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Thread: Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?

  1. #1

    Default Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?

    I have two girls (4 and 2) that I tried desperately to breast feed. I have inverted/flat nipples and worked hard to try and make it happen. Both times I ended up only feeding for about 3 months before I couldn't keep my supply. It was painful, depressing, and stressful to the point that I am seriously considering NOT even trying this time. I sought help from a lactation consultant, FREQUENTLY, in both cases, but still couldn't make it work. I fell into PPD last time around and still am having trouble
    Coming to terms with this pregnancy at 5+months. I have read about exclusively pumping and I think this may be an option that could save me. I want to give the best to this baby, but don't relish the thought of trying to make this work again. ANYBODY who is having success with this method, has similar experience, or advice would be welcome and appreciated. I am already stressed about it, and that is only over making the decision! Please help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?

    Being a healthy, happy mama is important to having a healthy, happy baby. Trite, but true. It sounds like you might still struggling with depression -- now is not a great time to make any big decisions. Or things that feel like big decisions. You don't need to have it all figured out by 5 months! And 3 months of breastfeeding isn't nothing -- you gave your girls a great start, despite having major challenges.

    If you feel you must make a decision, be kind to yourself and decide something like "I will try my best to breastfeed for two weeks, then I will decide if continuing is best for me and my baby."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on the baby to come!

    The first thing to know about exclusive pumping (EP) is that it is totally possible, and a lot of moms do it!!! If you're committed to EP, you will get a lot of support and help here.

    I generally try to discourage moms from exclusive pumping unless they have NO OTHER OPTION that will allow them to breastfeed, because EP has some special challenges, including the following:
    - Pumps are not usually as good as babies are at maintaining supply. Many moms who EP ultimately struggle to provide enough milk.
    - Nursing in public is generally fairly easy, even for extremely modest moms. Pumping in public is a lot harder- you need a clean, private place and an outlet (if you're using an electric pump), and those two things can be hard to find, particularly in combination!
    - It can be a challenge to entertain the baby while you pump, particularly once the baby is mobile. Choosing between maintaining a pump routine and caring for the baby is one of the hardest challenges!
    - Milk in the breast is always clean, fresh, at the right temperature, and immediately available. Milk in a bottle can spill on the floor, go bad in the heat, get forgotten with the diaper bag, or get spoiled in a power outage.

    All that being said, please do not let the potential negatives of EP sway you away from trying it, if that is the only way you can see yourself breastfeeding this baby!!! Again, lots of moms EP and they all find ways to deal with the negatives. If they don't pump enough milk, they either increase their number of pump sessions until they get enough or they make their peace with using some formula. They find ways to pump when out and about- they plan their outings, they use covers or retreat to their cars or just pump in public (I actually know a mom who pumped while sitting in her seat on a trans-Pacific flight!). They find ways to manage their stored milk supply and to care for their babies while they pump.

    I think the PP gave excellent advice: be kind to yourself, and don't feel like you need to wed yourself to any particular decision RIGHT NOW. You never know- this baby may give you a "third time's the charm" breastfeeding experience, and latch right on with no pain and no supply issues. I think it makes sense to at least try nursing the baby, but to have an EP plan worked out in advance, just in case nursing goes south on you. So contact the LC again and ask about pumps- you're going to want a good one if you decide to EP. A hospital-grade pump is ideal, but a very good double electric like the Medela Pump in Style or the Hygeia Enjoye (sp.?) are the minimum you'll need. And you'll want correctly sized shields to go with it.

    You can do it, mama, whatever you choose!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?

    I would agree with the previous posters. Don't make a decision now, every baby is different. Just see how it goes this time and make a decision when the time comes.

    I sucessfully EPed my first daughter for 1 year who had a lazy/poor suck, coupled with my bad case of thrush (gave up at 3 weeks). My second daughter has been completely different, she has a great suck and was a champion nurser from day 1. Of course with a great suck came the sore and cracked nipples but they finally healed, with no further discomfort. I was fully prepared to EP again since I knew what to expect and knew I could be sucessful, but we continue to sucessfully breastfeed at 3.5 months.

    So it's ultimately your decision but the baby may dictate what he/she wants to do. :-)

    Feel free to ask me any questions about EPing.
    Trying to keep up with a busy 3.5 year old Morgan Alexis born 11/5/09 at 6 lbs 5 oz and proud retired 1 year EP'er!

    Nursing our new addition Jordan Catherine born 10/21/12 at 7 lbs 14 oz.

    Total donated milk so far - 1,368 ounces!

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