Am I wrong to consider pumping and bottle feeding instead of BFing? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Breastfeeding > Am I wrong to consider pumping and bottle feeding instead of BFing?
Mccmama07's Avatar Mccmama07 05:29 PM 10-09-2007
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!!

lovingmommyhood's Avatar lovingmommyhood 05:33 PM 10-09-2007
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.
herbsgirl's Avatar herbsgirl 05:59 PM 10-09-2007
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!
morning glory's Avatar morning glory 06:54 PM 10-09-2007
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!!
runes's Avatar runes 07:10 PM 10-09-2007
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!!
rachellanigh's Avatar rachellanigh 08:02 PM 10-09-2007
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.
Sandstress's Avatar Sandstress 08:15 PM 10-09-2007
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.
mom2tig99Nroo03's Avatar mom2tig99Nroo03 03:00 AM 10-10-2007
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.
bri276's Avatar bri276 03:34 AM 10-10-2007
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.
Ish'smom's Avatar Ish'smom 09:06 AM 10-10-2007
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!
Sandstress's Avatar Sandstress 10:54 AM 10-10-2007
Originally Posted by mom2tig99Nroo03 View Post

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.
This is not entirely accurate. The transfer of "germs" from baby to mom happens whether she is pumping or nursing. The main route for acquisition of germs from baby is through the upper aerodigestive tract (nose and mouth) and the antibodies are then formed and transferred to the milk. Those antibodies come out in the milk whether you're nursing or pumping.

There are a million reasons to try to keep nursing rather than EPing, but this isn't one of them.
turtlewomyn's Avatar turtlewomyn 11:18 AM 10-10-2007
Are you wrong to consider EP instead of BF? No, that is an option, if you need to do that. However, like other posters, try giving it some more time. It gets better!
Not a mom of a preemie, but I did have major problems with bfing, it was hell for nine weeks due to tongue tie. Pain, bloody cracked nipples (the cracks became huge fissures, it looked like part of my nipple was missing, according to the OB), dd not gaining weight. I actually pumped and fed pumped for two weeks, and supplemented at the advice of the ped and OB. That was hell (plus we had a hurricane during that time, try doing that with no electricity or lights). I was pumping every two hours, trying to keep up my supply, and then having to feed her on the off hours, if DH wasn't with me. It was much better when I got her back on the breast at four weeks old (after her tongue tie was clipped).

Now, DD is two years old, still nursing, and that difficult time is long behind us. It seems like forever when you are in it, but in hindsight, it is a small amount of time. You just have to keep taking it day by day, nursing by nursing.

Good luck, I know you will make the best choice for your family, whatever that is.
letniaLynne's Avatar letniaLynne 05:57 PM 10-10-2007
EPing has been HORRIBLE on so many fronts but I do it because I have to, my DD NEEDS BM, it is that important! But if your babe will take your breast MAKE IT WORK! I would cut off my right arm to have not had to do this. FYI I have been pumping for 20mths now and currently also 4ws pregnant, it can be done but not without HUGE sacrifice. :
CeeCee123's Avatar CeeCee123 06:59 PM 10-10-2007
Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply. I'm literally overwhelmed by the responses. I needed the perspective that you all gave me - it's so hard to keep that when it's late in the evening and you are tired and frustrated.

So.... the little boy is off the bottle until we get this all figured out. The LCs helped me with his positioning/latch and although it's not comfortable, it's less painful. He nurses great during the day - in fact I was delighted to find during my last session at the support group that he took in 4oz from my breast, which totally destroys my theory that he could take more from the bottle than from me!!! He has also had phenomenal weight gain - over a pound in the last week and a half.

Night times and evenings are definitely more challenging - he will happily hang around for an hour and be still rooting after an hour of sucking/snoozing. I like the suggestion about getting music going/trying to make the feeding sessions more relaxing for me so I'm not focusing on having him finish up so I can "move on". It's important for me to remember that THIS IS MY MAIN JOB RIGHT NOW!!!

It's definitely looking up - thank you to everyone who reminded me that I just need to give it time. I guess this has probably been said a hundred times but I was just beginning to feel there was something wrong with me that something as "natural" as breastfeeding was reducing me to tears a few times a day.

Again, I really appreciate everyone who took the time to write. I really had no idea that being an EPer would be so hard in the long run, thankfully I have you guys around to put it all in perspective.
letniaLynne's Avatar letniaLynne 07:43 PM 10-10-2007

So glad things are looking up! Also I love when MDC comes through with a "wake up call" just when you need it. Just think in a few months you will be an old pro at BFing and this will be just a distant memory.:
CathMac's Avatar CathMac 10:35 AM 10-11-2007
Originally Posted by CeeCee123 View Post
So.... the little boy is off the bottle until we get this all figured out. The LCs helped me with his positioning/latch and although it's not comfortable, it's less painful. He nurses great during the day - in fact I was delighted to find during my last session at the support group that he took in 4oz from my breast, which totally destroys my theory that he could take more from the bottle than from me!!! He has also had phenomenal weight gain - over a pound in the last week and a half.
I'm so glad it's going better. Both of my girls were "nip and nappers" and it seemed like almost as soon as one nursing session was over it was time for another. Once I resigned myself to their nursing style it was easier.

If you want to get more sleep I suggest you consider co-sleeping if you aren't already. Kellymom has an article on "The Family Bed" which gives you some important safety info.

Keep up the good work.
preemiemamarach's Avatar preemiemamarach 12:20 PM 10-11-2007
It sounds like things are looking up- congrats!!

You might want to check my recent post in the EPers tribe thread- I've been EPing for 13 weeks and *just* got my DS to start nursing effectively (he was a 33 weeker)! All while he's had physical challenges, I've had physical challenges, I went back to work, and we both almost needed urgent surgery last month.

We probably have another month or two before we can BF exclusively when I'm not working, but as I plan to go for a minimum of 12 months (24 if he can really get on the boob right), it's all good.

So the moral of my story- if I can transition my non-nurser to the breast after 3+ months of EPing, a lot of mamas can do it. I promise!
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