Breastfeeding/pumping - I want to hear from you!

wastewitch

Cathlete
Hi ladies,
Elizabeth is 4 weeks & 2 days old and we've been working earnestly on nursing for 4 weeks today (her first few days she was in the NICU on an IV, which SUCKED for getting bf started).

She starts daycare March 7 but I'm going to try and go back to work only part-time at first so I have a little more time with her. :) Once we do daycare I know I will need to pump & bottle feed. At 3 weeks she started getting a bottle from her Daddy at the first night feeding because I've GOT to sleep sometime and even if I only get an hour or two before I have to get up to nurse, that break helps.

What I want to know is:
- How many of you breastfed/are breastfeeding?
- If you pump, do you find that your milk supply declines after a while? It seems like that could be a problem.
- Are there any nipples/bottles that you found that work well? I have a Tommee Tippee bottle for her but it seems HUGE diameter (9 oz bottle, which I know is way big for her right now, but it says 0m+ on the size).
- Do any of you use a nipple shield, and if so for how many months/weeks?

I ask these questions because honestly some of the lactation consultants are just so down on shields & pump/bottle that it's hard for me to reassure myself that I'm doing the right thing for Elizabeth.

I think the nursing is helping w/ the weight loss. I'm back in my pre-pregnancy clothes for the most part although the waistband still feels a bit snug on some pants. I don't notice that my appetite is as ravenous as it was the first two weeks; in fact it seems pretty normal.

I'm looking forward to her going longer between feedings (today it has been every 2 hours; some days it's 4 - 5, there is NO pattern!) because I bought Kick Max when it was on sale last week and want to try that out!
 

Liann

Cathlete
I nursed for about a month and then went to pumping. My supply actually went way up after switching to the pump. Don't be bullied by lactation consultants and other well meaning people. You have to do what works for you and your baby. I honestly felt like the worst mother ever when I switched to bottles. I cried about it for a while, but breastfeeding just wasn't working for us. Akadia wasn't getting enough and she was miserable and nursing for hours on end. Life has been so much easier since we made the switch. And it has in no way ruined our bonding time etc... I think of bunch of that stuff they tell you is just crap.

I used a nipple shield off and on when I was nursing. Sometimes I would use it just long enough for her to get latched and then I would take it off and relatch her. It was a life saver. No reason not to use it if it works for you.

I started pumping 5 - 6 times a day while building up my supply. I did suppliment a bottle of formula here and then until I got a good supply going (another thing I was made to feel like a subhuman for doing). After a few months, my supply was going strong and I had a good frozen supply as well. I moved down to 4 pumps a day. I recently moved down to 3 pumps a day, but I had to move back to 4 because Akadia decided to go through a growth spurt and I was having to dig into the frozen stash. I only pump for 20 minutes and sometimes that gives me enough for 2 bottles. Much faster than the hour long nursing sessions we were dealing with.

I've been doing this for almost 7 months now and my supply continues to increase. I'm honestly more worried about stopping and dealing with engorgement rather than supply issues.

As far as bottles, I hated Tommy Tippee bottles. Maybe it was just ours, but the flow was too fast and the nipple kept collapsing on us. I ended up with Dr. Browns bottles. They have more parts which can be a pain, but they work great and keep her from swallowing a lot of air. They also fit right on most pumps so you can pump directly into the bottle.

Do you have a pump already? I would really recommend a Medela - one of the twin electric versions (either the Pump & Save or Freestyle). Having a good pump makes a world of a difference. Medela is pricey but the pump is just not something you want to chince on.

Sorry for being so long winded!!! I could go on and on about this stuff! ;)
 

welch

Cathlete
I've been doing the best I can with nursing and pumping. I don't think my supply has ever been great and pumping has neither increased nor reduced the amount I produce. Since my daughter was 2 weeks old, we've had to supplement with formula. On the days I'm home with her, she nurses for 30 minutes and then gets a 2 - 3 oz bottle of formula. She nurses about 7 - 8 times a day (she's 6 months old now). I'd estimate that until we started solids, about 1/3 - 1/2 of her calories have come from formula. I feel guilty that I can't seem to produce enough for her, but I'd feel more guilty starving her by withholding formula. My pediatrician said she's had some moms who only nurse once a day and give formula the rest of the time and their kids still benefit from the antibodies in the breast milk even though they only receive it once a day. So I try not to be too hard on myself.

I do pump at work. I nurse in the morning, pump 5 times at work (about every 2 - 3 hours) and then nurse again in the evening before my daughter's bedtime. But even though I pump 5 times, I only get enough total for 1 or 2 bottles. At daycare she gets 1 or 2 bottles of breast milk and then 2 or 3 bottles of formula.

I use a Medela Pump In Style pump. I use the Medela bottles too. I have lots of Playtex bottles and liners, but the Medela bottles have been easy enough to clean and my daughter doesn't have any problems with them. I've never used a nipple shield so I can't help you there.

Good luck and congratulations on the birth of your little girl! Don't worry too much about having to pump. I don't think there are any right/wrong ways to go about it as long as she's healthy, happy, and gaining weight well.

Carrie
 

Sisyphus

Active Member
I'm aiming to exclusively pump for a variety of reasons (work, personal, etc.) and don't plan on breastfeeding at all. I'm hoping to be able to EP for the first 6 months, but I'll take something over nothing. I don't have anything against formula, but I'd rather try breast milk if I can, for as long as I can.

I have been hearing the praises of hospital grade pumps, which many say helps women even with lower supply, but they're so expensive! I came across a site that rents out hospital-grade double electric pumps (www.angelpumps.com rents the Medela Symphony for $60 a month) that they ship directly to your house; I have found out that many of the hospitals in my area have a rental program as well.

This may be information you ladies already knew, but I figure since there is a struggle with lower supply, maybe it would help to try a hospital-grade pump?

Meg
 
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Sissy1983

Cathlete
Dont worry you are doing the right thing!! Unfortunatly a lot of woman have to go back to work after having a baby sooner these days. I have 2 children. I went back to work 10-12 weeks after having them. I bought a higher model medela pump which has been great. The money I have saved on formula has paid for that pump and them some! I pump before i go to work and about half way through my shift. I bf my son for 1 year and my daughter is 6 mos and i still bf her. I supplement formula when i have to. I didnt find my supply went down with pumping at all. we use primarily medela bottles and nipples. We have never had a problem wtih them and they are BPA free. I dont use or have ever used a nipple shield, i never needed to. do whats right for you and dont worry about it, Pretty soon you will be a pro! It will get easier dont worry! but bf is one of the best things you can do to have a happy healthy baby! just be patient and it does get easier. I dont know why people think its so hard but i actually find it easier than getting up and having to make a bottle all the time.
Goodluck!
 

wastewitch

Cathlete
Thanks very much for the advice and support! While I'm home (only for the next two weeks, GAH!) I'm going to continue to try and nurse, but starting this week I'm going to add in more pumping sessions at home, both to keep my supply up and to build up a reserve. My husband gave her 4 ounces at 10:30 PM last night...and she didn't eat again until 5:30 AM this morning! Very weird, and I was SO full. hen she didn't eat that much this morning, which makes me wonder if she'll be more like Acadia - "get down to business" w/ the bottle and actually do better that way.

I've heard so many great things about nighttime nursing and co-sleeping, but I HATE getting up to nurse since she takes SO long, and co-sleeping kind of weirds me out since the cats are also in the bed sometimes-at the foot of the bed, but still...not real safe.

I'm currently renting a Symphony pump but plan to purchase a Medela PIS or Freestyle, as that seems more portable. A friend gave me her Medela pump that she didn't use for more than a week or two, but a) it's 8 years old and hasn't been used in that time and b) well, it's used and I'm not sure how sanitary that is. Maybe I'll try it before I plunk down $300 on a new one.
 

Liann

Cathlete
I know a lot of people who just buy new tubing, flanges and bottles and then use a pump from a friend/family member. I've never had the milk back up into the tubing, so I can't see how my pump would be unsanitary if I gave it to a friend and she used her own tubing. I wouldn't take one from just anyone though and you'd want to make sure the motor is still working good after 8 years of not being used.

Also, I'm sure you know about these tricks, but Fenugreek really does work! I take it every day and when my supply dips (usually during AF), I also drink "Mother's Tea". That stuff is great. Other tricks are to drink a full glass of water before you pump and after and try to get at least one pump in the morning. For some reason early morning pumping sessions boost your supply. Also, if you apply a heat pad (I use a bag of rice that I nuke in the microwave) to your breast before pumping, it assists with a good let down. Oh, and "Soy Lecithin" (available in the vitamin section) helps reduce the chance of blockages - something I had a LOT of problems with in the beginning.
 

AmyWI

Active Member
Breastfeeding/pumping

My son is almost 5 weeks old and I have a Medela pump which works great. It's a double electric one. If you plan to pump regularly I would recommend buying one-they are expensive but are worth it. I actually only use mine to pump when we are going out in case I can't nurse. (I don't like to do it out in the open). I haven't found that my supply is lower when I pump, although I have found that when I exclusively breastfeed it seems like my milk supply is up....may just be me, I don't know. As long as you nurse/pump regularly you should be fine.

Nursing DEFINITELY helps with weight loss! Plus, we get to eat more calories so it works out great. :)

Bottles we use that are great are the Playtex Ventaire ones-again, kind of expensive but they are supposed to keep air flow to a minimum. Yes, lactation consultants may seem pushy regarding nursing, but remember, that's their job-to support breastfeeding. You do what's best for you-nursing doesn't always work for everyone. It's great that you want to.

Good luck!

Amy
 

neicebug

Cathlete
I've been doing the best I can with nursing and pumping. I don't think my supply has ever been great and pumping has neither increased nor reduced the amount I produce. Since my daughter was 2 weeks old, we've had to supplement with formula. On the days I'm home with her, she nurses for 30 minutes and then gets a 2 - 3 oz bottle of formula. She nurses about 7 - 8 times a day (she's 6 months old now). I'd estimate that until we started solids, about 1/3 - 1/2 of her calories have come from formula. I feel guilty that I can't seem to produce enough for her, but I'd feel more guilty starving her by withholding formula. My pediatrician said she's had some moms who only nurse once a day and give formula the rest of the time and their kids still benefit from the antibodies in the breast milk even though they only receive it once a day. So I try not to be too hard on myself.

I do pump at work. I nurse in the morning, pump 5 times at work (about every 2 - 3 hours) and then nurse again in the evening before my daughter's bedtime. But even though I pump 5 times, I only get enough total for 1 or 2 bottles. At daycare she gets 1 or 2 bottles of breast milk and then 2 or 3 bottles of formula.

I use a Medela Pump In Style pump. I use the Medela bottles too. I have lots of Playtex bottles and liners, but the Medela bottles have been easy enough to clean and my daughter doesn't have any problems with them. I've never used a nipple shield so I can't help you there.

Good luck and congratulations on the birth of your little girl! Don't worry too much about having to pump. I don't think there are any right/wrong ways to go about it as long as she's healthy, happy, and gaining weight well.

Carrie
CARRIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I knew it was you when I saw the avatar named WELCH with kitties in it!!!

xx, Denise :D
 

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