Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nursing and Pumping

So, for the past 5.5 weeks, I haven't really left Harry's side, aside from when sleeping or showering (and during the week he is even in the bathroom when I shower). In part, this is because of the frequency with which he seems to need to nurse (during the day -- he lets us sleep for a couple of good chunks at night). And the fact that I can't seem to figure out how to pump effectively, which leaves me chained to him to nurse. The problem there (pumping-wise) is twofold. For one, my pumping output per session isn't great (not terrible but not great), so I need to pump a number of times to get enough to freeze. (This is just a pumping issue -- I don't have supply issues in general.) Second, I find it tough to pump during the week, as P is at work and Harry doesn't like to be put down, which makes it hard to pump. He tends to only nap in my arms (an issue of its own), and even when he is willing to be put down he hears the pump (which isn't especially loud or jarring -- it's the Med.ela PIS) and begins crying. Even if I could ignore the crying, it isn't exactly conducive to successful pumping.

As a solution, the doctor recommended pumping on one side while I nurse from the other, which seemed like a good idea in theory. It does give me some concern, however, as Harry always nurses from both sides at each session and I'm worried about depriving him of needed milk. But I also can't figure out how to do it. I need to nurse him uphill due to a periodically forceful letdown that causes him to choke and overflow, but I can't pump uphill or the milk sits in the flange against my breast, to the extent it comes out at all (due to the lack of gravitational assistance). Plus, I have to nurse in the clutch position or his body blocks the breast I would be pumping from, which is awkward to do while holding onto the pump on the other side. I tried to do it this morning, and, while it was a success in that I pumped almost 2 ounces from one side, it was super awkward. He looked incredibly uncomfortable and then fussed and fussed on the already-pumped side, resulting in him nursing for an interminably long time.

Anyone have any suggestions?


mo*reezy said...

Ooof, that is hard. I have not tried to pump and nurse simultaneously. I was pumping a lot until recently - I hate doing it and Maria has been sleeping great at night, so it's no big deal to wake up once to nurse. I'm so sorry that it's been a struggle for you. I don't know how the PIS does, I rented a Lactina from an LC. I do know that your body will adjust the supply to whatever you need, so if you can figure out pumping and nursing at the same time, you won't be depriving Harry of milk. You'll just start to produce more.

Most of my nursing questions have been answered by these 2 websites:
Hope you can figure things out.

Nicky said...

I definitely could not pump and nurse at the same time. Way too awkward. I've been pumping just once or twice a day for ~2 weeks, and have managed to build up a decent freezer stock.

1. I was given the advice to pump right after you nurse in the morning, when most women tend to have the most milk. If you time this right, perhaps P could be available to hold Harry while you pump, before he leaves for work? Since you'd be pumping immediately after nursing, your output may be low at first (mine often is) but after a week or so, it's not too bad. Doing this once in the morning and once in the evening (after P gets home?) gives me ~3 oz to freeze per day.

2. I've gotten LL to fall asleep in his swing, and the motor from the swing (which he's already used to) drowns out the noise from the PIS (I have the same one) so he doesn't wake up.

Good luck!

tripmom827 said...

I second the kellymom suggestion. That site has such wonderful information on everything breastfeeding. I applaud you for your efforts. Most women would have given up! You're doing a great job!


Jen said...

I have no idea. Maybe a different brand of pump would help a little?

KandiB said...

I have no suggestions - have yet to experience the whole nursing thing. But, it does sound super complicated...I hope you figure it out soon! It can't be fun at all to do all that at once. ICLW

Kristine said...

Sounds a lot like how I started out. And here I am with an 11 month old who still doesn't want to nap anywhere but in my arms.

My big advice, try and break that habit now! Unfortunately I have no advice on how to do that.

As for pumping, is it possible you don't have the right size cups? The first time I pumped in the hospital I wasn't getting anything. The lactation consultant watched and said I needed bigger cups. It definitely made a difference. Unfortunately I have supply issues in general, but it sounds like that isn't an issue for you.

D.C. Tigress said...

Oh - the nursing and pumping thing. Some people can make that work super easy, but I never found it that simple - especially not with a newborn (it gets easier as the baby gets older and you don't need both hand on the baby.)

As for logistical suggestions, I found the My Fri.end pillow to be the best for nursing, and would use that with the baby in the football hold off the side, and either hold the bottle from the pump, or use a hands free bustier and nurse through that. Neither solution was as pretty as just nursing, but it got the job done. I also found that I'd get a pretty good seal on the flange, so it was OK for the milk to pool in there a bit, then I could just lean post-let down and it would go into the bottle. And I second kellymom - that site is amazing.

And since you're having pump issues - maybe try a different style? I responded great to the PIS, but I know some women who didn't and respond well with a hand pump, or a different electric, etc. Maybe you can rent one from the hospital?

Good luck - and keep up the great work!

Echloe said...

Have you tried going to a breast feeding consultant? Sorry if this is a dumb question. I just know that it really helped my friend. Anyway good luck with figuring out the pumping situation.


Michelle said...

Here from ICLW and I just saw the pictures of Harry and he is so adorable! I don't have anything for breast pumping but I just wanted to tell you congrats!