Reintroducing Breastfeeding After Exclusively Pumping
mother breastfeeding her baby

Reintroducing Breastfeeding After Exclusively Pumping

Not all little ones take to breastfeeding right away, particularly when they have been drinking from a bottle. Indeed it may not be possible for a mother to breastfeed right after birth, particularly if her baby is premature or she has a medical condition that needs urgent treatment. Here are some tips on how you can start reintroducing breastfeeding after exclusively pumping.

How do you reintroduce breastfeeding after exclusively pumping? After exclusively pumping, you can start reintroducing breastfeeding by gradually eliminating a pumping session. Alternatively, you can try to latch your baby onto the breast before your usual pumping session. This will help get your baby used to latching on and adjusting to a breastfeed rather than a bottle.

There can be a few reasons why a mom will have pumped breast milk. Premature babies can often have difficulties latching on when they are born. This will mean mom may have to pump exclusively for the first few weeks or months ahead. Other situations may include where the mother may be unable to breastfeed for example having a medical condition or taking medications incompatible with breastfeeding.

How to Transition from Pumping To Exclusively Breastfeeding

The first few days of reintroducing breastfeeding right after exclusively pumping are the toughest. The first breastfeed will be a time of learning and getting acquainted with your baby again. Every baby is different but it will take time for your baby to latch on and extract milk from the breast.

Gradually Omit Pumping

It’s important to gradually transition your baby towards exclusively breastfeeding. Once your baby is beginning to latch on more effectively, try eliminating one daily pumping session. Take the lead from your baby as to how quickly you will discontinue other pumping sessions. Alternatively, you can also try to latch your baby onto the breast before a pumping session to gauge her interest and get her used to latching onto the breast. If she hasn’t taken much milk from the breast you can finish pumping to maintain your supply. This article also gives some tips when you are breastfeeding and pumping at the same time.

Length of Feedings

At first, it will take some extra time during feeds for your baby to learn to latch again. This extra time is needed to give your baby some time to stimulate your let-down reflex and get your milk supply flowing. Try not to discontinue your baby on the breast if they are not ready. Signs that show your baby has been sufficiently fed include falling asleep at the breast and appearing satisfied while not trying to latch on again.

Consistency

An essential part of reintroducing breastfeeding is consistency. As mentioned earlier it will take time for your baby to adjust to feeding on the breast rather than a bottle. Be persistent and offer a feed before a pumping session begins or when you see the signs you baby wants a feed. This will help your baby become accustomed to latching and regularly feeding without a bottle. 

Setting

Bring you and your baby to a quiet place where you both can have some time alone where there are no distractions. This way you can just concentrate on you and your baby especially during those early feeding sessions.

Skin to Skin

To help stimulate your baby to breastfeed, aim to create as much skin to skin contact as possible. Use a shawl rather than undoing your shirt and undress your baby to just her diaper. Hold her close to gain maximum contact where she will also love being next to your body heat.

How Long After Pumping Can I Nurse Again?

a breastfeeding mother pumping breast milk showing two bottles attached to her breasts with breast milk inside

It can be a tricky balance when first transitioning your baby towards exclusive breastfeeds. Once you see that your baby is latching well and taking enough milk from the breast you can totally replace a pumping session. However, while phasing out pumping, allow your body enough time before and after a breastfeed before you start pumping again.

The average amount of time between pumping and nursing is approximately 30 to 60 minutes after a breastfeed or at least an hour before a breastfeed. This will allow enough time for you to produce enough milk for your baby during a feeding session. 

The transition may not be easy at first, but don’t give up. Missing a few days could undo a lot of time and effort that you have put in.

Getting Baby To Latch After Exclusively Pumping

While there are plenty of methods that mothers often swear by, there is no guaranteed way of getting your baby to latch properly. Each baby is unique and faces different difficulties, the best that you can do is try multiple methods until one happens to stick

Depending on how your baby dealt with the issues of pumping exclusively can determine how quickly they will take to breastfeeding exclusively. Some may refuse to feed from the breast at first but the following are tips you can use to help her latch and feed again.

  • Make sure that both you and your baby are comfortable and relaxed before you begin. 
  • When breastfeeding, bring the baby to your breast rather than bringing your breast to your baby. 
  • If your may baby is small you may need to support your baby with a rolled-up towel or boppy to get comfortable.
  • Have your baby’s nose level with your nipple. Then bring your baby closer and brush your nipple over their lips. 
  • Once her mouth is wide open, position your breast in a “sandwich hold” to ensure your baby will take in a sufficient amount of breast tissue to ensure a good latch. 
  • Allow your baby to take her time when first latching. 

It may take multiple tries to get her to latch properly. Here are a few tips that may encourage her to begin feeding:

  • Keep your baby close
  • Try the “football” hold if latching difficulties persist
  • Lay on your side for breastfeeding if you had a cesarean 
  • Wait for baby to open their mouth 
  • Don’t push the back of their head
  • Maintain eye contact when they latch 

Other Common Issues When Transitioning From Pumping To Exclusively Breastfeeding

  • Sore nipples are common among breastfeeding moms, even when your baby is latching properly. Moms may have sensitive nipples and can suffer from cracking and bleeding around the areola and nipple. 

To prevent prolonged damage that affects future feedings you should wear nipple shields or try changing feeding positions

  • Breast engorgement, reduced milk production, and leaking are other issues that women often face. These issues are solved like most others:
  • Try different feeding positions 
  • Adopt a different hold
  • Feed frequently 
  • Be patient and gentle
  • Make small adjustments while feeding
  • Wear protective pads in your bra 

Oftentimes moms attempt to solve the problems on their own and are usually successful, but other times it requires professional help. If you intend continuing to breastfeed and are having difficulties getting your baby to latch or feed properly on their own it is time to consult a lactation expert. They will help you solve any problems that you’re facing.

The proud moment when your baby finally latches and you’re having a successful breastfeeding session is one of the best in the world.

Don’t give up if you feel this process is becoming difficult. Each baby is unique will have their own individual time to transition over to exclusively breastfeeding.

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