Exclusively Pumping

My son was born at 31 1/2 weeks and I have been pumping since he was born. He spent 37 days in the NICU and when I could I would attempt to breastfeed him in addition to giving him a bottle of breastmilk fortified for extra calories. When he came home the feedings went like this: attempt breasfeeding + bottle of fortified breastmilk + pumping. Since he's been home the breastfeeding has not been going very well. He struggles to latch and sometimes it can take up to 30 minutes just to get him to latch on and then only nurse for 5 minutes. It's a constant struggle and very stressful and upsetting for me. I recently went to exclusively pumping and was wondering if there were other moms out there that did the same thing.

9 Replies

  • Our big road trip isn't until July, but we were thinking of a shorter trip in May to test it out and see how it goes pumping while away and storing milk. I have a hospital pump rental now in addition to my personal pump that I use while on the road. I'm hoping it all goes well when we go away for the first time. Thanks everyone for the advice.
  • Theresa - One thing I was thinking about too if you are using a hospital-grade pump or a rented pump. Sometimes different hospitals have different fees for their pump rentals (1 mo., 3 mo, 6 mo). Good luck with the road trips. Lots of ICE:)

  • Oh shoot, that was one of my biggest issues, too! When Easton was 5 weeks old we went to Houston (aobut a 5 hour drive) for my older son's medical appointments. This is where the whole pumping/bottle feeding milk really fell apart for me, because I really couldn't figure out how to travel for long periods with the milk....we had a cooler with ice, but Stacy is right, we couldn't let it thaw out any.

    Also, my car charger/adapter for the pump stopped working for me on this trip....you can imagine how uncomfortable I was!

    Are you planning a long trip or an overnight trip? If it's just a few hours away, you should be fine if your hotel has a mini fridge, right?

  • The problem with bringing frozen milk is if it thaws out any, you need to use it within 24 hours I believe. But I don't think it would hurt to bring an extra bag or two. I wish I had some more advice for you but I'm stumped! I'm sure someone else will pop on here!
  • Thanks for the replies. With exclusively pumping, my biggest question is what to do when traveling and on the go during a trip. I would have my pump, but was wondering if others bring along any frozen milk just in case.
  • Hi Theresa
    Congrats on your son! I'm so glad that he is home!

    I exclusively pumped for a year with my older son, a 26 weeker, who had some swallowing issues and couldn't *** feed. So it is possible, it had some challenges as you said (mostly the extra steps of pumping and washing twice as much stuff), but its doable! We were lucky enough to have a pretty big stash of frozen milk since my son didn't eat much his first couple of months. I definitely agree with Leigh about the hospital grade pump and the hands free bra!

    If you decide to give breastfeeding a shot again, one thing you might want to try is having a lactation consultant come to your house. I did this with my second son, a full termer who wasn't latching well, wasn't getting enough and was leaving me pretty bruised. It was helpful to work on how to hold him and the best way to get him to latch on in the places I would actually be feeding him. I had to pay for it though (I think sometimes insurance will reimburse you).

    Lots of good luck!
  • Thanks Lindsay and Leigh for the comments. Our pediatrician has a lactation consultant that has helped me out before with breastfeeding. I'm going on week 2 of just pumping and bottle feeding. It has it's challenges and I'm hoping as he gets bigger and stronger we'll give breastfeeding another try.

  • Hi,
    Welcome to Share!

    I recently learned that there are so many mamas out there that exclusively pump. There are moms of healthy full term babies who just don't want to nurse, so their moms pump and bottle feed them.

    If you go to kellymom.com you can learn a lot more about it. I think baby center has a group for Exclusively Pumping mamas, I think two must haves are a hospital grade pump and a hands free pumping bra.

    When my first son was in the nicu, I knew moms who pumped for a whole year and their babies got only *** milk because their moms were able to supply enough. If your baby is physically able to latch on, I'd keep working on it if its something you really want. Like Lindsay said, you could contact the La Leche League or you could just pump.

    Good luck! Keep us updated!
  • Welcome to Share. Congratulations on your son! I'm so glad to read that he met his NICU goals and you were able to bring him home. Exclusively pumping, I did this! My balloons were really large before pregnancy, so I felt huge on top when my milk came in. Our first was a 32-weeker and was in the NICU for three weeks. I tried to breastfeed him there many times, but I couldn't get comfortable. We tried again at home and couldn't get him to latch on properly. So, instead of beating myself up, I pumped and he was bottlefed. We still had our bonding time; it was still special:)

    I know that there are some really good lactation consultants with La Leche League or other agencies that could provide more suggestions if you are wanting to breastfeed and feeling defeated.

    Good luck and I bet he's just adorable! He's going to marvel at his birth story as he gets older!