

    Don't give up it will get easier.

    Good luck.

  • Hi I was pumping only on one side for 6 weeks as I had bad infection in nipple. I pumped in night as this is when prolactin hormone is strongest and dictates milk supply. I still do on this side after 4am feed to build up stash for going back to work. I sterilise everything and put it in food bag so it's all ready to go. Doesn't take long now.

    Have you seen bf advisor about getting baby on? Maybe nipple shields could help?

  • As the baby grows it might be worth giving breast feeding directly another go. Babies don't often like the taste of the nipple cream so try leaving that off when you try. My nan used to swear by a dab of honey to help them latch on. I can honestly say it worked for my middle child as it took her 2 wks to get the latching on idea. I was expressing for her too and it's very hard going. You should aim to drink a pint of water when expressing or breast feeding. Your milk will flow best when your baby is crying a hunger cry. I recorded my daughter and that helped me maintain my milk. When they were older I managed to express with a good long gap of 8 to 12 hrs between. You will need to move the feeds further apart but you shouldn't need to be expressing more than feeding but obviously she will need you to maintain how much she needs. I used to express when I was leaking as they seemed to give more at these times. I hope this is some help to you. I ended up 'breast feeding' until 12 months including expressing from time of too many teeth at 6months. It still counts as not substituted with formula at any point.

  • Hi, I've been pumping now for just over a year. It does get easier, especially when solids are introduced. I started because my nipples are very flat and it was a nightmare to get my son to latch on. I used the sheilds which were o.k but I found if I pumped for a couple of minutes and then put him on the breast it worked well( well it took a lot of time and patience) . I went back to work when he was two and half months which meant having to pump more often. He also decided he didn't like the bottle a week before I had to start back, it was if he knew. It can be very stressful but when you get the hang of it it's great. I did both until he got teeth and got a kick out of chomping on Mama! I used to pump in the night while my husband gave him a bottle, this worked really well even if it did cost me a cup of tea in the middle of the night. I did the night pump until he was about ten weeks, it's a pain but the time will fly by. I now pump morning and evening and will be stopping soon. I know it so frustrating sometimes but it's great for you and baby if you can stick with it. Good luck and enjoy every second, they grow so quickly. Oh and drink plenty of water. X

  • Thanks everyone. Yeh I've tried the nipple Sheilds and they made me bleed because they dug into my nipple. Think I'm just going to have go stick with expressing and topping up with formula. at least she's getting some breast milk then. I've bought a Tommee tippee electric pump and so far I love it apart from the noise. Will try pumping during the night then as I haven't been. I'm amazed at these people saying they get 100ml in 10min. I'm only getting 60ml first thing in the morning and always get more from one breast than the other xx

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