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Thread: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    My daughter is 10 1/2 weeks old and I've been almost exclusively pumping because breastfeeding would take 1 hour, she would fall asleep, then wake up 30 minutes to an hour hungry again during the first few weeks and I couldn't handle it. I started supplementing with pumped milk after feeding only 10-20 minutes, then dropped the breastfeeding because breastfeeding plus pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock was too exhausting.
    I got inspired by the post "Getting back on the breast at 12 weeks - need help / advice!" today.

    I am pumping 10 ounces in the morning, and 3 ounces every 2 hours, 7 more times during the day (total of 36 ounces a day). The baby sleeps from midnight to 7am every night so I'm better rested. She drinks about 4 ounces 7 times a day.

    I am aware this may change when I start breastfeeding again.
    I want to stop pumping cold turkey and exclusively breastfeed.
    Is this possible? I wonder how long it will take? I know it will be really really hard! I need encouragement!
    Just now I breastfed her for an hour. My biggest fear is not enough milk. My let down seems to be only every 20 minutes, so I had 3 letdowns during this feeding. At the end of an hour she seemed really frustrated and started crying and refusing the breast. She seems happy and ok right now. Should I offer her a bottle? Wait until next time she is fussy and try feeding her again?
    Sorry I need hand-holding right now, I'm so anxious. I assume we'll be up all night together breastfeeding for the next few weeks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,965

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    The fact that your baby is willing to nurse after an extended period of just getting bottles is such an advantage- so many moms who want to retry breastfeeding discover that their babies are unwilling to go back to the breast. And your supply is terrific. The average intake for a breastfed baby is 19-30 oz per day, and you're producing a significant excess from that figure. So you're way ahead in the game already!

    I don't think anyone can answer your "how long will this take" question. The answer is unique to every mama-baby pair. Some babies could go back to exclusive nursing in a day's time, others could take weeks or never go back at all.

    Since you have great production, I think you could safely simply nurse the baby every time she exhibits hunger cues or gets fussy, while tracking her diaper output carefully for the next week or so. As long as her diaper output is normal, she's getting enough milk. Keep the pump handy; because you are currently producing excess milk and your baby is re-mastering the art of nursing, there's a chance that you could end up engorged or with a plugged duct, and you want the pump to help you out if that happens.

    You're doing awesome! Be patient with yourself and with her. We're all for you!
    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
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    Thank you, your encouragement means a lot to me!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,965

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    How's it going now, mama?
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    When I attempt to relatch her because I moved and she let go by accident, or because she falls asleep, and she cries and seems to resist relatching, does that mean she's full?

    This also happened yesterday when she was crying a lot in the car on the way to a restaurant. I tried breastfeeding in the parking lot in the car and she resisted for 5 minutes, biting, breastfed for only 5 minutes, then started crying again. She seems content after for 2 hours though--after we got home, I breastfed her.
    I keep getting scared that the crying is due to wanting the bottle, but most other times she takes the nipple fine.

    She is wetting her diaper every hour that I check her, except for the 1st diaper of the day after sleeping 7 hours without waking. She had 2 big poops yesterday.

    You were right-- I felt painfully engorged for 2 days, and I pumped twice due to pain. Last night for the first time in weeks I was able to sleep without pain, without pumping (baby sleeps without waking from midnight to 7am). But then I feel so sad my breast milk production is going down. I worked so hard getting my pumping output as high as it was, and I was planning to freeze lots of extra breast milk so I could stop pumping/breastfeeding earlier than one year. I know LLL promotes breast feeding as long as possible, but I also mourn my loss of personal freedom. I am glad I am breastfeeding instead of pumping, because I get to spend more time with the baby and bond with her and feels close, and we don't have to find a 3rd caregiver to watch her while I pump and my husband takes care of our 3 year old.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,430

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    It may mean that baby is full or it could mean many other things. As long as baby is nursing frequently over all and continues to gain normally it is probably not a problem. If you're concerned about your milk production reducing too much Too fast, I see no reason to not pump once or twice a day at least while you go through the transition period, or as long as you like. Milk production will typically begin to level off and even in some mothers appear to reduce, At around three months, anyway. This is normal and usually simply indicates that the mother's body is making enough milk for her baby rather then a bit too much as she did previously. Babies weight gain rate typically slows down after three months as well. so there is no guarantee that your pump output would've continued to be as high as it was. However until you're absolutely sure baby is able to nurse effectively enough to get enough milk and keep your production levels normal, I don't see the problem with continuing to pump as you can except of course for the inconvenience of pumping. Unless I missed something and you actually have overproduction which is causing difficulty of the breast that would be a different story as far as pumping goes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Retrying breastfeeding after exclusive pumping

    How do I know when to switch to the other breast? Is it when there is no swallow at least every 2 to 3 sucks?

    If she still sleeps from midnight to 7 am every night, does that mean she is getting enough milk in the day? And that she is nursing effectively?
    Pumping once or twice still is a good idea, but I'm just so exhausted after she goes to bed at midnight and want to get as much sleep as I can since I have trouble sleeping in the daytime. I don't want to pump between feedings because I still have a fear of not enough milk for the next feed. I think if she starts going to bed earlier (another issue for another forum) I will pump after she goes to bed.

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