Is pumping worth it?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-10-2014, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Is pumping worth it?!

I've been pumping since day 4, when my son was in the hospital for jaundice and dehydration. He barely gained weight by two weeks, and at that point my nipples were so torn up that when the ped said to supplement with formula, we almost exclusively bottle fed for a few days so I could try to heal. He's almost two months old now, and I still have excruciating pain (might be tongue tie but has not been diagnosed, everyone says his latch is great and he "just has a strong suck").
The last time I nursed him was a few days ago, and I've been keeping track of pumped amounts as well as how much formula he gets. The most I've ever pumped in 24 hours is 16oz. I am renting a medela symphony and pump every 3 hours (except at night when baby sleeps 5-7 hours :-/), have taken every supplement under the sun, eat oatmeal to the point it grosses me out, drink a ton of water, and still can't increase supply. That 16 oz is half his daily intake... And average I pump 14 per day.
The almost identical thing happened with my 4yo and I pumped for 6 months with him. I didn't keep track of amounts, but I know I only pumped enough for one bottle per day when he was 2 months old.

How many ounces per day would you keep pumping for if this was your experience? Or have you done it and do you look back and regret it? It's such a time commitment but I feel so guilty about not being able to bf and I hate the formula. Half feels like enough to persevere for now, but I know ff babies drink bigger bottles the older they get, and the ratio of what I can pump will decrease... I'd like to know how other mamas have dealt with this!
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#2 of 7 Old 08-11-2014, 12:51 PM
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Hugs. I took DS to pediatric dentist for tongue tie at 3 months. It made all the difference. We even tried pediatric chiropractor that helped a bit for a short time. Pediatrician didn't think tongue tie was a problem. I guess it was. We've been able to ebf and I quit crying from the pain. Still happily nursing at 15 months. Breast feeding is so much better than pumping in my opinion.
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#3 of 7 Old 08-11-2014, 05:41 PM
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It is worth it if it is worth it to you. It sounds like pumping is detracting from the quality, loving time you have with your baby, and for me that would not be worth it. Also remember, some is better than none and the 2 months of breast milk you have given him is far better than nothing
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#4 of 7 Old 08-11-2014, 06:01 PM
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What is your ultimate goal? Are you intending to wean off the bottles/formula and return to exclusive breastfeeding? If so then it is definitely worth expressing to maintain your supply while you do this.

If you don't intend to return to feeding at the breast then, as a PP said, it depends how intrusive you are finding it. Breastmilk is always beneficial but expressing is time-consuming and your supply is more likely to dwindle than increase, based on what you said in the OP. It sounds like you have put a lot of hard work into giving your baby breastmilk for this long.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-15-2014, 09:22 PM
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Awww here's a big hug for you xx. I think I understand how you feel, and you are doing a great job so no matter what please be confident that you did your best. My personal experience is that any amount of breastmilk you give them is liquid gold even if it's only a bottle or 2 a day. Nothing can compare to it. Also pumping every 3 hours is excellent but the lactation nurse recommended in order to really give it a boost, she suggested that I get up for 15 min or so at night somewhere mid sleep stretch to do a good pump. Something about the nighttime stimulation is really important.

I actually quit pumping at 1 month because I felt like it was hurting things more than it was helping things. I felt pressure by ex-hubby too, his family couldn't understand why BF was so important to me.

I totally regretted quitting....and when DD was 3 months old (my milk was completely dried from 2 months of not nursing at all), so up I pumped, pumped and pumped every 3 hours and once I would get up during her nighttime stretch to pump. It took 7 weeks of getting very little drops of what seemed like nothing but sure enough my milk came back (it's called relactating). I was so amazed my body could do that. By continuing to nurse every 3 hours and also once or twice during the night for a few months my milk supply greatly increased. By 6 months I had eliminated formula bottles down to 1 or sometimes 2 a day. She was consuming 80%BM for sure.

The lactation nurse said to aim for pumping 8 x a day when you're doing the marathon sessions to increase supply and I did and it really worked, just like she said. It was tough but it was the best feeling to see the results of determination.

You're an awesome mom for putting so much care, concern and hard work into taking the best care for your little ones. Hang in there mama!!
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#6 of 7 Old 08-16-2014, 02:37 AM
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Yes, night feeding/expressing is important for maintaining supply. Apart from it just being extra stimulation, prolactin levels are highest between 1am and 5am.
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#7 of 7 Old 08-16-2014, 03:58 AM
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Whether or not to continue breastfeeding is a decision that many women have to make. Of course, everyone's situation is different, since there are many reasons why a woman might find herself having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to keep trying to go the route of breastfeeding. I breastfed all three of my children, but I was a full time college student and a working mom during the time I had my first two children; so I had to make the same decision you are faced with now. I also had a deep desire to breastfeed, despite how much my nipples were hurting. And I also went through periods of time when I felt I wasn't producing enough milk. And for me, it was very difficult to pump milk. These are very common problems for breastfeeding moms. Over the years, experience has taught me a few things...First of all, when pumping, you want to pump as often as possible, the more often the better. It is not how long you pump that is important, it is how often you pump that will make the bigger difference. Follow a schedule and pump for at least a few minutes on each side, even if you are unable to express any milk; the stimulation will make your body start producing better. And don't be afraid to let your baby nurse, even if you don't think there is any milk there. There is no harm in allowing your baby to nurse a little and then following up with a bottle just to be sure that they eat enough. Don't forget to pump at night. And all new mothers have sore nipples. There are many reasons why soreness can linger, so stay on top of the situation by talking to your doctor to rule out things like infection or a clogged milk duct, etc. And if you are concerned your baby might be tongue-tied but the pediatrician disagrees, there is no harm in getting a second opinion. But I will say this, I also got VERY sore when breastfeeding my firstborn, and there was no medical reason for it. He was a strong sucker, and I was new to breastfeeding, plain and simple. I used to grit my teeth to get through the pain on some days, it was that bad. But I persevered and I eventually stopped hurting. Oftentimes, it is merely due to your skin staying chaffed. As far as how much milk you are pumping...I always had a hard time expressing milk, and the pump usually hurt me more than the nursing did. For me, the pumping was detrimental.
Lastly, don't overly worry if you can't breastfeed. I feel like there is a stigma out there that makes women feel as if they have to breastfeed in order to be a good mother, or that if you don't breastfeed, then you don't love your child as much. Complete garbage! There are millions of babies out there who were raised on formula who grew into wonderful, strong, healthy, intelligent adults. Even those woman who breastfeed, some will only do it for a few months, or others may supplement their milk supply with an occasional bottle of formula. It will be alright. In the end, you just have to make the decision you are most comfortable with and whatever works best for you and your child. And remember, even if you do end up switching solely to formula, you were still able to give your child the best start you could!!
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