I hate pumping! (But it was worth it!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 01-15-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it just me, or does anyone else just hate all the pumping??

 

They told me when my son was first born (28 weeks), that I should pump 8-12 times per day. I did it, and continue to do so, but I am just getting so tired of it! I breastfed my first two children exclusively for one year each. I hardly used a pump at all with them. And now here I am, no baby to feed, not even any bottles to give him, but pumping night and day.

 

I know it will end eventually, but I'm just going crazy right now. I pump while my husband drives us places, I pump while my kids run around the house, I pump at 5:00 in the morning when all I want to do is sleep. I want to give my child the best nutrition, but man, I just want it all to stop! I am weaning him off of bottles as soon as I possibly can when he gets home. 

 

Sorry for the complaining... I'm just going crazy...


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#2 of 24 Old 01-15-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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hug2.gif

 

Wow, you complain ALL you want.  That sounds exhausting.  I'm sure it is especially hard on top of the stress and anxiety you feel over having your baby in the NICU.  I want to reassure you you ARE doing the best thing you can for your DS, nutritionally.  But, and this is coming from a staunch breastfeeding advocate--- make sure you are getting enough time to relax a bit, too. 

 

Congratulations on the birth of your new son and hug2.gif


 

 

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#3 of 24 Old 01-15-2012, 07:38 PM
 
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The middle of the night pumpings were especially irritating for me.  I didn't have my baby home, yet I STILL had to get up and pump when I could have been sleeping.  Hang in there. You aren't alone.


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#4 of 24 Old 01-16-2012, 05:17 AM
 
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I can sympathize, too!  I pumped as often as you for 4 months and it sucked! I just had to keep telling myself that I was doing this for my daughter and that one day, I would be pump-free!! 

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#5 of 24 Old 01-17-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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I sympathize, and I've been there too.  My son was a 34 weeker, so I didn't have it quite as hard, but I had to pump every 3 hours round the clock for at least the first month of his life (the details are hazy now, he's almost 3!)  If it helps at all, I was able to get him exclusively breastfeeding within about two weeks after coming home, and we happily nursed until 16 months.  I weaned then only because I was about to start another (high risk) pregnancy.

 

To be honest, I'm about as pro-breastfeeding as they come and I was dreaming of just switching to formula during many of those pumping sessions.  One thing my LC did was show me how to do breast compressions when I pumped, and it made a HUGE difference in my supply.  It's worth looking into.  Because for me, the only thing worse than pumping that much was pumping that much with so little to show for it!

 

And you know, if you do end up switching to formula, your son is going to be just fine.  Hang in there.  It does get easier.

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#6 of 24 Old 01-17-2012, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. I know I'm doing what is best for my son. I know I can do it, it just gets to me sometimes.

 

On one of the first nights, my husband said, "Well, isn't this what you'd be doing anyway if he was home?" And I said, "No! There's a big difference between breastfeeding a baby in a nice, dark room while you kind of doze off, then return to sleep right after, versus turning on the lights, putting cold plastic on your skin, then washing out everything and storing the milk, then trying to get back to sleep after being fully awake!"

 

My son is now almost 32 weeks, so I'm hoping we can start attempting bottles soon. Or is that too soon? I thought they said somewhere between 32 and 34 weeks. Well anyway, thanks for your understanding. This will end someday!


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#7 of 24 Old 01-17-2012, 11:47 AM
 
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Oooh honey how I feel your pain! I could've written the same posting. I've been pumping 8x a day every 2-3 hrs since Oct 21st when my 24 weeker came early. Around 32 weeks we were able to do "dry breastfeeding" then after that now we're doing actual bf'ing and let me tell you it is worth it. When I go home though, the pumping still sucks. (Pun not intended there! HA!) My baby will be home soon and I'm so glad to have milk to offer him. :)

Can I give you my tips for making the pumping less challenging?

1. Get a hands free pumping bra! That way you can mess with your phone, ipad book and take your mind off the plastic. Makes you feel less lonely if you're distracted.

2. Do 4-5 hr breaks at night. My lactation consultants said that's okay for the sake of your sleep.

3. At night, bring your cooler and fill with ice packs. At 4am after you're done pumping you just throw the milk containers in there. That way you don't have to walk to the freezer and wake yourself up more.

4. If you're recording volumes somewhere, write L and R on each container before throwing in the cooler. That way in the morning you can record volumes when you're more awake.

5. If your husband is willing, have him do the "milk technician" work. He takes the parts and milk and processes it for you. You go to sleep. My hubby did this until he went to work. It helped so much.

6. Take fenugreek supplements! They will help keep your supply up during these stressful weeks. They have REALLY helped me.

7. Medela makes wipes that are safe for pump parts and baby. You could use those at night or at work if you don't have time to wash in the sink. Target sells them.

8. Alternatively, at night I leave my parts soaking in soapy water so I can clean in the morning when I wake up. You could even have 2 sets and wash both in the morning.

9. Listen to music to relax and allow your milk to let down while pumping.

10. Look at pics of your baby while pumping. It makes it worth the work.

 

I hope that helps! That is what has helped me get through all this darn pumping. It always bothers me when people say that comment about having to get up anyway for your baby. It is not the same at all. Because you'd have a baby to snuggle with when getting up. There's a direct, tangible connection there. Pumping with your baby in the NICU disconnects that and it's up to you to commit to the cause. We are strong ladies! We will get through it! Send me a msg if you have more questions. Good luck to you, my dear!hug2.gif


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#8 of 24 Old 01-17-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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My first baby was born 6 weeks early, and it took me a month of weaning myself off the pump and her off the bottle until we were finally to a "normal" point of breastfeeding. It's hard but so worth it in the end. I hope your SO is as supportive as possible, because that made all the difference for me. Get as much support from as many sources as you can. You deserve it.

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#9 of 24 Old 01-17-2012, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's good to know it won't take too long to get him fully breastfeeding once he is home. Thanks to those who shared that info!

 

And thanks, AmyJeanneBee, for those tips. I'm already following some, but others are new to me! By the way, I noticed in another thread that our stories seem to be so similar. I was checked in Triage and found to be 5cm before we knew anything was even going on. The midwife and nurse both looked at me and said, "Oh Sh--!" and told me I was 5cm dilated. I was then rushed by ambulance to another hospital where I was able to deliver my 28-weeker vaginally and naturally. We're still not sure why I went into labor early. It's crazy how these things seem to happen for no reason... I don't know what to think!


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#10 of 24 Old 01-18-2012, 07:08 PM
 
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My DD is 5 months old and has been home from the NICU for 2-1/2 months.  She is only just now starting to breastfeed- she has/had an oral aversion and only just learned to enjoy any kind of feeding.  But I'm psyched that she has been able to figure it out so well this late in the game!  I have been lucky with a good supply, and pump every 4-6 hours, maybe 5 times total per day.  But I have very slowly worked up to that- if you have the capacity, try stretching out pumping sessions a bit- that extra hour can be very liberating.  Go slow and track your supply but some people can get away it once their baby isn't so new anymore. 

 

My favorite mental booster is the reassurance I get when I come in contact with grubby sneezing people in the world, I don't worry as much about passing the cold onto my baby, because I know i'll also be passing on antibodies.  I am (as most NICU moms are I guess) paranoid about RSV, etc. this time of year.

 

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#11 of 24 Old 01-19-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAMarshall View Post

It's good to know it won't take too long to get him fully breastfeeding once he is home. Thanks to those who shared that info!

 

And thanks, AmyJeanneBee, for those tips. I'm already following some, but others are new to me! By the way, I noticed in another thread that our stories seem to be so similar. I was checked in Triage and found to be 5cm before we knew anything was even going on. The midwife and nurse both looked at me and said, "Oh Sh--!" and told me I was 5cm dilated. I was then rushed by ambulance to another hospital where I was able to deliver my 28-weeker vaginally and naturally. We're still not sure why I went into labor early. It's crazy how these things seem to happen for no reason... I don't know what to think!

 

Wow that's such a coincidence! I also was able to deliver vaginally and without pain meds too. Out of all the chaos of that day, at least I got that part of my "birth plan". Hahahahaaa birth plans. And to think, I actually considered a home birth. Would not have been able to resuscitate a preemie at home that's for sure. Oooh how things change when the sh*t hits the fan, right? Maybe next time...if I'm able to carry to term. Here's to hoping...

 


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#12 of 24 Old 01-21-2012, 03:50 AM
 
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Sorry you are on the NICU roller coaster- it sure sucks, and thats without the added stress of the pumping.

My most recent babies (31 week twins) are 17 days old and I HATE my pump with a passion, I hang in there because like you I have hopes that soon it will be over and I'll be blissfully nursing my babies.  They told me about 35 weeks we can probably start to attempt nursing.

I'm not sure how to put this out there, but don't want you to feel like a failure if it happens to you, my last babies (34 week twins) never learned to nurse despite the help of LC and lots of effort on my part.  In fact they were terrible even at drinking from a bottle (took forever and milk everywhere).  I reluctantly gave up pumping at about 4 months because by the time I pumped, dealt with the milk, and fed them, it was time to pump again- no way to have any type of life or real relationship with my babies.  I felt guilty at the time, but really- you have to do what you have to do for you and your family.  I wish someone had warned me, I assumed since I had such an easy time BFing my first child from birth, that it would be the same- but I now realize breastfeeding success is a combination of the mother AND the babies efforts.

 

I also have a similar experience- showed up at the hospital, they checked me about 5 cm- started drugs to stop contractions that didn't work at all.  By the time they checked me again there was a head- no time for the epidural I was required to have for my twin VBAC- it was a crazy experience.


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#13 of 24 Old 01-22-2012, 07:13 AM
 
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Another tip is to try a nipple shield when your little one is ready to start bf'ing. Theres a whole progression on bf'ing a prem:

1) as much skin to skin as you/baby will tolerate. Ask if you can skin to skin during feeds if you aren't already.

2) when your little one starts to show feeding cues, put him to a pumped breast and let lick/play with your nipple. If he's still on q2h feeds, or on feeds over a long period of time, he won't necessarily wake up when he's hungry, try to catch him when he's quietly alert.  He can latch, suck and swallow. It's not a strong suck or swallow, but it's a start! Try this as often as he can tolerate (it is really tiring for the little guys!)

3) as he grows, start doing more and more breast feeding session. When he's still not able to tolerate each feed orally, you can insist that any oral feed be breast only. He's not going home yet so what's the rush? If he's awake for eating when you're not there, it's your decision what you would like to do. It's been my experience that these little guys are the most awake sometime around midnight/3am..... 

 

The nipple shield can be an absolute life saver when it comes to breast feeding prem, because it's less work for them so they take more milk (up to 3 times the volume of non shielded boobies). Not all prems need a nipple shield though!

 

Good luck!!! The pumping terribleness will end eventually!!!


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#14 of 24 Old 01-22-2012, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing more replies. 

 

My husband gave him his first bottle today! They thought it was a little early since he just turned 32 weeks, but they thought they'd give it a try. They only gave him 10cc's, I believe, and he drank it down quickly. The nurse was surprised! At least we're taking steps in the right direction. I'm kind of disappointed that I wasn't the one to give him the bottle (I was at home with the kids), but I'm just glad he's making some progress. He's still on oxygen through the nasal cannula and he's still in the isolette bed, so at least something is changing!


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#15 of 24 Old 01-30-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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It really starts to wear you out when you go weeks and weeks with nothing changing.  It's hard to remember to be thankful that at least the roller coaster ups and downs has stopped. Congrats on the bottle!!


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#16 of 24 Old 02-04-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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Congrats on 10cc!  It sounds like your little one is doing exactly what he's supposed to do.  I know you may have more time to pump, but it will have been totally worth it (as I'm sure you know already).  My DD was only in the NICU for 3 weeks, but the day we brought her home we switched to the breast and she never looked back.  I hope he can come home soon and you'll have a smooth transition.  Keep us posted!


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#17 of 24 Old 02-05-2012, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's getting more and more bottles now and is growing quickly. His face is really filling out! We're hoping to have him home by the end of the month and then we're going to try as hard as we can to get rid of the bottles.


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#18 of 24 Old 02-06-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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Yay!!

 


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#19 of 24 Old 03-26-2012, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to update and thank everyone for their patience with me. The pumping was very frustrating for the 8 weeks my son was in the NICU. My son has been home for about 1 month now, and things could not have gone better!

 

I did not start breastfeeding until we got home (for a number of reasons), and the day we brought him home from the hospital, he latched on right away and has been nursing like a pro ever since! I know it does not always work out that way, and if possible, you definitely should breastfeed in the hospital, but things have gone so well for us.

 

We were doing a couple of bottles a day with a little bit of formula mixed in (the doctors wanted to make sure he would grow efficiently), but we dropped them after a few days and we've been breastfeeding exclusively ever since. He just passed his due date and he now weighs 9lbs 9oz. 

 

For anyone out there who may be struggling with pumping for your NICU baby, it is worth it in the end!

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#20 of 24 Old 05-01-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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I have been pumping for my DD for 9 months now.  I have been very blessed with a good supply.  She was a 27 weeker, came home with her NG tube (which came out after only 2 days), oral aversion, was super sleepy for months, and had a tongue tie (which got clipped).  Despite that she did latch and nurse a few times when she was a few months old.  But I think the reason we are not breast feeding (at the breast) is beacause I went back to work part time while she was still in the NICU, and by the time she was actually awake and getting over her oral aversion, I was working all the time.  We just couldn't get into a sustained rhythm, and she never has gotten comfortable with it.  She's home with DH.  She is very healthy, doing well with bottle feeding, and pumping is going fine for me.  And, she still is able to latch- she just clearly doesn't prefer it.  My work schedule will be changing, I'll be home a LOT more, so I don't rule out the possibility that now (at 9 months, 6 months adjusted) she could become a breastfeeding baby. 

 

So, I feel like a bit of a downer saying all this.  But I also want to express that although it sucks to not be able to breastfeed, it's overall okay.  I feel good about how we are both doing despite everything.  I do mourn the loss of the ideal breastfeeding relationship but I think we all mourn something during the transition to motherhood.  But I feel very satisfied with where we are now. 

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#21 of 24 Old 05-02-2012, 06:54 PM
 
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I have been pumping for my DD for 9 months now.  I have been very blessed with a good supply.  She was a 27 weeker, came home with her NG tube (which came out after only 2 days), oral aversion, was super sleepy for months, and had a tongue tie (which got clipped).  Despite that she did latch and nurse a few times when she was a few months old.  But I think the reason we are not breast feeding (at the breast) is beacause I went back to work part time while she was still in the NICU, and by the time she was actually awake and getting over her oral aversion, I was working all the time.  We just couldn't get into a sustained rhythm, and she never has gotten comfortable with it.  She's home with DH.  She is very healthy, doing well with bottle feeding, and pumping is going fine for me.  And, she still is able to latch- she just clearly doesn't prefer it.  My work schedule will be changing, I'll be home a LOT more, so I don't rule out the possibility that now (at 9 months, 6 months adjusted) she could become a breastfeeding baby. 

So, I feel like a bit of a downer saying all this.  But I also want to express that although it sucks to not be able to breastfeed, it's overall okay.  I feel good about how we are both doing despite everything.  I do mourn the loss of the ideal breastfeeding relationship but I think we all mourn something during the transition to motherhood.  But I feel very satisfied with where we are now. 

Hey me too! We are now exclusively pumping too. And finally happy with it. It seemed my preemie just had too much medical intervention. I've been pumping for 6 months now and also started out with an oversupply. Am so grateful I froze some of it for now. My supply has gone down since the NICU days but since I have the freezer stash I don't have to do formula! Woohoo. Hopefully my stash will remain until at least his 1 year birthday. I'd like to keep pumping until then too but we'll see. Wish me luck!

I tried for months to breast feed. Saw numerous lactation consultants, used nipple shield, pumped before nursing to stimulate let down, nursed in the bath, while walking, in all the breast feeding positions. oh and I even went to breast feeding groups. I was the only Mom there pulling out a bottle to feed him plus a baby on oxygen. Man, that was hard.

Anyway, it didn't work for me. I really wanted it to. I had to add the loss of breast feeding to pregnancy grieving for a load of fun in the therapist's office. We NICU Mamas have a lot of processing to move through before we can come to a place of healing, forgiveness, and acceptance. At least, I did. I finally feel at peace. Except this damn acid reflux but that's another thread...

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#22 of 24 Old 05-18-2012, 11:32 PM
 
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I had a 27 weeker on January 17th, due date was April 12th, and he came home from the NICU April 2nd. I had lactation consultant after lactation consultant over here to try and help. He did latch a few times in the hospital and a few times at home, but mostly he would just scream at the top of his lungs anytime I would put him to breast. I have pumped since his birth, and I produce a ridiculous amount... About 3 oz each breast, each pumping session. I'm still pumping every three-four hours. I finally began to feel like the breastfeeding attempts were doing more harm than good. I felt so much pressure to breastfeed, even though I was uncomfortable with the amount of screaming and crying he would do. Finally one day I just decided that I was more concerned with WHAT he was drinking, rather than HOW he was drinking it. (He hasn't had formula since coming home.) It was a hard decision, I felt like I failed, and I still do sometimes. I'm hoping maybe by some miracle, once he's a little more caught up to his actual age, he might feel more comfortable with the breast. I still try once a day, and if he's screaming within 10 seconds, I stop. I figure he's been through enough already, and even though I know I'm missing out on a lot, I still feel like I don't want to f*%# with him anymore than he's already been.

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#23 of 24 Old 05-20-2012, 09:49 AM
 
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I have had limited amount of success nursing him when he's not fully awake in the morning.  If it's any other time he does the mommy is trying to kill me scream.  I'm tired of pumping.. but I plan to keep going until we get through next winter/flu/rsv season.
 


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#24 of 24 Old 05-21-2012, 01:11 PM
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I pumped for our DD born 3/15 due date 5/20 so she was ten weeks early a 30 weeker. She was breathing room air at 7 days and latched on at 2 weeks old, but she was in the NICU so I could only nurse her a limited amount of times KWIM. I was so worried and freaked, (ofcourse once I knew she was going to be fine) I feared she would never nurse.  I bf our DD and DS from birth and the weaned at 4? yrs old both of them! EBF was all I knew.... So I really was lost that first week or so pumping. I did not like it but said to myself I will do what I need to do what is best for LO. Well once we got home on 4/16 (she was 4 weeks in NICU), she nursed well and never looked back. It's crazy though because I do pump now and then to save some bottles for when I go to the gym. But the last few times I nursed her before leaving and DH said she did not need the bottle. I will continue to pump but just to keep a small stash for my gym time or if MIL watches the kids but I will nurse her before I go and keep the pumped milk for back up. She takes any kind of bottle doesn't matter to her but NOT from me so easily only from dh or mil.


crunchy peace.gif yet conservative nocirc.gif EBF, ERF, loving wife to DHlove.gif  SAHM to little prince DS5 and princess DD9 and younger DD 30 wk preemie princess born 10 weeks early! 3/15/12

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