A couple of questions about Expressed Feeds

We had a bad time with breastfeeding so i am expressing and feeding her with a bottle and it is working for us and we are all a lot happier!
Following advice from the midwife and health visitor, i am giving her 120 ml/4oz per feed and if she is really cranky after,topping up with another 30ml/1oz.
the last few days we have been giving her a top up more and more. I'm wondering if I should just give her 150/5oz each feed. She is 4 weeks tomorrow. I take it you just follow their lead with when to increase
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  • .......feeds? Also I know that nighttime milk is extra special and i am expressing when I feed her during the night. Probably a silly question but you don't have to give then nighttime milk at nighttime do you?!
  • Yes you just take their lead. If she wants 5oz give her 5oz!

    I don't think you have to give nighttime milk at nighttime.

  • I'd up her feeds, you're just following her lead.

    I only ever give an expressed feed occasionally so I don't worry about what time it is, but I vaguely remember something about there being a difference, but I don't see why it'd make a difference when you feed it. Kellymom.com is my bible wrt bf and EBM, have a look and see what they suggest.

    Well done for sticking with expressing, it's not easy and I take my hat off to anyone who does it medium/long term.

  • I think the main importance of night time feeds is for maintaining your supply. I think if you just feed/express during the day your supply would start to dwindle. They say your baby feeds during the night is "putting it's order in" for the next days milk.

    I also seem to recall something about it being richer/fattier at night time. So I guess perhaps this would be more filling and therefore make them sleep longer between feeds than day time milk maybe? I'm just guessing at that but it seems logical.

    As BG said, the kellymom website is really informative.

    Well done on the expressing. Its hard work having the time to feed and also express, sounds like you're doing a fab job xx

  • Thanks ladies, think I'll just up each feed.

    Thanks BG but compared to the two weeks of breastfeeding, expressing is a breeze! Especially as my boobs are keeping up with the demand now.
  • Thank makes sense Jellytot, thanks.i'll check it that website too, thank you!
  • I expressed exclusively for 2 months and then topped up with formula until she was 5 months when i fully swapped over. I used to express and give that milk as the next feed, so she'd have whatever I could get off the time before. If she's draining the bottle and asking for more, then yes, try giving her more at each feec. It is possible to exclusively express, but very difficult as you can 't miss a session and if baby wants more milk than you've expressed that used to cause problems as I'd then have to try to fit in yet another session (and hope i could get more out). It soon became unmanageable and i was starting to spend more time attached to a pump that with my baby and toddler, so gradually swapped over fully to formula when S was diagnosed as milk intolerant and given prescription milk. If you can, it may be worthwhile to keep giving the BF a go, as it's often difficult to start with, as believe me, it's much easier to BF than express long term if you can do it. Good luck. You're doing great. X

  • Thanks LWO, i do keep thinking about trying the breast again, might need to give my nipples a little more time to recover!

    i am managing to keep up with demand at the moment but am aware that i may have to start doing at least one formula feed. Now that she is having more, i can see that happening sooner! Did u just top up with formula or did you do a certain amount of feeds per day with formula?
  • I would up the feeds. I expressed with k 11 weeks exclusively and then for another 6 with the odd top up of formula, then we gradually increased the formula and decreased the breast milk until 19 weeks. We gave her what ever milk we had, sometimes it had been frozen and other times one lot of expressed milk would do two/three feeds (she was on 40mls for a while so easier for me to keep up in the first 8 weeks), so I don't think it matters when you give the milk. You're doing a great job expressing.

  • I was told when they finish a bottle to increase it by an ounce. If your nipples are sore you could use nipple shields. They saved my bfing experience and I used them until he was 6 months when he self weaned. I've expressed at least once a day since he was born so nearly 8 months now and feel weird about stopping it now as it's just so routine.

  • To start with i'd give her formula as a last resort if she was screaming, refusing to latch and I had nothing expressed. It turned out that there were other issues regarding her being milk intolerant, if this had been picked up earlier i may well still be bf now but once both of mine had a bottle they would then refuse to latch, which is why i suggest that you do continue to get her to if you can. Have you seen a bf specialist? If your nipples have been damaged there's a possibility that your latch may have been wrong. I found them to be very helpful. If you do top up with formula, never miss an expressing session or you will soon see your supply begin to drop. Eat plenty of oats and there are things like fengreek that are meant to increase milk production, but i never tried them myself. I also never used nipple shields, but they could be a good way to protect your nipples. Do what you feel us best. I beat myself up so much about 'failing' to bf both times, but as long as baby is feeding you're doing a great job. X

  • Can I ask why you stopped breastfeeding?  Maybe there is something you could do differently if you want to try it again.

    Well done for expressing though- its not exactly exciting is it!?  It's great that your supply is keeping up with demand too!

    As well as keeping up your supply I'm sure there is something to do with the hormones in night time milk that help you and baby go back to sleep quicker, so like someone else said I'd give her that milk at the  next feed.  If she wants more, I would give her more.  If you were BF you wouldn't know how much she was getting in terms of oz, so I'd go with what she wants (that's just my opinion though - there is no medical basis for it :)

  • Tweetie Pie- which nipple shields did you use?

    breastfeeding was agony, i saw 3 different midwives and a latch specialist who all gave different tips which we tried. It was taking me and H to get her on and it hurt so much. I started dreading feeds and then i would be in tears whilst she was on. I know that the latch wasn't right at the start which caused the damaged, plus massively engorged boobs. But then the damage was there and kept causing the pain. We are a lot more relaxed and happy with bottles.
  • Could she have a tongue tie? It can be missed, even by professionals, so I'd be inclined to get as many people to check her as poss.

  • It has been ruled out BG. I could get the health visitor ti check next week.
  • Oh Mrs B I sympathise. Feeding was horrendously painful for us to start with and he had no tongue tie, latch was fine, I just had sensitive nips and to be fair, if you think about it, a baby is sucking there every couple of hours for half an hour or so at a time... Have you ever let her suck your little finger, it's a surprisingly strong suck!! It took about three weeks for me not to find every feed excruciating and a good few more weeks to be 'comfortable', I only felt like I was getting the hang of it when he was a few months old.

    Anyway if you're happy expressing that's brilliant, but it might be worth trying her again if you do want to continue long-term. I expressed to begin with as I was donating my milk but as he got older, it got harder and harder to get anything out - in the early days I could get 5oz in ten minutes really easily but by 5/6 months it was taking twenty minutes to get an ounce or two.

  • Yes, she clamps on to it!!

    i know one of the benefits of breastfeeding is to bond with baby and the fact that i was dreading it so much and it tears, that wasn't going to happen!! With a bottle we can have a proper cuddle which is lovely!

    in aware that milk can dry up quicker but at the moment, its what is working for us!
  • Absolutely fair enough and to be honest the pain did interfere with bonding for us too, to the point where I'm still not 100% about the thought of BFing no.2 as the memories of newborn BFing are so awful. So I'm glad expressing is working for you xxx

  • Respect to you for full-time expressing, I express one feed a day for A and find it tricky enough to fit that in some days so I am always in awe of women who do it more frequently!

    I had a horrendous time in the beginning too, I would dread every feed to the point where my heart would sink when he woke up, because it would hurt so much and be such a struggle to get him to latch on. H would have to help me too sometimes, especially when A was getting hungrier and hungrier and so would thrash around in frustration. It was awful and it made the first couple of weeks so hard. At my MW's suggestion I expressed for a day to give my nipples a break - he could only latch on to one side and his latch was terrible on the other, to the point where my nipple went black. Doing the expressing gave me a bit of a break and some headspace and made me feel brave enough to try again - I would have expressed and bottle fed for as long as I needed to to get to that point, don't try again before you feel ready.

    When A went back on the boob I used shields so it didn't hurt as much. I would highly recommend trying shields as breast milk and saliva are 2 natural healers so the shields protect your nipples but also help them heal. I had Avent ones which worked fine although after a week or so A learned how to ping them across the room when they were full of milk, which wasn't ideal ;) Once I'd healed I weaned him off the shields but you don't have to do that if you don't want to. The milk pinging was a deciding factor in me doing this!

    I'm glad you've found a way that works for you, nobody ever warns you about just how hard it is. Enjoy happy feeding cuddles with your baby :)

  • I used medela shields which are meant to be the best ones. I did try boots own but they were crap. Boots had medela ones reduced to £5 I noticed but might be a local store thing.

    I can only bf lying down now, he just refuses to latch any other way.  Might be worth trying that position as I find we are both more relaxed that way as well.

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