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switching to just pumping...?

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:45 PM
  • 14 Replies

I'm thinking about switching to just pumping and nursing maybe 1 time a day.  Here's our struggles:  I have vasospasms.  Ds (5 weeks old) has an awful latch and I've seen 2 LC and haven't been able to get any improvement.  I had his tongue snipped for very slight tongue tie (but wanted to at least give it a shot!) and today when we were at the pedis office, she said that he has an unusually small lower jaw and she is referring us to a specialist.  I just kept thinking that things would get easier, and I'm pretty sure that his little jaw will always be an issue (and the issue for his really poor latch) and I don't know if I can nurse him on me anymore.  Tonight I just about lost it when I couldn't handle the pain anymore, and I don't want to feel stressed or be this basket-case because of the pain I'm always in.  I don't want to regret switching, but I really don't know if this is good for me or my 2 little boys - I hate when my 2 yr old sees me crying and so frustrated.  Something needs to change, and I'm pretty sure his latch is here to stay ... I am extremely stubborn and I rarely give up on what I had my mind set up but I don't think this is healthy.  Does anybody have any experience to share with me on this or thoughts... even somewhat critical thoughts are ok! I loved nursing my other son, and am angry that this is so hard this time - I feel like something so special has been stolen from us and it breaks my heart (that's why I would try to keep him nursing one time a day so we can have our nursing time together, and if he ever gets a better latch, we could switch it up again).  Thank you so much for any input - I am so grateful for all you mommas who have time to share your thoughts!!

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:45 PM
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by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Look into treating the vasospasms. Something as simple as a daily calcium magnesium supplement can make a big difference. Make sure you read everything here:

Treatment options for vasospasm

  • Avoid cold. Apply dry heat to the breast when needed (this relaxes the "cramping" blood vessels). Some mothers benefit from keeping the entire body warm (warm clothing, warm room, wrap up in a blanket, etc.)
  • Cover the nipple as soon as possible after baby comes off the breast. Some moms say that it is helpful use a wool breast pad or a soft cloth diaper.
  • Apply dry heat immediately after breastfeeding. A rice sock can be useful as a source of dry heat: Fill a sock or a cloth bag with uncooked rice and microwave 45 seconds (or until desired warmth is achieved); hold the rice sock against the nipple (over the cloth or mom's shirt) until blood flow resumes.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and other vasoconstrictive drugs, as they can precipitate symptoms.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • Dietary supplementation with calcium/magnesium.
  • Dietary supplementation with vitamin B6.
  • Low dose oral nifedipine.

Keep working on the latch. Have you tried nursing while layin on your back or in a reclining position? This can help. He may still grow into a better latch.

Here's some info for you to help you make an informed choice:

There are some differences between the benefits of being bottle fed breastmilk and being breastfed directly.

For example, your milk has the highest level of antibodies when your baby takes it directly from your breast, and is second-best when it is freshly pumped. Your body actually responds to your baby’s saliva to make milk that is just right for him. If your baby is exposed to something that he needs antibodies for, this is how your body “learns” to make those antibodies for him. The longer it is stored, the more of these antibodies are deactivated. Freezing destroys even more antibodies. (Your frozen milk still provides excellent nutrition and protection for your baby, just not as good as directly from the breast or freshly pumped.)

When breastfeeding directly babies also benefit from appropriate jaw, teeth and speech development as well as overall facial development. The activity of breastfeeding helps exercise the facial muscles. This promotes the development of strong jaws and attractive facial structure. This means that people who were artificially fed may experience more trips to doctors and dentists. Several studies have shown breastfeeding to enhance speech development and speech clarity. Increasing duration of breastfeeding is associated with decreasing risk of later need for braces or other orthodontic treatment. One study showed that overbites (malocclusion) requiring orthodontia could be cut in half if infants were breastfed for one year.

Breastfeeding directly is also less time consuming (no parts to wash, no pumping time plus feeding time). When baby is hungry or needs to be comforted you simply put your baby to the breast. When exclusively bottle feeding breastmilk, you must attend to preparing a bottle first.

Skin on skin contact with your baby is an important part of their development. When you are breastfeeding you have to be in skin on skin contact with your baby. Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, make sure you spend some time in skin to skin contact with your baby.

Even when the baby is not actually nursing, skin-to-skin is helpful. Carry your baby a lot, skin to skin whenever possible. It increases mother's milk supply. It helps to "organize" the baby's behavior so that he learns to feed more easily. Babies who are held skin to skin and carried a lot cry less, save their calories for growing (they don’t waste them on crying), and it actually makes them grow better! It stabilizes breathing, heart rate, blood sugar, and temperature.

Finally, it is important to know that many moms who are exclusively pumping for their babies seems to have a harder time maintaining a full milk supply beyond 6 months of age.

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:09 PM
I'm sorry it's hard. I know that pumping helps some, but for most it's the worst of bottle feeding & breastfeeding combined and usually formula feeding is the end result.
I think you are awesome to persevere through 5 weeks of pain! My best advice would be to give it to 8 weeks and then make a call, or if it's still tolerable then give it til 3 months, etc. Short goals can help.
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by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Your baby's jaw will grow, and if you decide to'continue to nurse, you may realize one day the latch is not too bad. If you do decide to pump at least part time, i'd use a bottle like breastflow that more mimcs bf'ing so you may be able to get baby back to breast. I pumped for my son for 12 months and it was a lot of work, and now that I'm nursing DD I get sad sometimes that I didn't actually nurse him for that long and try harder for him. However, I think with where his weight gain and my mental health were at that time it was probably the best decision I could've made then. I've also had issues with pain with DD (ironically didn't really with DS). She had a tongue tie, has a lip tie and high palate. For me the pain gradually got better, although I know it's still not quite as comfortable as it should be and it's still not 100% easy.
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:18 PM

I sent you a message!  I am right there with you!  My LO is 9 1/2 weeks and I have vasospasms this time too.  I can't even describe the intense pain I feel.  I have gone to bottles too although his latch is ok sometimes.  All I can say is BIG HUGS!

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:19 PM

I'm sorry hun. I hope it gets better for you.

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Hugs!!! i was in ur shoes! my dd wouldnt latch to save my life! i ended up EP for 18months! u can do it! but its ALOT  of work! if u need any help check out the EP group or u can PM me!

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:38 PM


MY best suggestion is do what YOU are able to do.  Don't listen to "us" and feel guilty about your decision based on anything anyone else says.  You are doing the best YOU can and that's what's important.

For very similar reasons as you, I had to exclusively pump for my son.  I did so for 3 months streight until i ran dry (nothing to do with pumping).  Here are some things I have found :).

1. Its hard.  You are living the life of a breastfeeder and a bottle feeder at the same time.  Your life has 2 schedules....your baby's eating schedule and your pumping schedule.  It can make things tricky to navigate time-wise, but once you have yourselves on a schedule, you will manage :).

2. You KNOW your baby is getting enough to eat :).  And you have that reassurance by the numbers :).  I actually prefer this now that I am nursing my baby......I don't know if he's getting enough :/.

3. Your supply in the begginning will actually go way overboard!  So, you will have plenty of opportunity to save and freeze :):).  Buy BOXES of storage bags :) :).

4.  Going back to work will be a cinch :).  You will be a master of the pump.  

5. Just make sure the pump you get is totally comfy.  Make sure you create a totally comfy area for YOU.  For me, I had my supplies set up in my son's room and I brought a TV and would watch my NCIS or watever was on :).

6. Again, don't let those who say BF all the way get in the way of your own sanity :) :).  You know what is best for you, and only you can make that decision :)

So proud of all I have....My big boy Caden and my little Leo.

by Gina on Nov. 10, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Exclusive pumping tends to be ten times harder than working through problems, so if this is making you crazy then that could well be worse for you. It CAN be done, but most of the moms who go that route are formula feeding within a couple of months.

There is a mom here who pumped exclusively for a year. The first three letters of her screen name are jrp, but I don't remember the rest because it's an assortment of numbers. But if you search the group member list you should be able to find her.

To be very honest, seek advice for those who did make it long term on pumping.

by on Nov. 14, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Thank you everybody for sharing your experiences and knowledge!  After having his tongue clipped with no improvement, I was ready to give up... after a somewhat good nights sleep (seeing as I have a 5 week old, who knows what "good" really means!), I decided to give it one week to see if I had any improvement before switching to pumping.  He's getting better!!!  I'm not going to switch to the pump and I'm actually able to enjoy our nursing sessions now:)  I'm still having pretty bad vasospasms often, but I'm hoping that those will slowly go away as my breasts are allowed to heal and be nursed from properly.  Thank you:)

by on Nov. 14, 2011 at 6:52 AM
I'm glad you're seeing some improvement. There is also the slight possibility that the TT wasn't clipped enough. There is at least one mom here who that happened to. I hope everything keeps working out for you and that BF becomes easier.
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