Trying to drop the pumping
I want so desperately to drop pumping all together. It is taking up so much time and I'm sick of being hooked up to a machine all the time. I have a former 28 weeker. She spend 65 days in the NICU and didn't care much for latching. She is now 5 weeks corrected and does a pretty good job...I think. She latches and sucks and swallows for about 15-20 minutes. I only put her on one side at a time because I have a pretty fast let down and I know she's tires out quickly from trying to keep up. Every time I put her to breast I pump the other side for 15 minutes-so my current system is not actually saving me any time and still requiring me to put my baby down to pump.
So, I am scared to death to drop the pumping because I live in fear that my supply will rapidly decrease. Right now I put her to breast about 2 times per day and bottle feed the rest because I also live in fear that she will not gain enough weight. Today I noticed that she has wet diapers after breastfeeding but not as wet as after bottle feeding. Also, the feeding after breastfeeding she seems starving. And when I pump at the next scheduled time I find I get a lot more out of the breast I fed her on-I think it's because she's not emptying it completely?? I feel like she's not getting enough but I don't know how to really tell. I am petrified to go to a breastfeeding group because I don't want her to get sick. Plus, I'm not sure my struggles relate to full term baby struggles because I had no choice but to pump in the beginning.
Any suggestions on how to transition without worrying about supply issues and hunger issues are welcome and appreciated.
Re: Trying to drop the pumping
How about working up to letting go of one pumping session at a time? And how much does she drink when she drinks from the bottles?
My daughter only gets bottles when she's away from me. Some times her diapers are more wet than others. I understand why you're focused on that, but it's ok if she takes in less some times and more others. :hug
Hopefully some of the mama's of premature babies will come along soon.
Re: Trying to drop the pumping
Like you, I was so looking forward to not pumping after my son's NICU stay. He was in the NICU for about 2 months so I pumped during all of that time and then it took us about 2 months to drop all the bottles and switch to exclusive breastfeeding. And although I did several things to make sure it was working for him, it honestly was a big leap of faith that it would all work out, too.
A few suggestions - I rented a baby scale from a local pharmacy, but I believe you can buy one at Target. I kept the scale in the same place in our house and weighed him before and after nursing him. I worked with a lactation consultant and she said for his age and weight at the time, if he took in 2 oz of breastmilk from a nursing session, I could skip "topping him off" with a bottle of breastmilk afterwards. If you're able, I strongly recommend working with a board certified lactation consultant. In my experience, none of the nurses or Drs in the NICU or his Dr after discharge cared about me wanting to switch him to breastfeeding, so they weren't helpful in making that happen. But the lactation consultants we worked with were amazing.
I would do breast compressions while nursing him, especially when he started to slow down his sucking.
As his latch got better, he got older, and I was less fearful of him using too many calories to nurse and not getting enough, (thus the fear the NICU sticks in preemie parent's heads that they won't gain enough wait and will end up back in the hospital subsided a bit), I went to something like this...I would nurse him (weigh before and after) and then wear him in a Moby Wrap skin to skin. At the very first sign he may be wanting to nurse again, or if it had been 1.5-2 hours, I offered him my breast again. I slowly worked up to nursing him more often and giving him less bottles. In between nursing sessions, I wore him in a Moby and kept things around us quiet, or if I couldn't keep things quiet (I had a 2 yr old daughter at the time also) I put him in his room in his crib with a video monitor on him, so that he would get good rest and not burn too many calories.
I also kept a daily record of his weight...in the NICU he was weighed each night at 8pm, so I continued doing this and writing it down, so when he had a Drs appointment or we met with lactation, I could bring it and we could see what his weight gain was like.
While we were switching over I did pump the other side (that he didn't nurse on) but not for as much time as I would have when pumping both at the same time when he was just being tube/bottle fed. It took about 2 months to slowly stop pumping after I nursed him, but I have a really good milk supply, so I needed to decrease the amount of time I pumped slowly so I didn't get plugged ducts/mastitis. Once he was exclusively breastfeeding, I did continue to pump once at night before I went to bed, just because I liked having a supply in the freezer and I was also pumping for a milk bank.
Hope some of that helps. Feel free to ask any more questions. I'm happy to help.