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Thread: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Unhappy Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Hi, I'm a first time poster here. I could put this in the newborn problems forum too but I decided to put it here as I'm ashamed to say I've pretty much given up on breastfeeding. I occasionally put my 4 week old son to me but I usually end up taking him off too soon and giving him some of my milk stash.

    Bit of background info in case it's relevant. I had a caesarean with my son (my first) and couldn't see him for what seemed like a lifetime. When I did he was wrapped and I was in a nightie and so feeding didn't get off to a great start.
    I didn't expect him to feed for a while, I thought a lot of newborns didn't immediately feed. The ward staff had other ideas though and he was forced onto me every time he cried. He wouldn't go on at all at first, at most he'd take one suck and scream and come off. When he did go on once I was asked how it felt. I said he was on and feeding but I could imagine it would get sore quickly. Oh God, did it ever. I don't need to tell you how bad the pain got. Worse than labour and I had an OP labour with no pain relief. Midwives told me he was on perfectly and 'advice' would range from 'it's supposed to hurt' to 'you'll get used to it'. Call me a selfish wimp but I just couldn't get used to it. I suppose because I was told he was on fine prevented me from getting better help as I felt like a total whinger.

    I kept up this feeding for 10 days or so. I would cry every time he cried, I could not bear to be around him. I associated his crying with pain. I got so upset over feeding I feared I'd sink into a depression. I don't like saying this and I kid everyone that it doesn't happen, but it does- I gave him formula. I cried for ages each time I gave it to him and I wouldn't even buy it myself because I felt so ashamed. But that's what happened. I was using a manual pump at the time as well.

    Now I have an Ameda Lactaline pump. I have a small stash of about 9 feeds in the fridge. I'm finding it hard to pump enough because people are still demanding to come over and see my son and when I get the pump out he seems to know and screams for attention even if he's dry, fed and been cuddled to sleep. I struggle to find the time. My partner's out for 15 hours most days.

    I generally only manage to get about 2 oz altogether in one session. I'm trying to do it more and for longer but I get so worked up when he's crying that I just finish when the milk stops. Which is usually after about 10 minutes. I pump at night when he wakes for feeding (which is mostly only once or twice being as he's taking a bottle which is generally formula).

    I'd love nothing more than to stop giving him formula, though I have managed to cut it it down to night and morning only. Although I pump as often as he feeds I know it can't be good for supply. But he has to be fed and I can't very well just leave him while I squeeze out a measly ounce from each side. If I could just give him an ounce and feed him another ounce a shorter time later that'd also be fine but he just seems to want filling.

    I'm not even sure what I want to know here. I want someone to give me some magical advice that allows me to attain the tens of ounces that some people on here are managing but I know it's not going to happen. I think I need to eat more, I think that would help. I have lost my appetite and I'm struggling to find the time to eat when I have to pump and feed my son and do everything else a newborn needs (like almost constant cuddles).

    Just someone please tell me it gets better.

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Welcome, Mama! I'm sorry you've had such a rough trip into motherhood. Are you recovering okay from the c-section?

    It sounds like you didn't have such great help in the hospital. A mama in pain from major surgery needs extra help, and the fact that you got conflicting advice and weren't allowed to see your baby for so long probably contributed to the problems you had getting him to latch. Do you know if your baby was given any bottles or pacifiers before you got him back? Sometimes that can derail the breastfeeding relationship before it even gets started. I can totally understand why you gave your baby formula.

    I would recommend taking the following steps:
    1. See a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She can help you get the best pump for your needs, and can help you get the right size of breast shields. She may also be able to help you get your baby to the breast, if that's something you're still interested in.
    2. Pump frequently using the best pump you can afford. I checked out the Ameda Lactaline online and it looks like a good but smaller pump. The problem with smaller pumps is that they often don't have the power a mom needs to bring in and maintain a good milk supply. If you want to increase your supply, I would buy or rent a better pump. I'd recommend a hospital-grade rental.
    3. Kick people out of your house until you get the kinks worked out with breastfeeding/pumping. If family/friends want to help, they can see the baby when it's convenient for you. (And they can bring over a nice meal while they're at it.)
    4. Herbs. Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and plain old oatmeal are all good for increasing supply.
    5. Drugs. As a last resort, Reglan (available in the US) and Domperidone (Canada and the UK) are prescription drugs which can increase supply as a side-effect. They both have additional side-effects and are not right for every mom, so discuss them with your midwife/doctor before taking either one.
    6. Take care of yourself. Make a snack basket- granola bars, nuts, raisins, little yogurts, crackers- whatever it takes to make sure you stay fed and positive.

    Hang in there! You're doing an AWESOME job and we're all rooting for you!!! It sounds like you are really, really close to your goal already.
    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
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Hi, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Means a lot.

    My baby wasn't given any bottles or dummies or anything while he was away. It can't have been that long he was away for really, maybe half an hour. But it seemed like forever and it wasn't the immediate cuddle I was hoping for. Still upsets me. I'm recovering well though thanks, much better than I had expected to. I've had similar abdominal surgery before and that was very painful for months- one reason a caesarean upset me so much.

    Thanks for not judging on the formula. I feel like I've let my son and myself down though. No one but my partner knows about it, I'm so disappointed and ashamed.

    I can't really get another pump. I could barely afford that one, it pretty much is the best I can afford I think. Lost my job in March and so haven't got a lot to spend. I get on fine with it really (despite it making me feel bovine but I suppose everyone feels like that), just wish I could get one feed in one session. Maybe I'm expecting too much too soon. It says in the booklet that you can get more than one letdown in one session but I can't seem to. Actually, I'm rather ignorant to the mechanics of milk production anyway. But I can only get milk for 10 minutes or so and that's it. I've used the pump on occasion for about 45 minutes longer and still nothing. I know a pump doesn't produce the same hormonal response as a baby does so maybe that's it.

    I didn't let people come round at first but a month on, I don't really feel like I can stop them. I do drop hints about how hard it is when people keep dropping round (sometimes unannounced) but they always seem to think it's other people I have a problem with... Well, this is all normal new baby stuff I suppose.

    I would love it if I could get a drug that would magically increase my supply (I do not take after my mother who had oversupply- and I wasn't even breastfed) but I think the crux of the problem is time really. I just don't pump enough. It's just tough, I have no idea how women manage it! Got a lot of respect for that kind of commitment.

    My son troughed 5oz of milk and 2 oz of formula in the same hour today, I simply can't keep up! It's different if you're actually breastfeeding, I know. I also wonder if maybe he just wants to suck something and since I'm not going to oblige he's just feeding for the sake of it when we give him a bottle? I really don't want to go down the dummy route but if it means I can build up some milk... Just another thing I didn't want to do but I've failed at everything else so far My son's putting on weight just fine, indicentally. 10lb 3oz five days ago.

    I will try harder to eat more. Cooking, like reaching for the pump, seems to wake my son up! So snacking might be the way forward.

    Thanks again, I'll try and implement some of your suggestions.
    Last edited by @llli*sim1985; November 21st, 2009 at 04:49 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Have you tried getting him back to the breast?

    You have already overcome a tremendous amount of obstacles. Maybe if you could get him back to the breast at this point, you could phase out the formula supplements all together.

    Here is a link about weaning off of formula supplements:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html

    and here is a link about getting baby back to breast:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html

    Now that your baby's mouth is bigger, it may be easier to get a better latch. And I totally agree with mommal about everything she said, especially seeing a lactation consultant. They can help you with the latch.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    I know how hard it is to be on your own for so many hours a day. My dh is the same. And when he's home, lo is sleeping or dh is sleeping, so it's not much help.

    Drink lots of water. Oatmeal has been a Godsend for helping my supply naturally. Double electric pump if you can. I found that sometimes I got less milk when I pumped at higher suction, so beware of that.

    If you have friends that insist to come visit, see if they will stay with lo while you have the chance to pump in the other room. It'll help you get time to pump and not have to worry about running to pick up lo when the crying starts.

    Hope this helps you. Best of luck

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommy2lilah View Post
    Have you tried getting him back to the breast?

    ...

    Now that your baby's mouth is bigger, it may be easier to get a better latch. And I totally agree with mommal about everything she said, especially seeing a lactation consultant. They can help you with the latch.
    Someone from the hospital was supposed to visit but she never came. Apparently there are only two of them and they're both ill.

    I've tried to breastfeed him a couple of times today, which is more than I would usually. We did skin to skin, him on top of my chest to begin with. He didn't latch on at all. I then tried on my side, which is how he was fed while we were in hospital. He didn't latch on then either. Admittedly, he had just been fed but he looked like he'd welcome a top-up. Just half an hour ago he started his feeding cues so I tried to put him to me. He just played with it, wouldn't go on at all but he wasn't getting frustrated either. As soon as I put him down to pump the screaming and attempted ingestion of his hands commenced... I feel utterly useless.

    He has never opened his mouth wide, I can't see him doing it now after a bottle even though we've tried to do it as if he were being breastfed. I don't know if the midwives' forcing him onto me contributed to this. I can cope with the pain for a bit (assuming he'll go back on again at all which he hasn't done properly for a few days) and I can give him a top-up from me but I don't think we're ever going to be able to do it full time. I'm so angry at myself.

    Can anyone tell me how to take fenugreek in powder form? I've tried looking it up but all I can find is how much to take. I don't know whether I'm supposed to mix it with something or add it to food. I shall start eating more porridge. We ran out of oats last week and I haven't been shopping.

    My partner's going to be away all weekend this week too, whereas normally he's back at about 10pm... so I will have zero help. I'm dreading it. I expect we'll just use up my hard gained freezer stash

    Thanks again everyone.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sim1985 View Post
    Someone from the hospital was supposed to visit but she never came. Apparently there are only two of them and they're both ill.
    That stinks. Keep calling them! They may assume that "Hey, she didn't call, everything must be fine."

    Just half an hour ago he started his feeding cues so I tried to put him to me. He just played with it, wouldn't go on at all but he wasn't getting frustrated either.
    That's great! It sounds like progress. Even if he's not latching on he's getting comfortable with being at the breast.

    As soon as I put him down to pump the screaming and attempted ingestion of his hands commenced... I feel utterly useless.
    Don't feel useless, Mama! This is a very challenging situation, and you're doing your best and not giving up. That's not useless.

    Can anyone tell me how to take fenugreek in powder form?
    You can mix it into your food, you can swallow it dry, you can pour hot water on it and make a tea. You can also find it in pill form- many moms find this the most convenient way to get it down. When your sweat and urine start to smell like maple syrup, you'll know you're taking enough.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Oh, thanks for the fast response! I was expecting to have to wait for ages.

    I ought to call. I suppose I feel a bit embarrassed. I know that's silly, that's what they're there for. And I'm not the only one with trouble, even though it feels like it. I suppose I really wonder what they're going to do. And if they can't help or tell me he's on fine I will feel terrible. I suppose now, in not getting help, there's the hope that someone can help. Does that make sense? I'm getting really weary of pumping though.

    We have a bottle of fenugreek so now you've told me how to take it, take it I shall! Does it take a few weeks to work?

    Thanks for all the help. And I really like your signatures!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sim1985 View Post
    I suppose now, in not getting help, there's the hope that someone can help. Does that make sense?
    Yes, it makes perfect sense. I remember weighing the fear of disappointment against the hope that everything would be fine. And it was embarassing to admit- even to a professional- that I was having a hard time with something which I thought would be so simple!

    Make the call.

    I'm getting really weary of pumping though.
    I hear you!!! Pumping is really hard work. (BTDT.) What sort of pump do you have? Often using a better pump gets you more output in a shorter amount of time. (I personally recommend using a hospital-grade rental pump- which your LC can help you obtain.)

    Two things that cut down on the pumping work for me were:
    - After pumping, leave the pump attached to the bottle and pop the whole assembly in the fridge. When it's time to pump again, pump new milk on top of the old. (My LC said it was safe to do this once before washing everything again.)
    - Get a big washbasin full of soapy water and throw bottles/pump parts in it as they get used. That way you only need to do one or two big washing-up jobs per day, instead of a thousand small ones.

    We have a bottle of fenugreek so now you've told me how to take it, take it I shall! Does it take a few weeks to work?
    It's different for every mama. Some see improvement very quickly, for others it takes longer. And, to be honest with you, there are some moms who feel like fenugreek doesn't do anything for them. But it doesn't hurt and certainly can help, so shovel it down!
    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!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pumping due to pain, is 2oz a time normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I remember weighing the fear of disappointment against the hope that everything would be fine.
    You put it so much more eloquently! Yes, I shall dig out my contact numbers and ring. Do you think it might be too late for any real improvement though? He's been on a bottle since he was 10 days and he's now a month

    I have the Ameda Lactaline. I'd like a hospital grade one but I can't afford to change it now. I'm really mad at myself for how things have worked out so far.

    I already put the assembled pump bottles in the fridge, I am beyond lazy I do the washing up thing too, but I do need to get more bottles. We have three and yes, I end up washing up way too many times which is a big chore in itself. And another thing that causes my son to squeal! Argh!

    Right, I'm getting on the fenugreek right now!

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