Changing from formula feeding to breastfeeding
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Thread: Changing from formula feeding to breastfeeding

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    Prolific Poster BokkieNYC's Avatar
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    Default Changing from formula feeding to breastfeeding

    Has anyone ever changed from formula feeding to breastfeeding? What was your experience like? What were your challenges? Were you successful?

    My DD is 18 days old and has been formula fed since birth. We chose to formula feed because I was taking lamictal (lamotrigine) for my bipolar disorder. I have been on the medication since 2011 And was taking it throughout the pregnancy. I counteracted the potential birth defects by taking an extra high dose of folic acid.

    I tried to wean off the medication throughout the pregnancy so that is could breastfeed but around 34 weeks I had an episode and had to increase the dose slightly. That was when we decided to formula feed.

    Since DD has been born we've been rethinking that decision. Particularly since I ended up having a c-section and she already seems to have sinus issues. We really want to give her the best start possible.

    To prepare over the last week and a hald I have been trying to hand pump my breasts but I find it difficult to make time because DD is very fussy and hates to be put down in her crib. I manage once or twice a day for about 15 min on each breast but I still seem to only be getting drops out. DD is drinking 2+ oz of formula per feed, sometimes 4oz. How do i know if I'm doing it correctly? Will I be able to produce enough for her? When will the real milk come in?
    ~Roxi~

    A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. -- Ogden Nash
    | 2/6/13 7 weeks |




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    Posting Addict CamelNoodle's Avatar
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    Has your doctor okay'd breastfeeding with your med?

    I think since it's been 18 days, you'll have to work extra hard to start producing milk. I would recommend an electric pump and a consultation with a lactation consultant. The hospital/center you delivered at should have one, or at least a referral. Your OB/MW can also refer you.

    If a LC is not possible, try La Leche League. You need someone who can see if your daughter is latching correctly, something hard to tell over the internet.

    It is highly probably you will produce enough milk for her. You have some work ahead of you, but it's worth it!
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Have you discussed this with your pediatrician? I checked Dr. Thomas Hale's Infant Risk website and he advises that lower doses of Lamotrigine (200mg/day) are safe while breastfeeding, and higher doses (850mg/day) are generally OK as long as the infant is monitored closely. This drug does get into breastmilk and does get into baby's system at about 1/3 to 1/2 maternal levels, which is a pretty high transfer rate, but the most common side effects are sleepiness and poor sucking. Some babies develop a widespread rash which is an immune system reaction; if that happens, you'll need to stop breastfeeding.

    Assuming that you & your ped are comfortable with your dose, or have agreed on a schedule of blood work to monitor baby, then you absolutely can do this! You should get an electric pump ASAP. Pump every three hours, hopefully around the clock, for at least a week to help get your supply built back up. When you are nursing baby on one side, pump the other. (On a bed with lots of pillows is the easist way to accomplish this!) There are also some herbal things you can take to help boost your supply -- fenugreek is awesome. Keep upping the fenugreek until your skin starts to smell like maple syrup and then keep at that dose. As long as baby is allowed to nurse as much as possible, and she is wetting enough diapers every day and gaining weight properly, she's probably getting enough milk. The best way to monitor how much breastmilk baby is getting is to weigh her immediately before & after a feed. You can buy a baby scale at most well-stocked baby supply places, or you might be able to borrow or rent one from the hospital or your ped's office.

    You said you're unable to pump much because she hates being put down. That's very normal behavior for a newborn! I call it the fourth trimester. She's on the outside but she's not really ready to be, she wants to be snuggled up against you for a few more weeks. You might want to try wearing her in a sling or wrap carrier, which will allow you to be able to do things while she still feels like she's being held. You can also nurse while she's in it! I never managed to perfect it, I still had to keep one hand under my breast, but my breasts are freakin' huge so you might find it easier to do. Babies also love movement so she might prefer a swing or bouncy seat to being put down in a crib. Good luck to you!!!
    David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!

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    Prolific Poster BokkieNYC's Avatar
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    Oh, sorry ladies. Meant to include in the opening post that I have weaned off the meds. It was a very rapid taper from 100 mg over one week, but it was with my psychiatrist's approval. Had my last dose last Thursday.
    ~Roxi~

    A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. -- Ogden Nash
    | 2/6/13 7 weeks |




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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Like Janel said, it's going to be harder than if you'd started at birth, but it's not too late; I know a woman IRL who started nursing when her baby was a month old because she had complications that kept her in the hospital and on meds that weren't safe for baby. Lots of pumping, lots of skin-to-skin time, make sure you have a good latch (there are videos online, and have your DH check since you can't really see for yourself), and keep her awake long enough to get a good feed (strip her down to her diaper so she's not too warm, tickle her foot, talk to her & keep eye contact, etc.) Once you get going, it should get easier and you'll be able to drop the pumping if you want, or at least taper down to once or twice a day to have some backup. And if baby gets hungry, offer a bit of formula *after* she's nursed as much as she can.

    Oh, and also be sure to use the "newborn" bottle nipples whenever you supplement. If turned upside down, you don't want it to drip out; you want baby to have to suck to get anything. It takes work for baby to nurse and this will keep her from starting to prefer a bottle out of laziness.
    David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!

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    Prolific Poster Danifo's Avatar
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    I had a somewhat different situation because DD2 got breast milk since birth but didn't start nursing until 6 weeks.

    I pumped both sides 8x a day for 10 minutes or until I stopped seeing milk. I would say you need an electric pump and a bra that holds the pump in place so you can still hold your baby during that time. The first couple days I got less than 10 mLs total and then each day it started to increase. By the end of my pumping time (around 12 weeks) I was producing double my needs. I went with the assumption that I needed to pump both sides my baby had a bottle. If I had a successful nursing session (10+ minutes) I didn't pump.

    I found a nipple shield helped. I would pre-load it with some milk so she would get milk as soon as she started nursing.

    Good luck. Try to find a LC who knows about this.
    DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
    November 2010 (13 weeks)
    DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)

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    Prolific Poster BokkieNYC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice and encouragement, ladies!

    I ordered an electric pump thru insurance - just waiting to hear if it was approved. In the mean time I just received my actual hand pump today and managed to express half an ounce (which is more than I expected and is encouraging).

    I will def try carrying her in the wrap whole pumping. Going to try ramp it up this week.
    ~Roxi~

    A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. -- Ogden Nash
    | 2/6/13 7 weeks |




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    Prolific Poster BokkieNYC's Avatar
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    I also now have an appt with a LC for Friday.
    MissyJ, Spacers and CamelNoodle like this.
    ~Roxi~

    A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. -- Ogden Nash
    | 2/6/13 7 weeks |




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    Posting Addict CamelNoodle's Avatar
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    Great! I also second the pumping bra. Something like this Amazon.com: Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra, Pink, XS-L: Baby

    I had this one, Sears.com which requires you to remove your shirt first to put this one, but it worked better for a larger bust (I had the bustier too and it worked, but was droopy)
    William 10/6/2004
    Visit his CaringBridge
    Joseph stillborn 01/08/2007
    Thomas 05/05/2008
    John 6/5/2010
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    m/c 01/02/2014 twin angels

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    You can also do a makeshift hands free pumping setup with hair elastics! http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/p...-free-pumping/

    I did that a couple of times when I needed a free hand. I generally focused on my baby while pumping but occassionally had a looming deadline that necessitated either not pumping (which is not really an option at the beginning!) or finding a way to manage hands free.
    David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!

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