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Exclusive pumping

  1. #1
    Aber97 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Hong Kong

    Exclusive pumping

    Has anyone exclusively pumped and expressed breastmilk from the outset including colostrum? Would like to hear more about this.

  2. #2
    AndreaY is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Hong kong

    Think you'd find it hard to pump colostrum, 1st, there's not much of it and it's more viscous. Even if you did manage to pump it, it would properly all stick to the bottle and nothing can be fed to baby. Think the lactation consultant can manually extract it and suck it into syringe to feed to baby though. I basically pumped from day 3 (around when milk starts coming out), but only exclusively from about 1.5 weeks or so.

  3. #3
    LeahH is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hong Kong, Mid Levels

    I had to try to get the colostrum via a pump (whilst simultaneously trying the baby on the breast), didn't work terribly well as AndreaY says above. The LC managed to get it out manually and give it to the baby via syringe. I ended up pumping (almost) exclusively for 7-8 months. It was a huge challenge.... a good site for information is on ivillage, called 'exclusively pumping'.

  4. #4
    MilkMonster is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Hi there, I too exclusively pumped from the beginning since both my babies were premature and in ICU when they were born. Colostrum is best extracted manually into a syringe (without the needle of course) If you stay at the public hospital the nurses will be able to show you how to do this. If you go private, you may need a lactation consultant to come in and show you. The first time around, I found it quite painful to manually extract the milk. Second time around it was tolerable. I switched to a pump when my milk came in - around 4 days after birth.

    For my elder son, I was able to exclusively pump for 6mths until solids but for my 2nd, I have struggled with finding time to pump and started to combination feed EBM and Formula at 4mths.

    Although pumping sounds ideal, the truth is, it's like having another baby to feed. Your life with a newborn - already taking 10-12hrs of feeds in a 24hr cycle, time is precious and if you then have to spend another 8-10hrs pumping, you don't really get any sleep. For my elder son, I was pumping 10 times a day for 45mins to meet his daily intake. For my 2nd, I was able to go down to 4-6 1hr pumps to meet his intake. Then you also have to sterilize bottles...Like someone said above, it's definitely a challenge and if I could have, I would definitely have breastfed. given there are also challenges with breast feeding, I am told that all the effort and pain you go through the first few months is worth it in the end. Oh, just to also let you know, pumping itself is not a very pleasant experience. You have to massage your boobs the entire time to help the milk come out and your arms, hands and fingers will be sore. the first time around, my nipples were not able to take the pump and I cracked and bled for the first few months. 2nd time around, they were tough already so that didn't happen.

    In the end, if you choose to EP, make sure you have supportive people around you to encourage you to stick with it without making you feel guilty if you choose to stop. It's very very difficult to force yourself to get up at 3am to pump when you just put the baby down at 12am.

    Good luck!!

  5. #5
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    Our bodies are made for breastfeeding not made for pumping and so usually don't respond well to the pump. Remember that when a baby breastfeeds three things are coming together to help the milk leave your body and enter the baby's body.

    These are suction, mouthing and hormones.

    The baby's mouth makes a vacuum on your breast and the suction helps the milk come out. The pump works in a similar way.

    The baby uses its lower jaw and tongue to milk the breast and help the milk come out. The pump doesn?t have this action but hand expressing is similar.

    The hormone which helps the milk leave your body and enter the baby is oxytocin. The more oxytocin you have the faster the milk ejection reflex and the more milk the baby gets. When you directly breastfeed your oxytocin levels are high but when you pump they are low. Oxytocin is sometimes called the love hormone because it is this hormone at work when you feel good. Most mothers have loving feelings towards their babies as they hold them and not so loving feeling toward the breast pump. This results in much higher levels of oxytocin when you hold the baby rather then when you hold a pump. And this translates into more milk going into the baby than you can pump.

    Putting these three things together result in more milk transfer when you directly feed than when you pump.

    There are times when the baby is ill or premature when the baby isn't able to drink as much milk as you can pump. But these are unusual circumstances and definitely a time when you will need more help and support of your breastfeeding than normal.

    Someone mentioned above that colostrum is viscous. I usually think of it like honey rather than milk. The pump is usually not able to suck the colostrum out. It can be very down heartening for mothers when they get no pumped colostrum - and all too easy for them to think they have none. But it isn't true everyone who is pregnant gets colostrum (even if they go on to later to have milk supply problems). It is just difficult to get out UNLESS you are a baby. The baby is made to drink the colostrum.

    Usually hand expressing is more productive than pumping because you put pressure behind the ducts and squeeze the milk towards the nipple. Remember we are only looking for 1 or 2 mls of colostrum per feed during the first day. A newborn baby's stomach is only the size of a teaspoon - it can't hold much so you don't produce much.

    Generally we suggest direct breastfeeding for the first four to six weeks and then if you want to introduce pumping too it doesn't have a negative effect on the breastfeeding. The first six weeks of breastfeeding are a special time when the breastfeeding is also dependent on the hormones. After six weeks the milk supply is determined by how much is taken out - the more taken out the more milk you make - and if you want to take some out by pumping then that's fine.

    Best wishes,

    Last edited by LLL_Sarah; 10-09-2008 at 09:05 PM.
    La Leche League Leader

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