Breast Feeding and expressing

Hi I was hoping to got some advice from those with experience please. I am hoping to breastfeed but also to express - for if I was out and an evening feed.

What breast pumps did people find effective? How about bottles as I assume each company does a bottle which says its close to the breast? How long did people leave it till expressing? DId people use nipple shields from the beginning to help prevent breasts getting sore?

Any advice and experience would be really appreciated.. thank you

14 Replies

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  • I have tried various manual pumps over the years after breastfeeding four children and found that it was a lot of effort for very little milk which they invariably refused to drink from any of the many closer to nature type bottles I purchased. My sister bought an electric pump which I now borrow and it is fantastic but was expensive so would only recommend if you plan to express milk regularly. Usually what's has happened is grandparent/husband have either spoonfed baby milk or used a free flow 4 month + baby cup. I guess though if you teach from just after birth to take bottle with expressed milk this will not be a problem.

    I only expressed after four months and did use nipple shields for first one for a while until I learned what to do. If it hurts then baby is not latched on correctly and there are many different ways to feed other than traditional baby lying across your body with you upright. Experiment to see what's comfortable and remember it all changes depending on how full your breast are and how practised you both are. It's a skill you need to learn and takes time and patience with yourself with trial and error. Hope this helped!

  • I expressed from the very first day as the baby couldn't latch on and left us both exhausted after hours of trying. I didn't find feeding with a spoon very successful, she was too fidgety and hungry and I wasn't aware of other methods. The baby learned to latch on eventually but I continued doing both bf and expressing as it gave my husband an opportunity to bond when giving the bottle. And there was never any "nipple" confusion. I have three children, all had a bottle from day one that I expressed while the third one had formula in the bottle and was being breastfed. Nipple shields are a good help if you are in pain or bleeding (although not while expressing). Good luck!

  • Thank you Deezed. Not sure where the spoon came in? Are you talking about weaning here? So you expressed and used bottles from the start? Which pump/bottles did you find good?

  • Nellynel - with regards to the spoons, some people have to try tipping little bits of milk into baby's mouth with a spoon or a cup if they can't latch on properly or take the bottle x

  • Hi,

    I expressed some milk quite early on so that I could get some rest and daddy could enjoy feeding our little one. The only thing I would say about it though I wouldn't recommend starting too early; your milk doesn't come in until about 4 days after birth and for the first few weeks your baby is establishing your milk supply, and expressing can mess that up (by making you produce too much). So just judge it for yourself as to when you feel your supply is settling down.

    I used a hand pump for a while which was fine, I used Philips Avent which I had the bottles for too. But it did take a while to get the milk out as it didn't stimulate let down very well, so I bought a second hand electric pump from eBay as they're so expensive (I'm not bothered about it being second hand, as long as it's sterilised what's the problem?). I bought a Medela Swing pump and it's absolutely fantastic. A lot faster and more efficient at getting milk out and I don't have to sit there squeezing the pump! I'm now managing to build up a little store of milk for when she's at her grandparents' house.

    The only problem is, she's still only 10 weeks and does struggle taking a bottle. Even the Avent bottles which I chose because they said they feel natural don't work; I've tried suckle feeders too, and they're better. The delivery of the milk is far too fast for her compared to the breast. So your baby's not guaranteed to like it. I'm just having to persevere with it for when I go back to work.

    As far as nipple shields go, they didn't work for me. She's got a slight tongue tie and so really struggled with her latch for the first couple of weeks. I was in so much pain and bleeding but they didn't work. My advice is to really work on getting the latch right from day one. Use the help of your midwives and health visitor and there's plenty of YouTube videos. The latch is so important. If you and baby have got it right, it won't hurt so you won't need them.

    Hope this helps x

  • thank you that's helps a lot

  • Hi could I ask please. For those who tried a few different bottles to find one baby would take. How did you get on with a steriliser? Arnt they brand specific and therfore will only take that sterilisers own brand?

  • Sterilisers don't tend to be brand specific (mine's Avent and isn't) as you need to sterilise many different things; dummies, pumps, etc. I've tried a few different brands and sizes of bottles and they all fit. So don't worry about that, but I would always double check before buying x

  • hi thanks that's great to know. I was thinking that if you bought one and then ended up trying a few different bottles with your baby you would be a bit stuck..

  • Absolutely, I thought the same before I bought mine but I just looked at the box before I bought it. Plenty available for you to choose from, you'll soon find the one that's best for you. Best of luck with everything.

  • hi there, personally I found that my baby would only take the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles. in the early days due to my low milk supply I had to top her up with formula from a bottle after every breastfeed and then pump my boobs to encourage more milk to come in. I was in hospital and used their electric pump which was really good. However struggled with my manual pump when i got home as i needed something more powerful while my supply was still building up. Once her weight gain was back on track, i stopped expressing and just let her feed constantly for a few days. After a couple of weeks was able to do just breastfeeding without formula top-up. Then I didn't really start expressing again until she was 4 months old because she found it difficult to be away from me so I found it better for us all for me to stay at home to nurse her on demand. However now that she is 7 months, going out and leaving expressed milk sometimes is much easier. If I know that I will need expressed milk on a certain day, I try to express a little bit each day in the run-up to it. However I also express randomly on other days - sometimes if my boobs seem to have more than she needs i need to relieve the pressure, and comes in handy later so I just put it in the freezer. I use the MAM manual pump - personally wouldn't recommend this one as it unscrews as you're using it and sometimes spills, I just continue using it because it is the one I have bought and I don't need it that often anyway. if i was expressing often i would invest in an electric one. I have never used nipple shields - was only sore in the first few days. Hope this helps rather than confuses. xx

  • thank you. Guess the pattern and what you will need to do will become more clear when you start but it seems a little overwhelming when its all new

  • I know it can feel overwhelming, but you will find your way largely through trial and error. What works for one person isn't the right way for another. Good that you are getting clued up now but I would say the trick to successful breastfeeding and expressing is having peple around you who support your wish to breastfeed, to keep an open mind, and to ask for help whenever you need it - be that little niggling questions or anything more. Good luck! Xx

  • Hi, I have found hand expressing to be more effective than a manual pump, but both the medela sling and medela symphony pumps I have used when LO was in hospital ill a few times are amazing. I donated milk to a milk bank which I did by hand expressing, but my baby won't take a bottle so except in hospital when he was on ebm through syringe or NG tube I never needed to pump a lot at a time. Next baby I will buy an electric pump because I want to donate milk again and with two babies I won't have time for hand expressing. I intend to buy a medela, but I might hire through the hospital rental scheme to try other ones out first.

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