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Thread: pumping while nursing the other breast

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: pumping while nursing the other breast

    Hi Anne -

    Another leader/mod chiming in with a little additional information. Your supply is naturally at its highest point in the morning, which would explain your fullness and the leaking. It does naturally dip in the evenings. There's a biological reason for this - it makes sense for a baby to NEED to be near his mother in the evening/as it starts to get dark and predators come out. A lot of us call this time the "witching hour" (though in my house it lasts for HOURS) and many babies choose to cluster feed during this time. They may nurse as often as once every 45 minutes for a few hour period. The theory is that they are "tanking up" for a long stretch of sleep at night, though my experience with my first child was that he'd just nurse like that, then still be up 2 hrs later as he was thorughout the night for the first year. Lucky for us he was an efficient nurser who fell right back to sleep nursing. Not too hard to nurse every 2 hrs if it's only for 5 mins!

    I also wanted to share with you that my son, like the other poster's child, realy seemed to "grow into" my oversupply at about 12-16 weeks. Things started to improve dramatically.

    I share Kate's caution about pumping too much in the morning. Block feeding works best if one breast is COMPLETELY unstimulated. Have you tried just pumping off that bit of foremilk (you want to pump only just enough to feel some relief, or to get through that strong first letdown if that is something your son finds challenging), then nursing on that side, then pumping on that side once your son is done? While this may not build up a huge volume for you, it should give you a little bit more to add to what you pumped before he started his nursing session, and every little bit adds up.

    It might be helpful to understand what your primary goal is at this time. Do you want to completely eliminate green poops? Is your son having other discomfort with those poops or is it just greenish stools? It bears mentioning that sometimes it's just a cosmetic thing. My son was really fussy and gassy and clearly uncomfortable, on top of the greenish poops, but some babies don't have that discomfort. Not to say you should ignore green poops entirely, but if it's not causing your child significant other discomfort, it may be something to just expect from time to time. You also mentioned pumping for occasional outings or the upcoming conference separation from him. Is that a more important goal than eliminating green poops? My gut instinct says to wait on the pumping for the conference, do only minimal pumping for the occasional outings, while you work on managing your supply. However, as I mentioned, many moms find that by about 3-4 months their children seem to "grow into" their supply, and find that they don't need to work so hard to manage it anymore.

    I should have asked this first - how is his weight gain? How does his doctor feel about his meeting milestones and overall growth and development? These are important factors too.

    It is conceivable that your child is becoming a FAN of the fast flow/abundant milk supply. You mention he fusses sometimes, seeming to want more milk. It's not uncommon for these oversupply babies to develop a PREFERENCE for it. If you're interested, the kellymom.com (not a LLL site but a well-regarded breastfeeding information source) website has an article for what to do if this happens.

    It sounds like you're starting to feel better about how things are going. congratulations to you for being so in tune with your baby! I hope things continue to improve.

    Warmly,
    Karen Smith
    LLL Leader, IL

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: pumping while nursing the other breast

    Thanks, Karen, for chiming in. J's weight grain is fine, at the last 10 week appointment he had gained 3 lbs over 6 weeks (for a total of 13 lbs) and the doctor is happy. He is healthy, alert, increasingly smiley and everything seems on schedule. So I'm not worried there. I was mostly concerned that the hindmilk is important for brain development (since it has most of the fat) and I didn't want to be shorting him on that. Actually, I have not read that any place but kind of deduced it -- it seems to make sense that since fatty acids (e.g., DHA or omega3) are important for brain development, then the hindmilk must be important for supplying that. Is there anything to this idea?

    He used to be much fussier and gassier. I think just feeding on one side at a time has improved things immensely. In fact, blocks of 2-3 hours usually correspond in my case to just alternating breasts from feeding to feeding, since that's usually how long he goes between feedings. Occassionally he wants to feed sooner, so in those cases I put him back on the same breast. Otherwise I basically alternate. I have much less of the agonizing manic fussiness I had earlier, when he cried and squealed and tugged and pulled off and worked himself in a frenzy (I've realized that this usually means he has to burp). Now he just occasionally gets mildly frustrated in the evening when my flow seems slow. Yes, I think he definitely has a preference now for the fast flow, although he does still frequently gag when I start him on a fresh breast. But recently, if I get him in a calm mood, he is much better at tugging and sucking on a slow-flowing breast until he gets the second (or third or fourth) letdown. That's good, since I gather that's what pushes the hindmilk out if it's stuck in the ducts.

    On morning pumping, I guess I like the security of knowing I always have a fresh bottle or two waiting in the fridge if something comes up, as well as some back-up in the freezer. If I stop morning pumping, it will be harder to get that extra when I need it. This is my insecurity, I guess. It's hard to learn to trust my own supply, even though I have lots of evidence that I'm doing just fine. I'm coming up on 3 months so hopefully he'll be turning that corner soon on oversupply.

    Oh here's one more question (as far as questions go, I seem to have an endless supply!). Last night he was tired and cranky and didn't feed very well, in fact fell asleep before tanking up and as a result I was up a lot of the night making up the difference (yawn!). Should I be urging more feeding on him in the evening in these cases? Or just trust him to work out what he needs?

    Thanks again!
    Annie

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: pumping while nursing the other breast

    Hi Annie,

    First, I wanted to get back to you about tracing different feeding to different poops. This is really impossible to do because of differences in feeding times, babies, moms' storage capacities, etc. As you know, you can usually tell when things have been a little off, but to pinpoint it more than that is pretty tough!

    As far as trusting him to tell you what he needs: I think you are right on the money! You are doing so well with him. He will become only easier to read as the weeks and months go by. Just go with what he tells you and your body will follow!

    HTH!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: pumping while nursing the other breast

    Thanks Kate. I suspected there wouldn't be an answer to the poop question due to such differences in babies' patterns. My best guess is that since most of his green poops are in the evening, and that I usually have a burst of stored up foremilk in the morning, that's where it's coming from. The good news is that yesterday was an all-yellow day! (on the other hand he was an extremely cranky eater at bedtime -- I wonder if it was something I ate). In any case, thanks so much to all for spending so much time helping me decipher my baby! That's the hard part in the beginning, it all seems like such a mystery. You guys are wonderful, I'm sure I'll be back with more questions on another thread.

    Annie

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: pumping while nursing the other breast

    Glad to hear things are well and happy to help!

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