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Breastfeeding / Lactation questions

  1. #1
    Alicat is offline Registered User
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    Breastfeeding / Lactation questions

    Inspired by Sarah's posts, I have some random breastfeeding / lactation questions:

    1) How long should I spend feeding my 5-month-old? During the day, he tends to be a fussy feeder -- a few minutes on, a few minutes off. From birth, my rule is to allow up to 1 hour to make sure he is getting enough, but these days, it is a struggle to get to 40 minutes. Am I over / under feeding him? His weight gain is good -- about 2lbs / 1 kg per month.

    2) If I only feed off one breast at one feeding, should I pump the other? Or should I wait to give it to baby at the next feed?

    3) What should I do if baby doesn't finish one breast? I think I have quite a large capacity (can pump 150mls in 15 mins) and sometimes at the end of a feed milk is still leaking / spurting from the breast I have been feeding off for 40 mins. I have been starting from the next breast because otherwise I will get too engorged but should I start the next feed off on the original breast to take advantage of all the left over hind milk?

    4) If I skip a feed (e.g. baby drinks from bottle at home but I don't have time to pump at work etc.) does this immediately affect my supply?

    Can anyone shed any light? Thanks!!

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alicat View Post
    1) How long should I spend feeding my 5-month-old? During the day, he tends to be a fussy feeder -- a few minutes on, a few minutes off. From birth, my rule is to allow up to 1 hour to make sure he is getting enough, but these days, it is a struggle to get to 40 minutes. Am I over / under feeding him? His weight gain is good -- about 2lbs / 1 kg per month.
    There is no set answer to the question of how long a baby should feed. Time your baby feeding and when he comes off you will have your answer. Many babies by five months old are just feeding five to ten minutes.

    For the first three months we are looking for an average weight gain of about 1.5 pounds per month. After that the weight gain is usually between 1 pound and 1.5 pounds per month. A weight gain of 2 pounds a month is a large weight gain.

    We usually suggest letting the baby decide when he's had enough. Feed on one side until he comes off then offer the second side. If the baby wants the second side that's fine and if the bay doesn't want the second side that is also fine.

    If the baby seems hungry after the second side (or after a break with just one side) offer the other side again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicat View Post
    2) If I only feed off one breast at one feeding, should I pump the other? Or should I wait to give it to baby at the next feed?
    If your baby only wants one side then ideally you shouldn't have to do anything with the other side. But I suspect that you have an oversupply at the moment and that you may become uncomfortable if you just leave it. If this is the case, then express until you feel comfortable - don't take all the milk out. Expressing to comfort will help your body balance the demand and supply without causing you problems. Pumping the milk out will tell you body that you need more milk than your baby can drink which is the long term will create an over supply and its associated problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicat View Post
    3) What should I do if baby doesn't finish one breast? I think I have quite a large capacity (can pump 150mls in 15 mins) and sometimes at the end of a feed milk is still leaking / spurting from the breast I have been feeding off for 40 mins. I have been starting from the next breast because otherwise I will get too engorged but should I start the next feed off on the original breast to take advantage of all the left over hind milk?
    It is not necessary for your baby to drink all the milk in your breast at each feed. In fact, if you have a large capacity, it won't be possible. But don't worry about the fore milk and hind milk as your body will work this out without any effort from yourself. What tends to happen is that mothers will small capacities give both fore milk and hind milk at each feed; while mothers with large capacities give more fore milk in the morning and more hind milk in the evening. Remember that your baby needs both fore milk and hind milk to grow optimally.

    Treat your breasts like your bladder - if you are uncomfortable take the pressure off. So if the baby wants to feed again and the other side is full let him have the full side.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicat View Post
    4) If I skip a feed (e.g. baby drinks from bottle at home but I don't have time to pump at work etc.) does this immediately affect my supply?
    Once your milk supply is well established (around the six weeks mark) it is actually very difficult to loose your supply. The principle is that you will replace the amount of milk taken out. It you take less out because the baby skipped a feed then you make less. But the next day the baby has that feed (or even an extra feed) then your body makes more milk.

    The problem you are likely to encounter is getting overfull and uncomfortable rather than a drop in supply. It takes about six weeks (42 days) of not breastfeeding for you to loose your milk after your supply is established - longer if you've breastfed for a long time.

    Breastfeeding is meant to be easy - something that we do without much thought. Once breastfeeding is working well and both you and the baby know how to do it (usually around the six weeks mark) you don't have to think too much about it. Just feed the baby when he is hungry and do other things when he isn't. It really doesn't matter how long or which side you use as long as you both are happy.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

  3. #3
    lajm is offline Registered User
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    Alicat, thanks for starting this thread.

    I've been nursing my baby for 10 months and having trouble with uneven breasts. When I pump, I can only express 1oz from my left, and more than 4oz from my right :( So I've stopped pumping because I don't want my bigger breast to get bigger.

    When I nurse my baby, I usually start with my smaller breat until she is finished. But even though I still have a little bit more milk, she refuses to suck longer, probably because the flow is slow?

    I've also tried to pump on my smaller breast after feeding but can't even express 0.2oz!!!

    Another thing is, its a lot of effort to try to pump after each feed. I feed 4-5 times a day (together with 3 solids)

    Any advice would be great! TIA.

  4. #4
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    I hope you don't think I'm being flippant but is this really a problem?

    It really doesn't matter (from a breastfeeding viewpoint) that one breast produces more milk than the other. It is the total amount produced from both breasts over a 24 hour period that is important.

    You are clearly producing enough milk for your baby so from a milk supply point of view everything is fine. And it isn't necessary for you to pump unless you want milk for when you are separated from your baby.

    The only problem is that it is likely one breast will be larger than the other. Patterned and dark clothing will help to disguise this, as will loose instead of skin tight tops.

    Remember once you finish completely finish breastfeeding and your breasts involute they are likely to return to be the same size again. (Breast involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the breast shrinks because it's not needed anymore.)

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

  5. #5
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    You may also be intersted in the article,
    Lopsided! What can I do?
    ...When baby prefers one side, or when supply or breast size is greater on one side

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/lopsided.html

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

  6. #6
    lajm is offline Registered User
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    Thanks so much Sarah for your help. The article helped as well. I suppose it just bothers me because there is a significant difference.... i like things even ;) Thanks again!

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