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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:33 am 
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Ok im a little embarrassed to be asking this but I cant figure it out.

Im 33 weeks pregnant (so not actually bf’ing yet!) but my husband and I went to a breastfeeding class at the hospital this past Monday that was put on by a lactation consultant. She was an IBCLC (I might have those letters wrong!)

One of the things she recommended was trying hand expression BEFORE the baby is born and she said we should be able to get a small amount of colostrum out and this would help later down the road with production and if we practice now it might be easier for us once the baby is born in case we aren’t able to bf right away and we can try hand expression and feed the baby the colostrum on a spoon or something.

So to be honest we went over so much stuff that night that I don’t remember exactly how to do it but I figure it cant be that hard right? So the last couple nights in the shower I have tried. Basically I grab the middle of the fleshy part and squeeze down to the nipple. I do this for awhile and basically nothing happens and my boob feels sore. I don’t feel like im squeezing that hard but it does feel a bit sore after a bit. Should I just keep trying or am I doing this wrong?

I feel so silly. >_<

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:52 am 
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33 weeks seems a little early to be doing that. I'd wait a few weeks. Sometimes you'll see a bit of fresh or dried colostrum on your nipples near the end of pregnancy, so if you see that, you know you'll probably be able to hand express some. I'm not so convinced about hand expression before birth leading to increased production later, though. That seems fishy. But if the baby can't nurse for whatever reason right away, being able to hand express would be useful for getting her food (which they can feed to her with a dropper rather than a bottle). Also, some people can pump colostrum and others can't, but don't assume you definitely wouldn't just be able to pump the colostrum instead of only using hand expression. I actually got a bunch of colostrum out when I was using an electric pump before my induction trying to get contractions going.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:52 am 
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LisaPunk wrote:
Ok im a little embarrassed to be asking this but I cant figure it out.

Im 33 weeks pregnant (so not actually bf’ing yet!) but my husband and I went to a breastfeeding class at the hospital this past Monday that was put on by a lactation consultant. She was an IBCLC (I might have those letters wrong!)

One of the things she recommended was trying hand expression BEFORE the baby is born and she said we should be able to get a small amount of colostrum out and this would help later down the road with production and if we practice now it might be easier for us once the baby is born in case we aren’t able to bf right away and we can try hand expression and feed the baby the colostrum on a spoon or something.

So to be honest we went over so much stuff that night that I don’t remember exactly how to do it but I figure it cant be that hard right? So the last couple nights in the shower I have tried. Basically I grab the middle of the fleshy part and squeeze down to the nipple. I do this for awhile and basically nothing happens and my boob feels sore. I don’t feel like im squeezing that hard but it does feel a bit sore after a bit. Should I just keep trying or am I doing this wrong?

I feel so silly. >_<


I'm surprised she would tell you to do this. This is usually something that is told to mom's who have had history of milk supply issues (usually due to breast reduction surgery). It's not something that the average person would need to do and won't help you establish a supply down the road. Lactation is a demand and supply process meaning that the more the baby nurses the more milk you will produce in response which is why nursing on demand is recommended. How often you nurse in the first 2 weeks is what really establishes what your milk supply will look like going forward. The recommendations are to get the baby to breast within the first hour of life because after this they get really sleepy and it's harder to nurse but if something happens and you aren't able to nurse in the first hour it will be fine. Just get the baby to breast as soon as possible and nurse him/her as often as possible.You don't need to spoon feed your baby colostrum, that is an outdated recommendation. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a really phenomenal book that lays everything out and it's easy to just zero in on the issue you want to address.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:53 am 
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Oh...and don't feel silly!!!! It's a lot to take in all at once. You are far from silly :)

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:58 am 
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Thanks guys. I think her main point was more of a “start to get familiar with your body” point than a “do this now and you will be overflowing with milk!” point. she was saying it will make it easier if you do run into trouble right away if you have already tried it and are familiar with what to do.

She is an LC at the hospital so my guess is she spends A LOT of time with new moms who are having trouble breast feeding.

I thought it was early too! I was like “what? Already?!?!?”

Ill wait a few more weeks and try again.

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It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:04 pm 
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The best place to start squeezing (IMO, and for what it's worth, I prefer to hand-express rather than pump) is right outside your areola (or maybe 1.25-1.5" away from your nipple). I was leaking colostrum pretty early with Beetroot (although I thought I was supposed to just pinch my nipple -- ouch!), but I'm 28 weeks and haven't had any luck expressing any (even though I have "biscuity boobies" (from colostrum leaking)) since Raygold weaned a few weeks ago.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:06 pm 
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I definitely agree with her that it's a good skill to learn and it's better to learn a new skill before you really need it so that panic doesn't get in your way in the moment. But it seems way early.

If you want my Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, PM me your address and I will mail it to you.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
I definitely agree with her that it's a good skill to learn and it's better to learn a new skill before you really need it so that panic doesn't get in your way in the moment.


Been there! The first time I accidentally left a vital pump part at home and I was on the road and had to hand express I was so stressed out about it that nothing would come out - which of course stressed me out even more.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:45 pm 
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Ariann, do you know what edition it is?

the LC said only to get edition 8. apparently there are things in the earlier versions she wasnt too keen on.

i got the feeling that overall she thought the book was awesome but there are 1-2 things she really didnt like in the earlier versions and wasnt confident people would be able to weed out the good vs "bad" info.

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It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:49 pm 
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No clue and I'm not home to check. I got it just before Malka was born, so mid-2011.

I thought it was probably a really useful book if you don't have serious problems breastfeeding but need more info on positioning, galactologues, pumping, etc. It was not super useful for my issues and so I would not be super sorry to see it go.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:16 pm 
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The 8th edition came out in 2010 so if you got it in 2011 it's probably the 8th.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:59 pm 
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man, i feel you guys on the starvingness. i've always been a hungry person, but holy cow, the amount of food i put away while nursing T was ridiculous. it was exhausting always having to think about getting something to eat and especially if i wanted to make sure it was reasonably healthy. it slowed down a lot after i weaned her, then started picking back up again when i got pregnant, and i'm seeing the return of the insane eating times again as she reaches 4 months. i think the peak for me was when she was about 8-9 months? just this evening i've had 3 cookies, an apple, a carrot, a cup of pretzels, a cup of chocolate soy milk, and that's on top of my giant bowl of chili and bread and polishing off the rest of what T didn't eat, which was preceded by more cookies and chili earlier in the day.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:32 am 
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I am starving all the time. It's like a big giant endless hole in there. I need to eat 24/7. Even at night.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:03 pm 
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ahh so good, I'm not alone...H thinks I'm crazy for needing to eat early in the morning and at night too since I've always been a coffee in the morning and breakfast several hours later person. It also makes sense because S is doing almost all of her nursing overnight - it's the only time she's still and not wiggling! I don't even nurse her to sleep at night anymore because she just wants to be down on the floor playing. So at some point we just scoop her up, change her, sing a goodnight song and all 3 of us kiss her and deposit her in the crib. Crazy! So, so different from having her on the nursing pillow and waiting till she's deep enough sleep-nursing to have H ninja-transfer her to the crib. This is working out well, but if there's anything I learned with the other kid, it's that this will change any day now and we'll have some new, possibly ridiculous routine.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Yeah, my partner is using to me eating constantly (during the course of our 5.5 years together, 4.5 have included my being pregnant or breastfeeding), but he still finds it amusing. In the last two hours, I've had a bowl of coconut yogurt with bananas and chia seeds, a bowl of chickpea salad, two slices of toast, and a pear. And I'm STARVING. I need to make some muffins or something. My biggest peeve about it though, is how many dishes this creates. I seriously don't have time to do so many dishes!

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:17 pm 
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I've been having a serious drop in the amount I'm able to pump at work and thought maybe I'd try my other pump. I haven't used it since I stopped pumping at home 5 months ago. Uh WOW now I remember why I decided this pump should stay home - it's so forkin' LOUD. It also seems to have way better suction than the other pump but geez I won't be able to carry on a phone conversation with this thing going, and I'm waiting for my boss to come over here any minute and say "WHAT is that noise?"


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Question for moms who have pumped exclusively: How little supply is little enough to justify quitting? My son is 9 months old and my supply has dropped so much, I wonder if it's even worth it.

Some background:
A while back I posted about my doctor wanting us to start supplementing with formula because, at 3.5 months, my child was only about 8 lbs (born full term at 6 lbs, 11 oz). We did start supplementing, which ended up being a good thing overall for many reasons. I kept nursing or pumping 5-6 times a day. When he got teeth he became a major biter and started refusing to nurse for long stretches, so I switched to pumping only while continuing to supplement.

My body's never responded well to pumping (even with a hospital grade pump)--at the peak of my supply I could only ever get about 2.5 or 3 oz total after 30 minutes. It's continued dropping ever since I switched to pumping.

I pump 4-5 times per day and get a maximum of half an ounce total (all pumping sessions combined). That's on a good day. Usually it's closer to 1/4 of an ounce. I think the only reason I've continued so long is because I feel a lot of guilt over not being able to bf for a whole year like I'd planned. I know some breast milk is better than no breast milk, but am I being ridiculous?

At nine months old is a quarter of an ounce of breastmilk a day really beneficial enough to my son for me to keep pumping? I'm conflicted.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:11 pm 
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ABadger - I think the answer to your question about how much supply is worth pumping is very personal and can only be answered by you. I give you high praise for pumping for so long - it is so tough, and especially when you see diminished returns for all your hard work and dedication.

I am a member of an exclusive pumpers forum and see this question asked a lot. On that forum there is a number cited that 50 mls of breastmilk per day provides some antibody protection but I have never been able to find the original source for that quoted number. So for most people on that forum less than that amount would make them feel that the time/aggravation of pumping is no longer worth the output.

I exclusively pump still - just hit 8 months and have suddenly seen a supply decrease for no apparent reason so this question is kind of top of my mind too. I have really disliked pumping (been at it since around week 10 or so) but have kept at it because basically because I am still able to nurse him first thing in the morning which is so convenient plus I love that I don't have to pay for formula plus there is that big old GUILT of breast is best that I cannot seem to get over. I really think when I am having to supplement the majority of his feedings with formula I am going to quit altogether because the time/pain/separation from my son is not worth it to me for less than that.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:54 pm 
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Wow. I am amazed that you've continued pumping even though you're only getting 1/4 oz. a day. I didn't have much of a supply to begin with and gave up pumping when I couldn't take the fact that my three at-work pumping sessions resulted in less than an ounce each day. The pump wasn't the problem, it actually drained me pretty effectively and I had the same kind of output when straight breastfeeding which I did when I was home and all night (verified by weighings before and after feedings at the lactation consultant, plus her extreme hunger after every breastfeeding session). Every breastfeeding session was followed by a bottle of formula and each bottle during the day was part formula, part breastmilk (mostly formula) and it happened too often that she'd not finish the bottle and we'd have to dump some of that precious breastmilk I worked so hard for. So I stopped pumping at about 3 months and she let me continue to breastfeed in the middle of the night until 4 months (I'd latch her on long enough for my husband to run to make a bottle and then she'd figure out I had no milk). I also had planned on breastfeeding for as long as possible so it was a painful decision to stop all efforts, but I really needed to do it to preserve my sanity and make space for connecting with my daughter in ways that didn't frustrate us both.

What annasrobbie said was wise. This is a really personal decision and you should feel proud of yourself for everything you've done so far. You have really gone above and beyond. If you still feel good about it and that your son is benefiting, keep it up (also, you might want to google tips for increasing supply while pumping if you haven't already). Otherwise, your time could be used in lots of other ways to connect with him.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:08 pm 
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ABadger, I went through some of the same stuff you did - my baby gained only about a lb a month for the first 4 months, even though I was nursing around the clock and she seemed satisfied. I've also never pumped more than 3oz in one sitting, and most often less than 2. And my babe is just 10 months and I've had a decrease in supply when pumping over the last month, and her interest in nursing has completely waned EXCEPT overnight (I work outside the home, so overnight is really the only time we have anyway, but she used to at least want to nurse when I get home in the evening.) I'm now only able to get 3 or 4oz total a day and I'm considering stopping pumping too.

I think you are amazing for doing all you've done. But I do feel that perhaps 1/4 oz is possibly not worth the time of all that pumping. I know the disappointed feeling all too well, but be kind to yourself and remember, like Ariann said, that there are many other ways to bond and connect, and that your baby will be just awesome anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:40 am 
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Thanks, everyone. I work from home (except in the evenings) so pumping has not been a major inconvenience. We're planning a quick overnight trip next week and I think I may use that opportunity to leave the pump for good, since I'll be too distracted to be sad.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:52 pm 
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I thought I'd share this slate article about breastmilk because it has some tidbits I found interesting. http://www.slate.com/blogs/how_babies_work/2013/03/20/the_science_of_breast_milk_latest_research_on_nursing_and_milk_vs_formula.html The part about indigestible compounds in breastmilk was of particular interest to me seems like it might explain colic (since I recently read an article in the NY Times that discussed research that showed colicky babies lack good bacteria that aid in digestion).

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:55 pm 
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Just a thought, ABadger, but have you made sure to check that your pump is in good working order? I know of a few people who thought their supply was dropping rapidly, but it turned out that either their hand-me down pump was just wearing out, in one case they hadn't been using the right sized flanges, in another, there was a small tear in one of the membranes that made the suction not as good, and so on. Some pumps just aren't really that great and won't stand up to multiple uses a day for many months, and basically the suction just gets slowly worse and worse.

I don't know when you used a hospital pump or if who helped you with it, but it does seem possible that it's always been a case of the pump not being effective, as opposed to your body's response.

Anyway, no, less than an ounce would not be worth it to me, not at 9 months, and I would not feel guilty at all about giving it up at 9 months. I would however want to double check that I was getting the most out of my pump before stopping.


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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:16 am 
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I agree with littlebird. If 4-5 pumping sessions were only getting me about 2 teaspoons of breastmilk total, I wouldn't bother, but I'd check the pump first -- I totally had that happen to me the first time I pumped -- the pump was broken (even though it was new) and I didn't know and just thought my boobs were no good at expressing milk because hardly any came out.

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 Post subject: Re: the lactation station: share your breast feedin' stuff h
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:21 pm 
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it is true, though, that plenty of women just don't respond well to pumps. I am one of them and have wished many many times that the problem was with the pump!


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