My last two were preemies so I had to express every 3 hours, then once it came time to breastfeed it was long & exhausting & bubby had trouble latching & staying on...
After a few weeks I had to start taking fenugreek & motilium to increase my milk supply as it started to drop off due to imitated nipple stimulation from the pump...
This time around I'm hoping to go past 36weeks & have bubby breastfeed from the beginning & maybe pump 1-2day to store some EBM as backup.
From previous experience I would recommend exlusively breastfeeding from the beginning to ensure sufficient milk supply & without EBM supplementing with bottles as your milk supply will eventually slowly dry up.
I was fortunate enough with my last baby that I was able to bf from the beginning. I never had any success with expressing milk though. I tried by hand, manual and electric pumps and nothing was very good. I could only express a few measly mls at a time. It would take me about a week to express enough milk for one feed!!!
I did manage to successfully bf for nearly 10 months though x
try not to express unless your milk supply is built up, which usually takes upto 6 weeks unless it is medically necessary. Otherwise your milk will dry up much sooner. When a baby sucks it can "open up" most of the milk ducts which slowly builds on the milk supply as the body is getting used into producing the amoutn of milk required by the little one. The more he/she sucks the more comes etc etc. When you express, it is not the same sensation initially and can lead to lower milk supply than required. This will eventually dry up which is why they say let the flow develop and then you can express. I expressed for 1 year and my son would not latch on once he had got used to expressed milk from a bottle...my reasons were work related...but I expressed after 6 weeks. hth
In the first 6 weeks the LO will have very frequent small feeds..so you might be feeding once an hour or once every 2 hours...the milk will slowly build up, I was not leaking in the first 6 weeks but the idea is to let the baby feed from one breast and then the next...if he/she is feeding for a while then during the same feed swap the breast around...you would not need to express in the first few weeks due to overfilled breasts. However, if that IS the case then yes you can express with your hand...later on as you carry on, it will be necessary to express if your baby is not taking a feed for whatever reason and breasts are filling up - the unused milk is expressed and stored/thrown whatever required so that Mastitis does not build up (infection).
Each baby is different, you can slowly help the baby latch on to the bottle, I did not have a problem at all but initially it could give the baby an odd feeling. So the idea is to give breast milk 75% straight from breast and 25% from bottle and then build it up. It was funny with me, I was expressing everywhere I went, on the plane, in shopping centres, in toilets, in the car but it as much more convenient than direct from breast as at times I was not around for a good 4-6 hours...
Just to let you know as well, I am right handed, so I got used to feeding with my left breast and thats when I realised that right one produced less milk than the left one until the midwife told me to not do that because otherwise I would not produce enough from both....so same would apply for EBM from one breast..it won't be brilliant to have low supply in one because soon as the baby grows, the milk requirement will be much much more..
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