Have you made the switch from exclusively pumping to nursing? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 01-16-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this should be posted here, or in the preemie section, but Ill try here first.

 

I have twins who were born at 35 weeks, 1 day. They spent 10 days in the NICU, and they had a hard time regulating their temperatures and gaining weight while I was nursing. Everytime I'd try to do a nursing session, their temps would drop despite skin to skin. Because they were working so hard to stay warm, it seemed like they were burning more calories than they were taking in, so they werent gaining any weight. 

 

Now they are home and 12 days old, and we are latching at every feeding and they will suckle for a few minutes and then they are tuckered out- no matter how much I try to stimulate them. If I unswaddle them and put them to my skin, their temperatures drop every time. It is (Im being serious, we have thermometers everywhere now) 81 degrees in my house. They dont seem to have any nipple confusion, or problems latching, they just get so tired so easily and their bodies just cant seem to handle nursing just yet. They are getting almost 100% pumped breastmilk, and have been for the most part (we've supplemented with formula a few times, and we are doing one feeding a day with fortified breastmilk, just for the extra calories). They are currently 4 lbs 4 oz and 4 lbs 5 oz, so every single feeding counts and I can't really afford to just sit in a chair and let them "figure it out" for a few days like we have in the past, because they will lose the weight that we have worked so hard to get them to gain. 

 

So basically, Im looking for positive stories about people who started out exclusively pumping and eventually made the switch to breastfeeding once their babies were ready. Anyone?


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#2 of 10 Old 01-16-2013, 07:56 AM
 
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My 4th child was born at 32 weeks and was also in the NICU. We had some similar issues. Initially, she just couldn't regulate her temp at all. She also just could not latch at all and didn't havethe strength to suck at all. She had to be tube fed,then graduated to the bottle. I pumped and pumped. Everytime I fed her I put her to the breast first. Eventually she would try sucking but then stop and cry for the bottle that required less energy. I just persisted, always offering the breast first. I would manually express a little so there was milk on my nipple and try to get her on right when I let down when all she had to do was swallow. It took 3 months, but all of a sudden she just got it. I went on to nurse her for over 2 years. It was really hard and frustrting but I'm so glad I persisted. If she had been my first I don't think I could have done it. My husband was also incredibly supportive. She's a healthy 6 year old now btw.

Your little ones sound like they're further along developmentally so hopefully once they get these physical issues of strength and temperature under control they'll be fine and it won't take as long as 3 months! Keep going. Ithink you'll be successful.
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#3 of 10 Old 01-16-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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Congratulations on your sweet babies! I have an EP to EBF story for you but it doesn't involve a preemie. My 41 week 7lb 15oz healthy baby girl was very mucusy at birth and refused the breast aggressively and the few times she did attempt to latch, she kept flicking my nipple out with her tongue and kept getting really frustrated. I started pumping and we finger fed her, then ended up using a bottle. We got home, DH had a medical emergency and I just kept pumping. Offering the breast fell by the wayside and that was a big rookie mistake. Around ten weeks I'd had enough and my supply was dipping so I saw an experienced LC to get DD "back" to the breast. It took a few weeks of effort and a lot of patience but my no boob baby went to being EBF by about 14 weeks. Shes 21 months now and still nursing despite my pregnancy. Since your twins latch, you have a big head start! You will likely have two EBF kiddos in a few weeks as they gain the strength needed to nurse effectively. Congratulations again

ETA what you're actually doing is supplementing direct nursing with EBM. You may be pumping a lot for quantity of milk but really you're nursing too. as the weeks pass, you should see supplementing become less and less needed as babies get more and more of their needs met at the breast. You're already at the first step of the transition. smile.gif
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#4 of 10 Old 01-16-2013, 06:04 PM
 
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Grow those girls!

 

I have twin girls who were born at 36w2d.  They were healthy and 6 lbs and came straight home, but we couldn't get them to latch for more than a few minutes at a time.

 

They needed to eat and grow. Getting to their due date made things easier. By 2 months they were nursing in the daytime. By three months it was working at night. They're still nursing at 19 months (with food since 7 months)

 

You're doing great. And you can focus on growing those girls now and on the breastfeeding later.

 

It may take some time. Be patient with yourself.

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#5 of 10 Old 01-17-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I'm not sure if this should be posted here, or in the preemie section, but Ill try here first.

 

I have twins who were born at 35 weeks, 1 day. They spent 10 days in the NICU, and they had a hard time regulating their temperatures and gaining weight while I was nursing. Everytime I'd try to do a nursing session, their temps would drop despite skin to skin. Because they were working so hard to stay warm, it seemed like they were burning more calories than they were taking in, so they werent gaining any weight. 

 

Now they are home and 12 days old, and we are latching at every feeding and they will suckle for a few minutes and then they are tuckered out- no matter how much I try to stimulate them. If I unswaddle them and put them to my skin, their temperatures drop every time. It is (Im being serious, we have thermometers everywhere now) 81 degrees in my house. They dont seem to have any nipple confusion, or problems latching, they just get so tired so easily and their bodies just cant seem to handle nursing just yet. They are getting almost 100% pumped breastmilk, and have been for the most part (we've supplemented with formula a few times, and we are doing one feeding a day with fortified breastmilk, just for the extra calories). They are currently 4 lbs 4 oz and 4 lbs 5 oz, so every single feeding counts and I can't really afford to just sit in a chair and let them "figure it out" for a few days like we have in the past, because they will lose the weight that we have worked so hard to get them to gain. 

 

So basically, Im looking for positive stories about people who started out exclusively pumping and eventually made the switch to breastfeeding once their babies were ready. Anyone?

Now my child wasn't born as early as yours.  Mine was only 2 weeks early, so that is considered full term.  Mine spent ten days in the NICU, but it was just for jaundice.  Mine didn't have the temperature regulation issues, which I think would have driven me bananas.  I also had an undersupply.  But I built it up by lots of pumping.

 

Your kids will do fine.  In fact, they are much better than mine.  My dd did not know how to latch and didn't figure out how to latch until she was 3 months old.  Your babies sound like they have the hang of it and just a little time to get stronger. 

 

I would think that you let them do what feeding that they are willing to do, and stop the session when the start to get tired.   You just need time, and patience.

 

My dd finally figured out how to latch on at 3 months of age, and that was when I went from exclusively pumping to nursing.  It looks like your kids will make the transition much earlier.  My dd was a strong nurser until she weaned herself at the age of 3 years. 

 

It may seem like this process is taking forever, but it will be a fraction compared with of the rest of the time when your kids are nursing.

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#6 of 10 Old 01-23-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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I wonder if it's something about 3 months of age, because that's when my DD started nursing as well.  She was born at 41 weeks and 2 days, so obviously not a preemie, but we just couldn't get the hang of breastfeeding in the beginning.  So in order to save my sanity I started pumping and bottle feeding, with the intent to get her back to the breast eventually,  Literally, the day she turned 3 months old, she started nursing and continued until she was 20 months and self-weaned (much to my dismay!)  Now I have a 12 day old DS and I think we are destined to repeat a similar fate.  I'm not sure if newborn nursing will ever be in the cards for me.  I have big nipples and both my babies have had tight jaws, so they both had problems taking enough breast into their mouths.  I saw 4 different lactation consultants last time and tried lots of different exercises to loosen DD's jaws.  It was so frustrating.  This time, I am much more relaxed, and I know that I will get my son on the breast eventually.  Hopefully, it will happen before 3 months, but I know we'll get there at some point.  

 

Hang in there mama!  Grow your babies right now, and I'm sure they will get to the breast.  It will take some work, but you can do it!  Congrats and enjoy your babies!


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#7 of 10 Old 01-27-2013, 12:24 AM
 
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My dd was born at roughly 35 wks and spent a few days in NICU as well. I wound up starting my supply by exclusive pumping. DD did not even get the chance to try to latch until 6 days after birth. We kept up with the pumping for a while but after we came home and I spent a few nights dealing with 3am bottle feedings we decided that, at least at night, we needed to switch to nursing. Basically what I did was block out a 6hr timeframe at night where we would just keep trying to nurse whenever she seemed hungry. (at this time we were cosleeping) The first few nights were very hard but did pay off. while DH was asleep and no one was watching I could focus on DD and her latch and controlling my giant tracts of land next to my very tiny baby (dd was 6lbs 1oz when she came home). The unrushed time alone was what we both needed to get our confidence and after a few weeks we started doing less and less bottles. Now, I have no experience with multiples so I don't know what sort of strategies you could adapt to work with your twins. Honestly from what you've said of their weight gain, perhaps you could keep on with what you've been doing and let them build up a bit more weight and strength while still getting nursing practice anytime you can. If skin to skin causes their temp to drop, well that's what cuddly blankets are for. Is it awesome to do skin to skin, sure! Is it just as awesome to have your babies snuggled up to you with a blanket? Of course it is! You've still got plenty of time to transition to fully bf'ing. I only had the one baby to worry about, she was not fighting the same weight battle as your multiples and she still took 2 1/2 months to really get nursing down.


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#8 of 10 Old 01-27-2013, 12:25 AM
 
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Oh, forgot to mention that for the first two weeks we tried nursing she had almost ZERO interest in latching or sucking at my breast. Yours are already WAY ahead there! orngbiggrin.gif


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#9 of 10 Old 01-30-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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Me! 

 

We had a baby in late November, 33+2, she was 4lbs 3oz.  

 

Once we got her home (after 14 days in NICU where she was tube fed, and then bottles of breastmilk), we started a lay-in, giving breast constantly and only giving bottles every other time, then every few times, then none at all (at about 5 days after getting home) - the "none at all" corresponded with her weighing about 5 lbs and 36 weeks of age.  She weighed in at 7lbs, 12oz at 41 weeks and now is getting quite chubby.  Your babies are where mine started out... it was 19 days from that weight until she was on the breast full time. Not too long :) Keep at it.  The NICU people thought I was a crazy person insisting on nursing her every feeding time even if she didn't seem to swallow any, but it all worked out. 

 

By the way, we consented to fortifier one time in the NICU on the very heated advice of a neonatologist, and found that our baby had what seemed to be stomach discomfort and bad diaper rash right away. From then on we did not give consent for anything but breastmilk. We have a nice notation on her record, something like "parent refused treatment against medical advice".  Sort of proud of that, I am glad I have a copy for her baby book :)  Anyway, you didn't mention any digestive issues but in case you have them, it might be the fortifier. 

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#10 of 10 Old 01-30-2013, 02:54 PM
 
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My oldest daughter was born at 36 weeks and I did just what you are Doing. We would latch on, nurse for a couple minutes, then I'd hand her to my dh, he would bottle feed her and I'd pump. One day she just got it, and started nursing like she had never had an issue. It was like something just clicked.
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