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Help me to carry on please..

(11 Posts)
LisMcA Fri 08-Jul-11 17:26:25

DS is 10 weeks tomorrow, due to various issues, that I won't go into here, we had early on I am exclusivley expressing for him. Up until last week we were going good guns, supply was good, I had managed to get the pumping sessions down to 4 a day and was producing more than enough and freezing about 5ish ounces a day.

Now I'm just about getting enough to do his feeds for the day. He has increased to 6 ounces a feed though, which probably means I'm still producing the same as I was, but I can't seem to get my supply to go up. The thought of having to pump more really makes me want to give up, but the thought of not giving him my BM makes me sad. He's going to keep getting biger and needing more and I keep thinking how am I going to cope with that.

I'm not sure what I want all you lovely ladies to tell me or advise me. I just need a bit of a rally I think.

I had a big chat with DH last night about it and he is behind me 100% whatever I decide, but secretly I think I want someone to make the decision for me. Am I making sense???

Kick me up the arse please ladies, i need to snap out of this frame of mind quick.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 17:45:23

It might not be too late to get him back on the breast if that would help?

As I understand it breastfed babies' intake tends to be quite stable after the first month. 6oz seems like quite a lot per feed, maybe try smaller feeds more often and his intake might regulate a bit? There's some good info on Kellymom about exclusively expressing.

LisMcA Fri 08-Jul-11 17:51:38

He's not interested in going on the breast, been like that since the start. All it does is upset him and then me. I've accessed all the help I can to get him to latch to no avail, but I've made my peace with him not latching.

Kellymom is great, I'll go and read it again. Thanks Rita!

WriterofDreams Fri 08-Jul-11 17:59:16

Wow, well done for getting to 10 weeks! Pumping is really hard IMO, I found it much harder than just feeding as it has very little immediate reward in terms of cuddles etc so it can be quite demotivating, plus you still have to go on and feed the baby on top of it.

I'm not an expert by any means but I do recall reading that it's harder to get your supply up when only expressing as the natural feedback of baby's hunger is less potent. Unfortunately I think if you really want to continue to EBF then you're going to have to pump more, just like you would have to feed more if you were feeding from the breast. Even when feeding directly from the breast there are definitely periods of time that most mums feel like giving up because the baby seems to be permanently attached. I know there were definitely at least 5 or 6 times in the first 6 months that I thought "I've fecking well had enough." It's normal and the only thing that got me through was to think, right, well I'll do it for one more day and then decide. I soon found the wobble went away without me noticing and things settled down again and it didn't seem too hard any more - until the next feeding marathon of course! Now that DS is weaning feeding is so much easier and I enjoy it a lot more. At times I still find it draining but overall it's great and I'm glad I continued.

Remember that breastfeeding isn't the be all and end all. If it is really getting you down and making life difficult then it's not a terrible thing to give it up. If you don't want to make that decision right away, how about continuing to pump 4 times a day and then supplementing with formula? That way he's still getting a lot of your BM but the pressure is off you a little bit. The danger with doing that is that it could damage your supply although if you're religious about the 4 pumping sessions it should maintain it at that level, given that you're 10 weeks in.

Don't be too hard on yourself. You've given your DS absolutely the best start possible. Anything from here on in is a bonus.

LisMcA Fri 08-Jul-11 20:38:22

Thats exactly it Writer, I keep putting off making the decision until tomorrow. I can't see where the end is.

I think I'll go with your suggestion gof carry on as is, and if I need to, supplement with formula. When that does happen, reassess everything.

Like I said,I am keeping up with him just now and I have about 20 bags in the freezer. maybe last week was a growth spurt and he'll go back down to 5ozs a feed. He's not actually finished a 6ozer today.

I pumped after my last post and got over 12 ozs!! I just have to keep to the schedule and I'm sure it'll be fine.

aswellasyou Fri 08-Jul-11 22:50:32

You've doing amazingly well to get this far expressing.-I'm not sure I could have done it.
I think most exclusive expressers do so more like 8-12 times a day. I imagine it would increase your supply if you started expressing a bit more. Also, if you stay atached to the pump for a few minutes after the milk starts dripping slowly, your body should respond and produce more milk next time.

TruthSweet Fri 08-Jul-11 22:57:01

LisMcA - As Rita says bf babies tend to take between 19-30oz a day with 25oz as an average (each baby finds it's own level be it 20ozish a day or 27ozish a day) and this stays constant from 1-6m though there maybe days of more hunger. This means that if you are bottle feeding EBM you don't need to step up the volume as you would with formula.

These might be helpful for you

This article

This site

Doing this after pumping can help increase yield as can doing breast compressions during pumping.

If you don't mind we asking what pump you are using and how long you express for each session or do you pump until a) the milk stops, b) X mins after the milk stops, c) other? smile

LisMcA Fri 08-Jul-11 23:34:52

I was pumping 8-12 times way back at the start until my supply was established. getting to the 4 times a day level was a hard slog!!

I hadn't realised that I shouldn't be upping the volumes, HV told me to follow the volumes for a FF baby. So last weeks demands for more could have just been a growth spurt?? He has 5 feeds a day, and I go on his cues rather than every 3 hours, so 5x5ozs 25 ozs sounds about the right level then?

Thank you for the links TruthSweet, Iwill read them all. I do compressions while pumping already. I'm using a hired Medela Symphony and I pump until the milk stops which is usually about 15 minutes. I double pump, I cut holes in an old bra to put the funnels through. I look like one of those femmebots from Austin Powers!! I also have a smaller Medela Swing for when I'm not at home which is ok, but not as good as the Symphony. My 4 times a day are usually, first thing in the morning around 7am when DS wakes up, arounf lunchtime between 12 and 2, at 6 when DH gets home and then before bed 11ish. I get between 8 and 12 ozs per session, but recently I've only had 6 ozs att he lunchtime one.

There is always milk in the fridge and I'm never pumping to feed, so to speak. Now I know that he's not going to need more and more as he grows I feel much better that I can keep producing enough for him.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 23:46:00

As I understand it, because breastmilk is a living product the fat content increases over time, so the volume stays more or less the same - whereas obviously formula is always the same stuff so babies have to take more to get enough calories.

TruthSweet Sat 09-Jul-11 04:43:03

Could you squeeze an extra session in the afternoon/evening? Or perhaps swap the 6pm pumping for a cluster pump for a few days to up your supply?

Cluster pumping is where you double pump for 10mins then rest/read/cuddle baby/eat dinner/MN/whatever for 10mins then double pump for 10mins then rest/etc for 10mins then double pump one last time for 10mins.

It helps increase supply in the same way that a baby cluster feeding does and it's not about the actual volumes you are pumping during the cluster pump but the breast stimulation, so don't worry if you are pumping and there is very little output. The 10mins aren't rigid either so if you are letting down when 10mins hits carry on until it slows even if that means you are pumping for 13mins rather than 10.

The hand expressing post feed can also help to increase the fat content of the milk if you add what you hand express to what you pump. In my own time pumping even after dry pumping for a 5 mins I could still get milk out by hand expressing, though it's never been much 5-10mls or perhaps up to 30mls from both sides but it has always been very yellow creamy looking milk so it might be worth a try. If you find it doesn't work for you then don't bother but if it does then it's a little extra for your DS wink

There is also little 'tricks' you can do to aid letdowns, I've linked to this not because I think you have low supply but because if you scroll down to the 'Letdown is a conditioned reflex' section there might be ideas on ways to help ease pumping by having a trigger to letdown (e.g. listening to a specific piece of music just as you start pumping or thinking of a waterfall or of baby drinking your milk) that might help if you need to express more milk at one time.

LisMcA Sat 23-Jul-11 18:50:36

Hi! Just thought I'd come back to report I'm still expressing, got my supply boosted by all the really helpful tips here and things are going well!

BIG THANK YOU!

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