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Thread: Afraid to Stop Pumping

  1. #1
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    Default Afraid to Stop Pumping

    My ds was born 6 weeks ago at 32 weeks gestation. He has been home from the NICU for 2 weeks and is doing very well. I have been working very hard to get him off the bottle and breastfeeding and, thank goodness, it seems like he's gotten the hang of it! I have been pumping for two months now in order to maintain a milk supply, and I'm getting very tired of the whole routine. I'd like to stop pumping, but I'm afraid that it will decrease the supply, which will then frustrate ds when nursing and lead to bf problems. Any suggestions or stories from your own experience?

    More about the bf situation in case it helps. He is ravenous from about 4PM to midnight, and then he could care less about eating during the night or morning. I wake him up to eat anyway, but he has to be REALLY awake in order to bother with the breast at all. Since it annoys the **** out of him when he gets his diaper changed, I usually change his diaper right before I want him to nurse. He does OK BFing after I wake him up, but he doesn't feed nearly as vigorously as he does from 4PM to midnight. I usually pump more in the mornings and not much at all in the evening since he nurses on and off all evening. Is it possible to maintain a supply with his erratic feeding behavior WITHOUT pumping?

    Thanks, ladies!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    So he BF non-stop from four till Mid night and then besides when you nurse him after his diaper changes what's he doing the rest of the time? Sleeping? How often are you pumping in the beginning of the day? And are you storing the milk or are you dumping? Are you feeding him any bottles of EBM or are you offering him the breast everytime?
    A couple of things come to mind. First most of us pump in the AM because there's generally more there and it takes less time. I persoanlly used to pump 1 4 to 5 oz bottle everyday but that was so my husband could feed him once in the evening so they could bond and I could breathe! I have found over the months though, (DS is 6months) that my boobs can be pretty well manipulated to do what I want. I now only pump on the days I know I'm going to leave him for a couple of hours OR if I catch myself leaking becaue we missed a side or his nap is an hour longer than anticipated. But that's because I freeze or refridgerate it thinking I can never have to much stored! Better safe than sorry. But it sounds like your meeting his needs just fine. Especially if he's sleeping 18hrs aday? I'll check back in later to see if I got the story straight!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    He sleeps when he's not eating - he's 6 weeks old, but his due date hasn't even arrived yet (it was supposed to be 7-7), so that's pretty much what babies at this young age do, right? Eat and sleep, mostly sleep.

    I wake him up in the mornings to feed him because he'd sleep if I didn't. I make sure he doesn't go longer than 3 hours in between feeds, so he eats about twice in the middle of the night, twice in the morning, and once in the early afternoon before his feeding frenzy starts right before dinner. So I'm pumping about 5 or 6 times a day - after his two feeds in the morning, after he eats in the afternoon, and at least once in the evening just to be on the safe side.

    I'm saving all of the EBM and he's still getting some of it by bottle, again, just to be on the safe side. He WAS getting 12 oz. in the NICU by bottle. Last week it was 6 oz. and BF (he hadn't really caught on to BF yet, and you can usually tickle a bottle into a sleepy baby's mouth whereas you really need baby's cooperation to BF!). This week we're pretty much doing 3 oz. and BF. We're still doing bottles for a few reasons. Firstly, I want the ped's approval before switching to BF entirely - our next appointment is next week. Secondly, sometimes he gets hungry right AFTER I've pumped. And third, since he was premature he needs iron and vitamin supplements which he gets in a bottle. I hope that we can end the bottles after the ped appt. next week, though, since he's BFing so well, but we'll let the scale do the talking. Assuming that we get the ped's OK next week, I need to figure out how to cut back on the pumping without creating milk supply havoc (and, consequently, BF havoc).

    So that's my situation NOT in a nutshell

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    Got it! Well I guess we'll wait to see what your Pedi says but I think you'll definately be able to cut down the pumping. Perhaps not quit all together...but if he's taking the breast at some point you should be able to tickle his mouth with your nipple and get him to latch.
    I wasn't suggesting that he was sleeping to much! I was just wondering if that's all he did before 4. But it sounds like your waking him to feed him, which you may at some point stop doing. It definately sounds like quite a rigorous pumping schedule! What a wonderful and diligent job your doing! It sounds like your on track to make the switch! Good luck and let us know what the doctor says!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    It sounds like you're doing a great job! I am also having to work to keep up my supply, and sympathize with you about the work/time involved. One thing I will suggest is to trust yourself, and your instincts. If your breasts feel full when they should and empty after baby eats or you pump, then most likely you have a good supply. At the very least, maybe try eliminating one pumping session each time you decrease the number of bottles given. Of course, do run all thoughts past your ped or a LC.
    Have you thought about using a nipple shield for those times when baby is sleepy? Like a bottle nipple a shield can be teased into baby's mouth, and once baby gets a stronger suck, the shield can be left off. It's just a thought.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo gal
    Have you thought about using a nipple shield for those times when baby is sleepy? Like a bottle nipple a shield can be teased into baby's mouth, and once baby gets a stronger suck, the shield can be left off. It's just a thought.
    This was something my LC suggested for me while DS (30 week preemie) was in NICU but was ready to start on the breast. They allowed me to BF up to 4x/day but he could only get a bottle once, so as to not get used to the bottle. Young babies love bottles because they're so much easier. A nipple shield is sort of a go-between.

    One thing my LC said was that the sucking "reflex" really isn't instinctive if it isn't encouraged. The shield allowed him to have something easier to latch onto, and I could use it to nudge the roof of his mouth if he stopped sucking. He would start sucking again right away. I did make sure however, to try to get him to nurse w/o the shield once per day. Sometimes he was okay without it, sometimes it was torture, so after 5 minutes or so of trying without success, I would put on the shield. I would not push him past his limits, it would just make him more tired during feedings. It eventually got easier for him, and I increased the number of times I would try without the shield. Eventually he got used to mommy's nipple and I was able to stop using it.

    BTW, when you ARE able to stop pumping, don't go cold turkey. Stupid mistake on my part; I was very engorged after that and in a lot of pain b/c my supply was so much greater than what a 6 pound baby needed! Gradually decrease the number of times you pump until your breasts feel comfortable. Remember when DS starts to need more milk later on, your body will ramp up again to meet his needs.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, encouragement and support. As it turned out, the pumping just ended on its own in a natural way (which is the way, incidentally, that I've found MOST things regarding baby to happen). He would be sleeping for about two hours so I'd figure I needed to pump since he wasn't waking up to nurse. Then no sooner would I finish pumping, he'd wake up hungry and I'd have to give him a bottle! One day, this happened two or three times in a row and I just decided that I'd only pump RIGHT after he tried to nurse. He picked up on nursing (HOORAAAAYYYY!!!!!) so I was pumping very little this way, and so I just stopped altogether. I held my breath for a while after that, expecting the supply to go way down, but it didn't. Basically I just decided to trust that my body would respond to his nursing by producing what he needed, and that's exactly what happened. Now we can work through the OTHER newborn issues we're dealing with!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    YAY MOTHER NATURE! Everything will just happen naturally if you let it! You may still want to pump once a day (or a couple of times a week) so you have milk if you ever want to "step away" any chance of that anytime soon?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Afraid to Stop Pumping

    LOL! I wish!

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