Breastfeeding & Pumping Questions & Support Thread — The Bump
July 2019 Moms

Breastfeeding & Pumping Questions & Support Thread

Inspired by the excellent discussion going on in @tiredmommei 's thread 

This is a place to ask questions and offer support about breastfeeding and pumping.

It is also a **Judgement-Free Zone** where "fed is best" and any pointed comments intended at shaming women for their choices will be unwelcome. 
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Re: Breastfeeding & Pumping Questions & Support Thread

  • Ok, so I would love to open the floor to women who have supply issues. 

    I have hypoplasia/IGT. Combined with having a CS, I had a really difficult time breastfeeding. I went to a fabulous class, I hired a lactation consultant, I was told to breastfeed, pump after feeding and supplement to both increase supply and help get my baby back to birth weight because he was losing more than 10%. 

    I could only produce about 1oz per breast every 2-3 hours and the only increase I saw was first thing in the morning when it had built up to about 3oz per breast while I slept longer stretches. 

    I tried all the teas, supplements, recipes, etc, and nothing helped increase supply. 

    It was intensely stressful feeding, pumping, cleaning bottles and parts round the clock and I was not bonding with my child. After almost a month I decided to switch to formula and it went totally fine, but I received a lot of shame from my support network. 

    I'd like to try breastfeeding again but I'm curious if anyone else has been dealt a similar hand and found better success? 
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  • @mamanbebe I can’t give any experience on finding success but I do want to say I had a very similar experience with supply issues with my daughter. I also really want to try breastfeeding again even though it was a horrible experience the first time. It sounds like you were very prepared and tried absolutely everything you could have, I completely understand how disheartening it is when that’s what you envisioned doing and it doesn’t work out but I hope you take comfort knowing you did all you could. 

    I’m hoping this time the supply issue does not affect me again however if it does I have made peace with the idea of formula feeding another baby. But it would be such a joy to have a successful breastfeeding journey so I’m trying to go into this better prepared than I was the first time. 
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  • @mamanbebe I was in a similar situation. I had an emergency C-section, lost a lot of blood, and my body did not respond well to this. My milk did not come in and DD lost more than 10% of her birth weight within a few days. We were in the hospital for a week as they would not release us until DD stopped losing and started gaining.

    We had to give formula but I opted for assisted lactation (basically I attached a tube to my nipple and the tube went into a bottle of formula, so DD would have both my nipple and the tube in her mouth. When she sucked she got formula, but the action of sucking worked like a pump to try to get my milk going). On top of this I had to pump for 20 minutes on each side after  every feed. I was lucky to get 1mm of milk when I pumped (this was a hospital grade electric pump). I started taking medication to try to get my supply going.

    It was exhausting. I was either nursing (with tube attached), washing feeding tubes, or pumping. And they kept uping my dose of the medication.

    I wanted to quit and just start giving her a bottle but my mom pretty adamantly did not like that idea and made me feel terrible for even thinking about it. I was really angry with her at the time but I kept going.

    When DD was about 2.5 months she started spitting out the tube when she was nursing. By this point I was no longer pumping and was weaning myself off the meds. But my milk had started to come in. 

    I kept suplementing for a while because my supply was low and I didn't trust it but DD started refusing the bottle and all formula after a while. I ended up exclusively BFing from about 3 months to around 8 months (we tried solids at 6 months but she reacted badly to them so we had to wait a bit longer before trying them again). I kept BFing until my hospital stay last year (DD was almost 4) when my milk dried up during the week I was there as I couldn't see DD.

    Anyways, all that to say the process sucked and I hated every second. It was exhausting and I was completely fine if we had been a FF only family. But in the end I'm glad my mom made me stick with it.

    I'm hoping this time goes more smoothly but I'm prepared either way if it doesn't.
  • @mrscammack <3 Thank you for your camaraderie I hope that it works out better for both of us this time. I am grateful that formulas continue to get better and better, and I've earmarked some already, but I too would really like breastfeeding to work out and be a happy experience. 

    @Panaceia Thank you so much for detailing your journey. I am sorry that you did not have more positive support from your mom, but I'm glad you were able to come through the process with some definite success. Do you feel like any of your particular efforts helped more than the others? 
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  • I had a similar experience, c-section, baby losing 10% body weight...she was very sleepy at birth and wouldn’t latch for more than a few seconds before falling asleep.

    The lactation consultant had me use nipple shields to ease the process for DD which kept her latched longer. However, she made me pump with a hospital grade pump after each feed with the nipple shields to make sure my breasts were emptied and my husband gave her that milk back with a syringe. That process lasted through 6-8 weeks and I have to say, passing baby off to my husband after every feed was so exhausting...I missed the best cuddles!! However, thanks to this I was able to get my supply up enough to successfully breast feed until she was one and I chose to end it.

  • @mamanbebe Honestly if I had to choose what helped the most it was the assisted lactation (the tube attached to nipple so baby was still nursing even if she wasn't getting any milk) and the medication. The pumping did nothing and even my LC agreed after a few weeks that in my situation it was a waste of time. But the meds and the tube were both life savers!
  • I want to share my experience with my second. I was induced with him due to high fluids which they thought was caused by CMV, a virus that can be very dangerous to baby. After he was born, we both needed additional blood work to rule out the virus, and I wasn’t able to breastfed right away. My nurse assured me that I could still breastfeed once we got the all clear. I pumped every time he got a bottle, and he was only getting 20ml at each feeding. My nurse said that one of the biggest mistakes made with supplementing, is the amount of formula that is given. Their stomachs are so so tiny when they’re born, that 20ml was more than enough. We did that for almost a week, and i was finally cleared to nurse. It took a bit to get comfortable, but thankfully, my son didn’t have any issues transitioning to the breast, after a week of getting bottles. I nursed him for 15 months. 

    Everyones experience will be different, but I just wanted to share, because if for any reason, you need to supplement, it is okay, and you still may be able to nurse for as long as you would like. It’s so hard going in, being set on breastfeeding and having issues, but as long as baby is healthy, and mamas needs are being taken care of, that’s all that matters! 
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  • @BumpAdmin Could we please pin this as an on-going topical help thread? 

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  • @frenchbaby18 I never even considered that shields or the quality of pump could have made a difference, thank you for sharing that. I'm also really happy to hear that it was successful! Did you continue pumping at all or just exclusive breastfeeding? 

    @nolemomma14 What you said about the formula amount is totally news to me. I think I started off at 50/50 and then eventually it was like 20/80, which was really disheartening. Thank you for sharing. 

    @Panaceia I am really intrigued by the supplemental nursing systems now. What brand did you use? 

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  • @mamanbebe I stopped pumping after each feed as soon as I stopped using the nipple shield. However, I went back to work when she was 3.5 months old so started pumping again then.

    I had to start supplementing when she was about 9 months old because I was too exhausted pumping when traveling for work (trains, airports...) because I had to constantly keep my milk cold as I never was able to build a huge supply. Airport security was always so frustrating with the little ice packs (favorite comment was I couldn’t bring it unless my baby was with me...I was like, umm I wish she was here too so I didn’t have to travel with this stupid pump!!) also used the milk stork program when traveling in the US which overnights milk to baby.

    I have to say looking back on it that I got a bit too obsessive about the not supplementing once I was finally established for fear of losing my supply. This time around there are definitely things I would relax about...
  • tsa208tsa208
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited December 2018
    I have to say looking back on it that I got a bit too obsessive about the not supplementing once I was finally established for fear of losing my supply. This time around there are definitely things I would relax about...
    Same here. I was militant about not supplementing, and when I finally did around 5 months in, it was a huge weight off my shoulders! I had returned to work and I don't respond well to pumps, so I was struggling to keep up with what she was going through in daycare. Being about to send 3 bottles of BM and 1 bottle of formula gave me that space I needed and guess what, she survived. 

    This time around, I will be more reasonable with introducing formula if I need to.
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  • I breastfed for a year with my first and plan to again. My son started rejecting a bottle at 6 weeks. We bought every brand of bottle, tried fresh milk, thawed frozen milk, formula, everything. I even went back to work for a week thinking he wouldn't starve himself. WRONG. He lost a pound in that week. It was hard because I so desperately wanted nights where I could drink a couple glasses of wine but I couldn't because I had to be able to nurse. I definitely plan on pumping this time, introducing pumped milk out of a bottle, and having at least one feed from a bottle daily in hopes that won't happen again. I only had a cheap single pump last time. Anyone have a good pump recommendation or anything else that they felt worked well in this situation?
  • @shawnacrest most insurance companies cover an electric pump. I recommend Spectra or Medela... I've used both, but loved the Spectra so much! 

    In case it helps anyone, I would pump every morning after the first feeding because I was always the fullest then. I taught my body I needed a little more in the morning. This led to a decent freezer stash that became super helpful! 
  • Same - I had both the Medela Pump in Style and the Spectra S1. Both were similar in terms of performance for me, but:
    • the Spectra is really quiet - I could pump with a sleeping baby next to me while I couldn't with Medela PISA.
    • the Spectra has a chargeable battery that last for hours, so you can carry it around. The Medela must always be plugged in.
    • the Spectra had a timer built in, which is convenient. 
    • the only downside is the Spectra is that having a separate power button, it starts off on the settings you left it on, and I'd start off gentle and increase the suction over time. So if I forgot to lower it before I turned it off (happened all the time), I'd start off pumping with really strong suction, ouch! The Medela uses a knob that you turn all the way to the left to turn off, so you can't leave it on a setting when you turn it off.

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  • tsa208tsa208
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited December 2018
    And @Bear14+ said it, Obamacare requires that insurance cover breast pumps (except a few that are grandfathered in apparently). You need to get a prescription from your doc, and some insurance companies won't let you get your pump until like month 8 or 9. There are a ton of companies that basically handle all of the administration for you.  Here are a few examples:

    They will contact your doctor's office and get the prescription and then work with your insurance to fulfill your pump, and give you a list of pumps covered by your insurance to choose from. I used this type of company and it was simple. I recommend going through one of these companies (think of them as the pharmacy for breastpumps).

    I will say, if you want a specific pump and one of the companies doesn't give you the option, try another one. I really wanted the Medela Pump in Style, but I first went through Yummy Mummy who didn't offer it. I then contacted Edgepark and they were able to get it. 

    Then, I wound up purchasing my Spectra out of pocket, because I wanted to leave a pump at work. I ordered it through Amazon. FYI, you can use HSA/FSA to cover ALL breastfeeding related purchases. Pumps, accessories, nipple cream, all of it! 

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  • @Bear14+ I had totally forgotten that i kept pumping after my first morning feed for a very long time to make up for days I pumped less at work! 

    I guess the good news is that it couldn’t have been that traumatizing as I wouldn’t have even remembered that trick if you hadn’t brought it up :)
  • @mamambebe I wish it was some high tech brand:) It was literally just a feeding tube from the hospital supply shop, medical tape, and a syringe to clean out the tube after each use. We had the small bottles of ready made formula and we cut a small hole in the top of the nipple that you can screw right on to the formula bottle. One end of the feeding tube went in the formula bottle and the other I taped to my breast so that the other end of the tube ended around where my nipple was. The tubes are super thin and even with flushing them out with water we would push through the syringe after every feeding we were still told to change tubes frequently. The hospital sent us home with formula, tubes, syringe, tape, and bottle nipples. Once we ran out we just had to buy formula  (obviously ) and feeding tubes from the hospital which were actually pretty inexpensive. So it wasn't high tech but it was free and very effective!
  • @Cbeanz very true! I've had 4 successful and rather easy nursing experiences.

    The first few weeks are the hardest as both you and your baby are learning and adjusting. Definitely use the LC provided in the hospital. She'll show you different techniques to latch and different holds. Amazing resource. They can also give you a ton of local resources to help you including the LLL. 

  • So my first had some latch issues, but we got it down within a week and besides a small case of mastitis BF was smooth sailing for 7 months. When I got pregnant (first loss, between my boys) he suddenly refused and we switched to formula. With my first he nursed basically around the clock for the first week - almost nonstop! He did great until I was hospitalized for gallbladder issues at 5 months. I was in the hospital overnight and they wouldn't bring me a pump. My milk literally dried up overnight and he had to switch to formula. I'm really hoping to be able to go a full year this time. My only concern is I have my nipples pierced. I will of course have to take them out for nursing, but I wonder what the extra holes will do!  :D
  • I just posted the site in another thread, and thought I would share here too. 

    Kelly Mom is an amazing resource for all things breastfeeding!

  • If anyone ever needs any advice or support I'm fairly knowledgable about breastfeeding and would love to help. ❤️ I also have 3.5 years of breastfeeding experience, good and bad. 
    Mama of 1.5 little boys.
    20. Engaged. Single Parent. College Student in 2017. SAHM.
    Just taking things as they come and doing the best I can for my kids.

    Michael Anthony | April 11th 2015
    Baby Boy #2 | May 12th 2017

  • I'll share my breastfeeding stories here in case it helps someone. I do NOT think I am an expert by any stretch, and my two experiences have been very different (and my third will likely be different again).

    My first was a c-section after pushing for a couple of hours with no progress. I spiked a fever in labor and that led to a few little complications for baby when he was born that necessitated a meal of formula. At the time I had read a lot that really turned me off of formula, and I was pretty against supplementing. For the rest of the time in the hospital I did NOT supplement even though my milk had not come in (I didn't fully understand that at the time). Every meeting with the LC went well - she complimented his latch and said we seemed to have a great nursing relationship already. I honestly feel like she gave me a false sense of security, because I thought everything was fine. 

    Fast forward to when we got home (after a day in the bili blanket) and he hadn't pooped and didn't have many wet diapers. I was FREAKING OUT. The post partum hormones left my crying basically all the time because I felt like I was failing my baby. (Spoiler was just that my milk hadn't come in - and wouldn't for maybe a WEEK after he was born). I reluctantly supplemented in those early days to get results in the diaper but was anxious to stop. After the first week or two he was EBF until around 6 months (and I always fought with my supply - cue pills, teas, oils...ALL THE THINGS) and my supply tanked from 6-9 months as we transitioned to totally formula fed. I was disappointed but not devastated. 

    BABY 2: Repeat c-section. I knew my milk would be slow to come in and asked for formula in the hospital before they even suggested it. I let her spend plenty of time on the breast but wanted her tummy to be full and didn't want the STRESS of wondering if she had eaten enough. My milk came in sooner - maybe day 4 - and I was able to breastfeed her until around 16 months. 

  • Bear14+Bear14+
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2018
    Agree with PP! I've been little hesitant to post here because I had two completely different experiences with my two children. Sparing you guys the details, my first was torture for the first month (shallow latch) and the second was smooth sailing. However, no matter what with both of supply went to crap around the 6 month mark by the end of day.

     So yeah, set small goals. I literally had no choice to switch to formula if I wanted my kids fed... tried everything I could to boost my supply. I remember with my first, literally in tears giving him a bottle of formula because I was upset with myself. BUT, once we made that switch, we were both in such a better state mentally!! It was such a relief.

     1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc... celebrate every one of them!
  • @key33 ❤️
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  • I'm just seeing this thread! So glad this exists. I have a lot of positive breastfeeding experience... currently tandem nursing my 2.5 year old and 11 month old and also nursed through my second pregnancy. I'm very lucky that breastfeeding comes easy to me. If you happen to have an earlier baby (36/37 weeks) your baby may need a little extra help! Both of mine were born at that time and I used a nipple shield for about a month before transitioning solely to the breast. Here is a great article if you happen to be in this situation
    My biggest issues actually had to do with oversupply, which if you are lucky enough to have, you may encounter issues such as overactive letdown or your baby almost choking on your milk. Fortunately, these are fairly easy to fix!
    @ameliabedelia-2 I also have high lipase with my milk. Fortunately, my first drank/drinks it no problem! My second will drink it but just not from a bottle lol. So you may luck out if you have this issue and your baby will drink it just fine!
    Here to offer support, advice, tips, whatever is needed! Especially if you are considering tandem nursing. It's been a really great experience for me and my kiddos. If you are interested even a tiny bit in breastfeeding I really recommend giving it a try. And don't give up on a bad day. If it's not for you (or your baby) that's ok, but it's great to try! I never thought I'd be a crazy breastfeeding lady, but I guess I am lol!

  • CbeanzCbeanz
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
    @ccmama3 I literally was just going to ask if anyone was still nursing a toddler or had tandem nursed.

    My first two stopped around one year but my third, for some reason, hasn't been ready to stop. We've passed the 22 month mark and honestly I feel like between the nursing and the pregnancy I'm getting the life sucked out of me. I'm actually interested in tips on how to END the nursing relationship with my almost 2yo before the next one is born. Weaning was so peaceful with my first two. But at this point we're having tantrums when I say no. Anyone have experience weaning a 2yo??
  • @Cbeanz I was down to just one nursing session a day with my 2 year old... just right before bed. Then my supply took a hit when I got pregnant and I think because of that he's been asking to nurse 2-3 times or more a day. He also throws tantrums when I say no and I feel so bad. I was ok with the once a day thing, but I do not feel like doing more when I'm also nursing an 11 month old. I also think I need to wean him before baby comes. I've been hoping he'd wean himself :lol: :lol: doen't seem like that's going to happen. Some friends of mine had good luck with their toddlers spending the weekend with grandparents and then upon returning saying there was no more milk. Would that be an option for you?!
  • tova24tova24
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Hi all! Baby #2 on the way! The first time around was super hard. I was a single mom with little help after having an emergency c section. My DS wouldn't latch (got to love flat nipples!) so I pumped exclusively for as long as I could (5 weeks). I used a Medela Pump In Style, but I disliked having to be plugged in. 

    Question: has anyone used the Willow pump? If so, how was it? 
  • @tova24 I have a friend who used it and she really liked it!! The downside to it she said was that it didn't hold as many ounces as what she was pumping so she had to swap out bags in the middle. 
  • tova24tova24
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Thanks @ccmama3 ! I want to try it this time around. 
  • Ok, I need recommendations on really, the FASTEST pump. I just realized I will have days when I only get a 15 minute break in the morning and a 20 minute lunch in the afternoon to pump when I come back. I need something that will get the most milk for my time in that short little window!
  • @indulgentgypsy I don't know if this varies by person, but for me Spectra got results faster than the Medela Freestyle. 
  • CbeanzCbeanz
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
    @indulgentgypsy +1 for Spectra. It was way more efficient for me than Medela PIS.
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