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Thread: Need help dropping pumping during middle of the night

  1. #1

    Default Need help dropping pumping during middle of the night

    Ok This may get a little long and I apologize, but I really could use some help/advice.

    My LO is 7 weeks old. She was born with a bubble palate and had jaundice. I worked hard on getting her to latch on to my breast but she had a very hard time because of the palate issue. She was able to latch more easily to a bottle. So to help with the latch issue and help the jaundice, I started pumping as soon as my milk came in. Luckily, it came in quickly. As she has gotten older she no longer has the latch issues and we breastfeed very easily. However, I continued to pump because I am currently a grad student and had to go back to school when she was 5 weeks old so I was able to leave her with breast milk. During the first month I was able to store enough to last through the semester so that I no longer HAD to pump.

    However, I have been very lucky and my LO is an excellent sleeper. She has slept 5+ hours straight every night since she was 2 weeks old. So I would pump after her middle of the night feeding. That has been the only time I have pumped because she was going so long without feeding and it gave me what I needed while I was gone. So now that school is over and I am not having to leave her with anyone and I have a freezer full of stored milk, I want to drop the middle of the night pump. I wake up and my breasts are engorged and hurt so feed her and then pump. I am having to pump to keep from hurting but I don't want to have to pump. I am worried about messing up my supply also because sometimes she sleeps longer than 5 hours stretches. Does anyone have any advice on how I can drop the middle of the night pumping without hurting my supply?

    TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,209

    Default Re: Need help dropping pumping during middle of the night

    Okay, so now you will be exclusively breastfeeding on demand? No separations for the time being? I'm guessing that you have some degree of oversupply (or maybe a LOT of oversupply) if you were able to pump a whole semester's worth of milk in one month. A lot of moms have oversupply early on (nature's way of making sure there is enough milk) and pumping may have contributed as well. So now you have to dial that oversupply back down which takes time - if you try to do it too quickly you are at risk for getting plugged ducts and mastitis. So a couple suggestions are: when you wake up engorged, try to nurse as much as possible to relieve congestion, rather than pumping. (It does not hurt to offer baby the breast even if she is sleeping; and a lot of babies will nurse in their sleep without even fully waking.) If baby is too sleepy to nurse enough to relieve engorgement, the next step is hand expression rather than pumping, which is less stimulating to supply. And if you are still too full, limit pumping so that you are just relieving the congestion but not pumping beyond that. Again this is a slow process. Also, your baby is still young so your supply may calm down over the next month or so.

    If baby continues to sleep long stretches at night (and this may change as baby gets older!), if you ever become concerned about supply being too low, for example if there are problems with weight gain, again it never hurts to re-introduce nighttime feedings. It's normal for baby to nurse 10-12 times or more in 24 hours, including at night.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help dropping pumping during middle of the night

    Thank you! I am exclusively breastfeeding on demand now. I finished my away from home school work last week and will be home every day now. This may sound dumb, but if I hand express (which I have never done) what do I do it into? I typically wake up a few times during the night even if she doesn't. So I will see if she will nurse then. I am probably being selfish but I just hated to wake her because she has been such a great sleeper and has been gaining weight. My first LO was such a lousy sleeper and we were up every 2 hours for the first sixth months that I have been relishing in the good stretches of sleep. I was worried I would mess that up and introduce her into a schedule which I don't want.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,209

    Default Re: Need help dropping pumping during middle of the night

    I know, it IS nice to sleep a nice long stretch, but in this case I do think you'd be better served by nursing rather than pumping. Sleeping changes a lot as you know and even if she is sleeping a long stretch now, it could easily change whatever you do now. On the other hand if she's destined to be a child who sleeps a long stretch at night, I don't think waking her up more at this very young age is going to change that. If you are not trying to save the milk you can hand express into a sink or in the shower or tub. If you are trying to save it then you can hand express into a bowl.

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