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Thread: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    7

    Question Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    I have been pumping and bottle feeding exclusively since coming home from the hospital with my DD. She is six weeks old now. I started pumping because I was having a lot of trouble getting her latched on. Even the nurses in the hospital had trouble getting her latched on. She is a small baby and I have very large breasts/nipples. I'm not sure if that contributed to the problem, but I've realized now that I gave up too early and would like to start BFing her.

    I've tried a few times over the last couple of days and have been able to get her latched on a couple of times. She feeds for about 3-4 minutes and then stops and I'm not able to get her on again. I've found it's easiest for me to get her latched on while laying down in bed with her. I think it helps that it's nice and quiet in the bedroom. No distractions.

    I was just wondering if anyone had any good tips to improve my chances of getting her to BF more. I would really like to BF her and it's really turning into a hassle having to pump all the time.

    I also have one nipple that is quite flat and I haven't been successful in getting her latched onto that side. Any tips for that would be appreciated too.

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    551

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    HI Blackrose. congratulations on your new little one!. Well it sounds like you are on the right track and if you have patience there is no reason why you shouldnt be able to start feeding direct from yout breast! How much easier!!!

    I dont think that breast size should interfere with feeding, and though the flat nipple may be tricky I think you will find other Mommas on here who can give you loads of good tips on how to deal with this challenge.

    Snuggling up with your little one in bed is a great idea... Why not try lots of skin to skin with you both naked or just wearing a nappy (her that is, not you!!!) If she is already taking your nipple it sounds like you are a good way there. She probably doesnt associate your nipple with food yet, and doesnt realize she is going to have to work for it! So maybe get a little drip going and see if she swallows any.

    It would be great if you could speak to a LLL lovely in your area, is that possible? But above all dont stress it! Sounds like she is getting lots of your good stuff anyway so dont worry if it takes a little while to transfer from bottle to breast. Youve come to the right place for lots of advide and support.
    Karli, Besotted mother of Ashley,8lb 9oz - 9th May 2007 and Fae 8lb 11oz 17th Feb 2010, both born at home, naturally.



    Nappy-free @ 18 months EC'ing rocks!
    Just leave it alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Thank you so much for your encouragement! I found it really difficult when I came home with my DD to breastfeed her. It was really frustrating to see her so upset and hungry when I couldn't get her latched on. It made me feel better to pump and then bottle feed her. At least I knew she was getting my milk.

    I'm a lot more patient now that she's six weeks old. I have the pumping down to a fine art, although it is a little time consuming. I know it would be better for the both of us in the long run if I could get her to breastfeed exclusively.

    I think there is an LLL in my area. I also have the option of attending a free BF Clinic offered by our local Public Health Department. I think I will go to that first and then I may attend the next local LL meeting. In the meantime, I'm going to keep trying on my own and see if my sister-in-law, who is currently BF her son has any pointers for me.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for getting her latched on without her freaking out? Sometimes she pulls away from my breast and starts to cry like I'm offering her something that will hurt her. Other times, she latches on after crying for a minute and feeds for 3-4 minutes before falling asleep.

    Do you think she's getting enough after 3-4 minutes of BF?

    Sorry for the long winded posts. This is all new to me and I want to get as much information as I can so I can successfully BF my DD.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    6,959

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Hello welcome to the forum!


    At 6 weeks of bottle feeding there is chance your baby need some gentle encouragement at the breast. Breast feeding is more difficult that bottle feeding. Priming the breast as the other poster suggested will do wonders for your baby. What could be better than a nice milky breast? If you apply some pressure on the breast with a slight squeeze while baby is actively sucking she will realize that this is the best way to get milk! Every bottle you turn upside down drips. A breast won't do that. So if you help the milk along at first, you might get baby interested.

    A warm bath with baby, will encourage the rooting reflex in your baby.

    When baby is nursing do you hear any swallowing?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Yes, I hear swallowing. I also see milk in her mouth after she stops. I remembered the lactation consultant at the hospital mentioning compressing the breast whenever she stops sucking to encourage her to keep sucking. I have been doing that as well.

    I'm so glad I posted my question on this forum. It is encouraging to know that I have been doing some things right. I will definitely try the bath suggestion too!

    Do you recommend stopping the bottle all together to encourage her to BF exclusively? Or is it okay to still give her a bottle occasionally? I don't feel comfortable BF in public, so if I could give her a bottle only while out in public but BF her at home that would be my ideal world.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    6,959

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Actually stopping your bottle feeding cold turkey might not be ideal, as it seems you were thinking. How much are you feeding during the day by bottle? I suggest easing into a gradual change. You want your baby to be comfortable and you want to be comfortable yourself. By switching over quickly you put a lot of pressure on yourself. How about every other feeding? Would that work for you?

    If you have an active Milk Ejection Reflex, 5 minutes is long enough to fill up. keep an eye on wet diapers, since unfortunately breast weren't made clear, it is hard to see exactly how much baby is getting during feeding. In a 24 hour period you are aiming for a minimum of 5-6 wet diapers or 6-8 wet cloth diapers (and around 2-3 poops).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
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    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    I think attempting to latch her while she was sleepy and before she gets hungry may help? It must be heartbreaking and very discouraging when she reacts so negatively to something that is so good for her!
    But persist gently, the last thing you want is for it to become like 'hard work' for either of you.

    Some links here sound like they might help

    nipple aversion, fighting the breast...
    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug01p136.html

    flat nipple-
    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/flat.html

    Let us know how it goes...
    Karli, Besotted mother of Ashley,8lb 9oz - 9th May 2007 and Fae 8lb 11oz 17th Feb 2010, both born at home, naturally.



    Nappy-free @ 18 months EC'ing rocks!
    Just leave it alone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    out of my right mind
    Posts
    2,631

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    I know your frustration all too well. We too had latch issues early on, and I also switched to pumping due to the pain. It is definitely possible to switch back (we're past a year and going strong). For us it finally just magically came together at the 10 week mark. What I did was just keep offering the breast first until one or the other of us was too upset to continue (or we had success), then I would give a bottle if necessary. My LO definitely got used to the ease of the bottle and didn't want to work at eating for a while either. Hang in there and keep trying. Trust me, it'll be so much easier in the long run!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Why not try lots of skin to skin with you both naked or just wearing a nappy (her that is, not you!!!)
    This is a great suggestion. Skin-to-skin really seems to reawaken the nursing reflex in a lot of babies. Just a note though--by 6-7 weeks, some babies have gotten used to wearing clothing and they might find direct skin-to-skin a bit too stimulating. If you think this is the case with your baby, try putting a thin t-shirt or onesie on her while you stay topless.

    I'm going to send this on to the relactation forum. The ladies there should have some good advice for persuading baby to nurse. Here's a good article for you too:
    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/back.html

    HTH
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to BF after exclusively pumping

    Thank you everyone for your help. I am trying to gently get her to breastfeed. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

    The main issue I'm having is getting her to open her mouth wide enough to latch her on. I've tried pulling her chin down a bit after she's on, but she seems to lock her jaw when I do that so I can't move her chin down. The last couple of times she only took my nipple. That's the main problem I had with her in the very beginning and I ended up with extremely sore, bleeding nipples. I don't want to go through that again.

    I sent an email to my local LLL leader and am just waiting for a reply. I'm hoping she will be able to help me.

    Anymore tips would be great!

    Thanks again!

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