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Thread: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

  1. #1

    Default Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    I have been trying to breastfeed my daughter who is now 3 months old. We have had a very difficult breastfeeding relationship. She didn't latch on following birth, but I did skin to skin and expressed in to her mouth. I wasn't able to wait for her to breastfeed, as she had low blood sugars following birth (I was diabetic) and then became very jaundiced due to a blood group incompatibility. As a result, we ended up having to "forcefeed" her milk for the first two weeks of her life, initially she was syringe fed, then we moved to bottles as syringe feeding was very time consuming and she spat a lot of the milk back out. I have always had a good milk supply, so she has been fed breastmilk exclusively from about 1 week, and only has had around 10 oz of formula in total, most of which was in the first few days of life.

    The first time she latched on was on day 9, and has latched on very occassionally ever since. The most she has ever breastfed was at about 5 weeks, when she breastfed for about 24 hours and then stopped again.

    We discovered she had a posterior tongue tie and an upper lip tie at 6 weeks, and these were revised at 10 weeks.

    Three weeks on and she has not latched on once. Not ONCE since the revision. Her tongue mobility is fantastic, she no longer uses her jaws to clamp down on either the bottle or my finger, and her tongue comes forward over her jaw, so I feel that everything is working fine in her mouth and she should be able to feed.

    I have done skin to skin, rebirthing, laid back feeding, biological nurturing... She will get as far as rooting at the breast, and then she becomes frustrated and cries. It is very time consuming to keep trying and trying and trying, and on top of this, pumping regularly so that she does not get any formula. I know from the LLL literature, from Kellymom, from other websites, that babies are programmed to breastfeed, that potentially she CAN learn. But it is soul-destroying to keep trying and as hard as I try, I can't help feel like she is rejecting me every time.

    Are there any mums out there who can give me some positive feedback, that have been in similar situations to me, so that I'll keep the faith and keep trying?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Looking for a Dry place .. Long Island, NY

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    MY daughter and i have been having alot of breast feeding trouble as well. shes about 3 months to. I pretty much only pump at this point and even then i only get about 8 oz with help from tea and vits... SO she gets formula as well. mentally it was like a punch in the stomach feeling i failed. i dont have any answers to make it better and i fee lf or you. BUT .. YOU ARE DOING EXCELLENT !! your an awesome mommy for trying! to quote my doc .. any bm is better then none. dont take it personally uve done nothing bad !!!! I hope to make up for the lack of breast feeding by making her solids myself instead of buying jar food. I hope someone can help you work out the best way to fix this but if not .. AGAIN YOUR DOING GREAT!!!! DONT BE HARD ON YOURSELF !!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    I'm convinced that non-latching babies are breastfeeding's biggest challenge. When baby won't latch, mom is stuck with pumping (Not fun! Not easy!) and no matter how hard she tries, how generous she is, there's no way to avoid that feeling of rejection when baby turns her head and cries instead of nursing.

    The are babies who take longer than your to "get it" and start nursing. But there are no guarantees. The only thing you can do is to keep trying, and to know that there are a ton of mamas out there who are rooting for things to go your way. If your baby decides to nurse, awesome. If not, we'll still be here as you make your way through pumping.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    First let me say exclusive pumping moms are heroes in my mind. Whether or not baby also needs supplemtns of formula. It is amazing you have provided your own milk for your baby daughter for so long!

    I don't have a very relevant personal story. I did have really bad latch issues including breast refusal/inability to latch early on with my oldest, but the issues were solved in just a few weeks.
    But I do know mothers who have gotten baby to latch and nurse after many, many months. I personally have met adoptive mothers who have taught babies-even babies over a year old - to nurse.

    There is no magic to it. Assuming baby can physically latch, encouraging baby to latch and nurse takes doing what you have been doing. Repeatedly. Every day. But even if you do this, do everything you can, there are no guarantees your baby will eventually nurse. But it IS possible. At what point (if ever) you decide to stop trying to get baby to latch is a personal decision in which you will want to weigh many factors.

    It’s incredibly hard to maintain perspective when a baby will not latch. But there is no way your baby is rejecting you or your breast. She obviously has or had difficulty latching in the first place and has long been “used to” the bottle, which can manifest in many ways-how the nipple feels, rate of flow, how large the feeding is, how, exactly, milk is extracted, even . All of these are different with a bottle and may help explain prolonged unwillingness to latch and nurse even when baby physically can latch. This is one reason why encouraging comfort nursing is so important in bringing a baby back to the breast-at this point, baby cannot help but associate the pleasure of your tasty milk, sucking needs being met, and satiety with the bottle. But your baby does not love the bottle. She loves YOU and being in your comforting arms!

    While I assume you have tried or considered these, you don't mention it so I will throw them out there-having the tt/lt reassessed, (sometimes another procedure is needed) or seeing an IBCLC for suck training, using instant reward techniques, trying alternative therapies, (chiropractic, bowen, cranial sacral) lactation aid, nipple shield?

    Have you been cue feeding/paced bottle feeding?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    I'm in a similar boat as you. My 3.5 month old is what I call a "vampire feeder" - the sun goes down and he breastfeeds, the sun comes up and he absolutely refuses me. He sees my breast coming in his direction during the day and he screams like he's being tortured. It's pretty insulting. But I watched him slip from the 69th% to the 47% to the 39% over three months and I finally decided that it wasn't worth starving my baby just because he refused to breastfeed at the breast. So now I pump all of his daytime meals and meet him on his terms at night.
    Like you, I've tried it all: more skin to skin, different positions, "priming" the breast so the milk is ready for his feeding, trying to increase supply in case it was low, decrease supply in case it was too much...nothing worked. I had the same experience with my daughter and I know how you feel when you say you feel rejected. All moms who have babies who they don't have to wrestle with to bring to the breast make me so jealous. Also, the dirty looks I get when I am feeding a bottle are hurtful. I want to get custom bottles that say "It's filled with breastmilk!!" But whenever I tell someone about my situation and they tell me that they would have just switched to formula, I feel a little bit empowered. Sure, I absolutely hate my pump and long for a cuddly breastfeeding baby, but I'm still giving my baby breastmilk. It's on his terms and I wish it were otherwise, but I'm doing what's best for him. He's so much happier when his belly is full. And I look at my 3 year old, who was exclusively fed pumped milk from 6 months to a year, and I know she is as healthy as she is because I took the time and made the effort to persevere with the pumping as long as I did. Keep doing what you are doing: approach a feeding without expectation and if it doesn't go well, have an expressed bottle for backup. You are doing great and you are doing what your baby needs you to do, even if it's not what you want to do.
    I do have a question that maybe someone can help me with - how do you keep supply up when you are exclusively pumping? I found that the more I pumped and the less I could get my daughter to the breast, the less supply I had. I would like to avoid the same issue with my son.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping but want to breastfeed

    Thanks Bexx - your support means a lot. It's tough going, but like you say we're doing great! :-) Good idea about the baby food - lets give our babies the best start possible, right?

    Thanks Mommal - I have to keep reminding myself that what I am doing is twice the work as either breastfeeding or formula feeding and that what I'm doing is great.

    Meg - thanks for advice. Realistically I can't get TT reassessed, we had to take a flight to get the first procedure done (travelled from Ireland to England). However, her tongue mobility is much improved so I'm not convinced that's the problem. She's had osteopathy. I've tried latching her on with a nipple shield - never successfully! Have been cue feeding/ paced feeding... and am now using Breastflow bottles which she has to work quite hard on, and she definitely has to stick her tongue out to get the milk out. I have been doing suck training with her and in fact, I started doing finger feeding using a SNS with her yesterday - her suck is sometimes a bit disorganised but when she wants to, she can suck quite well, tongue over bottom jaw and that nice "wave" motion in her tongue. I could actually see her looking at my finger and processing the fact that she was getting milk from it!! I thought over the next few days I'd rearrange myself so that I finger feed her next to my naked breast... maybe start getting her to make the connection between breast and getting milk from flesh rather than plastic. Don't know if it will work, but I guess its worth a try. To be honest, haven't offered her the breast for a few days, thought I'd keep finger feeding and bringing her closer and closer to the nipple and maybe once she feels completely comfortable there, try latching her on again. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that she may never latch on, and thinking more long term, how long I can keep expressing etc. But haven't lost hope completely either!

    Connectikate - how frustrating! Does your baby feed in his sleep? Is that why he'll feed at night time and not day time? Or is there no rhyme or reason to it that you can find? Oh... I can TOTALLY sympathise with bottlefeeding in public. I would love to be going to mother and baby groups, but feel ashamed to be seen bottlefeeding... :-/ "Good" mums breastfeed, right? Maybe you should patent those bottles - I would definitely buy some from you! LOL I HATE pumping while sitting looking at my daughter instead of cuddling her. It always feels so counterintuitive. I have been haunted by the first few lines of "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" where it asks would you choose to give your baby the nutritional benefits of breastmilk without the physical aspect, or the physcial closeness but formula? I guess those of us who pump have to make that choice on some level... Even though she can't/won't latch on I know I have been INCREDIBLY lucky to have a good milk supply. How did I achieve it? I suspect it's partly luck, that I'm just one of those people who would have had a good supply irregardless. BUT I also expressed from about 35 weeks so that I could take colostrum in to hospital to counteract the low blood sugars (I had over 3 oz to take in to hospital with me), and I expressed OBSESSIVELY from day 1 when she didn't latch on. TBH, my husband was invaluable... for about the first week, we'd set the alarm at night time and every two hours he would syringe feed/bottle feed her and I would express for her next feed. I'd never be where I am without him. I expressed, expressed, expressed until my supply met and exceeded her demands. I still express A LOT, during the day she feeds every 2 hours, and I try to express after every feed. I almost always express once during the night too (unless I'm REALLY tired). I'm now lucky enough that 20 minutes will usually give me 4-5 oz. Occassionally I'll have a busy day when I can't express as often, so I just make sure I express for longer. I've been waiting for that "dip" that happens due to the hormonal/demand aspect of pumping exclusively, but fingers crossed I'm managed to avoid it. Oh, and I've done it ALL with a single hand pump, I can't let down to a standard electric pump and when I tried a hospital grade double pump, I couldn't keep both boobs in the double pump sets (I have BIG boobs) at the same time!

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