Needing encouragement

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2010
Needing encouragement
Sun, 10-10-2010 - 8:26pm

I have been pumping for 9.5 months for my son and am now down to 3x/day (8am, 3pm and before bed), about 25 minutes/session. Ever since I switched to 3x/day, I have been miserable while pumping - nipples are sore, I feel engorged before pumping and generally feel cranky.

I am feeling at a loss as to what to do because part of me feels like quitting and part of me feels like I have to keep going. Quitting (or dropping to 1 or 2 pumps a day) would mean supplementing with formula (I pump 30-35 oz/day which is what my son eats and I have a very small freezer stash) and I am having trouble accepting the idea of formula. I know lots of people need to supplement with it or use it exclusively, but I suppose I am a breastmilk snob and struggle with the idea of giving my kid formula. I also

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2009
Sun, 10-10-2010 - 10:45pm

How long have you been at 3x? I would think that your body would adjust within a few days of being at 3x and wouldn't stay so engorged all the time. Were you getting engorged and did you have the nipple soreness at 4x? I can understand engorgement when you drop pumps, but I'm wondering why your nipples would be sore now; has anything else changed other than dropping down to 3 pumps?

I'm sorry you're feeling so down. I understand your reasons for not wanting to drop pumps if it means you'll have to supplement. I'm not anti-formula, as my baby did just fine when we were supplementing for the first few weeks, but it is more convenient and less expensive to give BM. Every time I start to think of weaning I have the same thoughts as you. But I sort of enjoy pumping, because that's the only real time I have to surf the net, read, or watch tv. It forces me to take "me" time. Have you tried doing something like watching tv or reading while you pump to make it more of a treat? Or could you try rewarding yourself for every week or month you keep pumping?

I'm glad your hubby is supportive. You have sacrificed so much by pumping this long, really! 9.5 months is such an accomplishment. It sounds like you don't want to quit or drop more pumps for now, and you really are in the home stretch if you plan to transition to cow's milk at a year...but whatever you decide to you, you have already given your son a wonderful start in life. :)


Mom to Ashley Elizabeth, born 11/3/09

Avatar for turtlegirl203
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2002
Tue, 10-12-2010 - 7:56am

The PP has given you some wonderful advice. I just wanted to add my encouragement. :smileyhappy:

I can absolutely understand your not wanting to give your son formula. It is definitely less convenient, more expensive and IMHO generally inferior (and I say this as a mom who supplemented heavily for my twins for a year). I would encourage you to keep pumping. As the PP said, the engorgement should go away after you've been pumping at 3x for a bit.

Are you using a hands free bra? That made all the difference in the world for me. Being able to just hook up and pump while I surf, or watch TV or whatever makes it more like "me time" than "pump time". I actually look forward to that time now.

Is your son eating solids yet? He may start drinking less milk when he does, so maybe you could drop a pump when that happens. And as she mentioned, you only have a few months to go until you can make the transition to cow's milk. Even if you decide against feeding cow's milk, your son shouldn't need as much BM as he's getting now at 1 year. So you could safely drop to 2x a day at that point. I pump 2x a day (once in the morning, either before the babes are up or during their nap, and once after they go to bed), and I find it so much easier now that I feel like I can go on indefinitely.

Whatever you do, know that you have done a world of good for your son by pumping this long. Just do what feels right to you and for your family, and you can't go wrong. Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2010
Tue, 10-12-2010 - 8:23pm
I totally agree with both pp about making pumping more of "me time" and just try to enjoy it. I was definitely able to do it more when dropped to 3 pumps. From what you said it looks like you would not be comfortable with using formula. You've had a looong journey getting to where you are now, and you don't have that far to go to make a transition to cow's milk, really. Time flies really fast. I can't believe that my LO is going to be a year in just a month! I am also going back to work in January, and will not be able to pump mid day, so i'm planning to drop to 2 before that. So I would suggest to you to keep pumping for now...also just wanted to say- may be you are just not pumping long enough to empty, which makes you feel engorged early. I only felt engorged for the first few days when making a transition to 3. After my supply dropped a bit and my bbs adjusted I feel totally comfy. But it does take me at least 40 min each time to empty ( I pump about 40-43 oz's a day)...also may be you've got thrush? Just some thoughts, as pumping should not really hurt at that point...
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2010
Sun, 10-24-2010 - 3:56pm

Just wanted to say thank you for the replies - I appreciate you taking the time to encourage me. The past two weeks have been much better - partly I think just acknowledging that I was at a low point has made it easier. It did take a good 3 weeks at 3x before I wasn't experiencing engorgement...which I will remember when I drop to 2x (I didn't experience that any other times when I've dropped pumps). I do pump hands-free (yay for PumpEase!) and enjoy the quiet time to be online or watching TV. We'll see how the next couple of months go but I suspect I'll drop to 2x in a few weeks and then 1x in December so I'm done by the time I go back to work in January. Thanks again for the support.