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Thread: Switching from pump to breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    47

    Default Switching from pump to breast

    I have 8 week old twins, born at 34.5 weeks. They spent 6 days in the NICU, and I tried to BF but they just wouldn't latch. So they have been on mostly pumped breast milk with a couple formula bottles because I don't make enough milk. I am about 16oz shy of pumping what they eat. Since they have been home we have tried BFing, one latches great but is slow and the other has a bad, painful latch that needs work.

    How can I transition to just breastfeeding? I have a 3 year old also so I can't spend my day BFing and then pumping. They eat every 3 hours so it would take about that long if I did that. Can I just start BFing and not worry about pumping after?
    Mom to 3 boys and loving it!
    J born 5/22/10, BF for 1 year
    N & L born 4/10/13

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,889

    Default Re: Switching from pump to breast

    Is 8 weeks the babies' corrected age, or just the number of weeks since they've been born? If they're 8 weeks corrected, then you're probably in a better place to transition to exclusive nursing.

    The way to transition to exclusive nursing is to have babies who are ready to do it, and to have a milk supply that is pretty closely matched to their needs. It sounds like one baby is probably ready to make the transition- that's the one with a painless latch, who is simply a slow feeder. The one with a painful latch probably isn't ready yet, because a painful latch is often a latch that isn't very good at extracting milk from mom.

    You're 16 oz shy of what your babies consume in a day, which is a fairly significant shortfall. Does that mean your babies each get about 8 oz of formula per day? If so, then that implies that you need to keep up with the pumping for a little longer, while your babies get bigger and stronger and figure nursing out, and figure out how to nurse well enough to boost your supply on their own. I know that nursing AND pumping AND caring for newborn twins AND a 3 year-old has to be exhausting... But the supply = demand equation that governs milk supply just doesn't care. Which sucks, because it would be great if busy, tired moms could get some sort of a break!

    Your babies are eating every 3 hours. How much are they eating at a time, and are they mostly nursing or mostly getting bottles? Nursing just 8 times a day is very uncommon for 8 week-old babies, and even more uncommon for 2 week old babies (still not sure what your babies' corrected age is). Most young babies nurse quite a bit more often than that, so I think that you might want to put them to the breast every 1-2 hours during the day and see if that helps them get better at nursing, and helps your milk supply come up.

    I'm sorry if it seems like I am telling you to "just" work harder, when I am sure you are maxed out!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Switching from pump to breast

    For the baby with the good latch who is 'slow' (And I am not sure how you define slow?) have you considered using a lactation aid? These can help mom work "smarter, not harder" by allowing baby to be supplemented at the breast while nursing. It may not be a good idea for when latch is painful, although, it may be ok. But for a baby who is nursing ok but needs a little extra, it can save you some steps. There is a learning curve but they can work well, depending on the situation. See this article: http://cwgenna.com/smartnothard.html

    I have a 3 year old also so I can't spend my day BFing and then pumping.
    Is it possible to get help (or more help) in taking care of your three year old? You have twin premature newborns that need a ton of hands on care, no matter how they are fed.

    Many mothers who face breastfeeding issues in the early weeks and have an older (but still young and very needful) child struggle with this balance. Many mothers feel torn, or guilty, about the time they are spending with/on feeding their infants. But may I suggest, your three year old is three, and (I assume) healthy and well and can be looked after by someone else at least part of the day. Being able to breastfeed your infants (even if, by chance, it is never "exclusive" breastfeeding) is such an enormous benefit in so may ways to your entire family I believe a very strong case can be made that it is worth the extra work. And you have done so much of that work already! You have come so far...This impossibly hard time is not going to go on forever, although it may feel that way right now. But it is actually a tiny blip of time in your life and your childrens lives. Your three year old will be ok.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Switching from pump to breast

    Thank you guys so much for replying! Let me answer what I can with the 5 mins I have.

    They are 8 weeks, 3 weeks adjusted. I need to keep reminding myself that, and when I do it helps me to relax, they are only 3 weeks!

    They get a little over 3oz bottles every 3 hours or when they are hungry. I was wrong on the 16oz, its only 10 I am short. One baby gets 3 formula bottles until I am able to get more. (The other baby does not get formula as he has a hard time pooping while on it)
    Mom to 3 boys and loving it!
    J born 5/22/10, BF for 1 year
    N & L born 4/10/13

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Switching from pump to breast

    Meg, I should print out your last paragraph and read it constantly. Thank you

    I get help with my 3 yr old for a few hours a day and don't have the resources for more than that.
    Mom to 3 boys and loving it!
    J born 5/22/10, BF for 1 year
    N & L born 4/10/13

  6. #6

    Default Re: Switching from pump to breast

    How is it going? I wanted to check in. I wonder if the book Making More Milk would have helpful suggestions for getting off the pump to full on nursing?

    Also do you have Mothering Multiples? The author has a good website as well http://www.karengromada.com/

    Kelly mom has an article on weaning from Formula supplements. It's a bit different of course but might give you an outline to consider? http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/

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