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advice for an exclusively pumping mama? (personal experiences VERY welcome)

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:08 PM
  • 15 Replies

Let me start by saying that I greatly look forward to the day when I can put my daughter to the breast and she nurses. It is not currently possible, and that brings me great sadness, so while I hate pumping, I know that it is the best for her and allows her to get most of the benefits of mama milk.

I have a daughter, Lily, who was born on 18 May. She didn't breathe and they had to whisk her away pretty quickly. She ended up on a CPAP, but our small hospital didn't think they were suitable to care for her. They transferred her 2 hours away to the NICU at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital (which is a really good hospital) where she has been ever since. We've discovered she has a whole host of problems, the most significant of which are a heart defect (a hole in between her venticles) and really poor muscle tone (they are so weak that it's really hard for her to use them), plus a continued difficulty with breathing. She can't swallow on her own and so she eats through a tube in her mouth, and when I have enough, they feed her my milk over formula (she's a term baby and therefore too old to qualify for donor milk, but I am keeping up with her now that I have a full supply). Her hospital is incredibly pro-breastfeeding.

What advice do you have for pumping? I've been told (and listen to) that I should pump every 2-3 hours for 10-15 minutes (or at least 2 minutes after milk flow has stopped, no less than 10 minutes), that it's okay to go 4 hours apart at night, and never to go more than 5 hours. I have also been told to hand express a little at the end to make sure I've gotten out all there is to get out. They let me pump at her bedside (when it works), which helps a lot emotionally, and we're allowed to do skin-to-skin care when she's doing well enough for it.

And how long did you pump? What's your story?

I know that I hear a lot of stories about when who have not had success with long-term pumping, especially exclusive pumping... but failure is not an option, and sadly, neither is directly nursing at this time. I'm seeing so many women around me fail, many because of the lack of diligence on their part, and it could really help right now to hear from some women who made it work.

by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:08 PM
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by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Wanted to add... I have a Medela Pump in Style and use a Medela Symphony when I pump at the hospital. They've both been good to me.

by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:25 PM

While I did not EP for long, I did for a week while dd was in NICU. What you are doing sounds perfect. At some point you may find that your supply may take a dip after a while of pumping. I used herbs and such to increase my output (I also work full time). there were a few EP moms here. They will be of great help.
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by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:26 PM

 I'm sorry I dont have any PERSONAL experience with exclusivly pumping. Here's what I can tell you. I pumped while I worked full time and we never had to supplement.
My little sister exclusivly pumped and did so for 10 months I think?
Then when she had her 2nd, it had worked so well for her that she CHOSE to EP and I think did it for 11 months. Both of which I consider HUGE success stories, because pumpin' aint easy.
I think you have the right attitude and determination to make it work for you too.

by Group Admin -Tabitha on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Sounds like you have GREAT advice.  If you see an issue with pumping enough request Domperidone to help raise supply..also eat oatmeal daily, think of having fenugreek handy or mothers milk tea handy JUST in case.

Donor milk can be got for free from milkshare, anyone can use used tobe yahoo milkshare google it.  Join and find a donor if and when you need it.

I applaud you and I will do ALLL I can to help you succeed.

When at home..take a blanket or hat or something that smells like your LO and smells that while pumping.  Massage or squeeze the breast while pumping itgets extra out.

by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 9:53 PM


Quoting tabi_cat1023:

When at home..take a blanket or hat or something that smells like your LO and smells that while pumping.  Massage or squeeze the breast while pumping itgets extra out.

 In that vein, what reallly helped me while pumping was videos. I posted videos of DS to Youtube and watched them at work while I pumped. Sounds stupid but it worked for me.

by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM
I was so upset after my second child was not able to bf due to a heart condition. He was taken to cincinnati childrens which was five seconds from the high risk hospital I delivered at. He was not allowed to eat for his first five days then got bm through a feeding tube.. I was not allowed to try to nurse til one month. He was to sleepy at that point to nurse so I pumped til nine or ten months when we discovered a milk allergy. I did not want to take milk from diet becAuse I'm already a vegetarian. I'm so glad pumps e were made . My little baby got the milk he needed.I pumped every 3 hours and made a massive amount of milk.good luck. Things will get better. And if your not happy about pumping remember everything has a reason . I caught a bad infection in my baby because that bottle showed me he was only taking a once at a time even though he was sucking like crazy. If he would have been bf I may have not noticed so fast
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by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 10:11 PM
I pump for almost 11 mts. At first I pump every 2 hrs and then I went to 4 I had an oversupply the first 6 mts so it made it easier. I made sure to stay hydrated and eat right
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by on Jun. 14, 2010 at 12:01 AM

I didn't read the other posts so sorry if i repeat anything. I had to EP for a month and a half due to DS being in and out of the hospital with health problems. I would pump every 2 hours when I had time and if I was busy it would be every 3 hours but no more then that. I would pump for 20 minutes each time. I ate oatmeal 2 times a day to help when he was in the hospital. What helped me alot was making a hands free pumping bra (old sports bra with holes cut out just big enough so for the part that goes to your boobs) this way I could have both my hands and pump. After 2 weeks my supply was up so much (huge oversupply), I could pump up to 15oz at every pumping session. I think the big thing is to never miss a pumping session. GL and sorry your little one is having problems.

by on Jun. 14, 2010 at 12:14 AM

You got great advice. Keep doing what your doing until you can put her on the breast. And good job!

       Mom                  Dad              Chazz (7y)         Rocco (4y)         Joey (20m) 

Breastfeeding, baby wearing, natural birthing, anti-abortion, SAHM who still loves her tattoos, piercings and hair dye

by Member on Jun. 14, 2010 at 2:00 AM

 i pump only if princess has been off for more than 2 hours which she doesnt do often, but i can pump 6oz from my medela dual symphony in 30 minutes.

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