Childhood Diseases

Posted by: A | 2012/03/15


trouble expressing

I''ve been told that a baby should drink 20 minutes at a side (total 40 mins)
My baby drank 10min at a side in the beginning and by 3 months she only drank 10-15mins in total. By this time I desided to give one breast per feed and not to swith as she then drink a bit better.

She sometimes refuses a feed at 4 hours, and would rather only feed after 5 hours.

But she is a happy health child.

I am trying to express but there is no way. I have tried photos and even tried while she is sleeping and I''m sitting next to her. The max I have expressed a whole day is 20ml.

Is it possible that although she feeds enough I am somehow unable to express?

I am using a manual breastpump from NUK.

Expert's Reply



I hope that our regular paediatric forum members will offer you advice. Also please write in to our Breastfeeding Forum on Health24 with this question.If you are still struggling after this it would be best to consult your nearest breastfeeding clinic.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/19

Glad that helped.

If you had a fast flow, she wouldn''t have drank for very long because she would have got what she needed in a much shorter time.

Yes, one can look a bit lopsided if baby doesn''t drink from both breasts at a feed, but its not so noticeable that anyone would actually see - especially as one is generally carrying baby and bags and what have you. Most people just aren''t looking anyway.

If a mom with a fast flow and plenty of milk makes baby have both breasts when baby just wants the one, baby can fail to put on enough weight, as baby is then getting mostly foremilk instead of getting the fattier hind milk from the first breast, baby is then changed to the other one before much of it has mixed in. Its a technical issue that mostly we don''t even need to think about while feeding, but its why the advice is " finish the first breast first"  - even though a breast can never truly be " finished" .

Reply to Purple
Posted by: A | 2012/03/16

thanks for the info.

Only one thing - I never timed my baby as in after this time she has to stop dinner! I timed because she never wanted to feed very long.
I was expecting 40mins (20 at a side) but she has never ever drank this long!

I was however advised that it is more comfatable for mommy if the baby drinks the same from both sides - otherwise I''ll look funny with one breast bigger than the other. But this practise made her drank even less. So I decided to let her drink as long as she wants who cares how I look!

Reply to A
Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/16


No, you shouldn''t limit how long baby drinks at a side. Baby should drink at the first breast until baby comes off, and then if still hungry, be offered the second side.
Limiting time at the breaste means baby will possibly take less milk than baby wants and your supply will then go down. Luckily for you, baby seems to have been OK with this timed feeding - this is not usually the case though.

Newborn babies sometimes feed for close to an hour or longer at the breast - it depends how fast moms milk flow is and how quickly her milk lets down. As baby gets bigger they become more efficient suckers and they finish feeds much faster, so what you are describing is normal.

Baby should not be fed on a schedule of every 4 hours, baby should feed whenever he shows signs of being hungry or thirsty or needing comfort. This could be every 2 hours, two and a half and so on. You eat meals, have drinks of water between and so on. Well, babies get all that from the breast. However, if baby wants to go 5 hours between a feed - so long as they are over 6 weeks old, that''s fine. Before 6 weeks, if a baby is approaching 4 hours without a feed, you must wake them up to feed as sometimes they are sleeping so long because they are hungry and they are conserving energy.

Why do you need to express? Are you going back to work soon? Are you wanting to donate milk to a milk bank?

Expressing is very difficult, so don''t worry too much about what you are describing, it does come right with practice. Its difficult to get a let down when expressing because a pump does not get your hormones flowing in the way your baby does. Most people struggle to pump at first, but it gets better.
To start getting your body used to the pump, express while your baby is feeding. Your baby will still get what he needs at the breast as the breast is never empty and makes milk while you are feeding baby. Once you are getting 20 to 30ml in this manner then you know you are starting to get the hang of things.

Also remember that what you express is not a reflectin of how much milk you have.

It also helps to express when you are with baby. Don''t worry if you know he is about to feed, he will still get what he wants.

When at work, it can help to do some breathing excercises like you do in antenatal classes, to help you relax. Then give your breasts a bit of a shake and wake up and pull on the nipples - like baby pulls back when clamped on in order to get a let down. Then pump for 5 minutes each side - but don''t sit and watch the milk going in - either look at photos or videos of baby on your phone, or smell baby''s night clothes, or read a magazine or take your mind off what you are doing. Then give your breasts antoher shake and tweak and express for another 5 minutes each side. Then, tilt the flange of the pump and hand express into it for a minute or two.

You will find very helpful informaiton on expressing on both the la leche league website, and a website called kellymom. I can''t type in the addresses, but here is the best I can do: w w w dot lalecheleague d o t o r g and w w w dot kelllymom do t c o m

Reply to Purple

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