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Hello ladies

My little girl is 18 weeks tomorrow and is ebf. We did struggle with weight gain in the beginning and even now she only weighs around 11 and a half pounds but is following her line and the HV is happy with her. I want to start her on some porridge in a couple of weeks and would really like to use breast milk not formula but I cant seem to express! I have the TT hand held pump and iv tried half heartly a couple of times with no success. I gave it a determined go yesterday and got about an ounce! What can I do to improve this?

Also.. how long can i store it in the fridge for and if I got another ounce tonight could I add it to yesterdays or do I have to store it separatly? And yesterdays seems to have separated and curdeled a bit is that normal?


  • hi miss strawberrie

    fab to hear you are still going strong with feeding - fantastic, you've done an amazing job.

    expressing is one of those things that seems easy till you do it - people in soaps on tv seem to go back to work when their lo's are teeny weeny and make it sound like a simple alternative to bf! it isnt! a pump will never express like a baby as the whole milk production thing is linked in with the emotional bond of nursing your baby, where there is no baby it can be very clinical and your let down refelx shuts down.

    the other side of it is pumps are so variable - the hosdpital grade electric ones which do both sides at the same time are the best thing after your baby and are the only ones that allow people who are separated from a very young baby, or who have a baby thast refuses to bf, the opportunity to give solely breast milk. ive just spent ??220 on one for when i return to work - we never had a fancy pram and had lots of 2nd hand stuff so i feel justified as its important to me lo has my milk beyond 8 months - ideally as long as poss. some people do manage with a handheld as they're apart from their lo for several hours before they pump, but tbh when ebf a child not yet on solids its not unusual to not get much with a handheld. ive used a handheld until now and there are some things that increase my supply.

    i wait till 3 hours after last feed. i have a hot bath as nothing relaxes me more than this. i then put something on tv that i enjoy and will get absorbed in to try and forget im doing it. i massage my boobs and make sure they're warm (a cold boob wont give you much).i then pump for half an hour, i tend to have a let down one side, then the mik flow starts to tail off to barely anything so i change sides, then when the same thing happens the other side i alternate again. by the end of half an hour i usually have 5oz or so. this has taken some practice though and i think after a while you let down better anyway cause its not a new thing anymore. to begin with, i only got aboout 2oz. i just havent got time for all that when at work and i know i wont feel as cosy and relaxed in the middle of a stressful day so im hoping a good pump and being able to do both sides at once will help (its supposed to, this is also something you could try, bf your lo one side while using handheld on other. ive never bothered as its a lot to juggle but you're supposed to get more especially first thing in morning).

    good luck, you shouldnt need much for adding to food anyway but its worth building up the expressing skill a little bit now for later on anyway x
  • sorry forgot to add the official advice says 5 days in fridge, 2 weeks in freezer compartment of a fridge and 6 months in freezer - although freezing kills some of the antibodies in the milk. if you heat the milk up cause lo needs it quickly, it cant go back in the fridge. if it hasnt been heated it can stay out the fridge for 6 hours although not sure id be happy using milk that had been out the fridge so long tbh. milk does separate in the fridge, its fine to use (cows milk would look the same if it came straight from cow!) you just need to gently swirl it round, dont shake it as this can destroy some of the proteins in the milk x
  • For me it depends very much on the time of day sometimes I'll get 1oz sometimes I'll get 5! So try at different times, I also find that one side is easier to express than the other and if I look at my LO it is easier.

    It is very much trial and error, good luck finding something that works for you.

    Mooomin x
  • Thank you so much ladies, some really good advice that im going to try.

    Alfie - I did try whilst BFing and thats how I got the ounce! but i couldnt juggle them very well! Her feeding is very sporadic and its not very often we have 3 hours between feeds but i didnt know about warming the boob up first and im going to give it a go in the morning instead of at night. And Moomin Il see if just looking at her works as well.

    Im not going back to work till she is 11 months so hopefully we can get away with just morning and night then and maybe cows milk through the day if she wants it.
  • Gave it a go this morning, I'd realised that she hadn't fed for almost 3 hours so decided to sterilse the pump, by that time she wanted a feed so with her on one side and pump on the other I got an ounce! Not great but double what I got last time! Got that in about five minutes then nothing?

    Anyhow... If i pump again this afternoon and get another ounce can i add it to the first one or will I have to store it seperatly?
  • put them together - i do - just make sure you treat it as as old as the oldest milk in it. x
  • Hi I read this post at 04.30 this morning whilst expressing but didn't have any free hands to reply!!

    Anyway,I think that Alfie222 has covered everything that you asked (You obviously know your stuff Alfie222!) but just wanted to add a few words of encouragment.

    I have a 14 week old who is my 4th baby to be slow with weight gain although he has been the slowest and didn't regain his birth weight until nearly 7 weeks as I have always been determined to just give breast milk. Due to the slow weight gain thing I have going on with all my babies I start expressing from the start to build up my milk supply and to save milk to use for top ups. It can be hard work at the start especially with your first but as Alfie222 says, if you keep at it, you will gradually get more out. If you intend to express for a long period of time, I think that it is definately worth investing in a dual electric pump if you can. You would obviously also be able to use this with any other babies you might have. I have always used the Ameda lactaline dual pump (??135)which I have found to be great.

    I gradually built up the times I expressed and for the last 10 weeks have expressed 6 times during the day and night and get 20oz a day (am exhausted but happy to do that for my baby). Due to the weight problem my son gets about 12oz a day in top ups and the rest is in 160 bags of milk in the freezer!! (I donated to the milk bank with my last baby and will do the same this time).I am fortunate now (but have always had to work hard to achieve this)in that I get 3oz in 5 minutes and during the night do both sides while my son gets a 5oz bottle I express 10 oz.

    I am the same as you and have not wanted to use formula and ended up breastfeeding my last baby until she was 2 1/2 years old which I didn't plan but just happened as there seemed to be no reason to stop until she wanted to!!

    I have found conflicting views on milk storage in the past so have always followed the advice of a very experienced la leche league lactation consultant and have stored milk in the back of a fridge for up to a week and freezer for up to a year. I also keep my expressed milk out for up to 24 hours (mainly because I use it straight away) before putting what is left in the fridge. This is fine during the winter but not the heat of the summer! My children have never had any problems by my doing this.

    You are doing a great job, hope this helps a bit xx
  • You can add to milk if your adding less than the original amount.

    In fridge lasts 5 days.

    If just pumped it lasts 5 hours at room temperature or 6 in a cold room.

    Freezer times depend on what you store it in.

    Photos of baby and massaging your breast while pumping helps.

    I have exclusively pumped for 12 weeks, I only wanted her having breastmilk but I have flat nipples so she couldn't feed x
  • You can add to milk if your adding less than the original amount.

    In fridge lasts 5 days.

    If just pumped it lasts 5 hours at room temperature or 6 in a cold room.

    Freezer times depend on what you store it in.

    Photos of baby and massaging your breast while pumping helps.

    Also your best milk production is at night and first thing in the morning.

    I have exclusively pumped for 12 weeks, I only wanted her having breastmilk but I have flat nipples so she couldn't feed x
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