It’s been quite a while since my last post but in my defence I’ve been busy. Emily and I have been visited by lots of friends and been out and about. I’ve been trying to do things I want to do too, so I’ve been knitting Emily some leg warmers and sewing me up some cloth sani pads. Fun fun fun! Another thing I’ve started doing again is expressing and this is what I thought I’d talk about today.
My first experience of expressing came in hospital when Emily was three days old. The midwives taught me how to use the ward’s electric pump so that I could top-up Emily’s feeds. I’d shove it on and leave it running for about half hour and probably got about 30ml. I was proper chuffed with that! I’d have a few little bottles full of milk lined up next to my bed and I would keep a record of how much I’d pumped, when I pumped it and which boob it came from. I started doing this just as my milk came in so it was really thick and yellow. Kinda looked like that medicine you had as a kid, amoxicillin I think it’s called.
Anyway aside from appealing to my slightly OCD nature, I quite hated the ordeal of expressing. In hospital it was forced upon me and reflecting back it was unnecessary. Using the hospital pump was fun but the washing and sanitising of equipment wasn’t. Nor was the sitting up for longer after night feeds. So when I left hospital I was quite happy to leave pumping and expressing behind.
When Emily was six weeks old the health visitor came to do a check-up and asked if I’d thought about expressing any milk. She said it would allow me to go out and leave Emily with Dan for a bit if I wanted and I could use it once I started weaning in her food. I nodded politely at the time and told her I would keep it in mind. Then I went for a cuppa with another mummy friend who was pumping to create a stock for some planned nights out. She told me that she set herself a target for the day and pumped until she reached it. I could do that I thought, so I did.
Next day I assembled my sterilised manual pump, whipped out a boob and got to it. I had waited until after Emily’s first feed of the morning and had given it another half hour to replenish a bit. The first day I got about 50ml in five minutes. Meh. I was happy it hadn’t taken forever. The next day I got about 90ml in the same time. The day after that 110ml. It was so easy and I could tell that the supply was improving along with my technique. After a few days of this I could easily get 150ml a day. The bottom drawer of my fridge freezer was filling up rapidly.
Eventually I realised that the drawer was actually full. Plus Emily hadn’t had a single drop. Why was I wasting my time? I stopped. By this point I must have had about 4-5 litres of milk stashed away in my freezer. A tidy little amount that kept me satisfied that Emily wouldn’t immediately starve if my nipples fell off from over use.
After that I left it a couple of months, until the other day when I looked in my freezer and thought “We don’t really use the top drawer for much. I wonder how long it would take me to fill that with milk.” So that’s my current challenge. Set by myself. I’m back to modest quantities at the moment, between 100-120ml but I’m sure it will pick up. Funny thing is Emily still hasn’t had a drop. That girl is all about the boob.