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Old 10-06-2009, 06:46 AM   #1
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Confused about letdown and some other!

I'm trying my hardest to get my LO to nurse but in the time being I've been pumping. I've been trying to pump every 2-3 hours to build up my supply, though pumping at night hasn't gone well. It's hard to pump when you're sleep deprived even when you're already up. I try to pump at least once throughout the night. I supplement with formula and I always have at least 2 bottles of breastmilk in the fridge as I'm paranoid of running out. I haven't been able to freeze any yet as I have no idea if I'm making enough to freeze. I don't get how to know if you're making enough extra if you mamas know what I mean?

I'm kind of confused about what "let down" means exactly. I have the Medela Single Electric and Medela Swing pumps and usually alternate which I use since they don't have the lasting motors of a hospital grade pump, which just isn't possible to get right now. Sometimes I'll use them both, particularly in the mornign when I know I'll get a lot from not pumping a lot throughout the night.

When pumping with the Swing they have the faster setting that goes for 2 minutes until let down happens, and after the 2 minutes it switches to a slower pumping. I usually start flowing pretty fast as soon as I start pumping- is this what "let down" is? It happens pretty quickly with the single electric as well. When I pump every 2-3 hours I'm lucky to get 2-4oz total, lately it's been about 3oz on average, which is what he normally eats at a time anyway unless he's going through a growth spurt. The last time I pumped last night was around 1230am and then didn't pump until 730am this morning and got about 3oz per size this time.

Since pumping more regularly my breasts start to tingle when it gets close to the next time to pump but I never feel overly full or anything. I'm waiting on a SNS to get him to nurse (hopefully!) and I'm also getting some fenugreek. I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast and trying to drink lots of water. I hope I'm eating enough as I've felt my appetite increase, which I hope is a sign of my milk being produced.

Basically am I doing things somewhat right? I'm really hoping he starts nursing soon but if not I will continue to pump. I do feel like a failure sometimes due to my LO rejecting me in a sense and due to him getting formula but he's thriving and that's all that matters. I'm very happy he's getting breastmilk in one way or another.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! Oh, and do I still get all the benefits of breastfeeding while pumping? Sorry for the novel mamas but again, thank you!

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Old 10-06-2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Confused about letdown and some other!

I'm not a lactation consultant, but wanted to let you know my kid didn't latch on until he was 8 weeks old. I felt like a failure too, but it really isn't something that you feel long term. You'll feel better about it soon, I promise.

I had immediate letdown too and was always confused because I thought I wasn't getting any.

You have to eat real oatmeal (old-fashioned), not the instant kind.

Less sleep and more stress are going to lower your supply. I know it didn't help to hear it when I was struggling, but you are going to have to relax when you are pumping!

Yes, you still get all of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Good luck!
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: Confused about letdown and some other!

it sounds like you're doing everything you should!

bm is all about supply and demand. the more you pump (or nurse), the more milk you'll make. it's important to try and completely empty out your breasts each pumping session, because you'll increase your production that way. as far as freezing, there's not magic amount or number. start small by freezing 2 or 3 oz at a time. i know it doesn't seem like much, but it will add up and it's good to have in there if you really need.

best of luck and i hope your LO latches - bfing is a wonderful thing and you are a trooper for EPing!
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: Confused about letdown and some other!

Your supply actually sounds normal and great! I am breastfeeding my 5 month old and usually get about 3-4 ounces a pumping.
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