Expressing breast milk

I plan to give my baby breast milk when he/she arrives but keen to express so I can measure how baby is drinking and also so family can also feed, not just me!

I need some advice on what do buy. I don't want to spend too much money or buy unnecessary items. So many adverts, I'm confused!Manual or electric breast pump? Which brand? Any offers on? Which pouches or storage bottles are better value?

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13 Replies

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  • Hello! Congratulations on your baby! I can tell you what I've got... I have a Little Martin's drawer electric pump and it came with one bottle(150ml) it costed me 39,99£ on Amazon. It pumps the 150ml in 10 to 15 minutes.

    I bought some other bottles in Asda to have bigger bottles, 2 bottles (250ml) from the store brand was 4£...

    I have some storage bags in the frezzer from the lansinoh brand (the ones that came with the baby's pack) I think will buy more of those they look very good

    Hope you get more intel and choose what you think is better for you

  • Thanks not heard of little Martins before. I was thinking of getting a manual pump for that much!

    Is your baby satisdied withe breast milk alone? How often do you need to feed?

  • My baby is satisfied with the breast milk alone... he sleeps almost all night since 11:30pm until 7:30 am, during the day he feeds every 3 to 4 hours... but all babies are different so are all mothers... he is 3 months now...

  • Munyze watch out for the 4 month old growth spurt, my second had been sleeping pretty well through the night (like yours)...then at 4 months he went back to feeding every two hours, to increase my milk supply. Ugh!

  • Right now Asda sells manual Philips Avent breast pump £15 on sale (£40 full price)

    My boy is 9 weeks old and I have 100+ oz stash in my freezer just by expressing only to get rid of engorgement. It's easy to clean and take apart- takes 2 minutes, then I pop it in a steriliser and done!

    Some women don't respond to a pump. My friend breastfed her 2 boys but hardly could pump 1oz. On other hand me: I totally have "love affair" with it. I try not to pump too much because I already have slight oversupply, but some days they are rock hard and killing me so I must pump. one day I knew I won't be able to feed him from breasts so I nedded to collect milk in 2,5oz bottles and give from the bottle and from my over achiever left breast alone I pumped 7oz with Avent Manual pump in few minutes.

    I introduced baby a bottle on week 3 and dummy on week 6 and have not had any nipple confusion. I have a Tommee Tippee and Avent bottles and he takes both.

    Most of times I pump 1oz in a minute. But it depends on milk supply and how hydrated mum is. One day I ate whole watermelon and had to pump quite few times to feel comfortable.

    Not sure if it's a coincidence but I noticed that most fattiest milk I have is when I pump around 9pm-3am, after that there's less fat.

    Good luck on finding what's best fits you!

  • Congratulations! Very exciting times ahead :)

    I'm a breastfeeding peer supporter at the local children's centre. I've also breast feed for four year (two babies).

    Electric are certainly more efficient than manual. However not all women get on with pumps. Neither are no way as near as efficient as a baby at getting milk out either. Both my girls have been exclusively breast fed until 2, but I produce very little via a pump. Takes ages! Pumping in the morning and with your lo present can help. Hire one from your children's centre or midwife and see how you get on before you invest. Most areas do such schemes. You pay £5 for the bit that comes into contact with you and milk then a small fee for hiring.

    Having said all that, you really don't need to measure how much they're having. They take as much as they need. It's supply and demand so the more they're on you and feeding the more you make. It's like a weird trust exercise. Obviously midwife measures their weight initially and then you're off. Also best to stick to boob (rather than bottle) for the first few weeks at least to help with their latch and get them used to putting some effort in to get milk (bottles don't require much work)

    Hope that helps

    Good luck xxx

  • Can you get to a local breastfeeding clinic so they can help you? Ours offers hire of a hospital grade pump, maybe you could hire and see if it suits you.

    My sister gave me her electric pump (Phillips Avent i think) and I hated it, but I wanted to breastfeed and my babies were tongue tied so I had to pump to keep my supply up and to stop me getting mastitis. I tried the Medela with my second and my milk flowed quicker second time so I got on better with that one.

    I found pumping depressing as you sat there pumping for ages, only got a tiny amount and then feed lo. Then wash and sterilise all the equipment and start pumping again. In the early days you need to be pumping about every 2-3 hours to establish your milk supply, that includes through the night.

    I recommend you find a local group to support you with advice about pumping. However you choose to feed your baby its great if you can find people to support you. I met a lady at my local La Leche League group who exclusively pumped for a year.

    Personally I loved the ease of breastfeeding (once I'd got the hang of it), no washing, no sterilising, milk available wherever baby went with me and the added bonus of snuggling baby while they fed.

  • Hi Georgina_D. Congratulations!!! I am a first time mum with a 3 month old son. I am purely pumping right now. Here's my past 3 months experience. I believe if you are purely pumping, it's better to invest in a good electric double breast pump or you will end up wasting money in replacing parts or you will end up spending more time due to less suction power that some cheap pumps may offer. Plus, double electric breast pump saves you time compared to a single or manual pump. Although its more expensive. I have a Medela swing maxi double pump. It was £240 but it's worth having it. So far it has done a good job.

    Further, this is what I feel about purely pumping. While it gives you some freedom and lets your partner/family feel involved or help you, it is a lot of work. There will be too much of washing. Constant washing/sterilising pump parts, bottles, teats can be quite overwhelming. Specially if you are a first time mum like me. It is very time consuming which you really don't need right now. My son was good at latching at first but he went on a nursing strike and ever since he hasn't latched correctly. Unfortunately I am having to purely pump now. Also, it was like a bonding session between me and him where I would talk/sing to him which I miss very much now. However, it's the only option I have left so I am not over thinking it. One last disadvantage I see with purely pumping is, I have lost the mobility. I have to always time myself wherever I go as I am pumping every 3 hours which I believe you have to do in case of pure expressing in order to keep the milk supply going. If he was latching correctly, I wouldn't have to worry. So in other words traveling/shopping/walks everything need to be timed which can be quite frustrating too. But that said, all this is definitely not impossible so hope I am not disappointing you. Perhaps this will help you make an informed decision. Good luck!!!

  • Poor you- exclusively pumping sounds very time consuming and exhausting- in my case, where I do it for engorgement only it's a fun thing to do, and so relieving that it's hard to stop at the times because feeling my breasts "empty" is just lovely!

    Let's hope that your little one will grow up a bit and relatch properly because you're right- the bonding time is wonderful! However, I enjoy giving him bottle too, as it's less mess (breasts are leaking everywhere- specially if we go out and if he's messing about) and it takes longer to finish bottle than a breast - so I can stare and adore him for longer :)

    You're an amazing mum - to do all this hard work for your baby!

  • Thanks ChrisWest1983!! I must admit, I don't think I will be doing all this once I start working which is in the end of October. I will see how things go.

    I tried to get my LO to latch several times but his screaming and crying makes me upset so I have stopped trying now.

    However with regards to the engorgement, I guess the body adjusts to any change in about 72 hours. So if you stop pumping, you will have wet mess and engorgement for 3 days but slowly your body adjusts to that.

  • Thanks for the advice- I really wish my breasts would adjust, but they just don't... first 8 weeks they were big, hard, full. Then last 2 weeks it got better few days- I even did not need to pump and then Boom- I wake up with big & painful breasts so I can't sleep as it hurts so I go and pump a bit.

    I suppose it's only 2,5 months since I have my baby- probably they'll regulate soon by them selves. Fingers crossed. Then again, as everyone says- better a little oversupply than undersupply.

  • Wow!!! I can imagine that must be difficult too. And like you said maybe your body will need some more time to adjust xx

  • Hi and congratulations!

    I have a tomme tippie manual breast pump. It costs £32 in mother care and comes with 2 bottles I believe. You can get more bottles of the same brand, they tend to be on sale often, aldi had an offer quite recently 4 bottles for £4 or something like that. Or you can use different brands too or even storage bags and freeze the milk.

    The tommee tippie pump is super easy to use, assemble and clean (there are only 3 parts) so I would recommend it if you are not planning to exclusively pump. Anyway, i wouldn't recommend exclusive pumping purely because I am lazy and as others above already explained it is really hard work. However, you definitely should give pumping a try. I pump before I've planned something to do without my baby, like a night out or something similar. Over few days I express enough milk so my partner can feed the baby during the night and next day. Best time to express would be morning in my case or whenever your baby is asleep and hasn't eaten for a while (you can get rid of breast engorgment in that way too). My son eats around 2-4 ounces in one sitting and I think it's what most babies usually eat (I may be wrong though) unless he's going through growth spurt so you need to take those periods into consideration too. If you decide to express during growth spurts you may go crazy as babies tend to eat almost non stop at those times.

    Try to seek a support of your local breastfeeding support group. They can tell you anything you need to know, and help you if you struggle with breastfeeding at the beginning or at any given point. Sometimes you will be super tired of breastfeeding, sometimes you will love it, sometimes you will be indifferent and can read or watch TV while your baby is eating, it's a journey. Definitely try pumping though as it will give you a break once in a while from your little one to enjoy doing whatever you please. Good luck! Xx

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