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I think I am going to have to supplement today

575 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  eli janine
But I do *not* want this to turn into a long-term "solution." So what to do?

I returned to work a few weeks ago, and pumping isn't going so well. I get 2-3 ounces total each time. Today, I had to leave her just one 4 ounce bottle.

Her dad is planning to come get whatever else I can pump out in a few hours.

This would be OK, except that the girl doesn't want to just take 2-3 ounces at a time from a bottle. She wants 5 or 6.

My supply overall isn't a problem, just when pumping. DD wouldn't weigh 15 pounds at 3.5 months if I were having an actual supply issue.

Anyway, my question for today is this: If you knew you were going to have to supplement one time, for a baby that has only had breastmilk so far, would you:

1. Give her the 4 ounce bottle of mama milk at one feeding, and the 4 ounces of formula at the second one.

2. Make up the formula and make 2 bottles, with half formula/half breastmilk.
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my ds did better on one bottle each of breastmilk and formula. they tried mixing it at daycare and he threw up. and I do mean THREW UP.

and they had the hardest time getting him to take a bottle after that.
Have you tried adding a middle-of-the-night pumping session? I tended to get at least double my usual yield then. If you drink a BIG glass of water before bed, you'll wake up to pee and can just do a quickie session then. It sucks but it's a possibility.

Also, can she be fed with a finger feeder? Any chance the bottle you're using flows too quickly and encourages her to eat more than she normally does? (My little guy has always taken 5+ oz, so some babies really do just eat that way, but sometimes there are other factors at work.)

When we were giving bottles of both mama milk and formula, I mixed them together. DS's stools seemed to be better if we did that... less painful on his tummy, I think. He always had problems with formula though, and I don't think most babies had stools that bad.

Good for you for nursing despite these problems - it's hard not to get discouraged!
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Originally Posted by Herausgeber View Post
But I do *not* want this to turn into a long-term "solution." So what to do?

I returned to work a few weeks ago, and pumping isn't going so well. I get 2-3 ounces total each time. Today, I had to leave her just one 4 ounce bottle.

Her dad is planning to come get whatever else I can pump out in a few hours.

This would be OK, except that the girl doesn't want to just take 2-3 ounces at a time from a bottle. She wants 5 or 6.
You can still just separate them into into 2-3 oz bags because not all the time they want that much and then you won't have wasted any.

My supply overall isn't a problem, just when pumping. DD wouldn't weigh 15 pounds at 3.5 months if I were having an actual supply issue.
Do you feel a let down? What kind of pump are you using? Double, or one sided? How often are you pumping. You are right, how much you are pumping is not an indicator of supply, there is a definite art to pumping. Check out and do a search for pumping. She has got a whole page of information on getting more while pumping, fabulous information!

Your last question, that's a tough one, I would probably mix them half and half because the formula is going to taste much different than bm.

Good luck mama!
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She rejects all bottles except the standard issue Gerber nipple, which is supposedly slow flow.

I know my problem is stress, and having trouble pumping is just compounding it. I'm working on that in the long term, and planning to add pumping sessions, etc. But I think tonight I am just going to have to give up. I feel so horrible.
Studentmama: I am getting a letdown. It's a Medela PIS, double electric.

I also think they may be overfeeding her.
Drink lots of water during the day! Don't beat yourself up, sounds like you are trying your best. My dcp was giving my dd 4-4oz bottles a day and when she is with her dad he would give her 2-4oz bottles a day while I was gone. I mentioned this to dcp and she said she might be jumping to the conclusion that she was hungry when fussy so she'd watch her cues better. Now, she takes 2-4oz bottles at daycare, once in awhile 3.
Good luck!
I don't know how long you're working and how many times you pump, but I have to pump 5x a day to have enough milk for my DD, and I usually only get 2-3 oz. each time. She usually takes 12-15 oz. in 10 hours, and nurses 4-5 times while I'm with her. She's 5.5 mos. and weighs about 13 lbs.

More info:
For the supplementing, I'd keep them separate- a bottle of mama milk (to be offered first!) and a bottle of formula second. This way you don't waste any mama milk if she doesnt' finish it. Also, I read that the iron in formula can interfere with absorbing the iron from breastmilk- so it's best to offer them at separate "meals" to minimize that effect.

You might want to try setting up smaller bottles- keeping just as much milk available, but having the DCP try feeding her a smaller bottle, then use other comfort methods (maybe including a pacifier) for 20 minutes, and then give her another small bottle after that only if she still seems truly hungry. It can take 20 minutes for the brain to recognize the "I'm full" message from the stomach. So if she's drinking faster than that, she may be overeating. However, she may just be a baby with a large appetite who needs more milk per feeding, which is why it's important to keep just as much milk available when experimenting with smaller bottles.

For the pumping, I'd suggest several things:

Make sure your pump is in tip-top condition-sometimes the pump needs some minor maintenance (such as changing a valve) that can make it more efficient.

Look into herbs, oatmeal, etc, that can increase supply.

Pump frequently, even at times you're not working. If you don't work every day, then pump daily. Add in some pumping sessions before and after work. Try pumping on one side and nursing on the other.

You're doing a great job! So many others would just give up on pumping altogether and just use formula- every drop you can get to your precious baby is a huge gift! If you can't pump quite enough and need to use a little formula- well, that's what formula is for. Using a little formula doesn't mean that you have to use a lot of formula or that you'll have to keep using it- just take things one day at a time.
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Update: No supplement needed! I worked in 2 pumping sessions at work before DP came to pick up the bottle. Those 5 ounces covered her until I got home.

As far as the long term ...

My schedule is a bit erratic right now, which I think is part of the problem. I am off Sun/Mon, work at home Tuesdays, and work half-days Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays. The problem is Friday, when I am expected to be physically in the office for a full 8 hours. Further complicating things is that I work at night (4-11:30 on that Friday). I feed her before I leave and when I get home. On the nights I work half-days away from her, I am pumping once, about halfway through. It would be hard to schedule in a second 10-15 minute pumping session in 3 hours.

I think I'm just going to have to shelve everything else and work on pumping after all her feedings during the day, too. Maybe nurse on one side, pump the other each time. I do find that I get more milk that way.

Of course, in a few weeks, I have to work this out all over again. I switch to day hours, in the office all day at first, but eventually switching to a morning-at-home deal. Should I plan on pumping 5X a day when I am gone 8 hours?

Arg. This is so hard. And I am so tired of well-meaning people suggesting I am not making enough milk "to satisfy her." Because they want me to introduce solids (at 3 months!) or formula, of course.
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First of all,

I'm going to be in your boat soon...back to work but part-time, so when to pump? It's really a struggle to pump on the days that I'm home with dd, because she's eating all the time...I feel your pain!

You mentioned that stress was an issue...I was having trouble getting much volume from the pump, even though I felt quite full....then one day I pumped while chatting on the phone to a good friend, and viola! I got 4 ounces from one side!!!! I was shocked! I kept reading this advice, but it really does help to 1) not watch the milk dripping into the pump and 2) do something distracting and non-stressful. I know pumping at work isn't exactly a relaxing, non-stressful thing to do....I also get more milk out when I use a warm washcloth. Even though it takes longer overall, and I have a double electric pump, I've had way more success pumping one side at a time.

Of course I haven't pumped since then--too lazy!

Good luck!
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Get a picture of your babe breastfeeding and look at that before or as you pump.

Find something else to do while you pump (I read, or at least listen to music) and DON'T look at the pump/milk flow!

Use breast compression (check out that link to kellymom)

Drink A LOT of water (I'm drinking over two liters a day of liquid, trying to make most of it water.)

Pump first thing in the morning, maybe on one side while baby is nursing.

When you're home together, try pumping about a half hour after baby nurses to get some freezer stockpile. I like to pump while baby is sleeping, and then I can look at him while I do sweet it always helps my letdown, and I have had a TERRIBLE time letting down for my pump (double electric ameda purely yours).

I only pump 2x in my nine hour day and get about 4-5.5 oz each time, so a total most days of 9.5 oz. During that time, my dcp gives ds one 4 oz bottle, and then dh gives him two more bottles of 2.5 oz and 3 oz each, so I am pumping the same amount as he is eating each day. He nurses a ton more when I'm home, and it's lovely! (He's 3 months also)

Stay positive! Supplementing is a vicious cycle. Actually, I almost had to supplement with first DS for the same exact reason (no supply problems, just pump let-down issues), and then DS had a severe allergic reaction to the first half ounce of formula. SCARY! So then we just had to make it work, and I learned a lot of tricks. The best thing was probably trying to pump a little more on the weekends and even at night. It's hard when you're so tired as it is, but your supply is best late at night and early in the morning. Also the breast massage and compression worked wonders. Do you think you have the right size pump "horn"? Maybe you need an insert or a bigger size?

Hang in there, and I hope you have more success!
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