Re: exclusive pumping - some quesions
I can completely understand why you'd think that EP is the way to go, considering how difficult nursing has been for you. But I strongly encourage you not to go down the EP road unless you absolutely have to. Nursing gets easier in the long run, but pumping never does. If you think pumping every 3 hours is hard now, with a new baby, imagine the future where you must choose between caring for an active, mobile baby and maintaining your pumping schedule. It is highly unlikely that you can move to a 4 hour interval between pumping sessions. Some EP moms can pump that infrequently without having milk supply decrease, but that's rare. Most EPing moms must pump about as often as the average baby nurses in order to maintain supply, which means pumping every 2-3 hours, or at least 8-12 sessions per day. And even doing that, it can be difficult to maintain supply: many EP moms ultimately struggle to provide enough for their babies.
If you've managed thus far with only 2 bottles of expressed milk per day, and your baby is now 6 weeks old, I think the probable issue you're facing is the big 6 week growth spurt, which causes babies to want to nurse constantly and act fussy after feedings- their way of saying "Hey, put me back on the breast, mom! I am growing fast and I need more!" This is when a lot of moms do what you did: give in to the bottle. I understand why- it's really challenging and upsetting and it's easy for a desperate mom to look for a way out of the situation. But this is one of those "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" times, when the best way through the rough patch is just to glue your butt to the couch and nurse, nurse, nurse. And then nurse some more.
To answer your specific questions:
1. The pump you have is not likely to be adequate for EP. A PISA is probably the minimum tool for the job, but a hospital-grade rental is the best choice. A better pump might allow you to shorten your pumping sessions to 20 minutes total, provided you maintained or increased your current pumping frequency.
2. Judge the efficacy of your massage technique not by what you feel under your hand but by what you see coming out in the pump. If the massage you are doing seems to result in more milk coming out, you're doing it right.
3. This is a difficult choice when a mom is struggling to nurse her baby- believe me, I know! One thing you could do would be to pump immediately after your baby nurses. That would allow your breasts to fill up again before baby wants to nurse. Ordinarily, you can empty the breast very completely and then nurse, since milk is always being made and a baby who is nursing well and willing to nurse has no trouble getting the milk out even when the breast has been well-drained. It just takes the baby more time and effort. Which is why this is a tough choice for a baby who resists nursing: she may scream for a bottle when she realizes that it's not going to be easy to get at the milk.
Can you tell us more about how nursing is going? Are you in any pain when you nurse? I notice that you've been using a shield- will baby nurse without it?
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