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Thread: exclusive pumping the answer?

  1. #1

    Default exclusive pumping the answer?

    So the BF craziness continues. Seems like new issues are coming up recently. I have been bf my son since the beginning with no problems until recently. he is almost 5 weeks. Over the past few days to a week, he has wanted to eat then will nurse for about 5-10 mins on one side, slow down or sleep and eventually let go, I will switch him to the otherside and the same will happen. This will go on for no less than 45 mins, usually an hour or more, switching back and forth. Then he is quickly hungry again in an hour, usually less. Yesterday my husband and I had a wedding to go to thqt didn't allow kids, so my sister was watching him for us and I pumped for the missed feedings. I fed him before she came over, finishing about 30 before she got there, and then he became hungary again around the time she got to the house, trying to latch on to my husbands arm lol. so we decided to give him a bottle to see how much he would eat since we didn't have much time. He proceeded to eat 2 oz in about 3 minutes! throughout the night my sister said he would eat anywhere from 2-4 oz easily in no time and seemed content (sleeping - hard for me to get him to most of the time- and no fussing or crying - he seems to fuss alot usually). Now I am worried that he isn't eating enough dispite him nursing for so long at once. Not to mention his constant time at the boob is getting very tiring. I am considering trying EP since I can pump in less time than he takes to eat and I will be able to see how much he is eating and know he is getting enough. Any advice about this or EP in general. I am concerned about everyone saying how hard it is, but can't imagine being able to continue on with his frequent marathon sessions, especially if he isn't getting enough to be satisfied. When I pumped last night for the missed feedings, I got 3 oz for one and the next time got 4 oz, so I don't think I have low supply (if my pump can get that out, he can too since he is more efficient). I don't think this is growth spurt because it has been going on for longer than I would expect that to be. He has a pedi appointment today for the one month visit, so I will see what he weighs and update. Everyone always says he seems small for his age, he was 7 lb 14 oz at birth and 7 lbs 10 oz at 2 week appointment after losing 10 oz after birth. He does have lots of poops and pees, but just still seems hungary after feeding.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,175

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?

    EP should be a last resort. Here's why:
    - Breastfeeding gets more efficient as time goes on, but pumping never does. By the time a baby is a few months old, he can generally get all he needs in 5-10 minutes at the breast. But if it takes you 20 minutes to fill a bottle today, it's going to take you the same 20 minutes a year from now, and you're going to have to find that time while caring for an increasingly mobile baby.
    - With practice, breastfeeding is something that you will feel comfortable doing in public. It can be done very discreetly in the supermarket, in the park, at church- anywhere you and your baby need to be. Pumping is something very few women feel comfortable doing in public.
    - Breastfeeding is, in the long run, much less work than pumping. If you EP, you're going to have to constantly wash and sterilize bottles and pump parts. You're going to need to store a large amount of milk, and juggle it in the freezer to make sure the old stuff gets used up before it's "best-by" date. You're going to need to thaw, transport, and warm bottles of expressed milk.
    - Breastmilk from the breast is always clean, immediately available, and at the right temperature. Bottles fall on the floor and spill all over your diaper bag. They need to be warmed (imagine standing in the kitchen at 2 a.m. warming a bottle while your hungry baby cries). Breastmilk doesn't need to be stored- you'll never lose six months supply because of a power outage. (It happens, just search this site.)
    - If you breastfeed, you won't need to worry about supply, because your baby will regulate it for you by nursing. It is much harder to maintain/increase supply via pumping because the pump is generally not as effective at emptying the breast as a baby is. Many EPing moms struggle with supply.
    - Breastfeeding is more than just food- it's also comfort. The breast will immediately soothe your baby through innocculations and bumped heads and skinned knees.
    - Breastfeeding promotes optimal dental alignment. Bottle-feeding doesn't.

    So that's why I think you should persist with breastfeeding. But that doesn't mean you can't combine breast and bottle-feeding, or that EP doesn't work for some women, or that there isn't anything you can do to improve your breastfeeding experience right now.

    I would go and see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She can give you help with latching and positioning, and will be able to pick up on any problems. She can also give you help on the best ways to combine breast and bottle, and on EPing if that's what you want to do.

    Finally, don't be shocked by your baby's reaction to his first bottles. Many, many babies eat far more from the bottle than they do from the breast. The bottle is easy- it drip-drip-drips milk into the baby's mouth even when he is not actively sucking. That makes it easy for a baby to suck down an immense amount of milk in a short time, and can also lead to him getting so stuffed that he sleeps really heavily- just like I can take a 5 hour nap after overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?

    Also, babies do go through cycles. Sometimes they feed more because they are going through a growth spurt, sometimes they just want more comfort. His behavior at the breast today may not be indicitive of his behavior next month, or even next week. I think about 2-3 months is when things start evening out more as far as routines go. Things can still change, but for the most part it is easier to deal with. I would recommend going a few more weeks at least before deciding to EP.

    Just thought of another reason EPing is a bit more difficult. Babies do need comfort. With BF, you are feeding and comforting in one fell swoop. With pumping, you are going to have to find extra time to comfort as well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?... now w/ update & follow up question!

    sorry for long time since getting back.. but I am continuing BF,no EP. He had gained almost 2 lbs between 2 week appointment and 1month, so I am happy in knowing he is getting enough, even if it takes marathon sessions! Another question... Would taking Fenugreek help this situation? Maybe with more milk available, sessions wouldn't be so long and frequent? My concern with taking it is that I read that you shouldn't take while pregnant and my husband and I are considering once DS is about a year or slightly younger to try for our second. Would I be able to start it and then stop once supply increases without any resulting decrease?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?

    its sounds like you don't need to up your supply that sounds fine.
    His weight gain is wonderful!
    babies always take alot from the bottle, it doesn't regulate like your breast can. The have a sucking reflux and will drain bottles even when babies tummy is full.
    Sometimes they will even drink from the bottle till they throw up.

    Newborns just love to suck and nurse its how they are wired.

    Do you have any help around your house? I had to let some things go I just couldn't do everything I had done before kids. Having a new baby is a big adjustment.
    Ifound around the age your baby was I was fealing beter from the birth but I was still trying to do way to much. I needed to slow down and enjoy that time with baby.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?... now w/ update & follow up question!

    Yes, you can take fenugreek for awhile and then stop without a drop in supply. But I don't think you need to take it. You said he is gaining weight well and his urine output is good. Trying to increase your already great supply may cause more problems with nursing; like oversupply, clogged ducts, mastitis. Just try to sit back and relax the time he nurses, even if it is all day. (That is normal for a young infant to nurse that long and that frequent!)
    If you are going to try to number 2 soon, you will have your hands full then. If you nurse that one as well you won't have/get the time to snuggle then. So enjoy now!
    Missy MooCow
    - Mom to DS 03/2003 & DD 07/2008
    - - Ex-Exclusive pumper
    - - Yeah!! Full time nurser since December!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,175

    Default Re: exclusive pumping the answer?... now w/ update & follow up question!

    Maybe with more milk available, sessions wouldn't be so long and frequent?
    It sounds like your milk supply is absolutely fine. More milk probably won't decrease the feeding length or frequency- new babies typically feed at a leisurely pace even when milk is abundant, and more milk in the breast won't change the amount that is taken in during a feeding, or make the milk in the baby's tummy digest any slower. So I wouldn't bother with fenugreek. Just be patient- your baby's nursing sessions will become more efficient with time! By the time he's a few months old, he'll probably be getting all he needs in 5-10 minutes at the breast. Until then, settle in with some novels or the tv remote, and try to go with the flow.

    My concern with taking it is that I read that you shouldn't take while pregnant and my husband and I are considering once DS is about a year or slightly younger to try for our second.
    I'm not sure why fenugreek would be contraindicated during pregnancy. It's a common ingredient in many cuisines (Indian and Middle Eastern in particular).

    Would I be able to start it and then stop once supply increases without any resulting decrease?
    It depends. The amount of milk you make is ultimately going to be controlled by how much your baby removes when feeding. (Supply = demand.) So if you boost your supply with fenugreek and your baby takes as much as you make after boosting, your supply will stay increased. But if your baby takes less than the increased amount, once you stop taking the fenugreek your supply will likely decrease to meet his needs pretty exactly. You'll make just as much as the baby takes, not a lot more.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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