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Thread: pumping before birth

  1. #1

    Default pumping before birth

    I was wondering if I started pumping before I give birth, if it would help harden my nipples so the small painful part will be over before I give birth, and can actually enjoy feeding my baby. I am only 6 months along right now, but am dreading the sore nipple part after I give birth, and would like to get it over with so my first time with my baby is more enjoyable.

    Thanks for answering.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    no need to pump. Just make sure to read up on BF, maybe have some numbers of a LC or IBCLC handy and attend some LLL meetings. Sore nipples are largely due to a poor latch so pumping wouldn't matter.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    No, pumping will not help. In fact, it may hurt: nipple stimulation by pumping is actually a good way to induce labor, and that's not something you want to do without an excellent medical reason. (Induced labors can be much more difficult and painful than spontaneous ones because neither mom nor baby are 100% ready, and induced labors are more likely to necessitate additional interventions like medical pain relief, episiotomy, vacuum, c-section, trip to the NICU, etc. So don't go the induction route if you can help it!!!)

    Not all moms experience pain when breastfeeding, even in the very beginning. When a baby is latched on 100% right, you might be a bit sore, but you shouldn't be in pain. I'm with Jenna- make sure you have those numbers and seek help at the earliest opportunity if you do run into trouble.

    Is this your first baby? Or did you have a difficult prior experience?
    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!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    I agree with the other ladies. And I want to add that I think it's a myth that you need to 'toughen up' your nipples. It's not because your nipples get tough that breastfeeding gets easier as time goes by. It gets easier because both mom and baby learn how to breastfeed and learn to read each others cues. It gets easier because you both figure things out and fall into synch with each other. Sometimes because the baby grows and his/her mouth gets bigger allowing for a better latch. I think there are many many reasons why breastfeeding gets easier with time, but I personally have my doubts that your nipples getting physically tough is one of them!

    Being here and asking questions is one of the best things you can do to prepare for breastfeeding. So good for you for taking that step! Learn as much as you can and learn to trust your body!




    oh and
    Amanda
    Formerly: baby-blue-eyes

    Canadian Mum to Naomi Born 03/17/08 and has a dairy allergy we are hoping she will outgrow. Nursed for 1 year
    And Gavin Born 01/13/10. 22 months, still nursing and already determined to find every possible way of giving me a heart attack with his dare devilishness

  5. #5

    Default Re: pumping before birth

    I read in "The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk" (written by two IBCLC's; published 2008) that in some cultures husbands suckle their pregnant wives' breasts to help ensure a plentiful milk supply. The book also said that the nipple-stimulation-enduces-labor theory is just that...a theory (although it's been around a long time) that has actually not been supported by research. I'm not arguing with any one in this thread, and I was surprised when I read that because I had always heard nipple stimulation can set off labor, too...I'm just sayin' that's what the book said.

    I actually didn't read the book until after I gave birth, but I was so ready to get DD out that I encouraged DH to do a bit of nipple stimulation when I was 38 weeks preggers (TMI, I know ). I don't know if that had anything to do with my milk supply, but I have to say that this is my third baby, and I have had TONS of milk with this one! I pump twice a day...once before going to sleep at night, and once in the morning (the side DD doesn't nurse on), and I get 15 to 20 ounces from those two pumpings!! I have to change the bottles mid-pump because they overflow! It's crazy! I NEVER had anywhere close to that much milk with the other two...I even struggled with low supply at times.

    Oh, and for the record, the nipple stimulation in my case didn't work. I stayed preggers for a while longer.

    I know this thread was about pumping to toughen the nipples, and I hope I didn't highjack the thread...I just thought the two were kinda related.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    hmm, the weird thing thing is that post birth nipple stimulation via nursing stimulated your uterus to contract and return to normal, so just thinking here it would seem that it does induce contractions.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  7. #7
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    When my ds first latched on the in the recovery room post c-sec I was like "whoa, something's not right, this feels weird" but he had a perfect latch. I just wasn't prepared for the strong sucking sensation. I never read anything about it in the books so I didn't know what to expect. Its way stronger than any "dh niplle stimulation." Had I not been so determined to BF, I might have stopped based on the weird feeling. I think all women should know to expect a weird sensation. I guess not everyone has this experience, but it was mine.

    On another note, when I was pregnant with ds, my mom who BF both my brother and me for at least a year each, suggested I go to the tanning bed to "toughen up my nipples." Silly mom.
    JKM 7/28/09 10 lbs, 22.5 inches still nursing at least twice a day (more if I would let him!)

    FDM 11/16/11 8 lbs 15 oz, 20.25 inches EBF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*chickennoodlemom View Post
    The book also said that the nipple-stimulation-enduces-labor theory is just that...a theory (although it's been around a long time) that has actually not been supported by research. I'm not arguing with any one in this thread, and I was surprised when I read that because I had always heard nipple stimulation can set off labor, too...I'm just sayin' that's what the book said.
    Okay, so I'm really not trying to be snarky, but a theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle supported by available data. In the hierarchy of scientific evidence, theory is right below fact- so saying that something is "just a theory" is actually saying that the evidence for it is pretty darn good. A lot of things in science are "just theories"- gravity for example. Perhaps the book meant that nipple stim to induce labor is a poorly supported theory, or perhaps merely a hypothesis (an idea you can test)?

    Here's an example of the research behind the theory:
    - Induction of labor with an electric breast pump. Chayen B, Tejani N, Verma U. J Reprod Med. 1986 Feb;31(2):116-8.
    - Breast stimulation for cervical ripening and induction of labour. Kavanagh J, Kelly AJ, Thomas J. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(4):CD003392.
    - Nipple stimulation for labor augmentation. Stein JL, Bardeguez AD, Verma UL, Tegani N. J Reprod Med. 1990 Jul;35(7):710-4.

    ETA: not trying to defend the theory- I can't evaluate the evidence well enough to do that. Just saying that in general theories are pretty respectable.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; October 19th, 2010 at 08:18 AM.
    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!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    with mammal. Keep in mind though that like any induction technique, nipple stimulation will not put you into labor unless your body is already headed that way. It may speed labor up or give it a nudge to get going, but it won't start it on its own.

    Which is not to say it is safe to pump before birth, especially for a first time mother or a mother who isn't still nursing an older child (she would have built up a tolerance to the level oxytocin produced when she nurses). Nipple stimulation causes your body to produce oxytocin, which is the natural form of pitocin, and just like pitocin it can cause very strong contractions or continuous contractions, where they are coming one on top of the other, if you get too much too fast. Both those things have the potential to put baby in distress. The contractions can happen even if the rest of your body isn't jiving with labor (just like pitocin inductions) and that can create a dangerous situation as well.

    If a mother decides to use nipple stimulation, it should be done the proper way to be a)safe and b) effective. And preferably it should be done with someone experienced there to monitor what's happening, at least over the phone.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: pumping before birth

    I also wanted to say that pumping or DH nipple stim is not at all the same sensation as a newborn nursing, so I doubt you can dodge the initial soreness that way. When I had some nipple trauma in the beginning, I pumped for relief, it did not stimulate the nipples the same way as a latched baby.
    First-time mom to Little Manatee (1/7/2010)

    Nursed for 3 1/2 years!



    My little boy is my everything.


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