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Thread: Hand Expression.. How do I get hindmilk?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    15

    Default Hand Expression.. How do I get hindmilk?

    I'm in the process of relactating, however my medela swing and bailey nuture III (yes I have two pumps!) don't get out much milk in the 10-20 minutes I spend on them. Perhaps I need a larger flange? I haven't the slightest clue when it comes to what size I should be using.. I have the standard size I suppose. Anyway, What I do is I pump with one pump on each breast to get maximum suction since the Bailey double pump's suction isn't that great when divided on the two breasts. So, medela on one, Bailey on the other for as long as I can stand it because usually after 10-20 minutes, nothing's really coming out. Then I hand express for as long as I can stand it on each side; that tends to be about 10 minutes each side. After about 30-40 minutes of this, I produce about 1/2 an ounce per session. I recently noticed that when my milk separates in the fridge, there's only a very thin line of cream at the top. How on earth do I get to the hind milk??? The pump doesn't seem to get the formilk out much less the hindmilk, and I seem to be getting a teeny bit by hand expressing. Any advice on how to go about this?? I seem to be at this 1/2 ounce per session plateau and I know that I could be producing more.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,346

    Default Re: Hand Expression.. How do I get hindm

    Welcome! It's awesome that you're already getting 1/2 an oz from pumping. It takes a lot of work to relactate up to that level. I think the first thing I would do in your shoes is to get a hospital-grade rental pump. The 2 pumps you are using are smaller, lighter-weight pumps meant primarily for moms who already have good milk supplies and who respond well to pumping. They are not good pumps for a mom who needs to rebuild her supply from a low point, even when used together- which I think was a brilliant solution to the low suction issue!

    Another thing that can help increase yield is to pump more frequently. If you're not already doing so, pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night- or even more frequently, if you can stand it- should result in increased yield.

    If you use a better pump with correctly sized shields, and pump more frequently, you should be able to get more milk and that will mean more hindmilk. But remember that the terms "hindmilk" and "foremilk" are misleading. You really only produce milk. It's not like there's a switch in your breasts that turns foremilk production off and hindmilk production on after you've been pumping or expressing for a certain amount of time. The milk you produce does change in composition as the breast is emptied, becoming increasingly fatty, but the change is gradual and even the "foremilk" contains fat. Seeing only a thin line of cream in your separated milk is normal when you are producing a small amount of milk, and it's also normal to see a relatively small proportion of cream in expressed milk when you're producing a large amount of milk. You're producing milk, not ice cream or butter!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Hand Expression.. How do I get hindm

    Sorry for the delayed response... I'm happy to announce that I am officially back in the business of breastfeeding! Unfortunately now I'm dealing with some sort of oversupply/milk imbalance issue... sigh. I'll be posting about it in the corresponding forum. Thanks for the advice though!

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