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Thread: bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

    Hi everyone!

    I was pumping (8 times/day) and bottle feeding my 7 week old son. Occasionally, I would add formula once a day when the supply was tight. A few days ago, I wanted to give breastfeeding another try. Surprisingly (maybe he is older now), he was able to latch on pretty well. I continued to pump after each feeding and was finally able to start building a freezer stash and do away with formula. I still give him bottle for the bedtime and 4 am feedings (if he wakes up) just out of convenience. We managed to get through the first 2 days quite smoothly. But my problem is that he often falls asleep at the breast and despite me tickling him, splashing cold water on him, talking to him, the sucking remains slow and shallow or stops. The moment I put him down, he wakes up and starts crying. And so the feeding session goes on forever (1 hr). Even then, he is not always full. Then I pump, he wakes up hungry again shortly after, and I'm left with little milk, and he gets frustrated because he is not full. It's a vicious cycle. I understand it is going to take time for him to get used to breastfeeding, but:

    1. Are there ways to make him more efficient?
    2. Should I continue pumping after each feeding? or every 3 hours? or not pump during the day? I'm afraid I'll lose my supply if I don't pump since my current supply is based on the 8 pumping sessions.

    Thanks. Any help is appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

    First of all, congratulations on your new baby, and on getting him to latch on after exclusively bottle-feeding! That's a real triumph, in my book.

    Here are some suggestions from kellymom.com on how to keep a sleepy baby nursing actively:
    -support your breast with your free hand so it is not dragging down on his mouth
    -as soon as baby loses interest in suckling, switch breasts on him. You may have to switch as often as every 30-60 seconds at first.
    -burp baby in an upright position, as it is less sleep-inducing
    -nurse using the "football" hold, as it is less cuddly and sleep-inducing
    -massage baby's head in a circular motion or rub a cold wet washcloth against the hair grain, while nursing
    -try breast compressions to keep the milk flowing actively into the baby's mouth

    I personally found it helped if I jiggled my breast a bit while nursing, causing the nipple to wiggle in my daughter's mouth.

    Your baby should become more efficient as time goes on. Right now he's still tiny- be patient with him. Eventually he's going to be nursing in 5-10 minutes, and you will wonder where the leisurely feeding sessions of the past have gone!

    I wouldn't want to offer any advice on pumping beyond suggesting that you go see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She can help evaluate your baby's nursing technique and, by weighing the baby before and after nursing, get an idea of how much milk he takes in during a session. If it's low, you might want to pump to maintain your supply. If not, you might be able to relax.

    Hang in there! It gets so much easier!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Swartz Creek, MI

    Default Re: bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

    I agree with the previous poster... and Congrats on getting your lo back to the breast... THey only thing is be careful with pumping and feeding, sometimes it can cause an oversupply
    Married mama with 4 kiddos...2 girls (11 & 6) and 2 boys (21mo & 3mo)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

    YES! congrat a big one... my ds was the same way when he was younger and I didn't know what to do! but I agree with the previous poster had said as well as if the baby sleeps heavy instead of laying ur lo down change their diaper the air and the cool wipes may be even to wake him/her! with my little one I would also very lightly rub my nail down his spin, slowly ( almost causeing a chill reflex) and he would usually suck again...and I would do that until the feeding was over and then switch side (inbetween side I changed his diaper) and all that work usually got us through it!

    and now he's like a pro and gaining the weight to prove its my lil chunker.... but as far as this statement... Eventually he's going to be nursing in 5-10 minutes, and you will wonder where the leisurely feeding sessions of the past have gone!.... is that normal? I was beginning to think my ds had enough of me! because our sessions can go so fast! the slow ones are missed a lot!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: bf challenges: sleepy baby and pumping questions

    When my baby would fall asleep, I'd put him down (which would wake him up), and then resume feeding. I didn't wait until he was fully asleep, I did it right away. This was after I tried the other measures, trying to keep him going.

    One thing you might consider is calling your local LLL leader. You don't have to be a member to ask for help, and the leader might be able to offer some in-person help and support.

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