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Thread: Exclusively pumping: help needed

  1. #1

    Default Exclusively pumping: help needed

    Hi. I'm a new mum to a 6 weeks old baby boy. I breastfed him exclusively for the first 3 days and on the day we were due to leave the hospital, i was told that his sugar levels were too low and to give him formula while waiting for my milk to come in. I was very upset as the last thing i wanted to do was give him formula but i felt under pressure and didnt want to harm my baby. I tried cup feeding him but he didn't like it so i ended up giving him a bottle. I carried on breastfeeding normally after my milk came in but had an infection on day 6 following an episiotomy and fell ill with fever for 3 days so stopped breastfeeding and had to give my baby formula during this time. It was also very handy as my husband has been feeding him while i was resting in bed. When i felt better enough to breastfeed again, my baby wouldn't latch on and kept screaming every time i put him to the breast. I was devastated as i was determined to breastfeed and have really enjoyed doing it in the early days. I called the midwife in panic and she said to give him formula in a cup or a spoon to stop him going hungry but to carry on offering the breast until he takes it. My breasts were horribly engorged so my husband ran to the shop to buy me a breast pump. He got me a Medela mini electric pump which was great at doing the job and I felt so relieved afterwards. I carried on putting my son to the breast at every feed, he would latch on sometimes but most of the time he wouldn’t and screams the house down until I give him a bottle. I ended up with cracked and bleeding nipples so decided to give up trying. I felt so depressed and lonely for few days and would cry every time I had to give him a bottle. I was expressing breastmilk and gave him a bottle every day which made me feel slightly better but eventually I got so busy I couldn’t make time to express so I stopped and was exclusively bottle-feeding. I felt better for few days but lately I started to feel terribly guilty again. I keep thinking I should have persevered and asked for help but I was so sick the early days and could hardly walk so leaving my house to join a breastfeeding group or see a consultant wasn’t an option. Lately my baby started to scream in the middle and after feeding and the doctor thinks he might have silent reflux. This is making me feel more guilty and sad so I decided to explore the option of expressing exclusively. I read a lot on the subject and I know it’s hard work and requires dedication but I know that lots of mums have managed to do it for months and were successful and I am ready to do whatever it takes to make it work. My milk supply has dwindled dramatically since I stopped expressing in the early days, in fact I tried expressing a week ago and couldn’t get a single drop out so I thought my milk has dried up. But after speaking to a health visitor and getting some advice, I am now taking fenugreek capsules and eating oats and I started expressing again 2 days ago, every 3 or 4 hours, I only managed to express 1 oz in 2 days but it’s better than nothing I guess? I am still using my mini medela which is a good pump but not really strong so I have decided to buy an Ameda Lactaline pump and start to seriously express. The HV said to ask my GP for a prescription for Domperidone but my GP refused to give me one . I have also been trying lately to put him on the breast again, tried lots of skin to skin, baths together etc but nothing works. So I’d like to ask mums who went through a similar experience: Would buying a professional pump help re-establish my supply? How often should I express in the first days and how much milk should I expect to get before starting to see progress? Is it important to express at the same hours every day or it doesn’t matter as long as I express 8 to 10 times every day. Should I express at night while my baby is sleeping? What else can I do/eat to increase my supply? Any other advice would be greatly welcome. Thank you so much for reading this and I look forward to reading some positive feedback and stories from other mums.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Springfield, Oregon

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping: help needed

    I do not EP but this is what I know from reading and hearing other mom's give advice.

    Would buying a professional pump help re-establish my supply?
    A good pump can make a huge difference. A double electric works best. Make sure you have the right size flange (esp. if you have big breasts) b/c that can make a huge difference.

    How often should I express in the first days
    Every 2 hours (as often as baby eats).

    and how much milk should I expect to get before starting to see progress?
    The average BF mother expresses between 1/2 oz and 2 oz per pumping session (both breasts). When I first started pumping I was only getting millimeters of milk. Then it gradually became more and more. So don't despair.

    Is it important to express at the same hours every day or it doesn’t matter as long as I express 8 to 10 times every day.
    I've never actually seen an answer to this one. But I would assume it doesn't matter. I could be wrong.

    Should I express at night while my baby is sleeping?
    A 4 hour stretch is definitely okay. While trying to get supply up you may want to only stick with a four hour stretch. However I don't think it is absolutely necessary to wake up at night and pump. Someone else may have a better answer for this question.

    What else can I do/eat to increase my supply?
    Oatmeal, Lots of Water, Mother's Milk Tea, Fenugreek, Red Raspberry

    Any other advice would be greatly welcome.
    Get a good Lactation Consultant.
    Put baby back to the breast (best way to increase supply).
    Think about switching GP's if yours won't help out.
    Keep up with the skin to skin and warm compresses.
    Baby Girl "Piper" born Feb 12th, 2010. She is a true blessing!

    And a baby who is now an Angel in Heaven Feb 7th, 2008.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping: help needed

    Congratulations on your new baby! And way to go - wanting to give him the best despite your recent challenges. I was fortunate enough to exclusively breastfeed for 3 months. Then I went back to work and pumped at work and breastfed evenings/weekend. Then my DS decided that bottles were WAY easier than nursing - I know the heartache of a baby screaming at your breast. Then he got 4 teeth. He has always been a voracious eater - OUCH! Now I am an exclusive pumper, and my DS is 7 months old . I will say that EP (exclusive pumping) IS a big committment, and there are days where I'm ready to throw in the towel - but somehow - I keep pumping. I just take it day by day. It sounds like you should be able to build your supply with your pump. As far as the night pumping - I hate to say it but I still pump once at night (usually DS wakes up once at night so I'm up anyways). You may or may not have to - try pumping at night and see how it goes - then back off it - your supply might be fine. I have also found that "power pumping" sessions help keep my supply in check - I'll take an hour or two and pump every half hour or so - it sort of mimics a baby who is "cluster feeding." Fenugreek has also helped me maintain my supply. If you want to do it - YOU CAN DO IT! But just know this - some breastmilk is better than none - and your baby needs a happy and healthy mama. Whatever system you find that works for you is the right one for you. Best of luck and enjoy your baby!
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Exclusively pumping: help needed

    I would recommend renting a hospital grade pump from the hospital for about a month at least. It *really* helped me get my supply going in the beginning, though I started pretty much from the get go, so I didn't have to come back from a dwindling supply like you do.

    After that I would consider a good double electric pump. I used Medela's Pump In Style and it worked for 17 months. I need to dig it out and check it out for the next one, but the parts are scattered and I'm not really motivated right now since I'm laid up atm.

    I would recommend pumping every 2-3 hours, which is probably what your little one's eating schedule is like at the moment. For me I would feed her, put her in the swing and pump for 15 minutes, then wash and put away. I don't remember how much I got in the beginning. I know at first it was only a couple of ounces combined and over the course of a few weeks it increased.

    Now, from what I've heard from others, I am extremely unusual in my milk supply -- After about a month or so I was pumping about 6-8 oz total. A little later than that I was pumping about 10-12 oz in a sitting (I was filling both medela bottles that come with the pump). This is HIGHLY unusual. I believe the avg is typically 4-6 ounces.

    I don't think I dropped my night pumping until my daughter was at least 6 months old, and then I only went 6 hours between (I'd pump at about midnight, and wake up at 6:30 to pump) because I'd get so engorged I couldn't sleep longer if I wanted -- besides the fact I had to get up that early in order to pump, get ready for work and get to work on time.

    Once you get yourself up and going and your little one gets older you can space out the pumpings so that you don't have to pump every couple of hours -- this depends upon your own physical comfort, output vs baby's needs / etc. I know that last 3 or so months I was only pumping 1 to 2 times a day, down from the 8+ when I started. Every woman is different and all I can say is try it out and see what works best for you and your family.

    Good luck on getting your supply back, and know that even a little is better than none, so don't get discouraged if you have to do something like half and half (formula / breast milk).
    Momma to K 05/24/07 (due 05/31/07)
    Momma to I, 06/04/10 VBAC'd (due 05/31/10). Read about it here

    Exclusive Pumper to first for 18 months.
    I got my VBAC!

    Struggling with nursing but one way or another breast milk is all they get.

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