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When is the Best Time to Express Breastmilk?

Shari Bruno, Certified Lacataton Consultant


Q I am breastfeeding my 10 week old son. After the first two weeks, it has been great. I am not going to return to work full time. Right now I'm working part time, but I'm able to bring the baby with me and feed him in my office. I would like to express my milk for occasions when I will be away from my son. I think it would be very nice for my husband to be able to feed him a bottle at night also, so they can bond more. But I don't think I can express enough milk for that. I have a manual pump, which is all I thought I would need. I have tried to pump at the end of feedings, but have only gotten 3 oz. total at a time before I get tired,sore or run out of milk. One day, I pumped after a feeding and took a shower before the next feeding and ended up not having enough milk produced to satisfy the baby the rest of the night. Because he didn't get enough the first time, he wanted to eat more often and didn't give me time to produce more. Of course, this made me tired and stressed.

A The problem you have with pumping is most likely due to the fact that you're trying to create a time to do it. Pumping is most successful when it's done at the time you should be nursing but for whatever reason, such as working, you can't. To get 3 ounces in an in-between time is great but, as you've found out, makes you sore. It can also interfere with your milk production for the next feeding, as you've also noticed. The best time to pump would be when your son sleeps through a feeding. This makes it a hit and miss opportunity, but is worth it if storing breastmilk is a goal.

Your breast pump can be a factor in the amount of milk you get. Avent makes a wonderful one handed manual breast pump that is gentle on the breast and nipple, and very effective in emptying the breast. A complete system runs between - 80 and includes storgage bags, clips and a nipple and bottle ring that fits onto the collection container. If you aren't already using this type of pump you may want to look into it.

As far as your husband's participation with feedings it most likely won't happen unless you're not there and he has a bottle of expressed milk to give your son. But there are plenty of ways your husband can be an integral part of your son's life aside from feedings such as giving him a bath, changing him, or just sitting with him in a rocking chair. Men can feel very left out when Mom breastfeeds but nutrition is just a part of the baby's life, and while it may seem the most important to a newborn, it will eventually fade in favor of other interactions.

Congratulations on your new arrival & good luck!

Click here to Ask Shari your questions

Shari is the mother of 4, ages 11 months to 13 years. She is a LLL Certified Lacataton Consultant. She provides all mothers who want to breastfeed with information and encouragement.

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