Pumping Breast Milk for Nighttime feedings. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a 5 week old who LOVES to eat.  However, he is a bit of a "fussy nurser".  50% of the time, typically during daylight hours, he latches on great and has no problem  The other 50% of the time he seems agitated, his hands flail and get in the way, and he can't seem to stay latched.  Either his hands bump him off (I tend to swaddle him beforehand now) or he just pulls himself off, almost like it is uncomfortable to him.  I wonder if my milk is letting down too forcefully?   And, like I said before, it seems like this happens more at night.  And my breasts are more full at night as well, which may be a problem.  


So, I have thought about pumping a couple of times per day to get a bottle supply for the 4+ feedings he does from bedtime to morning.  Has anyone done this or had a similar problem?  Are there benefits/problems with this strategy?  I just want mealtime to always be peaceful and comfortable for him and he's taken my breast milk from a bottle a few times from my husband and did a great job with it.  Doesn't seem to have the issue he has at my breast.


I should also mention he's a big spitter-upper.  I have to burp him for at least 30 minutes after a feeding to make sure he's got all the "gunk" out of him so he can be comfortable.  His older sister (almost 3) was a big spitter too, but didn't have a problem with nursing at all after the initial first couple of weeks.  I nursed her for 2 years and was hoping to go the same distance with my son, but it seems like he's miserable with it half of the time!


Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Thank you!

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#2 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 09:17 AM
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I don't have any advice to offer re: pumping for nighttime feedings, but I was wondering if perhaps your son might have a bit of reflux? This could explain his discomfort at the breast, as well as the spitting up. DS has moderately bad reflux (which is luckily very much under control due thanks to the right meds), and his eating habits were very similar to the ones you describe. I'm not one for just labeling babies as 'refluxy' just because of a bit of fussiness/spit up, but it's worth considering perhaps. DS's reflux was exacerbated by the fact that I too had quite a forceful letdown, so it definitely could be that, too. Have you tried block nursing to see if this helps?

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#3 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 10:02 AM
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I saw a friend do this and her supply never recovered. For the first 3 mos, your body is trying to increase supply to feed your increasingly hungry baby, but after that the increase rate slows down.

Nursing at night really helps keep supply up. You could also pump at night and bottle feed the baby, but even then your supply may take a hit (and so much washing!).

It was a few months before my son and I were totally in synch with latching. The first few weeks were awful, but he got better and better and by 3.5 mos ( around when I went back to work) I was nursing in my sleep. We were not able to master nursing sidelying when my son was small.

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#4 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 10:11 AM
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Your supply is naturally at its peak in the wee hours. I would look into ways to deal w overactive letdown and see if that helps w the spittingup. With practice, you can figure out how to deal w the flailing hands, thats fairly normal.

I would not bottle feed at night, as you will decrease your supply that way.

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#5 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an appt next week with his doctor - I will have her look into reflux.  Could very well be the issue!  And, may I ask what is "block nursing"?


Thanks a bunch!

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#6 of 9 Old 12-03-2010, 08:56 PM
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Block nursing is when you feed only from one side for a pre-determined length of time (usually 2  - 4 hours, but sometimes longer). It's done to correct oversupply or foremilk/hindmilk issues (by making sure baby stays on the same boob long enough to get hindmilk, and also eventually reducing supply to a more normal level).

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#7 of 9 Old 12-07-2010, 07:42 AM
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have you taken DS to a chiropractor?  He might be uncomfortable.  I took DD the a Chiro at 4 months and WOW the difference when it came to nursing!  I wish I had done it sooner!  I just thought I would throw it out there. :)


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#8 of 9 Old 12-07-2010, 08:26 AM
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Have you read this article about hands and breastfeeding?



It seems those hands aren't just flailing. Your baby may be trying to do something with his hands that you can't. Also, swaddling (especially if too tight) can exacerbate the discomfort of gas/reflux by not allowing the baby to wiggle into more comfortable positions.


I too have a baby that is having trouble with my over supply. Before bed, I have been pumping to reduce the let down and letting her nurse from the most empty side until she is settled for sleep. This keeps her from getting overly full of gas (from gulping) and keeps her sleeping.

I would be VERY hesitant to pump and forego night time nursings. That is when your supply is highest, and your body needs to know that you are taking milk out at that time, otherwise your supply could seriously tank.

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#9 of 9 Old 12-10-2010, 05:20 PM
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I have a three month old and I would strongly suggest following the baby's lead.  He/she is still building up your supply, and since breast milk is suppy/demand, I would feed on demand and only pump to relieve discomfort.  My baby would often flail about and come on and off the breast, but it was because we were learning how to nurse together, plus that stimulates your supply.   Once we got to the two month mark, everything fell into a way more comfortable routine and my supply was much more consistent.  I think every newborn is pretty much a "fussy nurser".  I haven't nursed while swaddling.

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