I’ve heard that breastfeeding is tough. The 1st month can be outright brutal. Why does such a natural process give so many new mothers problems? So, I’m researching and looking into this.
Exclusive pumping for a newborn
WHO: Optimal timing for exclusive breastfeeding
Exclusively pumping and nipple pain
Sample pumping schedules
FAQ: Medela Pump Advanced in Style
Medela: Cleaning and Sanitizing
I’ve been thinking lately (I’m 37 weeks, 6 days)… can I get a head start on breastfeeding to induce labor?
UPDATE: February 26, 2018 post-partum
Breastfeeding is hard. The first week after Arden was born was a really rough one — lack of sleep, whole new routine/schedule, physical pain, soreness, learning new parenting skills, etc. It took a while for my milk to come in… almost a week for me. Once it did, it wasn’t much. So my pediatrician recommended that we start supplementing with formula as Arden had lost 10% of her birth weight. This made me so sad as I was committed and ready to exclusively breast feed. But, my body was not ready. So, I continued breastfeeding her every 3 hours (we set alarms to make sure I was on time) while also supplementing her with 2 oz. of Enfamil Premium Newborn. I started going to a breastfeeding support group which is so wonderful because it connects mothers with other mothers and helps us all troubleshoot our breastfeeding challenges. It’s interesting to hear other moms speak of their troubles because everyone seems to have different questions at various points in their baby’s life. After doing a week of formula supplementation, I went back to the pediatrician and Arden not only met her birth weight but also gained some as well. This made me feel better as a mom because she was getting the nutrition she needed despite my best efforts at breastfeeding. But, I wasn’t giving up on the boob. The more I searched the internet and asked at our breastfeeding support group, the more I learned and started brainstorming to see if I could get my body to produce more breastmilk.
Breastfeeding 10 minutes on each breast every 3 hours (starting from the initial feed, not at the end of the feed). Nipples were extremely sore. Arden had a great latch and would suckle vigorously. I even considered a nipple shield for pain. I used breastmilk and lanolin around the nipple after each feed. This was the most painful week.
I started experimenting with pumping as there was one day where my nipples were too sore to allow Arden to breastfeed. I still went every 3 hours on the breast pump (Medela In-Style Advanced). After 1 day of pumping, I revisited trying to breastfeed her and my nipples felt better. I read somewhere that I should try and pump at the halfway point of my breastfeeding times. So, I would pump 1.5 hours after I started breastfeeding. This helped increase my milk supply. I went from doing 0.5 oz per breast to 1oz per breast. I think this more closely mimics a cluster feed and helps the body adapt to feed a hungry baby. Halfway through week 2, Arden started doing 15 minutes at each breast. I would often see milk in and around her mouth, so I know she was getting some breast milk. The biggest trouble was getting her to stay awake at the breast. Burping her and changing her diaper helped wake her up for the 2nd breast. Towards the end of the week, Arden started only taking one breast at each feed. She would pass out at the breast and even when we tried burping her and changing her diaper, she was satisfied enough that she did not want the second breast. This was a new behavior and I’m not sure what to do. So, I would pump the second breast…and then start her on that pumped breast at the next feed.
The start of this week, Arden is feeding every 1.5 hours. Is this a growth spurt? She’s still getting 2oz (sometimes 3 oz) of supplemental formula. This article from KellyMom was a wealth of info for me.
One of the days, Arden fed 12 times in a day. My nipples were incredibly sore from the constant feeding. I called three different local board certified lactation consultants to help — currently scheduling when that will be.
Also, I found out the Medela phone app has a video call to board certified LCs — I’m excited to try this out. It’s for a fee (not hefty), but they’re available 24/7.
When the breastfeeding baby falls asleep before they’re full
Week 4: Dialing it in this week!
45 min – 1 hour
1) Undress Arden down to diaper to feed and feed every 3 hours or sooner if she cues.
2) Use Breastfriend pillow to get her to nipple height. Turn her tummy to tummy. Firm up nipple. Touch top lip, wait for wide open mouth and bring her to you quickly. (RAM = rapid arm movement).
3) Stimulate breast (5 o’clock position) for squirt to wake her at breast. Feed effectively for goal 15 minutes (ok 10-15 min) on one breast.
4) Burp her in front position. Change her diaper. Then offer second breast for 10-15 minutes (goal 15 minutes).
5) Handoff to help when available —> Supplement with previously pumped breast milk first, then formula to meet goal of 2.75oz (full feed goal).
6) Pump while help in supplementing her. Do 15 minutes of pumping both breasts simultaneously directly after breastfeeding (or after supplementing if no help available). Every 5 minutes: increase the suction as tolerated and hand massage both breasts simultaneously and lean over for another letdown. Don’t need to hit the letdown button on Medela pump if just came off breastfeeding bc Arden already stimulated the letdown.
7) Save what is pumped from breasts for supplemental feed the next time at feeding.
8) Journal all feeds, supplement, wet diapers, stools, spit ups, behavior, etc.
- Feed baby
- Establish milk supply
- Double pump
- Never uncomfortable
- High suction
- Fenugreek: 3 capsules, 3x/day = 9 capsules/day
- Milk tea: 2-3x/day
- Lactation cookies
- Breastfeeding going well
DOB: 2/11/2018 —> 7.3 lb
D/C: 2/13/2018 —> ?
1st Peds: 2/14/2018 —> 6.10 lb (10% drop)
2nd peds: 2/20/2018 —> 7.1 lb
LC help: 3/6/2018 —> 8.6 naked, 0.6 pampers diaper, 9.2 with fresh diaper
Both breasts for feed —> 0.7 oz
Goal full feed —> 2.75 oz per feed
Things are going better with the combo breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing. Arden seemed like she had a growth spurt a couple of days ago that left her almost inconsolable and crying and fussy for most of the 2 days. Her intake has gone up (and that’s self-guided by her). The pump output has increased (but I’m still popping the galactogogue pills and cookies/drinks). The tatas are sore, but not like week 1 or 2 sore. I’m slowly becoming okay with the reality that she may be a formula baby. But, I want to give her the best I can. The other change that happened this week is that I rented a hospital grade breast pump for a month –> Medela Symphony. I like it…. it is definitely bigger than my small portable Medela In Style Advanced and I think the Symphony has better suction capability. Perhaps that is really helping to increase my supply and the other pills/cookies/drinks are just placebos!
More breastfeeding info:
For the first time, my letdown has ejected milk from the other boob while Arden is feeding on the opposite boob. I got the NatureBond Manual breast pump to place on the “free” boob while Arden is nursing and it collected 0.8 oz of liquid gold! This is a new thing for me and I’m so stoked to be able to collect every single drop!
Looking back at what I have taken consistently to get to an increase in milk supply:
And we’re already thinking of traveling with Arden soon!!
EatingRichly: Traveling and Pumping