New moms are always getting conflicting advice on the care of their babies, which is especially the case with expressing your milk. So much so that it actually turns into a fear which only causes unnecessary stress and anxiety.
However, knowing the correct circumstances under which you should be doing this can help you a lot when it comes to making an informed decision.
1. When You’re Separated from Your Baby:
Your baby might need medical treatment or could required extra care at the nursery, or perhaps you need some care after the birth. Following your milk’s expression;
• Offer it to your baby with a syringe, cup or spoon.
• Or express by hand until the colostrum is not so thick and sticky- normally you can start using a pump on the second day.
2. A Very Sleepy Baby:
If your baby is a heavy sleeper and you’re unable to wake him/ her up, express the milk and give it with teaspoon, cup or syringe. This is completely normally.
3. Nipple Problems:
If you’re having trouble getting your baby to latch because of inverted or flat nipples, express your milk the first few days and see a lactation consultant for advice on how to feed your baby.
4. Your Baby isn’t Latching:
It’s normal for some babies to struggle with latching- so don’t exhaust yourself or the baby but keep trying. Express and give the colostrum / milk to the baby. It will also help to seek a skilled assistant to help identify the problem.
5. Small/ Premature Babies:
Babies that range between 36-38 weeks, as well as premature babies, do not always suck for long periods, or the sucking isn’t that strong. This is when expressing is necessary;
To stimulate your milk
To supplement your baby with your own milk
6. Full and Lumpy Breasts:
Having full and lumpy breasts for a few days is normal, especially following day 3 and 4. This means that you’ll have an oversupply that you need to manage. You can massage the lumps and apply heat or cold compressions. If the baby is then only drinking on one breast, you can express the other breast. Now express until you experience a relief in the breast NOT until it is empty which will cause more stimulation and more milk.
7. The First Two Weeks:
It is extremely important that you have a lot of stimulation on your breasts during the first two weeks. If your baby can’t perform, then you have to pump your milk. This will ensure a good supply for the months to come- some mothers even start building up their supply to freeze for later use, which is up to you.
8. Your Baby isn’t Gaining Enough Weight:
Here’s what you must do:
Express in order to ensure there’s enough milk.
Express to supplement your baby with the breast milk.
9. Increase Your Milk Supply:
Try and express as much as possible after every feed. Also, get some skilled assistance to work on a plan to increase your milk supply.
10. Mother’s Choice:
Expressing isn’t just for mother’s that struggle, a lot of moms choose to express. They feel it gives them more peace of mind in knowing how much the baby is drinking.
11. Lump, Mastitis and Block Ducts:
If your baby is having trouble softening the breast, your best option is to express and seek professional assistance.
12. Social Reasons:
If you’re planning on going out and leaving your baby with someone, express in advance so that the babysitter/ caregiver has a substantial supply. Perhaps you want to go somewhere with your baby, and you don’t plan on breastfeeding there, express in advance and feed with a bottle.
13. Going Back to Work:
It’s important to plan in advance. Start expressing long before and build up a substantial supply for storage. If you’re lucky enough to have the facilities at work, express once or twice at work.
Remember, the more you stimulate your breast the more milk you will have. It’s as easy as that. Do that and you’ll learn to manage your supply.