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(Almost) Exclusive Pumping?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I know there used to be a HUGE thread about this (might have been a couple years ago I'm not sure lol...I went WAY back and couldn't find it). Hoping to get some tips from people who have BTDT.


I am putting baby on the breast EVERY feeding, but, she is removing little to no milk, and it is looking like it may be a long time before she is able to latch/suck effectivily so I need to keep my supply up (actually I think I'm a bit behind the game now, but, hoping to catch up...I think I have a good supply, but, I started with oversupply and wish I would have maintained that..I just kept thinking that DD was nursing better and yesterday got news she is not and may not for some time still)


Anyway, I've pumped at work/school for my first 2 kids in the past, and I am pretty good with the actual pumping - in fact with this baby sometimes my milk lets down as soon as I look at the pump (far throw from not being able to let down at all when I was pumping for DS1).  I am doing some things to make it easier, like leaving my pump set up and refridgerating the flanges so I don't have to constantly wash.


I do have some logistical questions though...


Currently a feeding looks like: nurse for about 20mins (10 each side), followed by 2oz bottle (about 45mins on average), followed by pump 15mins (I'm getting around 1.5-3oz so far during these pumping sessions - I get more during the times I have been pumping sicne she was born (12/9)..I get milk for about 10mins and the last 5 (sometimes last 10) is "dry" pumping.


So I am pumping enough each time for one feeding. That said, the ENTIRE process of feeding the baby/pumping is taking about 1 1/2-2 hours and then we have to feed her again at 3 hours...I've only increased the pumping yesterday afternoon and I am already so exhausted! I would really like to pump every other feeding and pump enough milk for 2 feedings...is there a way I can get to that point? Will it cause problems when/if we transition to her getting her nutrition from the breast? I will also be pumping at work soon, so I think I might as well try and match my current pumping schedule as close to that schedule as I can, you know?


Also, what do you do when you are out? I do have a car adapter...but what about if you go to someone's house, or a public event...shopping...whatever. Do you skip a pumping session? If not, what do you do? If you do skip does your supply suffer?


Also wondering (regarding bottle feeding), what is typical intake for a 5 week old? The pediatrician said to start with 2oz and increase if she finishes a bottle...the LC said to give her 2oz all the time and try to push her to finish it (but to stick with 2oz). She takes an average of 1/2 ounce from the breast (based on before and after feed weights) and she actively sucks at the bottle for about 1/4 ounce and then just holds it in her mouth and occasionally sucks....she usually falls asleep after about 1/2-1 ounce from the bottle, then I will let her rest for 5mins or so before waking her to finish the rest....I want her to get plenty (she still has not regained her birth weight), but, I do not want to overfeed her either and get her obese or cause a problem when I attempt to transition her to breast only feedings (not sure when/if that will be at this point - thankfully she seems to LOVE to nurse - she just isn't very good at it yet lol).


Thanks and sorry if this is repetitive!



post #2 of 8

I am pumping exclussively due to my son being born with a cleft lip/palate.  At 3wks, I was completely worn out and gave up:(  I would bottle feed him (30-60min), pump for another 20min, then have to wash the stuff and then within the 3hr mark he was ready to eat again.  I feel your pain!  But when he was 4mo old I decided to relactate!  At first I pumped every 2hrs, even at night.  This was very tough for me but I kept to it.  Then when I started getting about 2oz every pump, I started to pump only after he ate.  Just like feeding on demand.  I can say that since the last week in October that my lil man has not seen an ounce of formula and I even have a stock pile in the freezer!  I bought some tea called Mother's Milk and drank this about 3x per day in the beginning to help out also.  I also have a dry pump towards the last five minutes or so, but if I have the time I just keep pumping because usually another small let down will happen.  When I do this, I have noticed my supply gets a little bigger.  Hang in there mama!  You will find the treasure that you seek!

post #3 of 8

also i have a pump with a battery pack so that when i go somewhere when i am needing a pump session i can do so.  or i bring my ac adapter cord.  i have to take long road trips sometimes and i just sit in hte back of my van and do so.  and also i have two sets of pumping supplies...one from the hospital and the one that came with my pump.  this has been a life saver in the middle of the night!

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement! I think my supply is increasing a little bit. I taught my 4 year old how to hold the bottle so he is helping me bottle feed (I put her in a bouncy seat in front of me) her while I pump...so at least that gains me a few minutes and I think I am starting to get more used to the pumping so at least I am not sitting there just begging time to go faster! I'm encouraged that (despite stopping for a bit) you were able to get back to it and keep with it...its hard not having an end in sight or even knowing if there is an end; but, I really want her to have breastmilk!


What pump has a battery pack?

post #5 of 8

Hugs mama...it's hard work! I've been pumping exclusively since my DD was born six months ago exactly today! She was never able to nurse and gets all of her feeds exclusively from the bottle. In those early weeks, it definitely was hard because I would feed her, get her down, pump, wash bottles and then it was time to start all over again.


To answer some of your questions, I take my pump with me wherever I go and I pump when I need to. I pump in the car, I pump at work, I pump in people's homes that I'm visiting, I even pumped in the bathroom standing up at my niece's wedding reception! I know that the Medela Freestyle has a battery pack, not sure if any others do. I have an adapter that changes the wall plug in to a car plug so I use that in the car. I started taking fenugreek about a month ago because my supply tanked when I switched jobs and was not able to pump as frequently as before. I still have a good freezer stash though so it doesn't stress me out. Make sure you get the right size pump horns. I finally broke down and bought the 36 mm horns for my Medela and it's so much more comfortable than the 30 mm. I can't believe I waited this long!

post #6 of 8

Hi Momma,


I pump exclusively and it is hard work!  My son is 3 months old and in the beginning I wasn't sure I could keep it up this long...but it does get a little easier. (Or maybe you just get used to it.)


To answer your questions...

Once my supply got well established...i started pumping every 4 hours instead of the recommended 3 and I've still be able to maintain a good supply. I have skipped a session a couple of times when I was somewhere I just absolutely could not pump. I don't recommend this  though...its REALLY uncomfortable. My supply didn't suffer the few times I have done it but again it was just a few times. Not something I do regularly.   :)

 I take my pump with me everywhere we go. I use the Medela Pump In Style...it has a battery pack with it so I can pump pretty much anywhere..(little tip though...keep an extra set of batteries in the bag. My batteries died in the middle of pumping once and i did not have any extras with me.) I just bought a car charger today to have as a backup. Hope this helps.


As for intake amounts...My son took about 2 oz at five weeks...but he did jump to 3 very shortly after...i think within the next week or so.







post #7 of 8

I also have the pump in style from medela.  i dont take mine with me too many places as i just schedule my day around pumping, baby sleeping, and feeding.  Pumping is so much work.  I just take my lap top with me every time i do so that i have something to help the time fly.  a quick question though...i am extremely exhausted!  with my older two boys i never breastfed so this is a first for me.  my 8mo is sleeping through the night now, but i just can not seem to find my energy or not be tired all the time.  is this normal with breastfeeding?

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks! I have a WIC appointment Friday and I am supposed to get a second pump then - maybe 2...I think there are a few options if I sign that I won't accept formula from them (fine with me!) I'll have to try and get my hands a battery pack - that sounds really helpful. I do have a car adapter (which I tested today) for my Avent.


Tiredness.....I don't know...I know I was tired with my boys but they were horrible sleepers. DD sleeps and I wasn't tired until I started pumping so much...though maybe it is just temporary while my body is working to catch up...or maybe it is stress. Who knows...but I swear I hit a brick wall this week and I am just so incredibly tired!

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