when breastfeeding do you have to express aswell?

Charlie - posted on 05/21/2010 ( 45 moms have responded )

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do you have to express when you are breastfeeding?

my son is 5months old now and ive never had a problem with feeding but just lately my milk supply seems low. ive never been able to express milk by pump (ive tried several) or by hand. any tips on what i should do

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Melanie - posted on 06/04/2010

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it is not necessary to pump or express at all. dont let yourself get to stressed. i had to pump when i was working full time but with the last two i havent needed to and dont. its nice to be able to go to a movie and let the baby stay with your parents sometimes but as soon as they can eat solids you nurse before you leave and make sure gramma and grampa have peas and bananas or whatever the baby likes. as far as having a low supply goes stress contributes, (in my combined almost 6 years of nursing 4 kids) a great deal to that. sometimes when my husband is too demanding and the kids are fighting and dinner needs to be made i go outside to my garden where they are not allowed to follow it really helps me. sometimes i just take a nap with the baby when she sleeps. i find i run low when i m just flat out tired. hope some of that helps.

Jeramie - posted on 05/23/2010

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The pediatrician told me to pump, and I didn't. She goes everywhere with me, so there is no need.
I have a 1 year old who was exclusively breastfed until 6 1/2 months, and has still never has ANYTHING from a bottle. i started giving her water from a small glass with solid meals. I have never pumped, and never needed to. my milk has regulated itself so I don't leak all over the place anymore, except when I sleep in sometimes. but I still have plenty of milk to satisfy her, and breastfeed on demand except when we are having a meal together, and she eats solid food. she is not picky, and will eat just about anything I give her.

Minnie - posted on 05/22/2010

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You don't have to express if there isn't a reason to.



Is he gaining weight (even a little, not losing)? Is he well-hydrated (moist mouth and eyes, light-colored urine)?



If so, he's fine, and it's likely your supply has regulated and you are simply producing what he needs and not much more. Babies also go through periods of growth spurt when they want to nurse much more frequently.



Offer your breast frequently, whenever he shows early signs of wanting to nurse, make sure he is still latching correctly and avoid supplementation and you'll make enough milk for him.



Some here have mentioned drinking large amounts of water to ensure an adequate milk supply- this is something you should be careful about. Too much water intake can backfire and actually reduce milk production. It's best to simply drink to thirst. Studies have shown that an increase in fluid intake over what the body normally needs does not result in an increase in milk production. What does is frequent and unrestricted access to the breast and proper latching, positioning, and tongue use.

Celeste - posted on 05/22/2010

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Do you need to pump? Why do you think your supply is low? If you don't work out of the home, you don't need to pump.

A couple of things to keep in mind. #1) Pumping output is never an indicator of supply #2) Normal output is between 1/2 oz to 2 oz total and #3) Some women just don't respond to pumps!

Brandy - posted on 05/22/2010

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Don't worry, your baby won't starve himself. You're doing good, just keep feeding on demand and your body will keep up with him. In between growth spurts, sometimes they feed much less and your milk supply would drop as a result if this, but when he needs more, he will feed more often to make you produce more. There is no need to worry about pumping milk unless you really want to. If your baby was not getting enough, he would be constantly on your breast trying to get more out of you. Also, if you've started solid foods, he would be much less interested in breastfeeding all the time.

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Ricki - posted on 06/11/2010

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As long as he is having enough wet nappies and is happy and content after a feeding then he is getting all he needs. As they get bigger they get better at sucking so they are getting more in a feeding and get quicker at feeding as well as spacing feeds out. Just continue to demand feed him and your supply should be fine.
Don't worry about expressing if your a SAHM as you have no need to express and the best way to increase your supply is lettting baby suckle. I've breastfed all my children and am currently feeding my fourth child (almost 5 months old) and although I've never had a problem with supply, I've never been able to express ,much,at all. But I know some women that can express a whole bottle in 2 minutes!! So being able to express is different for everyone.

What I'd suggest to increase your supply is a nursing holiday (I think thats what they call it). That will encourage your little one to feed more and hopefully get you feeling more relaxed. All you do is spend a day or two in bed with baby, preferably with no top on so baby gets that skin to skin contact and nurse as much as baby wants. That will increase your supply much better than anything else will. But I doubt your supply is low. I think its more just that your breasts are making exactly the right amount and your lil one knows how to feed more efficiently.

Also he could be coming up to a growth spurt, I notice my babies always fed less often before a growth spurt and then during a growth spurt fed constantly.

Samantha - posted on 06/10/2010

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I have to say I am proud of you for making it this far. Many moms give up or lose intrest. I breastfed until my son was 7 mths I then began to experience the same thing. My milk supply began to decrease bc he became more active and began to lose interest. I as well attempted to pump but to me it wasn't thesame . I enjoyed the bonding experience and I hardly ever got anything. I began to become concerned and sadly switched to formula. It wasn't a bad decission just one I didn't want to make. I looked at it this way I made it thru the most important times. My son couldn't be healthier bc of breastfeeding. Hope this helped. If you end up having to switch over don't feel badily for it you've done a great job and that will continue reguardless of where she gets her nurishment;)

[deleted account]

I"ll try not to repeat. I saw lots of people mention Mothers Milk Tea and Fenugreek, which are both great for increasing milk supply. Also, eating oatmeal and another herbal supplement called Blessed Thistle will help your supply. Be careful not to over-drink on the water, because that can actually decrease your supply. Just make sure you are never thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!

Michaela - posted on 06/04/2010

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Water works wonders. I was drinking a 600 ml bottle of water everytime I sat down to feed. It worked so well that I had to cut back on the water as I ended up with an over supply.

Dionne - posted on 06/04/2010

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I too had difficulty expressing and found the best time was first feed in the morning around 7am with Baby on one breast and the pump on the other, i still will only get about 40 - 80mls so if you need more then do it again on the next feed

Elizabeth - posted on 06/04/2010

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And BTW, only talk to experienced breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants or a doctor who actually knows something about breastfeeding. I know some people whose pediatricians gave them terrible advice about breastfeeding. Things like only feed a 3 month old baby every 4-5 hours. I didn't get to every 4 hours until my daughter was 10 months old and getting more solids. And then they want the mom to supplement. If she were feeding the baby more often, she wouldn't have to supplement. Seriously!

Also...I agree with most of the women here. Electric pumps are the way to do. I used Medela. It was amazing.

Elizabeth - posted on 06/04/2010

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Sometimes. If you're having supply issues, try breastfeeding more often (my daughter sometimes ate every two hours). If that doesn't help then express milk for a few minutes after every nursing session. That is what I was told by a lactation consultant to do when I was having some supply issues in the first month due to a latch issue. It works. I bf for 17 months (and without any kind of supplementation for the first six months, when DD started solids).

And as far as not getting out any milk. You may just need to relax and maybe try some stimulation. Expressing for a few minutes after nursing may help with that since you will have already let down.

Camille - posted on 06/04/2010

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Just offer breast first before anything other than breastmilk that he might be consuming. He should nurse enough to get your supply up naturally. And just make sure you're eating enough and drinking enough water. I could never express much or pump much milk but my 16 month old has thrived on almost nothing but breastmilk to this point. So just because you may not be able to get much out or you feel like you don't have enough, doesn't mean you don't have plenty. My breasts never feel full either. You may just be having unwarranted doubts. If your baby is nursing every few hours and having a wet diaper every few hours, he's probably fine.

Tanya - posted on 06/04/2010

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if your baby is still acting hungry, you should eat lots of protein and drink lots of water. Maybe your body doesn't have what it needs to make more. Your body also needs fat to make milk, but if you still have some of the baby weight (or other fat on your body) you don't have to worry about that.

Tanya - posted on 06/04/2010

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if your baby is happy and well-fed, then there's no need to worry about your milk supply. If you are pumping some for when you and baby are apart, try pumping in the morning after feeding your baby. You can stay on for 15-30 minutes, or longer if you are expressing milk. You want to try to stay on about 10 minutes after you stop expressing to increase your milk supply. "Dry pumping" tells your body "make more tomorrow."

Kendra - posted on 06/03/2010

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Your son could be going through a growth spurt, and is telling your body he needs more. Keep doing what you're doing, and your body will catch up in a day or so.

Zoe - posted on 06/03/2010

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hiya hun im sure ive sed this before but im qualified mum to mum peer support councillor and was about to reply until i read sarahs reply and now all i can say is ditto, spot on sarah x

Adelina - posted on 06/02/2010

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I have heard that not drinking enough water can effect your supply of breastmilk. But, it is supply and demand, so taking a day and as the previous person said, having plenty of skin-to-skin contact and just breastfeeding as much as possilbe should do the trick.

Candice - posted on 06/02/2010

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wow! i'm glad i never posted this kind of question on here! i actually went to my lactation specialist in the hospital my 5 month old son was born in. there, i bought a medela swing pump and trust me, medela is like no other. it's definitely worth the money. it pumps just as fast as my son eats and no other pump would work. also, she told me not to supplement. the formula you're feeding your baby is milk you're not making. she said to wear my baby like he was a bra. within 2 days my milk supply boosted. it was a long two days too! she also said i could find an herbal supplement that is totally safe for breast feeding mothers and also recommends it. it's called fenugreek, you can find it at gnc. she told me to take 3 pills 3 times a day. yes, that's a lot, but it works in 2 days. look it up. gnc also has a tea called organic mothers milk "promotes healthy lactation". it's good too. i swear by this and i'm so glad i didn't give up breast feeding!

Analea - posted on 06/02/2010

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You don't have to express, but sometimes it is recommended if your supply is low, encourages more milk, bigger supply- supposedly....thankfully i have not had trouble with supply & have been able to express very easily when i started work.

Brooke - posted on 06/01/2010

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Fenugreek is an herbal supplement you can take that will up your milk. I started taking it when my daughter was 3 weeks old. She is now 6 months and about 2 weeks ago I went without taking it and I could tell a huge difference. WATER, WATER, WATER is the key as well. You can buy Fenugreek at GNC. Trust me is works.

[deleted account]

try adjusting the settings on your pump, perhaps they are too strong or too fast or the opposite. I found it helpful to express during the first few months to store milk in the freezer to use in baby food after they start solids. (instead of water)

[deleted account]

Did you call LeLeche League? I really think they may be able to help you find a way so that you are able to express milk...my heart goes out to you because tho it is a pain to express which i have well known, it really is helpful when you need it!!! I hope you try Le Leche League!!!

Deborah - posted on 05/28/2010

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Hi, I felt the same way ...my son breastfed many times a day [he's 29 weeks] and he still feeds lots...i call him my 'super sucker' . So to help increase my milk production I take brewers yeast [tablets].
good luck, I hope this helps.

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2010

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Oh and I have the Medula Swing pump which is a single pump but I get about 6-8 oz pumping both sides in less than 15 minutes

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2010

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I bf my 8 week old and pump 3-4 times a day. I have a large deep freezer so I have milk stockpiled. Pumping for me serves 2 purposes first it has kept my supply up and second if for some reason IE I get sick or have to take something that will pervent me from nursing he will have at the very least 2 weeks of milk in stock to get him through til I can nurse him again and if that doesnt happen he will have alot of breastmilk to drink from his sippy cup in a year.

[deleted account]

I was able to express with my son but this time with my daughter unless I have gotten engorged (which has been rare) I have never been able to express and if I have I only got 1oz. Even then I know that my daughter wont take a bottle, have tried water from one but she wont take it x

[deleted account]

Are you using a Magma breast pump? Electric is the only way...but, you do not have to express milk ever! The freedom in storing breast milk so you can leave the baby to have a little girl time is a must in my book tho!! A rested and happy woman is the best mother. I was a die hard breast feeder...and a stay at home mom, but once a week myself and about 6-8 other gals met for a long evening and it was the thing that got me thu the week (next to God) just looking foreward to a night to myself and hubby gave the baby breast milk in a bottle!!!! Heaven for a Mom!!

Jessie - posted on 05/26/2010

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Have u tried a medela pump the one I got actually had a 2 min cycle that helped w let down. I breastfed for the 1st yr just finished last wk and I had a few periods when I thought I wasn't producing enough I wld pump longer and more often. Sometimes. Whn pumping I wld stop getting milk but if I let the pump go a little longer I wld almost always gt more. So maybe try some of those things goo luck and stick to it:)

Carrie - posted on 05/26/2010

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You don't normally need to express to be able to breastfeed. Many women choose to for a variety of reasons. Just feed you baby as often as he will take it, and supply WILL equal demand. BTW, your breasts make about 80% of a feed in around 20 minutes, so if you have fed your baby and he seems unsettled, by the time you have changed his nappy, etc, you can offer a top up!

Hillary - posted on 05/26/2010

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Could it be that your baby is going through a growth spurt? Mine is 5 months and seems to be eating nonstop all the sudden. I feel like I'm just barely keeping up. Or, could it be that your breasts are just softer but your supply is really fine? That happened with me a few months ago. It felt strange (and like low supply) when my breasts didn't get firm between feedings but baby seemed satisfied.

Meggan - posted on 05/26/2010

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To increase your milk supply you should increase water intake, nurse, nurse, nurse, relax and have a beer (the hops contained in beer has been known to increase milk supply) or drink Mother's Milk tea, or spend a day in bed with your baby (this increases the production of oxytocin-- which in turn stimulates your body's mammary glands)... skin to skin contact is great for increasing oxytocin production. Above all, don't stress! It's counterproductive :) GL and keep up the good work!

Deb - posted on 05/26/2010

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My girl went through a 3-week nursing strike where she nursed only a fraction of her normal amount and I even had to dream feed her to feel like she was getting enough milk, which we didn't normally have to do. Then the strike was over. I was glad I stuck it out b/c we nursed 10 more months. Keep trying, and since pumping doesn't seem to work for you, I'd definitely call a lactation consultant at your doctor's office or hospital, and/or get in touch with a local La Leche League representative. You don't have to express if you don't want to, but I found that if I kept pumping regularly, it kept my milk supply even, more or less, even though it was a hassle.

Anita - posted on 05/25/2010

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Sometimes, because children will have days when they don't want to nurse as often as other days. But most of the time it is not necessary, although it is a good idea to freeze expressed milk and have enough onhand for three days at least for emergency use or in case you become sick or need to have medical tests or medicines that are not compatible with breastfeeding.

Maren - posted on 05/25/2010

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I started having a supply problem around the 5 month mark with my daughter. She was just eating so much I could barely keep up. I made sure to stay hydrated (my goal was needing to use the bathroom really bad about every 2 hours--that ended up being about 4 liters of water a day plus other drinks). Additionally, I really started cooking with a lot of fenugreek, corriander, and cumin. Those seems to work great for me. You could just eat a lot of Indian food too.

Another mom also told me about dried apricots when she felt she was low on supply. I've tried this and it seemed to work as well.

I hope these help you out! Good Luck.

[deleted account]

No, you don't need to express unless you need to build up stock for going to work etc.

Your baby's sucking is FAR more efficient than pumping. Why do you feel your supply is low?

Breastfeeding is a supply/demand system, so the more you breastfeed, the more your supply will increase.

Alicia - posted on 05/23/2010

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I was always told to express in the shower to help reduce the chances of getting an infection. Sometimes you feel low but still have plenty of milk. Are you using both sides during feedings?

Sharna - posted on 05/22/2010

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go to the doctors, explain this, and then ask for the prescription called Motilium. u can take up to 8 tablets a day and ur supply increases! its amazing, i was on it for 7 months and have just slowly stopped taking it.

if you dont want to resort to pills, u can eat oats and drink plenty of water. also fenugreek (i think) tablets from the health food.suppliment stores :)

keep trying with the expressing tho, if u dont get anything, its ok. the expressing still tells ur breasts that more milk is needed and this will increase the production anyway! my breasts dont produce much when i express, but when my son feeds, he can feed for ages! babies are more effective than pumps. best of luck!!!

Emily - posted on 05/22/2010

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As long as you are still nursing, you won't dry up. Milk is produced by supply/demand. So as long as your baby is demanding it by nursing, you will produce it. Even if it's only a few times a day. Your son has probably just gotten very efficient at nursing. This is normal. Over time it takes babies less time to get out the same amount.

If you don't have a need to pump, such as going to work, you don't have to pump. Just nurse. Your baby will get enough.. he won't starve himself. As others have said, the amount you pump is not a good indication of how much milk you actually have, because babies can get out much more milk than a pump. As long as your baby seems satisfied, that is all that matters.

Sara - posted on 05/21/2010

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When you are pumping you can also have him in the room with you.. your baby noises and cries encourage your body to produce milk. Drink plenty of water.. I can not stress that enough. Also, if you feel your body isn't producing enough milk try pumping more often. It is supply and demand with your body. The more you demand it the more your body makes. Stay possitive. Your not going to get as much pumping as your baby will get by nursing. The let down process is more natural with a baby of course. Good Luck!

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2010

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make sure you drink loads of water to keep yourself hydrated
and eating properly least havin breakfast lunch and dinner as you need fuel and baby recieves what ever you have.
try encourage him 2 feed even if you only fed him half hour ago to get your supply up
mayb try a eletric pump if you dont already have 1, and when your in bed just lay with him with your top off lol and cuddle skin 2 skin is really good.
and if non of that works try the bottle my son wouldnt take a bottle i tried every1 goin lol so just the other day i went in 2 mother care and picked another bottle special for breast feed babys its breast flow, so i pumped And he took it straight away the teet is alot sofeter and flexable like a mothers breast. :)

Brooke - posted on 05/21/2010

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Drink tons of water. At least 1/2 your body weight in ounces. When every my milk is low it is because I am not drinking enough water. Hope this helps!

Charlie - posted on 05/21/2010

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my son doesnt seem to want to feed that often from me and im worried about my milk supply going low or worse still drying up as he wont take to a bottle. any tips on how to keep my milk supply up as i cant express either.

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2010

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P.s you dont have to express the choice is entirley up to youu what ever you feel comfortable with :)

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2010

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im a exclusively breast feeding, and when i pump it takes so long to express but after awhile its okay just have 2 keep at it because your bodys only use to baby feeding from you so it works differenty. if your worried about your milk being low try alot of skin 2 skin contact, make sure your eating properly and regular feeds.

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