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Thread: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

  1. #1
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    Default Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    My baby is almost 3 weeks old, and I've won the breastfeeding battle with him! But, I do have some First-mom questions...
    He is nursing on-demand right now... When should I let him sleep instead of waking him up from naps and at night?
    I've pumped a few times-each time after he has nursed (hospital suggested that). The pumping sessions have lasted 15 minutes (after he has nursed 30 minutes on each breast) and yielded less than an ounce each time. Is that 'normal' or am I not doing the pump correctly? I have 3 weeks left before having to go back to work...
    He also falls asleep at the beast a lot-any suggestions? I've done everything I can think of!
    Lastly, I should breastfeed the baby on each side, then pump afterwards (to save it up for when I go back to work), right? My husband says I should only be pumping, then we feed it to him-but then we wouldn't be saving any for the babysitter...
    Any help would be great! Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    You are still in the very early days so nurse on demand and any time you feel you need to have him nurse. With a newborn, it is fine to wake him to nurse if you feel it has been too long since last he ate. After he finishes the first breast, offer the other but if he isn't hungry anymore don't worry.

    Waking a sleepy baby ideas http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/new...sleepy-babies/

    How is babies weight gain?

    Pumping after lots of feeding is a method to increase your supply, only do that if you have low supply. If your supply seems normal, then you should probably only be pumping after one feeding per day (often the first morning feeding) to start saving up for work. You really only need to save up one day's worth ahead of time since your will be pumping at work for the next day.

    Pumping only an ounce after nursing is reasonable. Pumping takes practice too. Make sure it doesn't hurt and that the flanges fit correctly.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    Thanks for the help and encouragement!
    He was born at 8 pounds 8 ounces, and two weeks later he is at 8 pounds 2 ounces.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    Ah, these are great questions! Every breastfeeding mom has questions, even when things are going well! Hence: La Leche League And pp had some great ideas!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*laurennn View Post
    When should I let him sleep instead of waking him up from naps and at night?
    Many mothers find that if they nurse their baby as often as baby wants, for as long as baby wants, their babies get the milk they need. Some moms decide to wake their baby if:
    - baby is not gaining well
    - baby is having fewer than 3 messy diapers (size of a US quarter) per 24 hours
    - baby is not asking to nurse at least 8-10 times per 24 hours

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*laurennn View Post
    I've pumped a few times-each time after he has nursed (hospital suggested that). The pumping sessions have lasted 15 minutes (after he has nursed 30 minutes on each breast) and yielded less than an ounce each time. Is that 'normal' or am I not doing the pump correctly? I have 3 weeks left before having to go back to work...
    Moms who are returning to work often decide to pump before the big day. Some moms do this one or two times a day. Many moms find that starting pumping works best after breastfeeding is going well. Starting pumping 1-2 weeks before returning to work is common.

    Some questions a breastfeeding helper might ask to help you: What kind of pump are you using? Is it new/in good repair/being used properly? When you return to work, how long will you be separated from your baby? Will you be able to pump during work? What are your goals for working and breastfeeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*laurennn View Post
    He also falls asleep at the beast a lot-any suggestions? I've done everything I can think of!
    Some ideas that often work for moms with sleepy babies:
    - Keeping baby close. Nursing frequently, even if it is for a short time.
    - Sleeping near your baby. This can help make sure you don't miss feeding cues.
    - Some moms find their babies stay awake better if they wait for baby's signal to nurse, rather than waking him/her to nurse.
    - Breast compressions help keep a baby on the job. When baby's nursing slows down, you can compress your breast (hand in c shape, squeeze your breast far from the latch, hold the compression for a few moments, then rotate to a new spot and do it again). This works best if baby is nursing but not actively drinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*laurennn View Post
    Lastly, I should breastfeed the baby on each side, then pump afterwards (to save it up for when I go back to work), right? My husband says I should only be pumping, then we feed it to him-but then we wouldn't be saving any for the babysitter...
    Any help would be great! Thanks!
    It sounds like your husband's suggestion is for you to exclusively pump and not breastfeed. Am I getting that right? Often moms who exclusively pump find that they are not able to keep up with their baby's breast milk needs. This is because a pump does not remove milk as efficiently as a baby, so your body gets the signal to make less milk.

    Additionally, breastfeeding is more than just moving calories from one human to another. It's also a way to nurture and comfort your baby in a way that cannot happen with a bottle only. And when a baby nurses directly from his mother, he send signals to his mother to make antibodies specific to any diseases that he might have or have been exposed to. A pump doesn't do that. Finally, breastfeeding allows for proper formation of your baby's jaw, inner ear, face, and palate. Bottles don't do that.

    Let me know if I got that wrong, if I interpreted your question the wrong way!

    Hope to see you back here soon!
    La Leche League Leader

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    He was born at 8 pounds 8 ounces, and two weeks later he is at 8 pounds 2 ounces.
    So baby was not back to birth weight by two weeks? What did doctor say about that?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    They said that he was gaining well... He had lost almost a full pound when we went for our first visit at 5 days... When we were having some latching issues (now fixed-knock on wood!).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    First off-thanks for all the help! I took a breastfeeding class before baby, but there should be an after baby class, too!
    I have an Ameda Purely Yours Express pump, brand new. When I go back to work, I could be gone for 10 or so hours. I'll have an area I can pump in at work, and my job is ready to work with me on it. I'd really like to offer my baby breast milk both naturally(when I am with him) and by bottle for the first year.
    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*laurennn View Post
    They said that he was gaining well... He had lost almost a full pound when we went for our first visit at 5 days... When we were having some latching issues (now fixed-knock on wood!).
    Ok that makes sense. The rule of thumb is wanting baby to be back to birthweight by 2 weeks, but of course if initial weight loss was dramatic, that may not happen. Is gain continuing to be tracked, or are you going more by output (poops) at this point? I just want to make sure baby is gaining normally and nursing well at this point. It sounds like baby is taking a long time to nurse and also is quite sleepy. This is entirely normal if weight gain is on track, but may indicate a problem if gain is not on track.

    From what I am gathering from your post, right now you are pumping after EVERY feeding? Do I have that correct? This sounds quite tiring. If weight gain is on track, why is this being suggested at this point? Are you using a nipple shield? Is baby still being supplemented?

    So if baby's gain is on track via exclusive nursing, (no supplements, not even of moms own milk) there is no real need to pump or give baby your milk in a bottle at this point at all. These things are only needed if baby is unable to get enough milk from mom directly. In the early days especially, pumping and supplementation (even with moms own milk) can cause issues, plus is extra work and thus tiring for mom. So that is something to think about.

    Perhaps your husband is concerned that if the pump takes the milk from the breast, that means that there is not enough milk "left" for baby, so the expressed milk must go to baby? This is logical, but it is not quite how it works. A lactating mother is always making milk, and if she takes more from her body than baby needs, that will tell her body to make more milk. This is why mothers can nurse multiple babies, the demand will set the supply. On the other hand, if baby is given 'extra' feedings with a bottle, that 'extra' milk could make baby less hungry and to nurse less or grow less interested in breastfeeding. And you don't want that! This is why pumping and bottles in the early weeks is something that is not typically recommended, unless, of course, they are needed because baby is not getting enough milk at the breast either due to mom having low production or baby not being able to nurse effectively. Once breastfeeding is established and running smoothly, if a mom wants to start pumping a bit to build a freezer stash prior to going back to work, that is of course fine. Some moms are returning to work so soon they do need to start pumping pretty early and that is ok too.

    If you are wanting to pump now so that someone else can give some feedings now, just be aware of the possible pitfalls of that. To help prevent bottles interfering with normal breastfeeding, keep bottles small, keep them infrequent, and use paced bottle feeding methods of positioning and encouraging pauses while drinking. These same ideas will be very important for you to teach baby's caregiver when you are back at work as it is important bottles are given in a breastfeeding supportive way.

    If you want to pump now in preparation for your return to work in three weeks, then I suggest figuring out what amount you are comfortable having in the freezer, and then figure out a schedule that will give you that amount.
    So if you are separated from your baby for 10 hours, baby will probably need about 10-15 ounces that first day while you are gone. (Baby will continue to need to nurse overnight at that age, so be prepared for that.)
    When you pump at work, with baby not there to nurse, you should be able to get more milk at a time than you do now. And what you pump for that first day, you can give baby the next. But just to be on the safe side, you might want to have a cushion of extra milk. Sometimes it takes a few days to get a good pumping rhythm going at work. So say you want to have a cushion of 5 ounces for each additional day of that first week back at work.

    So 15+5+5+5+5 =35 ounces of milk. If you started pumping now, with 20 days left before going back to work, you could pump & freeze 2 ounces a day and have more than that by the time you went back to work.
    I am not saying this is what you actually need. This may well be more than you need, or less. It will always be something of a guestimate. This is just an example for figuring it out.

    Going back to work, pumping, and all that can be hard. But many, many working moms nurse their babies for a year (and well beyond, should they wish). Support from both your work and your baby's caregiver and your family are very important. Having a pump that works for you and is in good working order helps. Having breastfeeding in great shape before returning to work helps. Having a support group or supportive people around you helps too.
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) has two excellent chapters devoted entirely to pumping and to handling separations. Another excellent source of information about pumping and work issues for the breastfeeding mom is www.kellymom.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    Thanks off all the info!
    I believe he is nursing well... There are around 3 dirty diapers a day, so I'm going by that since our next doctor appointment isn't until October.
    My husband has suggested I pump after every feeding, so the baby can get used to the bottle. I think the flange on my pump is the wrong size, so it's not working very well right now. My husband is more interested is having the ability to feed the baby himself, so he will be ready when I go back to work as well. After 4 attempts of pumping I've only gotten about 3 ounces, so he's only fed him twice, with no problems (and with me finishing the feedings via breast).
    Thank you for all the numbers-it's hard to guess how he'll be eating when I go back to work-he is so random with when he is hungry.
    Do you have a suggestion on scheduling? I wanted to get that set before going back to work.
    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and pumping questions for a 3 week old

    Introducing too many bottles now is not a good thing. A bottle or two per week maybe just to make sure baby will take it, keep them small like 1 oz and finish at breast for now is a good idea.

    See if you can get some other size flanges for the pump (or maybe even get a set of pumpin pals) so you can test other sizes to make sure it doesn't hurt and that you can extract the milk most efficiently. (I actually use two different sizes since my breasts are rather different from each other.

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