Because Ripley was in hospital for the first four weeks of his life, I became very familar and adept at expressing milk for his feeds. Although I was in the hospital for 8+ hours every day visiting him, I couldn’t be there 24/7. So I expressed in order for the nurses and midwives looking after him to feed him my milk.
I used the Medela Swing at home but whenever I could, I used the hospital grade pumps while there because they were so much better!
Once we brought Ripley home, I stopped expressing because I was so over it. Truth be told, I probably should have kept it up a little to build a stash, but it just seemed like far too much work with a newborn who was feeding so regularly.
When Ripley was finally diagnosed with reflux last week I started expressing again so we could add the thickener (Karicare Aptamil) to help him stop vomiting. It is really working so I’m expressing before feeds, or after, whenever I get time, and he has as much as I can get with the thickener, and then I do a breastfeed as well. I’m not enjoying it because it is more work and I feel stressed that I don’t always have enough milk, and might need to hold him off while I express. But I have also realised if I need to give him some formula that’s OK too.
So far it’s going really well, and he’s been on the thickener for a week. I’ve also gone ‘lactose-free’ for a 2 week period to see if that makes a difference. I used to be lactose free but my intolerance went away after I went paleo. It’s such an annoying thing to avoid as I love dairy. But there are many more products especially Zymil milk and cream. I still have a little cheese and/or butter but swapping the milk in my coffee and tea will hopefully make a big difference. He is sleeping a lot more during the day, and screaming less after feeds so overall I think it’s all worth it. When I give him a breastfeed without thickener he is definitely more unsettled so it is hard knowing I can’t just give him what he needs, the emotional side of that could take hold but I’m being strong and reminding myself we just need a little help.
Hopefully we won’t need to do it forever, maybe until he starts solids in two months (eek!)