Expressing and sharing

I have been a breastfeeding mama for just over two years in total. In that time I have done a lot of expressing. From the days after Jessica’s birth when she was a tiny baby recovering from heart surgery in the paediatric intensive care unit, to twelve long weeks of expressing to keep up my supply when she couldn’t have my milk due to a chylothorax. Since Sophie’s arrival, I’ve regularly expressed small amounts to build up a freezer supply of breastmilk.

 

Pouches of frozen breastmilk - "Expressing and sharing"

 

When we were in PICU, I used a Medela Symphony pump. This was great as I could express off both sides simultaneously and it was very comfortable and quick. The cardiac ward had an Ameda breast pump. I wasn’t quite so keen on this though as I didn’t find it as easy to use. Knowing that I would probably continue to express regularly, I bought myself a Medela Swing pump. I have used this ever since and love it. It is so easy to use.

 

Small containers of frozen expressed breastmilk

There were two blocks of six weeks where Jessica couldn’t take my milk. I built up quite a huge supply of expressed breastmilk in that time. It was more than I was really able to store, particularly when we were still on the ward. I ended up donating most of it to the milk bank.  Jessica had received a small amount of donor milk in the early days before my milk came in fully. It was good to be able to give back. I needed to have a blood test done before I could donate my milk. The lady from the milk bank then came and picked up my milk from the cardiac ward to take to the neonatal unit. Hopefully it helped some tiny babies to grow and thrive.

 

When Sophie was born, I started expressing again so that I could give her a bottle of expressed milk. This would hopefully make things easier if Jessica had to go into hospital and I couldn’t stay with her overnight with Sophie. Sophie, however, had other ideas and much prefers to have her milk directly from mummy. Once again, I ended up building up quite a freezer stash.

 

I considered donating to the milk bank once again. However as we don’t live especially near to a hospital with a milk bank, it was not going to be quite so easy. I had come across a group on Facebook – Human Milk 4 Human Babies – which facilitates breast milk donation between individuals. This time, my surplus milk went to help two babies to grow and thrive.

 

A freezer drawer full of pouches of frozen expressed breastmilk

These days I manage to use what little I still express in adding it to Sophie’s food and cereals. I’m glad I was able to use my excess milk to help other babies rather than having to waste it though.

 

Zena's Suitcase

6 thoughts on “Expressing and sharing

  1. Expressing milk is such a pain, good for you for keeping on it! It’s especially important with ICU babies and so good for them. I had leftover milk when I was done nursing but it expired so I couldn’t donate it. Felt like such a shame to throw it away.

    1. Thank you. It is such a shame when you have to throw it away – have had to do it once or twice and felt quite sad about it.

  2. Aww very lovely that you were able to give your excess milk to other babies rather than it going to waste! Expressing can be exhausting though so I really feel for you. I used a medela one in hospital and found it really easy to use, and then used an Avent pump when I came home which I again found fab, but the was just to give hubby a chance to feed via bottle (so I could have a break) and to store up a few spares in case I wasn’t around. We stopped after a while though as it just didn’t work out that well, I was spending as much time pumping as I would have been feeding so didn’t get the rest we thought I would! xx #BFingdiaries

    1. Thank you. Expressing is exhausting and you’re right – you do end up spending as much time pumping as you would do feeding if you’re trying to replace feeds with EBM sometimes! x

    1. Being able to donate was great but also useful to mums unable to breastfeed or express that they can request donor milk for their babies if they wish through these sources. The milk bank will only provide it for babies in NICU but Human Milk 4 Human Babies provides a forum for linking up potential donors and recipients directly. Great to link up again

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