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Am I wrong to consider pumping and bottle feeding instead of BFing? - Page 2

post #21 of 47
I can't imagine the challenges you have dealt with having a preemie...but I do want to say that the first 4 weeks of bfing my term baby were very difficult and I wanted to quit about 100 times a day.

She is 4 months old now and I am so thankful that I stuck it out. It really *does* get easier with time and experience. As babies grow, their ability to help you help them (as far as the latch and position and everything) gets better. Also, the more routine life becomes as baby grows older, the less overwhelming breastfeeding becomes.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it in the beginning, but I feared this well before the baby was even born, so I set myself a goal and forced myself to stick with it. And I told myself that once I met my first goal, I would set a second one, with attention to how well things had gone up to that point.

So, for me, I started out saying that I was going to exclusively BF for the first six weeks. Period. During that time I was pumping, also. After the first six weeks went by (and my god were they hard), I gave myself another two weeks...and so on. She's now 18 weeks old, and I don't set goals anymore because it's really become second nature.

I'd worry about exclusively pumping because of what that might do to your supply in the long run. But I totally understand your exhaustion and frustration and upset. And when you get right down to it, you have to be able to live with your situation...and if your upset and resentful every time you try to feed your baby, it will wear on you. So, I certainly wouldn't blast you for trying to do something different.

I just hope you can hang in there a little while longer because it really, really does get easier.
post #22 of 47
I can't imagine the challenges you have dealt with having a preemie...but I do want to say that the first 4 weeks of bfing my term baby were very difficult and I wanted to quit about 100 times a day.

She is 4 months old now and I am so thankful that I stuck it out. It really *does* get easier with time and experience. As babies grow, their ability to help you help them (as far as the latch and position and everything) gets better. Also, the more routine life becomes as baby grows older, the less overwhelming breastfeeding becomes.

ITA. Continuing to BF my son despite our initial difficulties is one of the best things I have EVER done in my life. I am so proud of myself. I agree that you should set a small goal and work towards that. For me, it was BF for at least six weeks. Once I had got past six weeks, it became easier. And easier and easier. There are still challenges at four months but it wasn't like at the start. I had a TERRIBLE start. I wanted to give up so many times but I am so glad I did not. I am so glad I didn't decide to exclusively pump.

I never believed it would be so easy with such a rough start. There really is a learning curve for some of us.
post #23 of 47
Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post

I am so proud of myself.

I never believed it would be so easy with such a rough start.
These are two major things that I think get overlooked. One of the reasons I didn't give up on BFing when it was so hard in the beginning is because I was terribly afraid that I'd feel guilty and feel like a failure (of my own making). I'm glad those things were motivators for me because I *do* feel a sense of accomplishment now...especially because I have pregnant girlfriends (who have never BFed) who look at me like I'm an old pro now, even though they were the ones I cried on the phone with in the beginning. Those same girlfriends are asking me if I'll help them BF when their babies are born.

And really, given how bad it was in the beginning, I just can't believe it now.
post #24 of 47
Originally Posted by Valian View Post
The short answer? Yes.
Its wrong to consider going long term as an "EP-er" that is, an exclusive pumper, so soon. Pumping long-term is VERY hard and for many women its difficult to keep your supply up and meet baby's increasing need. Check out some of the EP threads and read more about what your future would be like.

Bottle feeding *only* for a few weeks is a big risk as baby could 'forget' how to nurse--latch is different on bottles and sucking is a different action and requires coordination of different muscles.

Additionally, however well you respond to the pump now that can change. Some moms reach the point where they have "pump resistance".

As tough as it is you are in the middle of a moment that many moms wish they could wave a magic wand and go back to.

I think if you hang in there now you will be very glad you did. Especially as your baby gets bigger and mobile and you would rather spend time interacting and playing with DC than pumping.
post #25 of 47
I had terribly sore and cracked nipples with my first baby. Then my second baby was 3.5 weeks early, so I know how hard it is to get an early baby to nurse! I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to have all of that against you at the same time. That sounds so very hard. But you can do it!
post #26 of 47
My son was full-term (one day early), and he too was a VERY sleepy baby. He didn't latch for the first 2-3 days at ALL and the next 3 weeks were VERY hard - getting him to latch took lots and lots of patience. He had to be PERFECTLY positioned. I couldn't nurse laying down, or in anything besides my glider, with my boppy just perfect...

But then, around 3-4wks, he got it. We both did. I stopped having to get up to nurse (we co-slept but just couldn't do it in bed w/o lots of sitting up and adjusting...), figured out how to nurse w/o the boppy (though, even now at 7mos its still very handy and nice!), and... yeah. It just clicked.

So, I say stick it out. Hang in there, your DC isn't even as old as my son was when he was born. Give it at least another 3 or 4 wks, and see how it goes. I can't imagine EP'n. It'd be SOO hard, bfing, while hard in the begginning gets SOO much better and SOOOOO much easier, its almost hard to believe how hard it was in teh begginning!!
post #27 of 47
I thought I was going to do this because of sore nipples. I pumped one bottle and said no way. I decided I'd rather deal with sore nipples for a few weeks than one more day of pumping & feeding. It is such a big pain in the butt and causes you to spend twice as much time on feedings. I haven't pumped since.

I know you're probably getting sick of hearing this (I know I did!), but it really does get so much easier. I agree with Angela -- give it six weeks, and then reassess.
post #28 of 47
Good luck mama, you can do it.
post #29 of 47
I have been pumping for 19 months, and for at least 8 of that, I lived with cracked, bleeding, infected nipples from the pump. So on top of all the headaches of pumping (of which there are many), I had the problems you are wanting to avoid also. I won't detail our life story, but having to EP has been a tragic loss in my life and a great big pain the rear. I am proud I have been able to give her mama milk (and she never had any formula), but I still mourn the loss of that part of our life.
post #30 of 47
I would give it more time. A small baby can take some time to get a stronger suck.

The combined feeing may also have him not nursing as efficiently as he should.

Pumping and feeding long term can be exhausting.

Pumping still gives your baby so many wonderful things but you do miss out on some of the skin to skin contact and the baby doesn't get proper jaw strength and development. Most importantly though is that your baby will miss out on the baby specific milk your body will make. The milk adjusts from one feed to the next to meet the needs of the baby. If the baby is not nursing from your breast then your body will not be able to recognize the specific needs of the child to tailor it for the next feed.

In your case you will miss out on the convenience of nursing. You will forever be tyed to spending time pumping and then spending time bottle feeding and cleaning up from that. Plus you won't have the convience of always having food ready and available with you (if you are out and didn't bring enough bottles, middle of the night, etc).

If you give it just a bit more time, and perhaps work with a La Leche League Leader, you might be able to get past some of these problems and have an easier time nursing in the long run.
post #31 of 47
I EP'd for 12 months with my first DS and it was so hard. We had terrible support in the beginning (after a traumatic birth experience) and after a week of sore nipples, more tears than I care to remember (from both of us), I gave up and started pumping. I pumped every 2-3 hours, including the middle of the night, for six months and then tapered a bit after (gave up the nights) when he started solids. We still had to supplement with some formula but I would say 90% of what he got was BM.

My second DS is 3 months old and while it wasn't the horror show of my first birth, it was still HARD to nurse. More sore nipples, more worries it wouldn't work, but we stuck it out and after about 4 weeks things got easier, by 6 weeks it was a whole easier, by 8 weeks I felt more normal, and now it's second nature.

Try to stick it out. Set little goals so you can achieve them. I did that with pumping-I would set a goal and try to meet it.

You can do it!!
post #32 of 47
I don't think you're wrong at all for considering it. It's normal IMO to have those thoughts.

I think EP'ing is very hard and it will just be harder in the end than what you're going through now.
post #33 of 47
I have been there done that..!! I exclusivly pumped for my son for 5 months. He started out at 38 weeks gestation didnt hardly ever care if he ate or not! I had to force him to breastfeed. Can you force a baby to breastfeed? NO, Actually its almost IMPOSSIBLE! One person would tell you me thing and another would tell me something else. I was Pumping a gallon or less a day, trying to get my son to eat from my breast (didnt latch right either) (he had almost no bottles then)and pumping every 2-3 hours even during the night. It was more than my body and mind could handle. I finally went to exclusive pumping and put it in a bottle--it was much easier to pump then bottle feed than Pump then struggle and struggle and struggle some more with nursing that was not working.

Now, he is over 1 year old and I wish I would have tried a lact-aid, nursing shields ect before i GAVE UP completley. But my chances are gone...I will have to wait until we have another child Lord Willing. I just know next time I want to have some special stuff on hand, a lactation consultant ready at a moments notice, ect. I am going to be ready and maybe all the stuff that happened to my last baby wont happen again. Once you completley stop nursing, after so long of a time, often a baby will not even consider nursing again. So you'll have to make a decision on whats best....but at the time for me I was soooo stressed out and sleep deprived, it was horrible. Even though I wish I would have held on longer than 9 weeks, I felt I had went through more than I could handle. We know our own limits the best!

I love breastfeeding!
post #34 of 47
I haven't read all the posts so if this is a repeat sorry!

I feel your frustration...I ended up quitting breastfeeding my second child early because he would do the slow little flutter sucks and fall asleep and it really felt like we weren't getting anywhere...the thing is it had more to do with me and the pressure I was feeling than it did with him. I just couldn't TAKE the sitting still required. He wasn't early like your bub but there was an extended hospital stay, surgery and the stress that goes with that.

I really regret my decision to switch to the bottle. I wish that SOMEONE had said to me...give it time and work on letting yourself relax and enjoy breastfeeding. I think if I had focused on what about the breastfeeding sessions was frustrating to me and figured out ways to deal with that it really could have helped.

I know in the end you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your sanity but I hope you will give it a little longer to see if you can't make it work. WHy not figure out a plan with a timeline...its very empowering to have a plan and feel like you are in control. Focus less on how much he is getting (SO hard I know when thats ALL they focus on in the hospital) more on enjoying each feed all on its own. Think of ways to make it matter less if a session does last 45 minutes...put on good music or a favourite TV show take it as a chance to veg and do some deep breathing. Keep water and chocolate handy...gotta keep the energy up! And keep in mind that supplementing with the bottle can weaken his sucking when breastfeeding so you may have to cut him some slack in that department until he is exculsively on the breast.

You have to decide for yourself what is right...I'm just very sorry that I quit as quick as I did so I don't want to see someone else make the same mistake. Good Luck!!
post #35 of 47
first of all, .

i am not a btdt mama to a preemie, but i hope that my experience can help you feel like you are in good company.

my little one wasn't early (quite the opposite, in fact), and she was an avid nurser from the first latch on, and i can still relate to the challenges that you are facing. the first weeks are hard. my nipples were sore, i had a wicked case of thrush (OUCH!!) and i remember crying every time dd latched on because it hurt so bad. it was truly awful.

i had always known that i wanted to extended breastfeed, but i was absolutely not prepared for the transition into lactation, which can be a rocky road for some of us. at the worst of it, i gave myself a time limit of hanging in there until dd was 3 months old. i was literally counting the days.

then, at around 6 weeks postpartum things started to change. dd's mouth was bigger so latching was easier. we finally solidified some things with positioning (the my breast friend pillow was DEFINITELY my best friend ). also, her body wasn't quite so 'newborn floppy' anymore so positioning was easier. we were able to get the hang of nursing in the sidelying position so i was getting more rest so feeling less sleep deprived.

given that your sweet precious little one was a month early, i would definitely correct for that and see how things are going at 10-12 weeks postpartum.

you have added challenges with latching, and i'm hoping that as your son gets bigger and his digestive system and nervous system mature, it will all come together for both of you. you deserve a big and many many for being so dedicated and persevering, and i hope it improves very very soon. keep us updated and we are here for you to cheer you on and support you!!
post #36 of 47
Originally Posted by CeeCee123 View Post

Anyone have any insight/thoughts/suggestions? I am going back to a breast feeding support group and meeting with a lactation consultant again to see if I can get this figured out, but this solution seems awfully tempting, I just don't know if it's the right thing to do....
Support will be the best thing for you! Glad you have lots of help here.
post #37 of 47
Retired EPer here. I was never able to get my DD to nurse after 12 weeks in the NICU...although there are lots of women on the NICU parenting forum (under life with a babe) who were successful. Sorry, I have no idea how to reference other threads, but there are a couple about getting the preemie back to the breast, with lots of success stories.

EPing is a lot of work, but I managed to maintain a full supply for about 15 months, and then the 16th month it diminished quickly, partly, I think, because of some unexpected traveling I had to do. It sounds like you're in one of the "natural" difficult periods anyway- going on what others have written- I don't have that experience. It is possible to maintain a good supply through pumping. It sounds like you're doing alright with pumping right now.

Hope that helps.

ETA: Is there a childrens hospital/NICU nearby that would have LC's who had some expertise in babies who were a little early? Just a thought.
post #38 of 47
sending hugs your way mama. i only skimme dove rthe first couple of responses, but i wholeheartedly agree with them.

your little one is still learning, and giving more fake nipples right now will mkae it harder to leanr to latch properly.

i pumped for my oldest for almost 6 month til he learned to nurse the right way, and he wasn't even a preemie. it was hard work. nursing directly at the breast was SO much easier,. noit to mention better.

when a child nurses directly at the breast, the mother produces germ- specific antibodies to what the child has been exposed to and passes those immunities on in the milk. a pump can't transfer that information.
post #39 of 47
another retired EP'er who says don't do it until and unless it is the ONLY option. It isn't easier in the long run, and will likely result in your child being breastfed a shorter period of time overall.

just continue to do the best you can. You will know if the day comes when you literally cannot do anything else besides EP. It is a last resort! Being chained to the pump is like being a prisoner. Don't do that to yourself or baby unless it's the only way you feel you can possibly continue to breastfeed. I say this with all due respect, I just never want to see anyone else go through it unnecessarily.
post #40 of 47
Ditto on hanging in there. You can do it! I know it's hard. I had soreness and difficulties for the first two months with my full-term babe but once we got it worked out it was great and I wouldn't give up BFing my boy anytime soon for a million bucks. Oh and he nursed very frequently(atleast every hour and for most of each hour and slept in between alot) for a long time. It was tiring and I couldn't get alot done but now things are so much easier. Try to relax and enjoy the frequent snuggle nursing(Once it stops hurting of course!) because you will miss it when he decides your lap and arms are no longer as comfy as a bed.(Mine did anyway)Congrats on your babe!
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