Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures in pumping

... who knew this would be so challenging? Is it just me or is there SO much to read about every topic, with everything (from the Bjorn to soothing a fussy baby) requiring a phD to master?

I had wanted to hold out on pumping until atleast 3 weeks to give my milk a chance to come in and establish a nursing bond with my daughter without bringing in the pump. Last week I finally brought out my Medela InStyle Advanced (two boobs at once!) and excitedly tried pumping.

Test 1: My excitement quickly turned to dissapointment- I wasn't expecting a full bottle, but I was definitely thinking it'd be more than .75 ounces (combined from both breasts, for a 15 minute pump session)?! Especially since I've been soaking my breast pads, and Birdie had seemed to be perfectly nursing at each session. Not to mention, she awoke early from her nap and wanted to nurse 20 minutes after I'd pumped and I don't think she got enough milk despite nursing longer than usual, leaving me one cranky baby. I'd read that babies were much better at getting milk out of the breast and pumping 30 mins before feeding still left enough milk for the baby? I guess not.

Test 2: I did some reading of tips online and tried pumping after she'd nursed, to build my supply and encourage more milk production. Day 2 results: after 3 day time sessions (for abt 10 minutes each time), I had about 2 ounces total and Birdie wasn't cranky since she'd already fed.

Test 3: My baby girl sleeps 6-7 hours straight night time, so I thought I'd pump 3 hours after she'd fallen asleep, thinking this would be 3 hours before she awoke and my breasts are usually heavy and painful when I finally nurse her. A 15 minute session got me 2 ounces of milk which was exciting, but for some reason baby girl awoke an hour after I'd pumped, and from my observation I don't think she got enough milk. I ended up feeding her 1 ounce (of the 2 I'd just pumped) after she'd nursed on both breasts. It was only after this that our crying baby fell back asleep.

I now have about a 4 ounce bottle sitting in the fridge, which seems enough for one short outing. So I haven't done any pumping today. Which I know isn't a good idea in terms of encouraging milk production, but I feel guilty since I seem to be not feeding my baby enough by trying to pump simultaneously?

Birdie had her 4 week appointment today and she's gained the right amount of weight (1 pound in two weeks) so she's obviously getting enough nutrition and I'm producing enough milk. But any tips for how I simultaneously nurse her and try storing some away?

What's worked for you ladies to get more milk? When to pump? For how long?

My Medela has an automatic "let down" function every few minutes it seems. And I've been pumping at the 5 of 7 levels, which is as high as i can tolerate without it being overly painful. Already drinking tons of water, eating oatmeal daily, and eating a healthy diet.


Courtney said...

My advice (and you can take this with a grain of salt because this is what worked for me and is not THE ONLY WAY), get plenty of water(80-100oz a day), try oatmeal, maybe try a bigger boob shield, play with the "vacuum" suction. If mine is all the way up, its not as effective as turning it down a bit. Oh and this might seem weird but massage and force some out by hand. I hope at least one of these works!

princess rose said...

wish i could help but i am having similar problems. i have ameda purely yours and only get 0 (yes zero) to 2 ounces if i'm lucky. i leak too when i nurse and have been using avent breast shells to catch the drips. i can usually make a 2 ounce bottle with these every 2 days and no pumping required! don't know how i'm supposed to build up a stash this way so i am a little worried about going back to work =( i hope it gets better for us...