Owen is a great nurser. In general, he eats exactly when he should and what he should and doesn’t stray too far from a normal schedule. But our breastfeeding experience is/was far from easy. As I said in an earlier post, I’m using nipple shields due to flat nipples and latching problems. Since I started using the shields, everything improved tenfold. Owen was finally eating well with little to no pain on my end.
Now we’re reaching another hurdle — pumping and bottles. A few weeks ago I posted about pumping. Since then, despite my best efforts of pumping more often, taking Fenugreek, eating oatmeal every morning, and trying to get rest and drink water, I can’t seem to pump more than 1 oz. Ever. The one time that we gave Owen a bottle (last Saturday night), I pumped in my “off” time, thinking I would get ounces and ounces more than usual. Nope! 1 1/2 ounces.
Currently I’m pumping right after a feeding. Obviously this is one reason why my amount is so low (since he just drank about 70% of what was there, theoretically). But since Owen takes about 45-50 minutes to eat, and eats every 2 hours, if I wait for a half hour after he eats, there will only be about half an hour for my milk to refill before our next feeding! So logically it seems like pumping more often, right after feedings makes more sense. But clearly I’m not seeing an increase with that theory, so maybe I should try waiting 30 minutes after a feeding, like many websites suggest.
I have found that the best time for me to pump is at night, since I know Owen’s going to go longer than his normal 2 hour stretch. Last night he slept for 6 ours straight!!! I couldn’t believe it. Recently he’s been doing a 4 hour stretch, then a 3 hour stretch, then back to 2 hour stretches. In any case, I find that pumping after our nighttime feedings is best because there is the longest amount of time before he wakes up again. When I try pumping in the morning (which is when a lot of other women find is the best time to pump), he seems squirmy and frustrated and starving at our next feeding. I guess I could supplement with the milk I just pumped at this point, but isn’t the purpose of all this pumping to put milk away so we can make a 3 1/2 oz bottle for a nighttime feeding? And someday have enough to put lots away for when I go back to work?
We’re going to try another bottle again tonight with some of the milk I’ve frozen so far. And maybe when I pump at that point I’ll probably have more there to pump out. But other than that, what’s a low milk producer to do? One option would be to supplement that nighttime bottle with formula. Although the idea of introducing formula after all this work makes me feel defeated, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not poison! That way I could still pump at that time, and then put that milk away for later. Someday I would like to NOT have to pump continuously throughout the day. It is so hard to find the time, and it stresses me out!
Has anyone else done this kind of supplementation just in one bottle at night? What are the downsides? I figure Owen is still getting all the benefits of breastmilk 95% of the time, and I would still pump at that point, so he’ll get the milk eventually. Thoughts? Suggestions?