Thursday, December 4, 2008

To Pump or Not To Pump

That is the question.

Now that Will is fairly consistently sleeping through the night (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder, etc.), I have a problem.

Well, it's not problem, per se. It's more of an uncomfortable feeling that is also slightly responsible for keeping me up at night.

My breasts are full of milk. They still haven't gotten the message that the milk machine is no longer needed during the wee hours. And just when they start to get the idea, Will decides to wake up at 1:00 AM and confuse my poor girls.

I have a great breast pump, but to be honest, I hate pumping. I just don't like the bovine-esque feeling I get when I attach myself to the suction cups. I almost want to wear a bell around my neck and chew my cud as I sit there, pumping away. And the only time that my nipples have ever truly been sore (after the first few weeks, anyway), was when I have used the pump.

Plus, eventually, I would like to stop producing milk at night, and if I pump, wouldn't I just be putting of the inevitable?

But I am still very sore by morning and have pretty much soaked through my breast pads. I rush in at 7 if Will hasn't woken himself up by then, ready and raring to nurse.

My question to your nursing veterans out there is: how long does it usually take for the milk supply to readjust and do you think that I should pump during the night to relieve them - or would that, as I suspect, cause my supply to stay steady? And is there anything that I can do to relieve the nighttime fullness besides pumping?


Fertilized said...

my suggestion (only based on my experience)

hand express to relieve the pressure just a small amout in the wee hours if you wake up hurting (if you pump it will continue to produce and you do not want that). It does adjust itself .. It seems to take a week or two for me

Mel said...

I love the image of the bell and the cud... ;)
Thanks for asking this as I am curious to read the responses. I am dreading pumping, but I know it is what it is. I literally walk around my office right now looking for private nooks and crannies for pumping. Isn't that bizarre? What sucks is a have a great big private office but a HUGE open window that looks down on an atrium. And it has no blinds or anything... hmmm... grrr!

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I agree with Farah. It took me about a week to adjust, but I swear that once my body adjusted she started waking up in the middle of the night again raring to eat. It was so bad I just kept her in bed and nursed her through the night. I'm guessing it was a growth spurt, but it started at 15 weeks and is just now dying down (almost 4 weeks later), so my night supply is up again.

If you're uncomfortable just hand express some milk or you could pump for like 5 minutes or so just relieve the pressure. It will get better though, I promise! :)

Amy said...

Yeah, the boob confusion....that blows! I remember those days as well.. Nothing you can really do, your milk should be established once he truely starts sleeping thru the night...and it's different for every kid. But I think a little hand express OR just tough it out..I know I did that, it sucked, but I had to every once in a while and vola! After about a week it was less painful and my boobs got on track again. Hang in there! YOu are doing an awesome job lady!

K @ ourboxofrain said...

I decided to wait it out. It took about seven days or so to adjust (maybe less). Now, I am far less uncomfortable (though still full) and only soak a nursing pad every few days (as in, no leaking most days, but significant leaking every few -- not that I leak a little every day and only bother to change every few -- eew!).

I do, however, pump for 2-3 minutes right when I get up so as not to subject Harry to the fire hydrant flow.

S and J plus 2 said...

These are all GREAT responses. I went with the hand expression route first thing just to relieve the pressure. Good luck!

Stephanie said...

It really does get better.
My baby is 5 months old and exclusively breastfeeds (because despite all types of trying he just WONT take a bottle).

Anyway, I don't even really need breast pads at night anymore - (or really even at all) and its a relief to not be leaking all the time. Just tough it out if you can and you'll adjust.

Amanda said...

No assvice to offer since I'm not there, yet. But thanks for posting about this so i can read the responses and hopefully remember them later!

Anonymous said...

I would not pump, but I had to (this sounds weird and is) get a bowl of warm water, and place your breast in it. Enough milk will come out so that you are not so full, but with no suction, you won't keep over-producing. Do on both sides before you go to bed, or hand express in the shower, and eventually it will get bettet.

Geohde said...

I'd probably advocate pumping just enough to be more comfortable. You're right, if you pump to empty the tank the boobages will keep on producing :)


Kathy said...

I would not pump. I know it can be uncomfortable during these times of transtion, but your body should adjust to Will's current needs in time. Though it has been a long time, I do recall that when Sean dropped feedings I didn't pump in between and my body did adjust. Hang in there.

Debby said...

Ok...i'm a little late here. but...defnitely don't pump when you're trying to give up a feeding, it'll just confuse your body. Grayson is sleeping through the night, so what I do is pump right before I go to bed (which is 2 to 3 hours after him usually). This way, I empty myself a bit before sleeping, and I have some milk stored up for date nights, etc., I also find that if I pump, i'm not quite as engorged in the morning. I also stopped messing with the breast pads and instead just put a towel under me in the bed in case i leak. Just seems easier at this point. Hope all goes well with figuring out what works best for you!