Pump to gear up for growth spurt?
I wondered, is it possible for me to pump to gear up for my little guy's next growth spurt, to minimize the "pain" of it? Here's my situation:
My guy is 11.5 weeks and I'm looking ahead to his next growth spurt. The last one was at 8 weeks and it was a doozy! He was eating every hour, when I was lucky. Really, he just wanted to be latched on all the time, though there was some relief at night.
Prior to that spurt he was eating about every 1.5 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night. After the spurt it was slow going getting back up to that long between night feedings, but now we're at a great place - he's eating about every 2.5 or 3 hours during the day and has gone as long as 5.5 hours at night (yay!).
So, I'm hoping we don't regress too much with his impending next growth spurt. I've been pumping after 2 or 3 feedings a day since his last spurt, usually just an ounce or so each time, to create a stockpile of some milk for my freezer and thinking that may help keep my supply at spurt levels. If I'm currently producing more than he needs in a given day, will my body be better prepared for his growth spurt? If so, how will that affect his behavior/needs during his next spurt, as far as feeding is concerned?
Lastly, a secondary question: As I understand it, a growth spurt at this age is just a temporary increase in how much he needs to consume (since babies eat the same quantity from 1 to 6 months when not spurting), so my body doesn't really need to keep up with his growth spurt needs after the spurt is over. Is that correct? Just curious...this seems to be overlooked everywhere I read things about being careful not to supplement during spurts and such.
Re: Pump to gear up for growth spurt?
Welcome to the forum!
I think you're probably overthinking this whole thing a bit. Yes, you may be able to boost production now and perhaps thereby avoid the more frequent demand when baby goes through his next growth spurt- but that just means that you go through the pain today instead of in the future. And that you are stuck pumping in order to keep supply boosted for... Who knows how long!?! Because growth spurts are unpredictable. You could have another one tomorrow, or not for several months. And you may do all that work with the pump and not see any appreciable change in baby's behavior during a spurt. He may continue to prefer smaller but more frequent meals, rather than maintaining the pattern of relatively infrequent feedings that he has now.
Regarding the amount of milk needed during a spurt vs. after the spurt is over, I don't know that anyone has a really good answer to that question. What I mean is that I don't think anyone has really quantified the answer. But in general, I do think the amount of milk the baby takes during a spurt is likely to exceed what he needs during non-spurt time, and therefore your supply is likely to go back down when baby isn't in spurt mode.
Re: Pump to gear up for growth spurt?
The beauty of breastfeeding is that when your LO needs more, he'll demand more, and your breasts will respond by making more. Then when the growth spurt is over, the process reverses itself. As long as you continue to feed on demand, you don't really need to think about it too deeply! (And I'm the type of person who tends to overthink things.) Personally, I've always found that growth spurts don't happen when they're "supposed" to, so I stopped worrying about when the next one might be coming. Also, the growth spurts tend to be less intense as baby gets older - at 11.5 weeks you've gone through the most intensive nursing. Not to say that you might not have some more intense days here and there but if you've been able to handle everything so far, you are probably not going to have trouble going forward. I wouldn't worry about trying to keep your supply up in case of a future growth spurt.