Monday, November 8, 2010

Nursing Riddles

Emma is just not into the breastfeeding lately. It started with the yeast problems and got worse after the mastitis.

The girl likes her bottles. She chugged 10 ounces today while my girlfriend watched her. Ten ounces, people.

My problem? I hate pumping. I never get more than a few ounces from each breast when I pump and Emma laughs at anything less than 8 ounces lately. I have a nice pump, too, the Medela Pump In Style, so it's not that, but to get 10 ounces, I would have to pump at least twice or supplement with formula. Again, I have nothing against formula, but we are on a single income and breastfeeding is cheap while formula is not. It also isn't realistic for me to pump twice to get one bottle and keep nursing her.

One of my girlfriends said that in order to get Emma back on Da Boob, I should withhold all bottles and not do any supplementing. This is a great theory, but what about when she has been nursing for an hour straight and is still screaming with hunger? Or what about when she bobs off and on the boob for thirty minutes and is still screaming with hunger? There are days when she seems fine, but other days when I have to give her a little supplemental bottle in the afternoon. And we usually give her a "topper" bottle after our last nursing session of the day.

Does anyone have any pumping ideas? Or ways to get my little one back on track with nursing?


Ms. J said...

I'm sure you're acutely aware of this but lest anyone forget .... It's a lot harder to stay on a strictly-nursing regime when you have other children afoot (esp. one Will's age that requires near-constant monitoring or attention).

The moment I had Peanut on da boob is was like a a neon sign to Lil Pumpkin that "wait a minute - that baby has her attention! Must. Regain. The. Power. NOW."

Conversely, I felt that Peanut knew that nursing was HER way to capture my attention and so would clamor for bob-time even I even thought about doing something w/LP requiring 2 hands.

My supply was always lowish. Pumping? No matter what I did (and I had a GREAT pump) after 2 measly oz there was nada left to give. No help here, just validation that it's tough!

Ms. J said...

hey sorry for typos above - doing this via my Palm Pre so tiny keyboard!

HereWeGoAJen said...

Hmm, I don't know. My only advice would be to maybe check out a LLL meeting in your area and see if anyone there has any ideas. They usually have a library of books that you can borrow too. That was helpful for my thrush.

alison said...

Have you tried fenugreek or any of the milk-boosting supplements? If your ped's office has a LC on staff, they might be able to suggest something. I BF B until 5 1/2 months, but spent the final 2 1/2 months pumping exclusively, it was best for us. But pumping exclusively will make your supply drop eventually too... give and take.

For what it's worth, (and I know every penny counts, being frugal is always at the forefront of my mind) formula isn't that expensive. We would get the huge cans from Sam's (or Costco if you don't have Sam's) that run about $20 and that would last an entire month. For us, it ended up being worth the cost over worrying about B getting enough breastmilk to eat. So the 6 months we used formula cost ~$120... not too bad.

I'm so not trying to tell you to quit nursing, just telling you what worked for us! :)

Beth said...

Is she close to 4 months? My guys all had a weird eating-regression go on along with their sleep regression @ that age....

I hated pumping with a passion too. But a necessary evil when returning to work full time and trying to continue my breastfeeding relationship.
I always had good luck with pumping after the first morning session and again after they were down for the night - this will build your supply, and give you a little extra to supplement if possible/needed. And pumping for 10-15 + minutes was always key for me too...but it gets tough with other Littles who need Mama.

I have also had good luck with Fenugreek (you'll smell like maple syrup) 3 capsules 3 times daily. Oatmeal and tons of water are two other easy things to do.

And if you continue to be puzzled, I would definitely contact a LC or LLL or for advice.

Annalien said...

If you continue to breastfeed and just supplement with formula when needed, it should not work out too expensive. I pumped for each of my children when I returned to work after 4 months, but pumping is not as effective as breastfeeding and after a few months my supply does become low and I have to supplement with formula.

It helps milk supply to get up in the middle of the night to pump - so that is an option if Emma is sleeping through, but it is not really an enticing idea, is it?

Good luck!

Rebecca said...

When the Crazies were really little, I tried to breastfeed...I thought I was doing a good job too until I went back to the doctor a month later to find that Hailey had only gained 3 ounces and was still less than when she was born...yikes! I had a lactation consultant come over that night (best $100 I ever spent) and she gave me some of which was pumping. I kept at it for another two months, but that pump represented a torture device in my mind. At three months, we switched to all formula and I got rid of the pump.

Do what keeps you sane...the money will eventually fall into place and so will your sanity!

Anonymous said...

Ms. J did have a great pump, I can vouch for it! I use it now!

I would say to use the boobie bootcamp. Wait until the hubby is home or you can send Will to Grandma's and just nurse her whenever she demands.

I did this with Nolan and it worked like a miracle. That being said, I didnt have any other kiddos underfoot and had a ton of help. Nolan is very fussy and wont take anything other than a boob to quiet him/soothe him. Is there any chance she is doing the same thing? Is she truly hungry all the time?

Sending you the best of luck!!!

Jen said...

Well I have no good advice. I hated pumping too, and well both of my kids are formula fed. And yeah, it isn't cheap. I'm usually out $100 - $150 a month and counting down the days until age one.

I have heard people mention pumping while they drive. I don't know how much time you spend in a car these days, but maybe that would work?

Rachel said...

A couple of ideas. One is that nursing regressions are quite normal. If you have the time to go to a LLL meeting or see a lactation consultant, they should have an accurate scale and be able to weigh Emma before and after a nursing session. That should give you a good sense of whether she is getting enough to eat despite her fussing (as the mother of one who used to doze off continuously during her nursing sessions and make me terrified that she wasn't eating enough, this was by far the most useful thing for my peace of mind).

Other thoughts:
- When I went back to work I was told by my LC never to give the fusspot more than 3-4 oz of pumped milk. Apparently babies who are usually breastfed have almost no ability to cut themselves off with the bottle and will overeat and get stomach aches. When you next leave Emma, maybe try leaving 2 4 oz bottles and ask whoever is watching her to wait at least 45 minutes between bottles. Pumped milk is much more calorie accessible than formula which is why bottles designed for formula are so much larger. Our daycare workers in Lalaland used to continually nag me about 'how little' I sent to daycare when I was sending 4 3 oz bottles of pumped milk, and the fusspot was growing just fine

- I know that you are tired and pumping is hard to do when you are tired/stressed. I had a couple of strategies to increase my output. A. Find out if you get the most milk in the morning or at some other point during the day (for me it was late night) and try to pump then B. If at all possible try to get a small freezer stash so you aren't stressed about your output every day C. Finding something fun/relaxing to do while pumping. For me it was reading blogs and trash magazines. Maybe TV? Certainly don't try to sit there and watch the drops of milk and expect them to fill up D. I used both an electric pump (during the day when at work) and a hand pump (late at night in bed). I found that the freedom of the handpump was more relaxing and I would often get more if I waited until the fusspot was in bed and then crawled into bed in my pajamas with a magazine and pumped. Amazon has good hand pumps for $25, so that might be worth trying. E. Sad but true that the more often you pump the more you get. My LC told me that we could leave the pump out for up to 6-8 hours unwashed as long as it wasn't boiling hot inside, so I used to set it up at the table and pump for 5 minutes every time I wandered past and wasn't holding the fusspot those rough first few weeks. Even if you only have time to pump an ounce every time you sit down, if you can do 5-10 mini pumping sessions during a day then you're supply should go up.

And of course, nothing wrong with supplementing. I really hope that this is just a temporary regression and that you get your breastfeeding relationship back, but either way you should be proud of how long you have managed to breastfeed your little girl despite plenty of toddler-distractions.

Allison said...

Oh I detest thee as well.

are you sure you have nipped the thrush? that would be my first thing to consider.

I use garlic, pau d'arco tincture, and then the pump needs to be thoroughly decontaminated.

2nd, are you eating any lactogenic foods or herbs? That might help boost your supply on either end, nursing or pumping.

I hope you guys get back on is frustrating those little (or big) blips int he relationship. (((((hugs)))))

Beth Eidenmiller said...

I've never posted but have been reading your blog for about the last year...i love it! I nursed my boys and we did have some nursing strikes...unfortunately the only way i found thru them was to nurse, nurse, nurse. I know this is easier said than second child was twins boys so i had some crazy moments and we did end up on formula at 11 months...
Hey Ms J- I'm missing your blog!!
I didn't know you were going PW protected!

Katie said...

Beth - she is working on a new private blog and will be bringing readers onboard once it's live. Girl needs to hurry up, though, I'm missing her something fierce and I still have access to her via phone and FB! C'mon, Ms. J, it's not like you're working full time, traveling, and raising two kids or anything? Where's the blog? LOL!

So, if you want to e-mail me your e-mail address, I'll pass it along to Ms. J so you can get in on the new blog.

Anonymous said...

some very good ideas here. you can also try a power pump, sometime when you're not alone taking care of the 2 of them: pump 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump 10 minutes, rest 10 -- for an hour. if you can swing this once saturday and once sunday, for example, monday you should see at least a small bump in your supply.

Anonymous said...

A few suggestions: fenugreek and lots of it, oatmeal (blech), pump after every feed for 10 minutes, if giving bottle give smaller quantities more often and you may want to start pumping once at night. Also, if she's distracted, you might want to get a big shiny necklace--This has helped us get through those times with J who has the attention span of a gnat. :) good luck sweetie! ((hugs))