Pumping Failure

Like a lot of women I know with larger than average boobs, I’m crap at pumping! I was diagnosed with gallstones the same month as we conceived Arthur, and although it would be possible to have removed my gall bladder while pregnant, there was a risk to our baby of miscarriage so we decided to control my stones in the short term through diet.¬† This meant a no-fat pregnancy! How I was gagging for a big fat cream cake!

So when our baby was 3 months old, I had my gallbladder removed. In preparation for this, I tried to express milk for the first time. Not very successfully. I tried a hand pump, electric pump and even hired a super duper Medala hospital grade breast pump for the 2 weeks leading up to my operation. Although I was happily feeding my hungry baby, I got very little milk when expressing so the only way I could express enough milk to store for Chops was to feed him through the night from one breast and then get up at 6am to express off the other, and then I would get around 3oz if I recall, so still not massive amounts.

Well, we got through it, Chops did have some Hipp Organic formula, sadly, but he happily guzzled away from a bottle of both EBM (expressed breast milk) and formula, which was also a relief. had I received the correct advice I would have been able to feed him myself much sooner! It wasn’t until I did my Breastfeeding Peer support training that I learnt that you can feed your baby after a general anaesthetic because there is so little left in your system once you wake up! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Anyway, tonight I tried to do a little pumping before going out for the evening with my NCT girls next week and although Chops only had one boob at bedtime, I literally expressed dribbles from both combined! It barely covered the bottom of the bottle.

Now, I’m a bf peer supporter, so I know how to express milk and have managed to express a little, but then it stops. I’ve tried thinking about it, looking back over baby photos, watching Chops, not thinking about it, watching it, not watching it, I’ve massaged, heated, stroked and stimulated. Nada.

Tonight Chops woke up after me getting dribbles, straight to the breast  and guzzled himself back to sleep.

The theory between my big-boobied peers and myself, who are also unsuccessful in expressing milk is that it’s much more difficult for a pump to access the ducts which are deeper down due to breast size and the extra tissue, fatty tissue, even those with a larger flange that takes in more areola. I’d be interested in hearing about any big-boobied women (E cup and above) who can successfully express milk!

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