Hi, I think I will have to switch from BF to exclusive pumping and I would greatly appreciate some advice on how to go about it.
My LO is almost 7 weeks old and we have had a rough BF experience. She was given formula straight after birth as I had a c-section and was also too inexperienced to know how much trouble it would cause later. My milk came in on day 3 so honestly I don't think they had to give her a bottle at all. But what's done is done....
When we got home I managed to get her to latch on but she has always been a terrible nurser - nursing for over an hour at a time and having to use nipple shields.
Despite all hat time nursing, it turned out that she wasn't putting on enough weight and I had to bottle feed expressed milk when she sill gave hunger cues after nursing. We managed to get her putting on weight and for 6 weeks nursed and only needed 2 bottles of expressed milk a day. She had no problems moving from breast to bottle.
Suddenly from day to day it all went downhill. She stared nursing for shorter and shorter intervals and then screaming from hunger. I don't really get why because the nipple shield would be full of milk when she unlatched. We ended up having to op her off after every feed. I got worried that she would totally transfer to the bottle so we decided to go cold turkey and not give her the bottle at all. After 2 days of hell I have up. Having a baby screaming from hunger was just too much for me and I was starting to feel really depressed. Hence the decision to pump.
I didn't realise exactly how exclusive pumping worked I though that seeing as nursing is a supply-demand thing I only needed to pump enough to feed her and didn't empty the breast. Today after the whole day of pumping only enough to feed her plus 2 oz more to freeze I started reading more about pumping and was aghast to read that I should have been emptying and doing massages while pumping. Hopefully I haven't been doing it wrong for long enough to hurt my supply permanently!
I have a few questions to the exclusive pumpers because I couldn't find clear answers anywhere.
1. I have the medela swing pump as the in style double is just too expensive but the mini electric double is within my price range. Would that one be ok to shorten my pump sessions to 20 min total instead of the 20min per breast I have started to do?
2. I have large breasts and feeling the full milk ducts during pumping is difficult. I just blindly rub downwards from my armpit towards the nipple and do breast compressions for 10 min then switch to the other breast 10min and switch back to breast no 1 for 10min and then back again to breast no 2 for the final 10min. In the breaks I try feel for the ducts and massage them out. Is this ok or should I be pumping non-sop for 20 min per breast? How Can i tell if I emptied my breast as I cant really feel a big difference besides the fact that no more milk flows for a few min. I get between 60 and 150ml per session - depending how much time passed between.
3. I started using the medela calma bottle and I looks like it helped a little. LO is now nursing a little at least before yelling for the bottle. I let her nurse for however long she wants and the feed her a bottle with milk from the previous pumping session. When she is done I pump. Sometime when it's puping time for me she is still sleeping so I pump one breast only and leave the other for her in case she will want to nurse. When she is done I pump that one. Is that ok or should I empty both and if she wants to nurse, let her try get out what is left?
4. finally, I read that it is ok to pump 4 times in 24h as long as one of them is at night. currently I pump every 3h and this is exhausting. Would is be ok to pump every 4 and slowly start reducing it to 4 sessions ?
Sorry about the long post, would love some help with these issues. I want my LO to get breast milk as long as I can but now I am super paranoid about my supply going down because of the lack of breastfeeding.