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Thread: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG POST

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    9 weeks was such a difficult time for us. We were starting to get the hang of it but we weren't there yet. I was unsure if she was getting enough just nursing and was offering bottles of EBM at night especially. I was scared to death to return to work. My job is deadline-driven and can be demanding, and I work mostly with men, and I was just wondering if I could keep this up. It seemed really, really hard and I was having a hard time taking it day by day.

    But for me and my baby, we really turned a corner around this time. Just a few weeks can make a huge difference. By 3 months, we were doing great. And I returned to work and was scared I couldn't pump enough or that my pump breaks would be a problem. But I just took the breaks, and everything worked out. I had to tweak my pumping schedule to make enough, and I took fenugreek and Motherlove for awhile. I never had a freezer stash. And I also knew I could use formula as a backup if we needed it, and I didn't feel guilty about that.

    It has been so worth it! For me and my LO, breastfeeding has been such smooth sailing for the last 7 months. So much more convenient than bringing bottles and feeding bottles. And in the early days, she would want to nurse for forever at night. So I just sat in the glider with my feet up and we watched Seinfeld, DH made dinner, and I let her nurse while I relaxed. It was a great way to reconnect with her because I missed her so much while I was working FT. Now I even look forward to my pump breaks at work. I bring my Kindle and read a few pages of a book. I actually think the breaks are great for my productivity. I feel a lot more focused when I return to my desk.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say, I have felt like breastfeeding was failing so many times. DH and I would have the conversation so many times about supplementing. But I just kept going and before I knew it, it was so much easier.

    If you supplement at night, are you pumping during the times you're feeding formula? If you do feel like you need to supplement, have DH feed the bottle while you pump. Even if you don't get much, your body needs to get those signals to make milk. But I agree with PP to nurse as much as possible and avoid supplementing if you can. If that means LO is nursing all night, that's normal and will help boost your supply much faster.
    Last edited by @llli*pizanite; June 24th, 2012 at 09:40 AM. Reason: smiley problems

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    As far as conflicting advice goes, this is because so many folks overcomplicate breastfeeding. It's really very simple.

    To get enough milk, a baby needs to nurse frequently and effectively. If a baby has a poor latch, poor suck, or always falls asleep immediately at the breast, then they may not be able to nurse effectively. This is something you IBCLC should be helping you figure out. The nursing frequency needed varies from child to child, but if a baby was not gaining and sleeping 7 hour stretches, I would suggest that is too long a sleep stretch. It makes no sense to me to NOT wake a baby who is not gaining well so they can nurse. (or encourage baby to nurse in their sleep if they will.) A baby is going to get enough sleep one way or another, but baby very well may not get enough milk if baby sleeps too long.

    To be accurate, weight checks have to be done on a doctors or lactation consultants scale, THE SAME SCALE EVERY TIME with baby in a dry diaper. Daily weight checks are often misleading, as babies do not gain steadily the same each day. If your baby is really loosing weight or not gaining, you need to discuss that with your IBCLC or doctor, supplementing may indeed be needed in that case. But for every time you supplement, you need to pump so you get the stimulation and milk removal you are missing by supplementing. Also you could supplement prior to nursing, so baby gets to “finish at the breast” which is thought to be more breastfeeding supportive.

    When a mom is nursing around the clock, she will often not get much when pumping. When you are back to work and on a regular pumping schedule away from baby, you will almost certainly get more each time you pump. But again, as with nursing, pumping frequency is as important as pump effectiveness.

    Are you in the US? There are laws in many states protecting your right to pump at work, isn’t there a federal law now too?

    Many moms do not take enough fenugreek. Moms should take enough that she smells like maple syrup. Also a blend or herb combo may be more helpful. The book Making More Milk has excellent info on the various herbs and how they can help.

  3. #13

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    Wow, it really sounds like you've got a stressful situation going on. I can understand why you'd go with the supplement when you're worried about your baby's weight and getting pressure and disapproval from your husband. Not to mention getting conflicting advice from people who are no doubt a whole lot more sure of themselves than you are... It can make you feel like whatever you do is wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hlc12 View Post
    Some say don't wake her up, let her sleep.
    We'll often say you don't need to wake baby up to nurse, but that's only if the baby is gaining well. It's very possible for babies to sleep too much and nurse too little (as you well know, unfortunately).

    Others say supplement to maintain weight until supply increases.
    It's tricky, since supplementing can mean less nursing, and less nursing means less milk. So sometimes supplementing can actually prevent the mom's supply from increasing. That's why we always suggest, if you need to supplement, to use expressed milk rather than formula if at all possible.

    As for her diapers, she was pooping three to four times a day but in the last week or so that decreased to just once a day. That alarmed me as well, but my dr said that happens sometimes when babies get a little older (2 to 3 months). I don't know if that is true or not. I think her wet diapers are ok.
    Yes, breastfed babies can poop much less frequently (and sometimes with a sudden drop-off) after about 6 weeks.

    Did you say you're working with an IBCLC? I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of dropping the supplements altogether when your baby isn't gaining well -- gradually replacing the formula with expressed milk or extra nursing sessions might be a better way to go. If you've got an IBCLC I'd suggest talking it over with her and coming up with a plan.

    I can't tell you what the right thing to do is, but here are my suggestions of things to consider --
    • Aim for nursing 10-12 times in 24 hours, not letting her go more than 4 hours without nursing at night
    • Keep switch nursing to keep her awake and interested
    • Try breast compressions
    • Postpone thinking about how to deal with pumping at work. Just focus on today for now.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    There isa ton of great advice here. I just wanted to add a small suggestion that helps me. I eat oatmeal. Whether it's in my mind (relaxation/placebo), or science supported boost, I really find a bowl of oatmeal or two daily helps keep my supply up and seems to support let-down plus it's easy to make and eat quickly at work. Again, this might be all in my head, but whatever works. Good Luck!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    just wanted to say i am here to help you with some ideas for pumping success at work

  6. #16

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    There are herbs other than fenugreek that you could try. Some believe fenugreek works best in combination with Blessed Thistle. Have you checked out "The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk" or http://www.lowmilksupply.org?

    Whatever you do, feed the baby, protect the milk supply. Watch for signs that baby is getting enough, which includes how babe acts, wet/poppy diapers, and weight checks. will your pedi let you come in more often to weigh? since you're trying something different, it might help to weigh the baby, make the change (like reducing the supplements at night, or taking a different herb, or pumping in addition to breastfeeding, or whatever you decide to do), then weigh the baby again in 3-5 days. She's still at an age where she should be gaining just about an ounce a day. If you make a change and she continues to gain well, fabulous. If she gains more than expected and you're still supplementing, maybe you could supplement a little less.

    If you haven't already, you might also want to work directly with an IBCLC. Then you'd have a plan, and get periodic feedback.

    Hang in there, mama. You might also want to have a heart to heart with your partner. I'm sure he wants to be supportive, probably has a hard time seeing you upset. It can be hard to figure out what's best for you and your family, sometimes.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    Thanks everyone for the responses. I am sitting in bed right now with my baby. Going to try a nursing vacation. I spoke with my IBCLC this morning and she agreed that it isn't the best idea to stop supplementing altogether right now if she is suddenly losing weight. We tried to come up with some sort of plan for going forward. We discussed how best to do that in light of the fact that I'm SO prone to getting plugged ducts. I have had probably 20 to 25 to date so far (and baby is 9 weeks). No wonder my milk supply is so low right now! I am taking lecithin which was really helping until this last episode where she slept all night. The thing is I simply will NOT be able to pump every 2 to 3 hours while at work (will touch on that below), so it really doesn't make sense to build this huge milk supply for all feedings if I'm not going to be able to feed her or pump for all feedings when I go back to work in 3 weeks. My IBCLC is concerned I will get plugged ducts while at work and then really be in trouble if I can't take care of them properly. I'm just trying to be realistic about what I will be able to do when I return to work. I'm not thrilled about it, but it will have to be what works for us! I want to continue breastfeeding even if I have to supplement with formula. I appreciate those who commented that I should not feel guilty about that. I have spent weeks coming to terms with that fact and am trying to stay positive going forward.

    With respect to my work, I am an attorney at a large law firm. To many people, that might not mean anything. For others who know someone with this job or are familiar with the legal profession, then they might understand. It also might sound crazy because of course lawyers know the laws re pumping at work!! However, that doesn't change the fact that it is a VERY demanding job where everyday is different. There were many days in the past where you are lucky to get lunch (and sometimes not until hours after lunchtime!). It isn't always like that but I have to be prepared for when it is, unfortunately. There are court deadlines and filings and sometimes you have to be in court or somewhere outside of the office. I'm an associate and I basically do whatever the partners want me to do. Long hours and busy, busy, busy all day! It can even be difficult to get bathroom breaks sometimes. But, seriously, there are only certain times it is like this -- it isn't everyday by any means. But, because I get plugged ducts so easily, I can't go back to work thinking I'm going to pump every 2 to 3 hours and then have a day or a week where it's crazy like this and not be able to pump. Like I said, I'm trying to be realistic. I have two friends in other law firms who think I'm crazy to even think I'll be able to pump two times a day. They had kids and when they returned to work, they didn't pump at work at all. They just nursed in the mornings and evenings when at home. I've heard, however, that that is really bad for your supply so I'm trying to be determined to get in those two pumping sessions! I welcome advice and input re trying to make this work, especially if anyone has experience with returning to work at a law firm!

    At this point I think my plan is spend today nursing all day and supplementing here and there to try to stop the weight loss. Going forward, I am going to focus on building up my milk supply for the nursing/pumping sessions that I will continue after I go back to work. I am going to nurse her for as long as she will nurse and then pump afterwards for 10 to 15 minutes. I am going to continue the supplements but now give them to her during the times she will most likely be getting a bottle and I won't be able to pump while at work. Does that make sense? Oh, and I'm also not allowing her to sleep more than 4 hours at night so I'm now setting my alarm to wake her up. I hope this plan will work. My overall goal is to continue breastfeeding while at work and to NOT get any more plugged ducts!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    Just want to encourage you to keep at it. Like LLLKaren said, focus on today and try not to worry about work yet. The stress will not help you! All the best!
    married to Ben 05/01/2004
    mama to 3 blessings:
    Ezra 03/01/2006
    Olivia 11/07/2008
    Eden 05/02/2012

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    There are several lawyers here, all of whom pumped and fed just fine I'll send several over.

    Eta: for plugs -- I had one constantly for the first 9-10 months of breastfeeding --try cutting all saturated fats, get all new bras and try wool nursing pads.
    Last edited by @llli*aprilsmagic; June 25th, 2012 at 12:08 PM.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: I feel like breastfeeding is slipping away- help! (LONG

    . I'm a lawyer and I'm pumped successfully for 2 children. What I did was to make the most of every second I could. Do you have a hands free pumping bra? It was really helpful to me because I didn't lose out on productivity while pumping. I could be on the phone or on the computer while pumping. I also pumped while driving to and sometimes from work. I also made sure to have several horns ready so I didn't have to fool around with parts, I could just sit down, hook up and pump. I was actually surprised that if you plan will that pumping isn't as hard as I imagined it to be.

    That said the hardest for me was when I was in trial. I did pump in chambers (female judge) and in the court bathroom on several occasions when I didn't have time to make it back to my car. NOt the greatest but I had to do it.

    Some mom's like the Medela Freestyle which is wire free, may be good for a second pump option for you.

    All in all it CAN be done but you do have to make it a priority and find ways to get your billable hours in while pumping. I find that this makes the partners lay off you, they aren't losing money!

    sorry that was rambling, but I'm on the way into a meeting! Let me know what you think you could plan for and I'm happy to brainstorm more!
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

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