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Thread: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    I wanted to start this thread, because I have been searching for answers to my particular situation, to no avail. I have searched the LLL website up and down for help, and there doesn't seem to be one single article about working mothers and extended breastfeeding. I know I am not parting the waters here, and I know other mothers have walked down this road before me, so what gives? I would love to find something that might help me at this point in our nursing lives, and I see the articles from New Beginnings, but nothing of this kind. I thought maybe this would help others in that way, and hopefully a leader would stop by to help me out too!

    As many of the mothers (and maybe even some leaders) here know, dd has never been much of a comfort nurser...maybe its her personality, maybe its because the nurse at the hospital told us a pacifier was better than a thumb and we succombed in our tired, post surgery state of mind. Either way, the only time she nurses for comfort is in the middle of the night, or when she is very sick. If fact, our nursing relationship has always been quite a struggle...she nurses for food...she drinks her bottle at the sitters for food. She never falls asleep doing either. So, we are a bit different than most nursing dyads in that respect. She was colicky, and has always been a high needs baby, but as Dr. Sears puts it, she also isn't a cuddler, so she was one of the more difficult high needs babies. She never melted in my arms, never wanted me to rock her to sleep, never wanted to sleep next to me.

    I went back to work when she was 5 weeks old, part time, 20 hours a week. My husband kept her for a few hours and then our sitter kept her, at our house, for a few hours, 3 days a week. I went home to breastfeed her, on demand, whenever she was hungry. I started working 20 hours a week and gradually increased to 33 hours a week, and never went back "fulltime". We had some severe difficulties in the beginning...I became severely engorged, lived 80 miles from the nearest LLL leader, the nearest LC, the nearest hospital. I ended up with a severe case of mastitis, because the LC I talked to on the phone told me there was no way it was mastitis because it was too soon in our nursing journey for me to get it. Four days later I was so sick I could hardly walk to the car and dh was giving dd breastmilk in a bottle, milk that I had pumped, because not only could she not latch on to my rockhard torpedo breasts, but I could not tolerate the pain, and so I had begun pumping. We went to the OB and found out that it was, indeed, mastitis, I was prescribed antibiotics, and so began our journey of getting dd back to the breast. It was sleepless nights of withholding milk in the bottle, because we knew at this point the bottle was confusing her, until finally, she latched on with a nipple shield and we were breastfeeding again. It took me two months to get her to suck without the shield, but here we are at almost 13 months and have been shield free since that time.

    Around 8 weeks we reintroduced the bottle and really haven't had any troubles with nipple confusion since that time (unless you count the fact that she sought her pacifier for comfort rather than the breast). But, we have had countless nursing strikes! One after another it seems. When Haylee strikes, its from the bottle as well...in the past its been more of an eating strike. She has never loved to nurse, like I expected a baby to love to nurse. It has always been challenging. I so wanted to have the kind of nursing relationship where we could both drift off to sleep, drousy from the warmth our two bodies created next to each other, and from the mother-baby bond that runs so deep, like a deep, deep fountain, pouring from one being into another. It never happened though. I loved nursing Haylee, but it was very rarely relaxing. I struggled with oald and oversupply, a waterfall of milk, if you will, and it often choked her, causing her to come off the nipple sputtering. It would take several minutes for her to have enough confidence to return to the breast. The only time that we enjoyed our nursing relationship like I had expected was when she woke up in the night, and my supply wasn't as abundant. Then I could (and still can) gaze down at my little nursling and wonder how on earth it was that I could nourish her exclusively in my womb for 9 months and continue to do so from my breast. These two body parts that had always been the epitome of sexuality and beauty were now the reason my little girl was thriving. When she latched on and her little mouthed closed around my aereola, I couldn't believe that it was even possible, to find my breasts not sexual at all. Sensual, yes, but not sexual, in any way. I assumed we would nurse for 6 months or so. Haylee started eating solids sometime around the 6 month mark. We started her with avocados and bananas, pureed with breastmilk, but soon after we found out about child led solids. We have pretty much followed that method since, but our sitter did feed Haylee homemade "baby food" that I made and pureed for her here at home. She has never been a picky eater...she eats everything, loves fruits, veggies, meats, and pasta.

    So, here we are, just past the one year mark, the time when all the books say it would be okay to wean from the breast, that she gets enough nutrition from the food she is eating. I am not ready to wean, and I know that she isn't really ready yet either, but she I believe she is closer to it than am I. She rarely "asks" for it, but she does get crabby, and if I can persuade her to nurse, she will be happy again. But it takes a lot of persuading, at this point, at least for about 60% of her nursing sessions. At night, she nurses about 3-5 times, and really wants to nurse. I pump 3 times at work, 4 days a week, to provide her with breastmilk while I am away from her, which up until this point she has taken in a bottle. She has been refusing the breast more and more often, during the day. She is small for her age, under the 5th percentile for weight and height, and I know that breastmilk provides a supreme nutrition. So I know that she still needs breastmilk. I am just not clear on how much, when, and how often I should use a more forceful persuasion tactic. How long should I keep pumping breastmilk for her? Will my supply decrease to the point of nonexistence if I stop pumping? Should I stop pumping and give her cow's milk? I am truly tired of pumping and it would be so nice. We are giving up the bottle, we know that. I think that it will be one less source of sucking comfort, and that maybe she will want the breast more when we are together. But how much am I supposed to encourage her to nurse now? Everyone tells me I should wean her, that she doesn't even want it anymore, so why am I encouraging her to nurse when she doesn't even "want" it and, according to most of the texts, she doesn't really "need" it either?

    Well, I have taken up enough of all of your time. I just really wish there was more information regarding working and extended breastfeeding.

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
    Miles in 2011: 708.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 509)
    Miles in 2010: 800.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 620)

    January Miles: 37.5/75
    February Miles: 59/75
    March Miles: 42.5/60
    April Miles: 64
    May Miles: 41/70
    June Miles: 59
    July Miles: 39.5

    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    I have a 12 month old. I am also pumping at work. I am still sending bottles to the sitters. I would consider sending a sippy cup, but he doesn't drink well out of it yet.

    I can completely relate on the pumping issues. I am so afraid that if I cut back, my milk supply will dry up and my ds won't want to nurse at all anymore. The amount that a mom pumps should be the same as the number of feedings that she's missing. So, if your dd is missing 2 nursing sessions while you're at work, you probably need to pump 2 times.

    I also feel like I'm persuading him to nurse several times a day. One of my favorite methods is to just open up my bra/shirt so he can see my breast. I'm also finding that letting my ds nurse in different positions helps. He likes to stand up and nurse.

    When your dd is tired, crabby, etc., she really is asking to nurse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Your dd sounds very different from mine in her nursing habits, so the pumping decision may be different. My dd never needed persuasion to nurse. But I quit pumping at around ten months, and had no problem with it at all. I was never away for more than 7 hours at a time, and she'd nurse as soon as I got back from work -- and then nurse a lot at night and more at the weekend. I was very happy to lose the pump. It's amazing how your body can adapt to your baby's nursing patterns. My dd is now 2 and a half, still nurses 2-3 times a day, I work, and I don't pump. If I were you, I'd definitely try gradually cutting back the pumping, which is such a hassle. Experiment, and see if it seems to be a problem if you pump less; if not, maybe you can quit. As you say, it might be that she'd be more eager to nurse when you get back from work, if she doesn't have any other source of sucking.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Erin,
    Why not split the difference? Drop Two pumping sessions at work get ONE really good session in and use that milk as meal supplements? I was just talking to someone about being happy that DJ just likes water w/ his meals because now that I know so much about milk, it seems like washing a meal down w/ a meal! KWIM? But for Haylee it's a two prong thing. You don't want to lose you supply AND you really DO want her to get the extra calories. So if you are going to do exclusive sippy cup or straw drinking w/ meals....was your plan to start introducing whole cow milks w/meals? At home and at the sitters? Because if so why not just do a combination? She has to like the TASTE of your milk better than cows milk as it's sweeter....so why not either use it like cow's milk w/ her meals? If she's like DJ she is probably only drinking about 2-3oz if that of water at meal times. Just enough to wash it down. So if you get 6 or 7 oz a day (as I imagine you will if you cut out the other two sessions), you should be getting enough for at least 3 meals a day. Then as your supply drops off start filtering in cows milk.
    And if no one has said it lately congratulations again on having the confidence to stay the course with Haylee! She is so exactly who she is supposed to be! So many women really falter or question their ability to feed based on those stupid charts and where our children fall in them. She has always been small for her age and you have NEVER even flinched! I'm so proud of you and all you have overcome with your LO!

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Quick question: how do you get your lo to drink from a straw? I've been tried to teach my ds. I've tried modeling, and making sucking noises, but he just wants to chew on the straw.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Quote Originally Posted by jentut View Post
    Quick question: how do you get your lo to drink from a straw? I've been tried to teach my ds. I've tried modeling, and making sucking noises, but he just wants to chew on the straw.
    How old is your LO? DJ got it right around the same time he started walking. So it was around 10 months....

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Haylee has been drinking from a straw for a long time...like around 7 or 8 months. She just watched us do it a couple times and had it down. She loves it...way more than a sippie cup!

    Haylee doesn't drink milk with her meals, but I have been thinking about trying is since she is so tiny. I have never felt the need to supplement, not with formula or anything else, because of her size. I have been *worried* but not excessively about it, but our ped is pro-breastfeeding, and because she has been meeting or exceeding other milestones, he believes she is exactly as Shelly put it...perfect for her. We are watching it, and of course want her to continue to gain, and we choose high fat healthy foods for her, but we have never considered formula, not once.

    As for supply, I am concerned not only about my supply during the times that I am pumping, but overall. I am afraid that if I cut those out, my supply will start to go at even those times when she is still eating. I really want to continue to supply her with breastmilk during the day, at least for her meals, and I like the idea of giving her bm with her meals during the day, whatever I can pump in a session or two, and then adding in whole milk for the others, and if I wasn't freaked out about my supply that would be an easy situation.

    Thanks for recognizing my unfaltering, stubborn-ness in feeding her...but I just haven't even considered anything else! Love ya!

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
    Miles in 2011: 708.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 509)
    Miles in 2010: 800.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 620)

    January Miles: 37.5/75
    February Miles: 59/75
    March Miles: 42.5/60
    April Miles: 64
    May Miles: 41/70
    June Miles: 59
    July Miles: 39.5

    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Hugs Erin!!

    I can't speak for the pumping/supply issues...but I do understand about her not comfort nursing or snuggling. Catherine doesn't do that either and never has. She nurses and she's done and struggling to get away. If something more interesting is going on (like the dog yawns) she stops nursing and it takes a lot of work to get her back. It's not quite the bonding relationship that I was expecting either.

    I hope you figure out what works best for you two.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    well mama, I have nothing at all to offer but You're doing and have done so well for her, inspite of it all!!
    Click here to find an LLL leader near you...or call 1 877 4 LA LECHE for help now.

    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
    Emerson


    Ban the bags. ......... Watch your language. ....... Help keep Dr Newman's clinic open!

    We demand that our childcare providers are CPR certified... why don't we demand the same of ourselves! Get certified!

    I lost 22 lbs in 8 months... with a bit of determination and common sense information from this book.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Calling on a leader...for help with a wohm and extended bfing!

    Erin, I swear give me 4 months and I can copy and paste your thread and call it my own. Shiloh has NEVER nursed for comfort, mostly because in the beginning I didn't know that I could...I scheduled him and gave him a pacifier any time he cried and it wasn't time to eat So as I sit there and wrestle to get my child to nurse 4 times a day, I wonder if things would've been different if I hadn't kept him "plugged up" with a paci for the first 3.5 months.

    I am obviously not going to quit before a year. And he nurses really well in the morning and before bed...but for us I know its not going to be hard at all to offer him a cup and cut out the nursing sessions. Its 310pm and he hasn't nursed since 10am and doesn't want to nurse. Its hard, but he's just not a snuggler. I too wonder if I should pump during the day to give him BM in a cup at meals or if I should just switch to cow's milk. He doesn't and won't take a bottle, but I'd like to keep him on BM for as long as possible because he isn't vaxed and I want him to get my antibodies for as long as possible.

    So many questions and we'll just have to wait and see!

    Good luck Erin and let us know what ends up working for you guys.

    Leslie
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    **Leslie**

    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

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