Pumping

Chelsea - posted on 07/17/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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For many reasons I am opting to pump all but a couple feedings a day. I want to be sure to feed her at the breast a couple feedings a day to keep our bonding and keep the stimulation to produce milk. Other than losing some bonding time are there any reasons this is a bad idea? Please I dont need any put downs or opinions that dont have any grounds to go off of.

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One thing that is important to remember regarding pumping vs. nursing -- it is impossible to overfeed a baby at the breast, but babies often overfeed at the bottle. The mechanics of bottle-feeding are different than breastfeeding; a baby at the breast can simply change the position of her tongue to slow/stop the flow of milk when she is full and wants to simply "comfort nurse." At the bottle, however, she must continue eating in order to breathe. For this reason, babies will continue eating even when full. Researchers believe this may be the link between bottle-feeding and increased risk of obesity; early on, bottle-fed babies learn to ignore their bodies' hunger and fullness cues and continue to eat long even after they are "full".

I work as a breastfeeding counselor and work with clients all along the spectrum of breastfeeding -- some exclusively breastfeeding, some exclusively pumping, some feeding both formula and breastmilk, etc. In my experience at work, 2/3 of mothers who decide to exclusively pump quit within one month -- it is MUCH more work than they ever imagined. I noticed someone above replied "twice the work". I feel it's actually 3x the work of simply breastfeeding -- not only do you have to put in all the work of bottle-feeding, but you have the extra work of pumping, too. As everyone mentioned, your supply is at risk by pumping (as a pump is not as efficient at emptying the breast as a baby is). Mothers with new babies who are not nursing at the breast for whatever reason need to pump at LEAST 8-12x/day. Even pumping that often, you may experience supply issues especially during baby's growth spurts -- the best way to keep up with a baby's supply requirements is to feed them "on demand" (without limiting time at the breast or scheduling feeds -- babies don't read clocks!) without limitation in any form.

Now, all of that is doing nothing to consider the *psychological* benefits of nursing at the breast. The skin-to-skin time that babies receive multiple times daily by breastfeeding is shown to translate to increased positive and secure attachment. Nursing at the breast also lowers cortisol (stress) levels in both mom and baby -- this interaction cannot be "faked" with a pump. There are many other reasons that breastfeeding -at the breast- provides extra benefits to mother and baby that pumping and bottle-feeding cannot replicate; if you're interested, definitely shoot me a message and I'd be happy to send you some info (including research findings, etc).

Finally, this is a GREAT resource for moms who are considering exclusively pumping in order to "get a break" from breastfeeding or because they feel that bottle-feeding might be somehow easier. I give this one to my clients who are feeling a bit overwhelmed in the first few weeks when breastfeeding seems to be all that you are doing! :)
www.breastmilkcounts.com/article_pdf/BFanInvestSavesTime.pdf

Best of luck to all of you mamas!

Jennifer - posted on 07/17/2010

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i exclusively pump and i agree with the others about it being difficult to keep your supply up. it definitely takes added effort.

i noticed that you have not yet had your baby so another concern would be nipple confusion unless you plan on actually nursing until you have established a good nursing relationship, then introducing a bottle. a new baby will always prefer the bottle to the breast if given an option simply because it is less work for them.

in the first couple of months pumping is A LOT of work...i found myself having to pump more often than my son was actually eating...sometimes every hour. once he got to be about 4 months old, i was able to only need to pump each time he ate and now that he is 8 months old i pump less often, about 4 times throughout the day, and once around 3:30am.

if you have any questions about pumping, feel free to send me a message!

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Jessica - posted on 07/24/2010

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Are you pumping because you are going to be away from your child, or so someone else in the family can also feed your baby? I agree with the others that the biggest problem you may face is losing some supply by pumping, but it is definitely feasible. I pump during the day and nurse at night. For me, it is mainly because I am away from my baby when I pump. Pumping is a bit of a different sensation than nursing your baby directly, and I do recommend pumping one since while you nurse on the other at first to get the setting that is more comfortable for you on the pump (I was able to match my baby's sucking motions with the pump more closely that way). You can combat the loss in supply by eating oatmeal, or taking herbal supplement (fenugreek, not sure I spelled that correctly), or drinking mother's milk tea if you feel that your supply is slipping too much. For me, when my supply started to drop, I found a week of eating oatmeal for breakfast took care of it. Also, make sure your baby is comfortable with a bottle. My daughter likes the Nuk ones, but my SIL found a nice one that is a breast-flow one and seems to mimic the flow of a breast more. You may need to experiment to find a bottle your baby likes. Oh, a lot of people will tell you about nipple confusion. With my first child, I waited a long time to introduce a bottle, and she refuse it. I ended up having to go basically straight to a sippy cup. With my second, I introduced it when she was a few weeks old. As long as they are doing well nursing, I personally have not experienced nipple confusion, both my kids still liked to nurse. I would highly recommend a slow-flow nipple, though, because if the bottle gives milk too much faster than the breast, your baby may get fussy at the breast (mine sometimes will pat at my breast to try to get the milk out faster). Best of luck and I hope everything works out for you.

Hillary - posted on 07/24/2010

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I worked full-time the entire time when my kids were all infants (I have 3) and I pumped at work. It is true that your milk supply will decrease over time if you are exclusively pumping. If you are pumping at work, you should do it at least 3 times in an 8 hour day. And don't forget to drink plenty of fluids which will help keep your milk supply up.

Jeany - posted on 07/23/2010

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The World Health Organisation considers pumping and feeding expressed breastmilk as the next best option if it is not possible to feed a baby at the breast. Breastfeed is not just about food, it is a relationship, a way of parenting. See some of these links: http://www.normalfed.com/Why/notreally.h...
http://www.normalfed.com/Why/better.html
http://www.normalfed.com/Why/staytouch.h...
http://www.normalfed.com/Starting/mammal...

Janie - posted on 07/22/2010

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My twins know exactly who I am, and I pump 100% of the time. I hold them when I feed them and I snuggle all the time. You do what works for you and don't worry about anyone else. You'll be fine no matter what you do.

Tonya Susanne Looney - posted on 07/21/2010

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I pumped at work... and frequently traveled for the 1st year I breast fed my daughter. So, she would sometimes go weeks at a time without breastfeeding; but never ate anything other than breast milk. I do not see anything wrong with you choice. In fact, I commend you for it. It is obvious that you are so dedicated that you would actually inconvenience yourself to provide the best possible nutrition for your child. That shows me that you are doing everything you can to be a good mommy. -- I have friends who pumped exclusively because children rejected the breast. Expressing and bottle feeding are more common than you think! -- Keep up the good work... and don't you get discouraged.

Jodi - posted on 07/21/2010

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There is a web site you can go to that may help you with any problems that arise; its breastfeeding basics. I love this site. It helped me with my son. Breast is best and if you want to pump then you should, just be careful of the supply.

Jessica - posted on 07/21/2010

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I pumped with my 18 month old when she was born as a premie. I did both and she never did gourge herself on breastmilk like she did when i had to once give her formula during a growth spurt. I had acess milk and she never really relieved my engorgement so I would pump afterwards. I did notice by about 9 months my milk supply even with nursing her and pumping started to diminsh and we ended up switching her to the bottle. It takes dedication but its do able. I have to pump alittle to relieve my engorgement with my now 2 week old because I am one of those over producers always have had that happen. Wish you the best luck.

Chrisitina - posted on 07/21/2010

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I pump because i had to return to work. My son tends to drink less at daycare than when he is at home on the breast. I don't see why pumping would be a bad idea if it works for you, your child is still getting all the health benifits of breastmilk. Make sure you have a really good pump and can set up times to pump. Check into how many times (nursing and pumping) is optimal to keep your milk supply up. I have in my head that my lactation consultant has mentioned needing 8 feedings (including pumping) to maintain milk supply, but I am not sure on this.

Kirsty - posted on 07/21/2010

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I ahve been exclusively pumping due to latching issues since my baby was born. She is now 7 months old and I generally have no problems. Don't throw out your milk, store it in the fridge or freezer for those times that your supply might decrease. Unfortunately I threw out my extra milk in the first few weeks (due to only having 1 bottle) and I really regretted it during the growth spurts when I didn't have enough milk. I ended up having to buy a few of those 1 feed sachets of formula which was really disappointing.

People keep asking when I'm going to give up pumping. I don't see why I should. It takes hardly any effort on my part and I feel good knowing she's getting all the goodness of my milk. I'm gonna keep going til I get preg again (or maybe longer).

At the start, with having to pump frequently, pumping can take some dedication, but once you settle into it, it becomes so easy. Good luck.

Rebecca - posted on 07/21/2010

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baby can suck 4x as much as a pump so I think it is great you are including actual stimulation of the breast by baby. Many women use just a pump to provide for their children so if this is what works best for you then be proud! You are still giving your baby the very best for her no matter how the delivery! Pump every 2-3 hours to keep up a good supply & if you notice it start to deplete then pum more often or add a few extra nursing sessions in with baby. Wonderful job!

Janie - posted on 07/20/2010

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I pump 100% for my 7month old twins. There are times I wish they ate from the tap and glad they don't some times too. I'm proud of myself for being able to feed both babies and keep up with their demands. Dedication is all it is. And a personal prefrence.

Tonya - posted on 07/19/2010

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What I did when my supply dropped after I went back to work was recorded my son crying, laughing, actually nursing....and that worked like a charm...I went from only getting approx. 4 ounces total to approx. 10 ounces total only after a couple of days...
My son had trouble latching on in the beginning so I syringe fed him for the first 3 weeks...so all I could do was pump.
I breast fed my son for 9 1/2 months (after he got his bottom two teeth...I wanted to wean him before he got the top two in to prevent getting bit). I also had to supplement formula (he was almost 13 pounds when he was born so he has ALWAYS had a very healthy appetite) Just keep up the good work!

Tracy - posted on 07/19/2010

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I was just reading the aug/sep fit pregnancy mag, and somebody asked this very question. They mentioned all the draw backs everybody else did, but also added that bottle fed babies often overfeed and obesity can become an issue. Next time you're at the Dr's office check out the article, it's in the very front

Emily - posted on 07/18/2010

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The engorgement doesn't last forever, thankfully. But that's also probably why you find it easy to pump. ;) Most moms are very engorged and have an oversupply in the beginning. This will not last forever though ;) Keep working on the latch. It will get easier over time.

Chelsea - posted on 07/18/2010

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Thank you for all of your input! Good thoughts to consider, I forgot to change that I had my baby girl last monday morning. She fed at the breast great until my milk came in and my boobs are seriously huge. It was hard for both baby and me because she has a hard time latching and I have a hard time seeing her little mouth to help her... plus it obviously painful when she isnt latching well.
So before she was lacking in her feedings due to the difficulty I decided to pump all but two or three feedings to help us both out. I am also storing the extras so that I have a nice milk bank going in case of a supply decrease. I pump easily! and painless!
Should I be pumping more than she needs per feeding?
She has been going back and forth with no nipple confusion which I am thankful for. I pump 3 oz in just a couple min.
I am also a stay at home mom so it isnt an inconvenience at all. I try to pump just before I think she will be ready to eat so that she isnt fussing or crying while Im trying to pump quickly. I just warm it back up if need be.
So far so good I hope this goes as I am planning!

Lizelle - posted on 07/18/2010

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Besides from it taking a lot of time, I guess there is no reason why you can't do that as long as you pump easily. I never could get more than a few millilitre while pumping, but a lot of women pump with ease. As she gets older and drinks less you can pump less and later only breastfeed twice a day (from 12 months on). Emotionally the benefits of breastfeeding long term far outweighs the nutritional value of the milk. Saw that with my son and I'm definitely going to breastfeed my 15 month old as long as possible.



Also keep in mind growth spurt round about 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3/4 months, when you need to feed more often to increase your milk supply. During these periods it's much easier to let baby do the extra work.



Good luck. Hope all will go well for you 2.

Karla - posted on 07/18/2010

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It can be done!!! I would recommend waiting at least 3-4 weeks before introducing the bottle, just so your supply is established and you will have less risk of her preferring the bottle.

Jasmine - posted on 07/17/2010

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My daughter is 8 months old and i'm still pumping at least twice a day and still nursing also. It can get tedious and I used to get really bored having to hold the breastshields to my boobs for 15-20 minutes, but I bought a hands-free bustier so now I can read a book or eat while I'm pumping. It makes a big difference. There are ways to work with it but it really depends on the individual.

Emily - posted on 07/17/2010

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Medically, one benefit to actual nursing over feeding expressed milk is that if your baby is sick, she will give your body the germs at one feeding- and your body will give her antibodies at the very next feeding. Another benefit is our bodies' amazing way of balancing foremilk and hindmilk. When you express your milk, the baby is drinking a mix of the two - still incredible milk, but she loses the benefit of having the different "parts of her meal."

Emily - posted on 07/17/2010

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1) As others have said, babies can get out more milk than a pump. In the first few months, most moms have an oversupply and can easily pump as much or more than what their babies need, but after 3-4 months or so when the milk supply regulates, it gets much much harder to pump enough. I had to pump for my preemie, and in the beginning, it was a piece of cake to pump 6oz at a sitting. Now I'm lucky if I get 1oz. If I had to pump exclusively at this point, I'd be screwed.

2) Only pumping is twice the work as simply nursing. Not only do you have to pump, but then you have to feed that bottle. Plus wash all the bottles and pump parts. And using bottles tends to be a slippery slope. As a new mom, you're tired. It becomes really easy to just let someone else feed the bottle and take a little snooze, telling yourself you'll pump in a half hour. Then sleeping for 3 hours and missing that pump session. Then your supply is affected. Also, if you're taking care of the baby by yourself, once baby gets past the sleeping-all-the-time phase, it becomes harder and harder to actually find the time to pump. Let me tell you it really sucks trying to calm down a hungry baby while you're busy trying to pump her lunch.

3) As others have mentioned, nipple confusion. This is real, I've been through it, and it SUCKS. Learning to breastfeed is a process... nipple confusion just makes it harder, and makes it too easy to just give up.

Not trying to be a downer, just being realistic. Pumping exclusively is hard, and I hope I never have to do it again!

Andrea - posted on 07/17/2010

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Yup - supply and nipple confusion are the biggest ones - I would also consider your sanity :) My friend is a medic in the army, she works 2 days on, 2 days off, and every other weekend, each time a 12 hour shift - she has to pump while at work, and HATES IT - she would do anything to just be able to nurse - she also has issues with her supply at the end of her 3 days weekends - so it doesn't always take months to be effected, it can take just days.

Kimberly - posted on 07/17/2010

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Like Mary said I would just be careful of your supply. As your baby gets older they control how much milk your body makes so it may decrease over time and the pump isnt as good as your baby, I express to have some milk frozen incase something happens but I can express the same amount of time as my daughter drinks but dont seem to get the same amount of milk( either that or she doesnt eat very much) But at the end of the day you are doing the best for your baby and thats what counts. If you do find your supply getting a little lower if you can get your baby to have a few more feeds at the breast might help bring it back up. Good luck

Mary - posted on 07/17/2010

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I think the only thing to keep in mind is that an infant is always more efficient than a pump is, so over time your supply may not keep up. I have a friend whose child stopped nursing (would only take a bottle) after she went back to work. She exclusively pumped from 4-11 months. Around that time her supply went down. I think around the 10 month mark she ended up supplementing with formula. I don't see a problem if you are putting her to the breast a bit. I'm a working mom and I pumped three times a day at work, nursed the remainder of the time and am still nursing at 13.5 months (only pumping once at work though). Good luck. You're still giving your child the very best nutrition possible.

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