Switching from exclusive pumping to nursing

Switching from exclusive pumping to nursing

Real-life: Baby is at 10 weeks now and I have been exclusively pumping. Exclusively pumping hasn't been easy. Each side takes 30-40 minutes of pumping and constant massaging to get the milk out. With exclusively pumping, it feels like I'm doing double the work and it's getting too much having to take care of baby and myself. I have built up a good supply now, and I want to gradually switch to nursing. Is it possible?

Learn how to latch

Some babies are naturally good feeders and can latch on pretty quickly. But for a lot of the exclusively pumping moms, the reason why we choose to exclusively pump is due to latching problems at the start. Hence, it may take some extra time and effort for a baby to re-learn how to latch on correctly again. 

Every baby is unique and the best thing you can do is to have a professional lactation expert observe and suggest methods that are customised to you and your baby. Engaging the services of a private lactation consultant may be too costly for some. A really good complimentary service offered by most councils is the drop-in breastfeeding clinics. Check your maternal and child health booklet for your nearest breastfeeding clinics. Plus, you get to meet other mums in breastfeeding clinics and make friends. 


It is very important to have skin-to-skin contact and let baby lay on your chest. Let your baby get used to hearing your heartbeat and being close to you. Slowly, guide your baby to your breast and brush your nipple over baby's lips. Do that a couple of times until your baby opens their lips. 

Be consistent

Some babies may be accustomed to feeding from a bottle, and not respond to the nipple. Do not feel discouraged. This is normal. It may take multiple tries to get your baby to respond to the nipple and latch on. Remember it is harder for your baby to drink milk from the breast than from a bottle. 

Offer a feed before your pumping session or when you see early hunger signs from your baby. Do not wait until your baby is too hungry. It is best to nurse when baby is calm and relaxed. 

For instance, if you decide to nurse baby in the morning, be consistent and try to let baby feed from the breast every day at around this time.

If you think baby needs more milk after nursing, you can offer a top-up bottle. If you feel like the breast isn't drained, you can also pump after nursing to maintain your supply. Gradually, as baby gets more accustomed to latching, your nursing session will also last longer. Eventually, your baby will be able to replace your pumping session. 

Slowly replace pumping sessions with nursing sessions

Take the lead from your baby as to how quickly you will replace other pumping sessions with nursing sessions. 

Your milk supply may change

You may be producing less milk, but this is natural since your milk supply is adjusting to your baby's appetite. 

You can have the best of both worlds

The two options do not have to be mutually exclusive. You can enjoy having flexibility depending on the kind of days you're having. With nursing, you can enjoy the special bond with baby and not have to do the extra tasks of washing bottles and carrying breast pump when you're out. With pumping, you can get your husband to take part and feed. Plus you do not have to feel the pressure of being the only person who can feed your baby.





Brianna said:

So in the hospital in the first two days I breast fed and sometimes supplemented with formula because I wasn’t making enough the nurses said my baby was the hungriest they’ve ever seen. I have pumped for almost nine weeks because it hurt too bad to nurse and have been only giving her my milk that I’ve pumped. I now make eight ounces on my right and about 4-6 on my left but my baby only eats 4. Or that’s what she drinks with feeling content and not throwing up half. Today I decided to try and nurse her again means she has a bigger mouth and my nipples have gotten used to being used. And she latched right away on my right and she did for about 15 minutes and then I burped her and she threw up a little so then I gave her my left and she had a little but started to swerve away from it so I took her off and she seemed content so I knew she was done. Then she threw up so much like enough to be 4 or 5 ounces so I knew she drank too much. My baby is a baby who doesn’t stop no matter how full she is unless she just can’t anymore and throws up. So if I wanted to only nurse her how would I switch to just nursing if just one breast makes 8 ounces in 15 minutes how do I make sure she gets to empty both and gets full but also get my breasts used to making just what she needs instead of double? My nipples are like itching right now and I don’t know if it’s from pain or irritation. Someone please help me I start school tomorrow and I bring her with so I could nurse her exclusively if I wanted to

Portsha Franklin

Portsha Franklin said:

Not sure how long ago this post was but Brianna you are doing great and I would love to connect with you!
I think you may have to consider shorter feeds more often until you find out your rhythm and how much your baby can get without throwing up.

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