Sometimes a mother finds it is quite challenging to breastfeed her baby. She may choose instead to express and provide her breastmilk to her baby in a bottle. Some reasons for exclusively expressing include:
Mother and infant being separated
Psychological (victim of abuse)
Uncomfortable feeding in public
Baby is unable to latch (eg because of cleft, heart problems, low tone, un-released tongue-tie etc)
There are many other reasons too . . .
Some mothers who exclusively express worry that they will not be able to bond with their baby. This is not true. There are lots of ways to encourage bonding such as skin to skin, bathing and cuddles to name a few.
There are a lot of reasons why someone may choose to exclusively pump and these reasons should be respected.
When exclusively expressing, it's important to use an excellent double electric pump designed for long-term usage like the Unimom Forte. Some mums find buying a pumping bra very helpful.
How often and how much?
When a baby breastfeeds, the quantity of milk from feed to feed fluctuates and the period of time on the breast does not always reflect the amount of milk they drink.
In the first days, a newborn baby drinks very little amounts of colostrum per feed. Then when a mother's milk'comes in' after a couple of days, the quantity of milk she makes, and that her baby takes in, increases quickly.
Research has proven that an exclusively breastfed infant between age 1 to 6 months drinks an average of approximately 750--800 mL at a 24-hour interval (although the scope is less than 500 mL to 1000+ mL).
Once solids are introduced, the quantity of breastmilk that a baby takes in depends on the quantity of food that's offered. It's important to not forget that breastmilk remains the main source of nutrition for a baby's first 12 months.
Mothers vary in the amount of time it takes them to express. The duration of expressing time is dependent upon several variables (eg time of the day, pump used, technique used etc) Many mothers find that their expressing session goes for around 15 minutes. Some might need a bit more or a little less. It's usually suggested to continue to express for a couple of minutes past once the milk stops flowing, as frequently by doing this another let-down might be triggered.
Exclusively expressing mothers are extremely conscious of how much milk they're producing. Here are some tips if you find your supply is down.
Express more frequently
Skin to skin
Whilst pumping, do a combo of massaging and squeezing your breasts.
Galactogogues - help some mothers to boost their milk supply. You will still have to express regularly. You may like to talk about using galactagogues with your LMC/GP/LC.
Mothers that are exclusively expressing are incredibly devoted mums. They deserve and need support and respect.