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expressing breast milk

  1. #1
    mammalicious is offline Registered User
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    expressing breast milk

    Can i ask if anyone else had problems expressing an adequate amount of milk using the symphony breast pump ? i feel as though i may not have enough milk for my baby.. she is quite unsettled and always hungry. even after feeding for 45 minutes on one breast and then 30 minutes on the other she is still rooting and crying if i take her off. of couse 45 minutes does not constitute constant sucking, id assume she is actually sucking for 25-30minutes of that time . after i feed, i am only able to express 1oz max 1.5 ounces from both breasts with the medela, but when i was using the manual pump, i was able to express at times up to 60ml/2oz. yet i am hearing some mom's able to express 4-5 ounces at a time.

    should i be worried and perhaps consider supplementing with formula as i do not want my baby to go hungry, as much as i'd like to exclusively feed breast milk.

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Sumei is offline Registered User
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    hi,

    I am no bfeeding expert but I have been through the whole "lack of milk supply" issue with my baby so I can at least tell you my experience (my 8 month son is currently still fully bfed for all milk feeds, only introduced a little formula at 6 months ie about 60 ml per day to mix into his solids):

    1. full breastfeeding and trying to express milk at the same time is VERY exhausting on the body so be patient with your body as it tries to feed both your baby and your expressing machine

    2. there is NO such thing as "not enough milk" - some women are luckier and seem to not have to worry about supply, others have to work harder to maintain a good supply - feed regularly every 2 hours if necessary (the more you feed, the more your body will produce), ensure you have a good calorific diet, try and rest/sleep as much as possible, keep stress/fustration etc to a minimum, the happier/relaxed and more rested you are, the better the supply. I used fenugreek capsules initially to get my supply up, you may want to try that.

    3. Do not supplement with formula thinking your baby is not getting enough - that is a sure way to decrease your supply!!!! Feed more regularly if necessary and monitor baby's weight gain and number of wet diapers. Don't forget, generations of women have exlcusive bfed, formula wasn't available 3 centuries ago!

    4. expressing is tough on the body - it's a machine at the end of the day and will never be as successful at drawing out the milk from your body as your baby. How much you manage to express is NO indication of the amount of milk you have, it's only an indication of how much you can express - remember that. When I started expressing (I was using the Medela pump in style traveller), I only expressed about 10ml (this was about an hour after a feed) and even after a month, I'd only get about 30-50ml. From your post, you mentioned you express after a feed, presumably your baby has been very efficient in her/his feed and your body has not had the time to reproduce more milk.

    5. Visit with a lactation specialist : you may want to have a visit with one to discuss your questions and work out a timeline to build in your expressing.

    6. Bfeeding is like being in baby heaven for your baby - baby gets milk, comfort, warmth, a soft nipple etc....just becos your baby cries after being taken off the boob doesn't mean it's not getting enough. To ensure your baby feeds efficiently and effectively - ensure that baby is not dozing on the boob etc....you may want to put baby into a loose routine if you haven't already done so to ensure baby gets enough sleep to feed properly.

    Hope this helps, very best of luck - my midwife told me this in my early days with my baby (when I was exhausted, scared, emotional wreck!).....it will get better!!

    Rgds,
    Sumei

  3. #3
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    I was once told the following analogy for pumping - Imagine that you have a brick wall in your brain.

    When you breastfeed and put the baby to the breast a signal goes from the breast to the brain to tell you that there is activity at the breast and asks the milk to flow. The brain responds with the let-down reflex and the milk in your breasts starts to come out and into the baby’s mouth.

    When you are pumping and you put the pump to the breast the signal goes from the breast to the brain to tell you that there is activity at the breast and asks the milk to flow. The signal, however meets a wall. For some mothers all they have to say is that “the milk is for the baby” and the wall crumbles and the let-down reflex works and the milk starts to come out. However, for other mothers, the wall answers back “but where is the baby?”

    So how much milk you get when you pump depends on how strong your wall is. Does it easily crumble and you get 4 oz or is it very strong and you get nothing – or maybe it is only a bit strong and you get 1½ oz?

    One of my best friends has had four babies and managed to fully breastfeed them all but she was never able to get any milk when she tried to express – either by hand or by pump. But all her babies grew – it fact the third one was 28lbs at 8 months (yes that’s right 28lbs!!!) all on breast milk as she hadn’t started solids yet.

    The main thing to remember is the AOMUNT OF MILK YOU GET WHEN YOU PUMP IS NOT THE AMOUNT OF MILK YOU HAVE – it is only the amount you can get out.

    Don’t worry about how much milk you can get out. If you can get it out great if not – just feed the baby and the baby will get it out. If you really need to get milk out then there are a number of ideas of how to do this at,

    I'm pumping my milk to feed my baby, but my supply is going down. What can I do?
    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/pumpwork.html

    I would contact one of the LLL leaders in Hong Kong and have a chat with them. They have lots of knowledge about breastfeeding and pumping.

    Best wishes,
    Barb

  4. #4
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    From my experience, once my milk supply regulated I could only pump whilst nursing. Would pump first thing in the morning, and was able to get anywhere from 4-8oz and in the evenings. Without nursing I could only pump a measly 1-2oz. Don't forget to drink lots of water during the day.

    Rani
    Last edited by rani; 09-24-2005 at 11:19 PM.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  5. #5
    mammalicious is offline Registered User
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    thank you all for such quick responses.

    actually spoke to a friend last night who suggest pumping before i feed, and managed to get 3 ounces in 10min from one breast so am feeling more comfortable..

    however if i pump before the feed or give it 15-30minutes before my feed, will my baby get enough from the breast?

    Thanks again!!!!! :cheerlead

  6. #6
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    Even if you pump right before feeding your baby should still get enough at the breast. All that will happen if she doesn’t get enough is that she will ask for another feed sooner than if you hadn’t pumped.

    The problems come if you try to pump and take off so much milk before every feed or if you put your baby on a schedule. If you pump before every feed then you take too much milk away – and I’d ask what are you doing with all the milk? If you put the baby on a schedule then you don’t allow the baby to get milk when she wants and needs it.

    Best wishes,
    Barb

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