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Thread: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12

    Question Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    First a little background.

    When my son started nursing he had problems latching on. After about three weeks, he started clamping down on my nipple. I went to my LC and she suggested we get him checked for reflux as well as try some positions so I don't drown him. He was clamping to stop the flow. This made sense. However, my nipples were in such pain I started pumping almost all his meals and giving it to him in a bottle. I did keep nursing him at least once a day, but he would eat for about 3 minutes then start pulling off and crying. I know I am dealing with oversupply because I typically pump 6-8 ounces a feeding (from both breasts). I have also since gone back to work.

    My son is now three months old. He is on Prevacid and that appears to be helping and he is starting to keep up with the flow a lot better when he does nurse. I typically nurse him two or three times a day - after work (around 5 or 6pm), before bed (around 9 or 10 pm) and when he wakes up in the middle of the night. He has always been gaining wieght very well, not too much, not too little. I think it has to do with my sacrifice of pumping and bottle feeding (as much as I hated to do it). I have several problems/questions.

    1) When he does nurse (on one side), he only nurses about 5 minutes. I am still pretty full after he nurses, so I am pumping 10 minutes on the side he nurses and 15 on the side he does not. I would like to get to the point where I don't have to pump at all when he nurses. I have gone to my B/F support group where they weigh him before he nurses and after he nurses. Last I checked, he only got about one ounce (I haven't been able to go for about a month and he has gotten to be a better nurser since). I'm also having trouble recognizing that he's done. He stops taking the breast and fusses when I try to put him back on, but doesn't fuss if I let it go. I'm thinking that means he's had enough. I'm scared to go to nursing exclusively since he nurses such a short time, at least when he gets the bottle I don't have to deal with the foremilk problem and I know what he's eating. During the 5 or 6 pm feeding, he will eat every hour or so. I will give in and give him a bottle after I nursed him an hour earlier.

    2) Should I pump both sides when I am at work? Would it make the situation worse if I pump one side every two hours or something like that?

    3) He is now sleeping 7 hours a night (I know, I'm lucky). When he wakes up, I nurse him from one side I HAVE to pump the other side after going so long without pumping.

    I just would like to stop pumping except when I'm at work, but I feel like I can't ever get to that point without one or both of us being miserable. Whether it's him being miserable due to the lactose imbalance or me being miserable because I am so full and engorged. I'm also real worried about dropping my supply too low!

    Can anyone help me come up with some sort of a plan to get us on track? I work 7-4pm Monday through Friday.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    Hi there,
    It sounds like you have lots going on, but I applaud you for your efforts. Would you be able to speak with someone in person? Do you have any local IBCLC's or LLLL? Here is how to find a Leader in your area:

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    You sound like you could be me!

    Though I did not go to work or pump, I had a baby with reflux AND over supply issues!

    I beleive you CAN just nurse your baby, I also beleive that nursing for 5 minutes at a time, if he seems full is fine, all babies eat at different rates, he might just be really effective in nursing! If you do go to nursing full time when your home I beleive he will tell you when he is ready to nurse, and when he is full! He's not going to let himself go hungry.

    As for nursing and feeding, I would stop. That's giving your body a double msg (in my opinion) its telling your body you NEED to make MORE milk, not less...because your body does not know that its a pump "eating" and not your body. Know what I mean?

    When you "NEED" to pump, I would hand express ONLY enough to feel comfortable, or what I did, for my extream over supply (I could fill 2, 8OZ bottles every 3 hours if I wanted to) was I put a prefold folded in my bra, the pressure of the nursing bra and the prefold helped, and the prefold collected any "extra" milk. At the same time this was telling my body that my baby was NOT eating as much milk as it was producing.

    It's NOT a comfy thing to do, take an advil if it becomes to painful (I did) hand express ONLY a little if you cant stand it...your boobies will become VERY full, (at least mine did) so be careful as you can get mastitis...a LLLeague leader or a GOOD LC would be good to consult as I dont want you to get "sick."

    But, that's what I did, and now I dont want to lie and say it solved itself quickly, it got better quickly, to where I did not hurt, with REALLY tight breasts for long after I did this (maybe 3-4 days is all) but I leaked for quite a while...so breastpads was a must!

    Oh and for night, sleep on a towel, that's what I did too....

    GOOD LUCK!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    wow, over-supply and reflux mama here too... we should start our own support group!

    i would think that pumping only one side at a time and not pumping after he nurses would be more accurate and reflective of his milk needs. any extra pumping would be telling your body to make more milk. when i pump, i only replace a feed with a pump so as not to over-produce. the one mistake i was making was pumping extra after nursing and just recently stopped as paint-the-moon pointed out to me that that leads to over-abundance.

    good luck and HTH!

    [ j ]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,931

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    Quote Originally Posted by janesosquare
    wow, over-supply and reflux mama here too... we should start our own support group!
    [ j ]
    Super idea!!

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    I too went through many of the same things you and DS are experiencing. I am a FT working mom who pumped and had a reflux baby (DD now 23mths). My supply was relatively high but not really classified as over supply. I did have a very strong let-down. My perspective on your questions...

    1) refluxers tend to be self-limiting so him nursing on just one side for 5 minutes is probably OK. My DD did the same thing - short, frequent nursings on one side only (not like in the text books) and she gained weight fine. I do remember being confused as to when she was done because she was so fussy. Pulling off and latching back on only to pull off again. After she pulled off the first time, I would just offer once or twice and then if she pulled off both times I decided she was done. Agree with PP about cutting out pumping after short feedings as it tells your body to produce more than you need. Done slowly (over a period of two weeks?), you shouldn't have too much discomfort.

    2) I don't have any experience with just one-sided pumping at work. I always pumped both sides at the same time.

    3) My DD slept 10 hrs a night at 2 mths so I woke up very full as well. Reflux seemed to bother her very much in the morning so she didn't nurse very well and my strong let down aggrivated it even more. I scheduled my first pumping session at work for first thing in the morning on most mornings. Sometimes I would be too busy and about to burst so I always wore pads. I'm not sure how flexible your work is though.

    DD and I had a difficult time with reflux and fullness until she was about 5 mths and then things got easier. Her reflux seemed to progressively get better and my body adjusted better as time went on. We were a work in progress for quite sometime. But it does get better and easier. Hope this helps!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    Thank you so much for the input - I appreciate it because I know the post was long and took some time to read. I have a very flexible work, I can pump in privacy at any time (thank goodness!). It is very good to hear that they do outgrow it - I have to keep that in mind when dealing with the fussiness and pain of him clamping down to stop the flow!

    I really appreciate all the comments and help. I'm just glad I have made it this long - my goal is a year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Oversupply, pumping and reflux

    I'm glad you found the support you needed here! I hope you keep coming back. No, your post was not too long...I hope you didn't get the impression that I didn't want to give you help, it is just that sometimes it is easier to do these things in person! In any case, glad you are here and things are going well for you.

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