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Missing a trick??

For the first time I let my husband do the first night feed with the aim of having a longer sleep.

I've been expressing breast milk for a few weeks now but not on a daily basis, just whenever I've had the time. I usually express after the first feed in the morning and then at 9pm at night (my baby is now almost 8 weeks and we aim to have him in bed by 7pm).

So this night he went to sleep at 7pm and slept until 1am (usually he wakes somewhere between 11pm and 12am). My husband did the feed and our good little baby went back to sleep as normal. But the plan for me to sleep longer hasn't worked. I also woke when baby started crying (which I obviously expected) but I couldn't go back to sleep because my breasts were so full. Eventually I had to get up anyway with the discomfort and here I am at 2.30am expressing milk to relieve the fullness.

Am I missing a trick here? How can I let someone give my baby a bottle without having to also express at the same time? I'm also confused how this is supposed to work when I leave the baby with family/friends for the afternoon and they do the feed with EBM. Am I supposed to express milk during this period too to maintain my milk supply?

1 Reply

Hi Rachf, if your husband were to give your baby the nightime bottle every night, within a week your breasts would learn this and not make as much at that time of day. So after few days you won't find yourself engorged at night. For now you can gently express off just enough to make you comfortable and either discard it or add it to your store of EBM. If you don't use too high a setting on the pump, this won't increase your supply at night. When you leave the baby with family/friends, provided this is not happening very frequently or for prolonged periods, you won't need to express while you're away to keep the supply up. However you may find yourself needing to express off a bit while you are away to keep yourself comfortable - you can do this by hand over the sink or toilet when you are out! and wear breastpads to absorb any leaks from missing a feed. Every breastfeeding mum is different - I have a friend who took the whole night off from breastfeeding to go to her work do and have a few drinks, she fed again at 7am the next morning and had no problems with over engorgement or a low supply the next day. However, when I have left my baby for as little a three hours in the evening, I have developed blocked ducts/lumps and severe discomfort. Next time I will try expressing over the sink when I am out. It all depends on your baby's usual feeding habits- my little girl feeds every hour in the run up to bedtime and then every 2.5 hours through the night, therefore my breasts are used to producing a lot at nighttime and this is why I get problems when I leave her. However my friend who had no problems has a baby who sleeps through until 5am and this is probably why she had few problems. I hope this has helped rather than confused. It's all about trial and error really. Try keeping your breaks away from baby short to start with to see how it goes. You will learn what works and what doesn't. But it takes time and perseverance. Good luck xxx

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