Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pumping question

I have a question for all the parents out there and it has to do with breast feeding an more specifically with pumping breast milk. Angie and I have tried this and it works (kind of). Let me explain, we can pump milk and we get some, and sophie gladly east from the bottle.... So far so good. But we can't pump enough to get ahead in any way so basically we pump and it is gone the same day.... So we are not sure what the point of it is. We were thinking that we could pump and build up a little bit of milk inventory (let's say enough for a few feeds) and give angie a break for a feed or two and I can feed. But we don't seem to be able to achieve that. Are we doing something wrong or missing the point of it?

Any help would be great.

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Richard said...

I would be the last person to be an expert on this, but it's not uncommon (I believe) to supplement breast milk with the little enfalac bottles you can get at shopper's etc. And you shouldn't beat yourself up if you go that route. I'm sure others will chime in as well, all the best for the New Year

Jackie said...

I agree with the previous post, it's ok to supplement now and then with prepared formula, but not too often as you don't want your own supply to be jeopardized. If you wish to use only breast milk try pumping one breast as you are nursing from the other side or immediately after nursing when your let down reflex is working best. It is a bit awkward but you will get the hang of it. Remember that your supply will generally keep step with demand.

Cyn said...

Breast milk is basically 'supply and demand', so if you want to get 'ahead' Angie will have to either pump once a day and NOT give that bottle to baby so that it can be saved OR pump at least twice a day so that there is some left to save. The first day or two there might not be much 'extra' pumped, but the body is very quick about figuring out to make more if you are sending it the signs to produce more. When baby has a growth spurt, it will seem like she's on the breast ALL day, but that's how the body is signaled to start making more milk.

Also, when Angie 'takes a break', be careful not to take too many in 1 day or she'll lose supply as well (unless she's pumping to make up for the missed nursing session).

After the first 2-3 months, her supply is pretty established. The worry with not nursing all the time is that one will lose their supply, so take it easy the first few months.

I've nursed my 2 for 2 1/2 years each and pumped for surro babies for a total of 15 months, so if you come across more questions, feel free to ask.

And Richard is correct, the formula won't 'kill' her and she made deal with an occasional bottle just fine, or she made absolutely refuse a bottle of it while she's getting the 'good stuff'. They smell and taste quite different.

Anonymous said...

My only extra advice (since I think everything everyone has said so far is good), is what my doctor told me when I had milk supply problems with one of my kids. To build up more milk she said to pump for 15 minutes directly after feeding the baby, so that it would teach my body to make more while letting the baby have first dibs.

Don't look at formula as your enemy though. There is nothing wrong with using it for bottles and it has the added of advantage of keeping babies full longer which can be handy if you are going out for an evening.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to add that when you pump after feeding you freeze the milk, 1/4 ounce by 1/4 ounce (then in a little while 1/2 ounce by 1/2 ounce, etc.), until your bag has 5 ounces or so in it and then you start a new bag. After a couple of weeks you might have 2 frozen bags of bottles. Really it depends on Angie's milk supply but that's an estimate. And the milk stays good in the freezer up to 6 months, I think (anyone can feel free to jump in at this point since it's been a few years since I have breastfed).

MyLifeMyWorld & Growing Families said...

Cyn said quite a bit so I'll try not to repeat her. But she's right breast milk IS supply and demand. The more you pump/breast feed, the more you produce. The more OFTEN you pump/breastfeed the more you'll have letdowns. If you skip a pump session, your body remembers that, it didnt' empty, so it didnt' need it.

My suggestion is at this point, don't skip a feed for pumping. Pump every 2-4 hours (as often as baby eats), the more you pump the more you get so if you did it every 2 hours for a day it will help for the next day. Do what works for you though.

Make sure to pump or feed, empty the breasts at some point in the middle of the night between the hours of 2 and 4.

Drink lots!

You can do what is often reffered to as a pumping vacation. This is what Dr. Newman suggests to build up your supply. For 24-48 hours do a pumping vacation...basically try to pump round the clock.

Pump every 10-15 mins per breast, or 2-5 mins AFTER there is no more milk coming out. This will stimulate the body to make more. Take a 5 min break and then pump for 5 more mins. Do this for each breast.

Then in 2 hours do it all over again. Continue for 24 to 48 hours round the clock.

I know it seems pretty demanding but it's a fast way to try to build up your supply. Those 24-48 hours are gruelling cause you feel your always hooked up to a maching, but it does work and will build up her supply.

Good luck and hope to hear success!!!

Anonymous said...

When it's almost time for a feeding, pump first, freeze the milk, and then nurse. Your body will keep making more. Drink LOTS of water and try to sleep a lot (ha).

Some babies tolerate a mixture of nursing and formula from a bottle, but it means you'll produce less overall. Lome babies refuse to nurse once they have a chance at a bottle of formula.

Enjoy that baby!

Jenna said...

I know it can be tough and it's true, some women have more trouble pumping and getting a true let-down reflex compared to nursing. As for quantity, I would recommend that you pump after nursing (therefore baby always gets what she needs first) or, if you are able to feed from one breast only per session, pumping the oposite breast at the same time works really well as you get the natural let-down reflex and will often get more milk. There is lots of information and advice so I always say do what works for you family but the more often you pump, the more milk your body will produce and you will start being able to get a little more. At this point, if you are using a bottle for a feeding, it's best to pump at the same time to ensure you keep your supply up. Good luck and hang in there--you guys will figure it all out!

honeygraham said...

I know that everyone has their own take on the whole situation. So here is ours. The more you nurse the more milk you will produce. The first bit of your milk is very important for your baby as it quenches their thirst and contains important nutrients so I always made sure that my babies got that from me as I nursed them.(you don't want to lose any nutrients when freezing it for them!) If you look at your expressed(not espresso!) milk, the first bit seems to be more thin and watery looking with the last bit looking more creamy or thicker. (It all gets mixed together later on, and there will be times when your baby falls asleep while nursing so take that as an opportunity to empty your breasts anyways) So for us, I expressed milk after feeding until my breasts felt less full. In the beginning, success is measured in tablespoons. But the more often you express your milk, the better the results.You will be surprised at how quickly the amount adds up. Freeze your first amount in a ziploc bag that is large enough to add to later on. Allow your next amount that you express to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours before adding to your already frozen breast milk. Also remember that you can add it to formula. I returned to work when my last baby was 9 months old, but I only worked Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays so my husband could be off with all of our children. I would come home for lunch, feed my baby and then return to work. It isn't for everyone, but for us, we made it work. Good luck. Hope that helps you out!

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