if you just pump or pumped

(9 posts)(5 voices)
  1. Hi Everyone -

    I'm really having a tough time nursing my DS. I'm in constant pain from a not-so-great latch and he's fussing quite a bit when nursing. I'm contemplating at this point pumping more frequently (I sometimes do one EBM feeding a day) and usually one formula feeding a day (not always). For those of you who just pumped, how exactly did you do it?
    Pump and then feed? Feed from a previous pumping?

    How often did you pump?

    How did you handle being away from home (and your pump) if you were out doing errands, out to dinner, etc.?

    I'm very unsure what to do but right now I don't see a long future for nursing but I do want DS to continue to benefit from BM. I'm worried I'll never pump enough to satisfy him as now it takes about two pumping sessions for one bottle feed.

    Sorry for so many questions!!!

  2. Hi. I had a preemie in the NICU and have pumped for the past year. I'm weaning now and just today am down to only two pumping sessions.

    I had always planned on breastfeeding for a year, but I must admit that I hated pumping so much that it was a long time before I could even set any type of goal for myself- I just took it one day at a time. I think it was harder in the beginning- later I was more fed up w/ it but at first it was less predictable and more tiring.

    I had a small freezer stash from early on (before DS took much at his feedings, while he was a tiny baby in the NICU), but that got depleted relatively quickly. A pump is not as efficient as a baby so it's harder to have a great supply. I'm not sure how long you have been nursing and how established your supply is. I drank the Mother's Milk Tea and tried Fenugreek for a short time, but I ended up having to supplement with formula when DS was about two months old (he'd had a small amount of formula before then too, before my milk came in). So this may mean that I wasn't doing things "perfectly." I'll tell you what I did and what worked for me, but I'm sure others have done things differently.

    I pumped about 6-7 times a day. I'm not sure how old your DS is- but the way I did things eventually changed as DS got older. When he was small and not on any type of real schedule (or not sleeping through the night), I fed him on demand, then after he ate and went back to sleep I pumped. So I was feeding him milk that I had previously pumped, then afterwards was pumping the milk I would use for the next session (and I too didn't always make enough in one session for the next feeding- so sometimes I would make formula when necessary). It was difficult then because I did try to pump about every 2-3 hours but it was at different times every day since DS schedule was very erratic.

    It got easier when DS had a consistent schedule. When he slept through the night I did not get up to pump. Some say I should have, but I did not (also when he was in the NICU I did not get up in the middle of the night to pump). When his schedule was more consistent I would get up and pump BEFORE he got up (either by setting my alarm or by getting up when I first heard him stir, etc.) in the morning . I didn't always time it well (even to this day this is still a problem) so sometimes he'd be crying as I was finishing pumping. I did the best I could. Then every time that DS went down for a nap I would pump, but at least it was at the same general time each day. I typically pumped in front of the computer and ate a meal as I pumped. It was mostly predictable- w/ the first morning nap I would shower quickly and then eat breakfast and pump, then eat lunch at the next nap while pumping, etc. My Ds went to bed at about 5:30-6:30 and we'd wake him up again at around 9:30-10:30 for one last feeding (since he didn't take enough ounces otherwise). I'd pump twice in that time period, then once again before I went to bed.

    As DS moved from three to two naps and started eating more solids I started pumping less. In the beginning I aimed for pumping every 2-3 hours. Later I could go a little longer, but 2-3 hours was the general rule (especially when you are still establishing supply).

    One of the hardest things was running errands/doing things away from home while pumping. My DS had lots of appointments that were about an hour away from home. It upset our pumping schedule completely. On those days I'd go longer than 2-3 hours between pumping. I found that if I did that occasionally and not at a consistent time period (like missing the same pumping session a few days in a row) it usually worked out okay. I did sometimes get clogs if I went too long between pumping times, though. Sometimes I'd have to pump when DS was awake, like after we returned from a long day out (I have friends who did this all the time) and I'd put him in his swing while doing so. (also sometimes he'd wake up from naps earlier than I'd anticipated and I'd be pumping and have to put him in his swing or bouncy seat while I finished. This is a downside of pumping). I recommend the car adapter for the pump, also. Whenever possible, I'd have my DH drive and I would pump in the car and try to time it so that I'd be finished pumping at the last minute before we arrived where we were going. Occasionally I'd have to pump in my car before or after an appt. while DS sat in his carseat.

    I'm sorry if this is long or too confusing- please let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!!!


  3. Ike-
    With my first DD, I did okay nursing until she turned 4 months old and I returned to work.

    While on maternity leave I pumped every morning after the first feed, which really built up a good stash for me in the freezer. Within a few weeks of me working long hours, and being away from her so long, she began refusing to nurse. I probably should've tried toughing it out, but I just figured she was so used to the faster flow of the bottles. This is how the next 8 months of my breast pump relationship began. Stupid slow-flow-nipple bottle's weren't all that slow!

    I'd have to pump ever two to three hours at work, I'd do the same at home, too. This was in order to have enough for the next day. I'd freeze and rotate from my frozen stash,. I never had to use formula, but I did take fenugreek capsules, drank the MM tea and took the MotherLove More Milk Plus tinctures.

    Unlike Marie, I did have to wake up in the middle of the night to pump, but by 9 months, I just pumped at 11pm and then again at 6am.

    Like Marie, doing anything away from home was tough. The car adapter was a huge help. I could've wrote Marie's last paragraph myself. You'll have time for dinners, hair appointments, etc.

    Any amount of breastmilk is a benefit. So even if it turns out to be just a couple of bottles each day of BM--that's still great. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    I'm not sure if this was any help, but I'm here if you have any other questions.

  4. Just wanted to comment about what maya said about "all or nothing." I definitely agree with this and wish I had thought more about it. My DS got some formula from early on since I never had enough milk (didn't have the benefit of breastfeeding first to establish supply). So technically it WASN'T all or nothing for me. BUT I still felt as if I needed to pump ALL the time to give him every last drop of breastmilk that I possibly could. It was exhausting. Now that I am weaning I see a little bit of what I have missed out on- it is an amazing feeling to be able to rest or nap or do chores when DS is napping and not be chained to the pump all the time. This might not be a popular opinion, but if I had it to do again, I think I might do it a little differently. I am not sure if this would have been able to be done right away or if supply would have to be established first. But I think I wish I had skipped one or two pumping sessions (there were a few where I would only get 2-3 ounces) and just given a little more formula. I somehow never saw that as an option and I'm not sure why. I think my quality of life would have been better and my frustration level would have been lower, FWIW.


  5. Thanks guys. I should have probably added a little more information but it probably wouldn't have had much affect on your advice. My DS is 10 weeks old. I've been giving him anywhere between zero and two bottles of formula a day but usually just one but I'm definitely not in the all or nothing camp so it's reassuring to hear that this is OK. I think my supply is decent but DS seems to eat a lot in each feed and not feed that often (only 5 or 6 times within 24 hours). So I've gotten spoiled in that regard. Since he has gone down from 7 feedings my pumping output seems to be less too. I'm a little terrified of feeling like I'm chained to a pump and knowing myself, the idea of getting up in the middle of the night to pump would not be good on any of us.

    My hats are really off to you guys since I think that in many ways committing to pumping just so your little one can get BM is so much harder than just nursing (when it works). You should both be really proud of yourselves and hopefully your DC will reap the benefits.

    Can I ask about how much you got in each pumping session (combined) and also how much your kids ate?

    Thanks for your time and advice!!


  6. I've been soley pumping DS from he was born. In the hospital he did get plenty of formula because of his size. One thing that helped me was the new Medela Premie Plus program that helps your milk come in sooner and up the amount also. The hospital grade pumps have that. Also, at the start I was pumping every 2/3 hours round the clock. I did take fenugreek, goats rue and mother's milk but I was not retentive about it. After I returned to work there was a drop immediately but I took domperidone 2 days and stopped (truthfully I keep forgetting to take it). I pump 1 or 2 times at work (1 if I have back to back meetings and 2 on slow days) and each time I'm now able to get 7/8 oz. as soon as I get home 5:45/6pm I pump and I pump every 2/3 hours from then on. BUT I can go hours without pumping as needed. I have practice on Tuesdays so I pump once at 6pm and not again until around 10pm when I get home. DS is 4 months and drinks approx 5 oz at every feed - 3/4 hours apart. He has about 30/36 oz (higher end when he has a growth spurt) and I do tend to make approx that amount. What helps me is that I force myself to drink 32 oz between each pump -- I see a noticable difference if I drink less than that.

  7. Ike-

    My DD is the opposite of your DS. (I envy your feeding schedule!) She was a slow eater and not a big eater. She'd get a 3oz bottle at daycare every 2.5 hours, so she was a frequent eater. Her daycare teachers knew all of this, so they really made sure they kept her on a strict feeding schedule.

    She was up for night feeds until about 9 months old, so that's probably a good reason I continued the night pumpings so long. If she slept through, I probably wouldn't have been up to pump so long.

    Since I was pumping to frequently, I'd get nearly 4oz total (not each side). Morning pumping sessions would ususally give me a total of 6oz (again total).

    Also, because the daycare had to dispose of any unfinished breastmilk within an hour, an ounce here and there each day was wasted.

    So far, it sounds like you're doing everything right. Pumping is a lot of work. You just do what you can.

  8. Ike- How much I got at each pumping session varied a lot. When I pumped every 2-3 hours I think I got anywhere from 2-4 ounces (total). First thing in the morning would be like 5-7 ounces. For a long time DS took 4-5 ounces at a time. He's not a big eater, though. He usually ate about 24-28 ounces a day and I pumped about 20ish on an average day, I think.

    Lots of luck to you w/ whatever you decide to do!


  9. My 4.5 twin boys were not very good latchers so I started pumping and feeding bottles during the day and bf at night when they were around 3 mo old (for some reason they eat better when they are sleepy). I also supplement with one bottle of formula at around 9-10 pm to help them sleep a bit longer.

    I found the older they got the better they got at breastfeeding so now instead of pumping for all their feedings I bf them once or twice a day also depending on our schedule.

    I pump on a three hour schedule, but try never to go over 4 hours and try to get 6 pumping sessions in a day (if I am not switching one of those out for breastfeeding). I also never pump at night even if the babies sleep through the night.

    It is harder to pump, but also a little more freeing. I like the idea that I am not the only person responsible for their nutrition and other people can help feed the babies (with my first I wanted to be the only one, but then I only had one)

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