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Exclusively pumping moms

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mo41083. Show Mo41083's posts

    Exclusively pumping moms

    Hi ladies, I've been lurking for a while on these boards since my days on the wedding and pet boards over the last few years and althouh I didn't post I really enjoyed everyone's advice, support, and opinions on all things baby while I as pregnant. DH and I welcomed a very healthy 9 lb. 4 oz. baby girl on the 2nd of January in the late afternoon and I have a question for all you seasoned mamas. Our start of breastfeeding was not what I expected it to be because of me having a 4th degree tear and DD being on the bigger side. We were encouraged by the nurses to start supplementing with formula from the very beginning and I needed so much work right after delivery to patch me back up little time was spent in the first few hours of DD's life to get us up to speed on breast feeding. Now almost two weeks later, lots of tears, a tongue tie, and three trips to the lactation consultant later we're settling into a routine of just pumped milk supplemented by formula from a bottle. I don't remember seeing much on this board from moms who exclusively pump but I'm interested in hearing from any of you that are. My milk supply is very low, only about 12 oz. a day from 10 to 12, 15 minute sessions. DD needs about 3 oz. per feeding so she's only getting about a 1/3 of what she needs from me and I'd love some tips about how to pump more for her, I know that pumping can never be as effective as the baby. I've read a lot about different herbal products to take and the lactation consultant I saw recommended Go Lacta but I have a lot of bad food/drug allergies so I'm worried about taking something that isn't approved by the FDA. The company that makes it hasn't gotten back to me after I emailed them asking for more information. Any suggestions that you have would be great. Thanks!

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Congrats on your new LO, Mo.  I ep'd for 5 months for my DS and ended up needing to supplement as well.  My DS is 7 months now and on all formula, I ep'd for as long as possible but my stress level was through the roof and I made the decision that it was better for both of us to have him go to formula.  Here are a few tips from my experience... First, for me, stress and milk supply were very closely linked, if my stress level was up my milk supply was down.  I found that once I was able to relax and come to terms with the need to supplement my supple increased. Second, the best way to increase your supple is to pump more; however, 10-12 times a day is A LOT!  Not sure I would increase that if I were you because you'll never be able to leave the pump.  Also, I was usually able to get another ounce or so through compression so try that at the end of every pump session.  And play around with the let down button, some women can have more than one let down in a session so they get more milk.  This didn't work for me but it's worth trying.  Finally the LC at my hospital recommends fenugreek as a supplement to increase supply.  You can find it at BRU but it's cheapest if you get it from a GNC type store or an online retailer, BRU really marks up the price on it.  Best of luck!  If you have any specific questions let me know!

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Arcain. Show Arcain's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo - First off, welcome and congrats! I had a situation similar to yours in terms of formula supplementing/low supply. I never managed to get off the formula (DS was a legendarily distracted/lazy nurser from day 1, and is still terrible on the bottle at almost 11 months!), but I know others in similar situations have. It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right, so I don't have any great solutions, but a couple things worth asking:

    - Double check with your LC, but I think you could up your pumping time to 20 mins. I already can't remember what they told me to do, but I know I did more than 15. Pumping both sides at 1 time, right?

    - Are you nursing at all and, if so, are you pumping after each time DD nurses?

    - This is unsolicited advice, but just make sure you listen to yourself RE: how far you're willing to go to make EPing work. There are endless strategies and tricks you can try, and many well-meaning people who will eagerly help you try them. I had to finally put my foot down with the supplemental nursing system -- it was taking away from my enjoyment of DS and making me feel bad. It is hard work, and you should be proud of yourself for any efforts you make. If you find yourself feeling bad/guilty, just remember to take a step back and see that, as someone on these boards told me "Any way that you get food into your baby [bmilk or formula] is the right way to feed a baby"!

    GL! And these boards are a great resource -- I never would have made it through 6 months of nursing, pumping, and supplementing without them!

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Sounds a lot like my experience after my first child...

    I pumped for about 6 months with DD, and the most I ever managed to get in a day was about 15 oz.  It is hard, much harder than nursing and supplementing or either exclusively nursing or formula feeding, because you've got to pump and feed, not one or the other.  With DD, for the first two months, I was nursing, pumping and finger feeding at every feeding, so it's exhausting, but it got so much easier when I went back to work, because I wasn't trying to do it all at once.  After 2-3 months I got into a routine of pumping about 5-6 times a day (morning, 3 times at work and 2-3 times in the evenings when I got home (timed around when she was asleep or when DH was feeding her)), and it was so much better.  I kept it up until 6 months, when my supply started decreasing and her needs started really increasing...

    Good luck!  It's stressful and difficult and frustrating.  I cried a lot about it over that 6 months, especially when I had friends who were pumping 10 oz in a single session!!! Ugh! 

    I will also tell you that I got a lot of feedback about my decision to pump and combo feed with DD...lots of people asking why I was bothering, that kind of thing, and then the occasional annoying person who would tell me tales of never giving their kid a single bottle and not understand that my biology wasn't working that way...that was the hardest part...other people's expectations.  Whatever you decide to do, and for however long, it's up to you!  For me, the pumping was more about me than about her, so I stopped when I felt ready. 

    Also, in case you decide to have more children, know that this experience won't dictate how the next one will be; I have a 4 month old son now who is a great nurser.  I still don't get a ton when I pump, but it's about double the output I did with DD; so he does get a combo of b-milk and formula.  Still not the way I'd initially imagined it, but after the experience with DD, there has been absolutely no guilt associated with any of my feeding decisions or needs. 


  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Sorry the other posts made me think of a few additional things: (1) I agree with Arcain, I pumped for closer to 20 minutes each side while getting my supply up and (2) a friend put on her DS's white noise maker - the rainfall setting - while she pumped and said it increased her supply and I've heard of others recording and then playing the sound of their LO crying to help increase supply.  It's worth a shot!

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mo41083. Show Mo41083's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Thanks everyone, you're all making me feel a lot better! I have a white noise machine so I'll try that and I'm already planning to call the LC tonight after DD's weigh-in appointment with the pedi to check-in so I'll ask her why she suggested 15 min. instead of 20 and see if she thinks that will help. I honestly don't know how much longer I'm going to keep this up but right now I feel like every drop is liquid gold and while I'm home from work on leave I want to give it the best try I can.

    We tried nursing all last week and then pumping right after but I was getting so stressed during the nursing because she wouldn't latch, even with the breast shield she would scream and cry and bash her head around so I was only pumping a few drops after and not sure how much she would get during the actual feeding. She went from 9 lbs. 4 oz. at birth to 8 lbs. 10 oz. last Friday which is when we decided to give up on the actual nursing and just pump. Then on Sunday when we saw the LC again she wasn't up any more so we upped the amount we were giving her at each feeding from 2 oz. to 3 oz. I'm hoping that tonight she's up a little bit and that we'll get back to her birth weight soon.

    My LC said that fenugreek is most effective during the first week after birth so she didn't recommend it to me because by the time I first went to see her it was already pretty much a week later.

    As a follow-up question, what kind of formula are you all using? I delivered at BWH and they started us on Similac Advanced so that's what we've been using that but to be honest I didn't do a lot of formula research before DD got here because I was really convinced that breastfeeding would work and I wouldn't need it. A friend told me she used a generic version of the Similac from Costco (I think) and that worked out fine for her DD.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo, you are certainly making an exhaustive effort. If you don't get the bf'ing outcome you hope for after all that at least you will have no (logical) reason for regret.

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo...if you wanted to try nursing again, one thing I did that helped keep the baby a little more calm to try nursing was to feed about an ounce then try nursing.  I'd do that, then pump while DH would feed another ounce or two.  It helped both of us be a little more patient with trying to nurse, and nursing will help up the supply. 

    Did you have the tongue tie clipped?  DD has one, but they wouldn't clip it (still mad about that 26+ months later!), so she never really was able to latch without the shield.   

    Another thing I tried to boost supply was doing an hour twice a day where I'd pump for 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump again, and repeat.  During the rest time, I'd drink a big glass of water, too, just to keep hydrated.  It's one of those things the LC's told me to try...did it for about a week or so. 

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Oh, and I use's what Newton Wellesley gave out, and both kids have done well on it.  I don't think any one is better than another, just a matter of what works for your baby! 


  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    I think my friend with preemies also supplements(ed) with Enfamil (preemie version).

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from pugslove. Show pugslove's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    MO - Congrats on your LO.  Breastfeeding is really hard and stressful! 

    I mostly EP.  DS who is 6 months old nurses first thing in the morning and then drinks expressed milk the rest of the day.  Since going back to work DS has giving me the boot!  LOL.  I took awhile to not feel bad that he rejected me but I am over it now.  I joke with DH that pumping is my part time job because I am pumping about 3 hours a day.  I pump after nursing in the morning, 3x at work and one more time after work.  I pump for 30 minutes each session both sides at once.  I think Ill be pumping for the next 6 months...

    I feel like it took about 12 weeks for my milk to regulate.  And I wanted to give up so many times and felt it was too hard and frustrating but I just kept trucking along and all is good now. 

    As the girls mentioned above pump after nursing to keep your supply up.  I noticed that when I eat oatmeal my supply really increases.  There is a tea called Mothers Milk which you can get anywhere (the organic section of the gorcery store or target) to help with supply.  ALso there are a lot of free clinics that you can bring your baby to for breast feeding support.  I think ISIS offers one and you can check with your hosptial. 

    Another idea is to power pump. So basically you pump unitl no milk is coming out stop for 2 minutes and pump for 5 minutes and repeat.  When I do this my milk starts expressing again. is a great website for tips too!  Which the girls here showed me!

    I hope this helps and remember whatever works for you and your baby is your choice!   Good Luck!


  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Arcain. Show Arcain's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Re: formula, I used brand names until I found out that the stuff is so strictly regulated that generic is exactly the same. I use the Target brand that says "compare to Similac Advance" and DS has done great with it.

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Arcain. Show Arcain's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo, what area do you live in? I can't say enough for bfing support groups. Baby Cafe run by Melrose Wakefield Hospital is great. So helpful and supportive no matter what you're doing, and a great place to meet other new moms. 

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms


    Congrats on your new baby!

    I BF'd both my children.  My DS self-weaned when he was 8.5 months and so I EP'd for 3.5 months with him.  I was so determined that he only have breastmilk.  But it was so hard, I was pumping 7 times a day on the highest setting so for only about 5-7 mins, but I was sore and my supply was diminishing.  

    I think I became pretty resentful so even though I made it to my goal, in hindsight, I'm not sure it was really worth it. If your doing 10-12 times a day for 15-20 mins, that can really take a toll on you and inhibit your bonding with your baby.  So don't be afraid to give it up if you feel you need to.  

    Formula has come such a long way and it doesn't make you any less of a mother to feed it to your LO.  

    Good luck!

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo, my DS refused to nurse and it was stressful for both of us and even though the LC was really pushing me to continue trying I decided it wasn't worth it for either of us and EP'd.  Well I guess I almost EP'd because when DS would wake up for the middle of the night feeding I would attempt to breastfeed at that point.  Usually he was kind of out of it and wouldn't fight me as much so it worked for us.  Once he started STTN I stopped breastfeeding altogether.

    As for formula, I had samples of both Enfamil and Similac, DS absolutely refused to drink Enfamil even when mixed with breastmilk. We've stuck to Similac and just recently bought the Target version of Similac Advanced and he's had no problem with it.

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mo41083. Show Mo41083's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Wow, you ladies are amazing...I can't believe how many months some of you have EP'd for. I would love to keep this up for the three months that I'm home but I'm honestly taking it day by day. We were a the pedi last night for a weight check and she was actually down an ounce from when we went to her 1st appointment last Monday so we're under strict orders to feed her every two hours (if she's sleeping good over night we can go to 3 or 4 but no more). Today between the bottle every two hours and then pumping (I've been trying 20 minutes each time, both sides at the same time) it's been a full morning of just feeding her.

    Thanks for the formula recommendations I think we'll look into the generic ones too, and probably Costco and BJ's to do some price comparing.

    Arcain - I do live in the Melrose area and actually went to the Baby Cafe last week. Sharon the LC that runs it is the LC I've been working with through Melrose Wakefield Hospital. I can see how those groups can be really helpful but last week between the trouble getting DD to latch and seeing everyone else being able to do it I actually got upset and cried the whole way home. I'm going to start looking into some of the other information Sharon gave me about resources for moms in the area to see if there's a group that works for us and isn't centered around breastfeeding. I did join the North Suburban Moms group on Meetup and it looks like they have a ton of events, I'm hoping that by next week I can join in on something like the one of the mall walks or a story time or something like that.

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Liv22. Show Liv22's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Making the choice to EP is really hard. It's a lot of work, but with time I found tips and tricks to make it easier. I would set little goals for myself but always allowed myself an out if I felt it was too much. I made it to 11 months. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. Some tips - Don't wash the parts each time or you'll never get anything done. Throw them in the fridge in between pumps. Buy extras if you think you'll be doing it for awhile. Do you have a hands free bra? And yes I would power pump. I would always do that when DH came home from work, so he could focus on DD. I also rented a hospital grade pump for the first 3 months. Once DD SSTN I gave up the night time pump, and it didn't affect my supply, so I think that helped me keep going. In the beginning we supplemented for a long time, but my supply grew and there were a few months were I was able to match her intake. I never once felt guilty about giving her formula. I was just proud of myself for sticking with it. Now she is 21 mos, and I can almost forget the whirring noise of the pump!

    And I went to a mother's group meeting at the Winchester Hospital LC in Woburn, and I felt awful being surrounded by everyone nursing their babies. They were all really nice and supportive, but I just didn't find it helpful at the time, so I know how you feel. Good luck!

  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Congratulations on your new baby!  This is a wonderful and exhausting and challenging time, just full of surprises, right?

    I had some similar experiences and I know it can be so hard.  I just want to tell you that whatever feeding path you choose, your baby will be fine.  They will be cute, and smart, and bonded and healthy, no matter what you feed them.  I speak from mothering experience here.

    It can be hard to think clearly right now, with your own expectations and the pressure and questions from other people, etc.  It's such an emotional time and decision, but the good news is, you have two good options.

    I EP'd with my first for two months, and really did not enjoy it at all.  Even though I tortured myself about it, supplementing with formula turned out to be a great option for my family.  Formula feeding allowed me, and also my husband to really relax and enjoy the baby, instead of stressing about BF.

    I was determined to nurse the second and when that didn't work out, I was glad to know that formula was a viable alternative.  In both cases, I was reassured by pediatric nurses, who were also mothers, that this was a perfectly good choice.  Even if it was a difficult, or unexpected one.

    I know that BFing moms may have different opinions, but  I just want you to know that you have options, and every mother's choices should be respected and supported.  I also found that once I made peace with my own choices, those other voices faded a bit.

    You'll find your own "mommy voice" soon, and gain confidence in your decisions.  Enjoy those cuddles!


  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    As a mom who breastfed and was fortunate to have everything fall into place with nursing (baby's latch, supply, etc.) but who also pumped when back at work, I just have to say that anyone who EPs deserves some special thing to happen to her karmically. Pumping is so hard!  Of course, do what you think is right but please, I echo some of the previously stated sentiments about not beating yourself up or being too hard on yourself or feeling guilty if it doesn't work out.  The thing that will help your baby the most is having a mother who is healthy and sane and whole.  A breastfeeding zombie is still a zombie. 

    I did have a lot of luck with oatmeal (the steel-cut irish kind that takes 40 minutes to make) and brewer's yeast increasing my supply.  I know there's fennugreek tea but it tasted kind of licoricey and I couldn't stand it, though it apparently works miracles with supply.  Also, make sure you cut out all mint and chamomile from your diet (no sleepytime tea, etc.) since they both reduce supply.

  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Also, it takes some practice (also not sure if it will work if you have small breasts) and sounds weird but if you can manage sitting on the floor "indian-style" while you pump and balance the bottles on your thighs so your hands free OR wear one of those hands-free pumping bras, you might have some success using your hands to help express milk while the pump is on.  I usually do this when I'm pumping during my 25 minute lunch break to speed things up.  You kind of massage/run your hands down, like you're milking yourself, starting up near that part of your breast that's near your shoulders/armpits, where the letdown feeling comes from and where you get kind of full-feeling if you haven't pumped in a while.  Massage underneath too, starting kind of in the middle from the sternum and up.  It is as weird as it sounds, but it makes the milk squirt out a lot faster for me. 



  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Arcain. Show Arcain's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo, I'm so sorry you had that experience at Baby Cafe. I wish you'd been there at the same time as I was going, because I most certainly would have been right there with you not having any luck with latching, etc. I do remember having a few hard times there when it seemed like everyone else was having better luck than me, and that was hard despite the supportive environment. And the helpfulness of it definitely depends on where you are in the process -- once I was ready to stop trying to bf, I didn't feel the same about going.

    Definitely do look into other moms' groups. I never went to other ones (wish I had!) but I know there are some in the area. Beebe Library in Wakefield does a story hour for infants once a week. It's on Fridays for the next couple months. The stories/activities are obviously designed for slightly older babies, but it can be a really nice chance to meet other moms and kids, too.

  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo - Congrats on your new baby! I tried to nurse my twins when they were born and it was a total nightmare. DS wouldn't latch and DD latched badly leaving me bleeding and sore. My milk wasn't coming in. The LC at the hospital had me feeding him through some crazy tube so he wouldn't get nipple confusion and he was losing weight. I went to formula and started pumping like mad. I ended up EPing for 8 weeks and then just got so tired of it I stopped.

    I wish I had gotten some sane advice about the whole thing. The LC I called didn't want me to suppliment too much, the visiting nurse just dismissed the whole thing "you can't nurse them...just give them a bottle" she said to me. I wish someone had told me to keep trying to get them to latch even while giving them bottles. I have a friend who got her DD to latch after 2 or 3 weeks so she didn't always have to pump.

    I simply couldn't deal with pumping AND feeding two, so we stopped and became formula feeders. for us, it was easier and I was happier. And as my husband says, they got 8 more weeks of mother's milk than he and I ever did! But I totally understand how you are feeling. I was so sad about my "failure" and felt huge amounts of guilt for wanting to stop pumping.

    I wish you well. Just know that there is more to being a Mommy than nursing. If it works ou,t that so great for you and for the baby. If it doesn't, your baby will be healthy and well and love you just as much.

  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    Mo-congrats. To echo what everyone else said, it's hard, rewarding and perfectly okay if you don't last as long as you originally planned. No matter how you feed your baby, the fact they are fed is the important thing.

    My story: DS was born, ICU, and we didn't get to try to nurse for the first few days of his life. I felt this was part of why my milk never came in. I would BF for 15 min each side, then bottle feed, then pump for 20 min each side. it was exhausting. I kept this up for 5 months. then one day DS spit my nipple out and we went bottle for the rest of his first year. I was exhausted, by the end of those 5 months. It never became eaiser for me. the most I could ever pump was 2 oz! When DD was born the LC at emerson hospital was a godsend! Every child is different, so if you can't bf with this one things maybe different with your next. Unfortuantely for me my milk once again, never came in (I took the reglan meds, fenugreek, guiness, oateal, mother's milk tea...). The LC sat with me the first day to try and devise a plan for me. Her first response after hearing what I went through with DS was "well, for get what you did with him, you cannot possibly do that again! That takes too much time." It was just so freeing to have this woman, who loved and supported BFing as much as I wanted to, release me from the burden of BF, supplement, pump. It truly empowered me to reset my own expectations about what I was willing to go through, and could go through with DD. So for her first two weeks, I did the same thing as DS, BF, supplemented, pumped. When it was clear my supply wasn't going to be any better, I hung up my breast pump and just BF and supplemented with formula. Life was heaven then. We did this for 4 months before she weaned herself.

    Please take care of yourself, you're doing the best you can for your LO.

  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mo41083. Show Mo41083's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    I really can't thank you all enough for the advice. I'm the first one in my family to have a baby in a long while and my friends with kids have all had much better success with breastfeeding so I really didn't have anyone else to ask about it. DH went back to work yesterday and I had a couple of people drop by to say hi and check in on DD and I so I didn't get as many pumping sessions in as I had been when DH was around. It didn't seem to effect what I was pumping at each session so I think I might just cut back a little and not be so obsessed with making sure that each feeding has some breast milk in it. Some only formula bottles are okay and I felt so much better being able to socialize for an hour or so when someone came by to visit.

    Luv, I just noticed that you asked about the tongue tie, we haven't had it clipped. Neither the pedi or the LC mentioned having it done and at this point I think I'm comfortable with not nursing. It's just too stressful for us. I did look up a bunch of pictures of it online and checked my tongue and DH's and we both have a bit of it ourselves (we were both formula feed from the beginning) so I don't think it will cause DD any problems in the long run.

  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Exclusively pumping moms

    DD is 26 months now, and never had hers husband has one too.  DS who is 4 months, doesn't have a tongue tie, and he is a much better nurser.  My mom (who was a lactation consultant for years) said that the tongue tie can really effect the ability to latch...sometimes, for a minor tongue tie, the practice of trying can stretch it out enough that it all works, other times, TT babies never really latch properly.  That was the case with DD...I tried to nurse for 2 months, then she started rejecting me and just wanting the bottle.  DS is still going strong, and is happy to eat however he gets it! 

    With DD we've kept a close eye on her speech, to make sure the tie doesn't impede her speech.  My pedi told me that if they don't catch and clip the tongue tie in the hospital, then they are very reticent to clip it unless there's a speech problem.  So far DD is fine, so we haven't had to address it.

    I think the biggest obstacle we have as parents can often be our own expectations of ourselves; we build things up in our heads and don't want to give up on the ideals, but in reality, as many have said, the bottom line is getting a healthy baby, a healthy mom, and making it work for your family.  You have to make your own judgement on what that means for you. 

    Good luck...I've now been through the first month with a baby twice, and I can say with conviction that it sucks.  You're tired, your body doesn't feel like your own, you hurt, you are anxious and nervous, and you've got this whole new person you have to worry about!  I promise, it only gets better, and then this terrible part becomes a foggy memory!