thread: Expressing. I just cant seem to do it. :(

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2008

    Expressing. I just cant seem to do it. :(

    I am hoping to get some advice.

    I have an avent isis manual pump. I used it to express with DD and have used it to express with DS back in the early weeks and it all was going fine but the last few times I have tried, I have been unable to get a let down and it is just so disheartening.

    I have tried feeding DS on the other side to stimulate a let down, I have tried getting him to get the let down and then taken him off so I can pump that side but that doesn't work as I am not coordinated enough to do both feed him on one side and express on the other. I have tried having a hot shower and then expressing but just can get the milk flowing. I have also tried hand expressing to get things started. Milk comes out but not very much.

    I am starting to lose hope of ever being able to express again.

    DS is demand fed so I know I have good supply, I just cant express it out. I am back at work in October so need to start building up a stock pile.

    Any advice? Can some people simply not express?

    ETA: I have also tried taking all the pieces of the pump apart and putting it back together to make sure its working so I don't think it is the pump. Just the user! wall:

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2008
    In a cloud of madness.

    I had the same pump and has issues with it when expressung both times. Can you hire a different pump or borrow one for somewhere and try that??

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber. Love a friend xxx

    Sep 2008

    I had the same problem. Pumped successfully for several months, stopped for a while nd then when I tried again, nothing. I can hand express ok but find it awkward and overly time consuming.

    That said, I didn't have a need to express as such, just liked having back-up stashed for DH to feed or in case i wanted to go out for longer than three hours, so I didn't really persist and try different pumps or different methods.

    Will be very interested to hear others' experiences.
    Good luck Hun. xo

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Sep 2008

    I'd highly recommend getting your hands on an electric pump if you can - a medela swing is a great one
    I had a manual pump for DS, and I had mixed success pumping. I used the medela with DD and was able to express about 3-4 times what I could with the manual one

    A few other tips to try
    - Dont express when you are tired, I could never get my boobs to come to the party then, especially late in the day. I'd always express first thing in the morning and mid morning
    - Make sure you are drinking lots of water - good for maximising milk supply
    - I always found if I expressed about an hour or so after DDs last feed my supply had replenished so I'd get a decent amount, and then had enough time to produce more milk for her next feed.


  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    A better pump might help, for sure. The ABA has resources for expressing and storing milk, too, which you might find handy references. Includes suggestions and tips for trouble shooting expressing.
    You could try hiring a really good quality pump from the ABA just for a couple of weeks to get you started, too. Once your breasts get the message to make more, then it should get easier.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Dec 2006

    I would recommend the Medela swing too, I used it with all three kids after first using an avent one there was a big difference.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2008

    Thanks for all of your suggestions.

    I tried pumping this morning and after 5minutes of pumping I finally felt a let down. I only got 80mls though. I was happy that I at least got something and that my pump is working, it is just that my breasts don't want to seem to give up the milk.

    I cant afford an electric pump so I will check out all the tips for trouble shooting expressing. Thanks so much for all of your advice.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    80ml is a great performance, well done boobs!
    If you find a few tricks that work, with a bit of time you'll be able to train your boobs to letdown for the pump without dramas.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Professional Support Panel

    May 2007
    Warrnambool Vic

    He’s 5 mnths old now? You have to get canny when expressing for an older baby. Supply has regulated to meet his demand. In the early days most mothers have an oversupply and expressing can be relatively easy. But then your body realises it’s not making milk for the whole neighbourhood and calms it down.

    Best tips for expressing - do it when you are full. Your milk lets down quicker when you are full. No point expressing after a feed - he just drank it all! Yes, feeding on one side and expressing the other is a good idea and will usually work. If you hare going back to work it is worth investing in a good pump. It’s like vaccuum cleaners - you could vaccuum the whole house with the carpet sweeper or the dust buster - but most of us want the dyson. Electric pumps are not all made the same - you get what you pay for. The medela freestyle is fabulous - I wouldn’t go below a swing.

  10. #10
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2011

    I have the Medela Swing, it's great! You definitely need an electric if you plan to continue expressing. Another factor someone mentioned to me somewhere on here when I was pumping was making sure your flange fits your boob - not too big or too small. You can buy different sizes to what comes with the pump.

    And 80ml is excellent! I could only best do 80-100 at a time and after a few months I could only pump about 30-50 even though I knew my supply was fine.

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2008

    Just wanted to update further with some more progress.

    It seems persisting is paying off. Maybe I was out of the groove. All of your advice has certainly helped me.

    I have now managed to get 3 bottles in the freezer (1 x 80mL and 2 x 160mL)

    I got 160mL in one sitting today after not feeding on that side for 4 hours. It was also before midday and I managed to put DS in the football hold to feed off the other side while I expressed. It helped massively with the let down and the milk flow was 4 times more than what I normally get. I was so happy with myself. Having DS right there smiling at me with his milky smile I think helped!

    I think whenever I tried expressing before I was stressing myself out as the letdown wouldn't happen. I was also probably expressing at the wrong times.

    Barb- out of curiousity, how much would a 5 month old need per feed? DS is normally demand fed so I have no idea how much to give to him.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    If he's exclusively breastfed, the 'average' is about 800ml per day - so as a rough starting guide maybe 800/No of feeds. The normal range varies enormously by baby, 500-1300ml, but as you say, you've no way to know. Babies tend to take more at the breast than via bottle, too, so even if it's a bit on the low end, he can make up for it later.