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How often should I express?

Hi all

My baby girl is 6 days old, despite a successful first few days bf we have had some problems (I think caused by the traumatic birth, and subsequent problems I had). The midwives believe there was a delay between when Matilda needed my milk to come in and when it actually arrived and during that time she seems to have lost the will to work for the breast.

I am making milk now but Matilda will no longer latch on at all, although she loves ebm from a bottle or spoon. As she has lost too much weight we are combined feeding with formula every two hours and I want to express as much as possible so she gets enough from me.

Realistically how often should I express? I only have a hand pump at the mo so it takes ages so also thinking about an electric pump - does anyone have any suggestions?

Sorry for the long post - I've been a bit worked up about it so it's nice to get it off my chest x


  • Hi,

    Sorry to hear you've had an emotional start to things. Hopefully you and your little one are settling into te swing of things now.

    I use the Nuby Rhythm pump - it allows for manual and electric expressing. I love it and find it really easy to use - it is comfortable and once you've used it a few times it 'learns' your body's rhythm and so pumps in line with how quick/slow your milk comes through.

    I'd suggest you try to express as much as you can as this will mean that your body will keep producing milk, if you don't express enough your body will gradually realise that not a lot of milk is required and then it'll struggle to produce more on demand.

    Good luck x
  • they recommend 3 hourly i think it is and once at night if you can, have you tried a nipple shield if you want to try her again, its more like a bottle and gets them use to the boob, LO wouldnt latch on to my right side but after a few days with the shield she now can without it, worth a go if you want to, i express when hubby gives a bottle, were just looking into electric pumps as my hand kills with the hand pump, if you have a local breastfeeding support group the loan out pumps to try x
  • Hey we had the same problem and had to combi feed for a couple of months until I could exclusivly bf again, my daughter is still bf now at 9 months so it can work. I found the best way was to pick the same times to express so your body thinks it is feeding. I would feed her from one side then give her the formula then express from the other side and what little I could get from the side just fed then at the next feed do it the other way round. Good luck xx
  • I have the medela swing its really good and very gentle and easy to use is expensive just under ??100. I was told in hospital to express after every 3 hourly feed as my baby had lost 11% of her birth weight and my milk was slow coming in also had tramatic birth.My milk is much better now so not expressing anymore unless I need some for convenince my little girl is 2 weeks tomorrow.
  • Thanks for all of your replies, I am pleased to say that I am still combi-feeding as I was so worried I would have lost my milk by now.

    I have been giving her 3 successful feeds a day (although she still takes formula on top, but sometimes not a lot) and have a freezer stock so that if my milk does stop completely I can continue feeding her for another little while.

    I have to confess I haven't expressed as much as I should sometimes as I have been trying to get out and about and can't express when I'm not home.

    I did buy a Medela Swing - I thought of it as an investment as when I do have another baby I would like to breastfeed again and so think I'll get enough use from it. I think it did help increase my flow initially because it does feel quite like it does when Matilda is latched on.

    M's latch has now improved - she is a pro at going on and adjusts herself if it's not quite right. I know she prefers the breastmilk so I am hoping we will keep going as we are and perhaps in time I will be able to do even more feeds myself.

    I also started taking fenugreek yesterday and have to say I am feeling 'fuller' so hopefully this will help too.

    Thanks again for all the advice - there is nothing to describe how good I feel when she latches on and glugs away image
  • hi hun

    just wanted to add that hand held pumps, while ok for now and then use, dont stimulate well enough to maintain a milk supply in your position - where your daughter is not exclusively breast feeding. Obviously however you feed her is your choice but your milk supply is almost certain to wane unless you start expressing 3-4 hourly with your good electric pump - just dont want you not to do this and hope your milk supply will improve as it probably won't.

    Sound very positive your daughter is now latching on though! Might only take a short time of putting the effort in with the pump as well to get her totally breast feeding, which would make the trips out a bit easier.

    You sound like you're doing an amazing job after a difficult start xx
  • Alfie222 manuals are fine for what she's doing. You don't need an electric pump and your milk won't wain. That's nonsense
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