My name is Steph and I gave birth to a preemie on Nov.12/07 she was only 24 weeks. I hadn't had any signs of lactating prior to her birth and when she was born I had to force my milk production. It started very slowly and although I pumped every 3 hours or so I was not getting very much so I have been on Domperidone ever since.
Before she was home I was producing at most 4 oz from both breasts and that was only for a short while. Since she's been home my supply has dropped quite a bit and I had to stop pumping for almost a week due to my chronic cracked and bleeding nipples.
I am using a medela pump n style pump and am currently on domperidone and just started fenugreek drops and tea 3 days ago. I am drinking lots of fluids and eating and resting. But I am still only getting a very small amount of milk. Since my baby has been home shes only been getting formula which has caused constipation. I dont produce enough to keep up with her. She currently eats about 80 ml of milk.
I don't know what else I can do to get more milk. I am getting so frustrated and about ready to give up completely. I have pumped every 3 hours and during the night but it has not made any difference. I haven't even leaked milk or dealt with engorgement. My breasts are always soft and feel thin.
Does anyone have anymore suggestions? Please I would love to continue for my daughters sake but it's stressing me out and with everything else to worry about I feel as if i'd be better off just quitting. After almost 5 months I feel like it's a lost cause :cry
Welcome to the forum.
Any milk you give your baby is a huge deal! You're making an effort and we can see how hard you are trying.
My first thought is that you need to get serious with a hospital grade pump, a pump in style is not one of those. :gvibes The reason for this is that a pump in style is built to assist a mother with maintaining her supply as it is, a hospital grade pump is used by women attempting to increase their supply. Very different uses.
You can rent them, they are very pricey.
Instead of pumping every three hours pump every one to two hours during the day when you are awake anyway. This more closely follows the schedule of a small baby. The more milk you remove the more signals the breast gets that there is an increase in demand.
Can you give us more details about any latching you might have done with your baby, how it went, and what your long term goals are?
Well I got the medela because it is the number one recommended by the lactation consultants at the hospital because it's the closest one to a hospital grade. It cost almost 400 dollars so yes I am going to use it LOL
Pumping every 2 hours just is not realistic for me. I have my baby who is on meds so I have to remember to give her meds, remember to take my own meds, eat, clean, make formula, clean and sterilize bottles, feed my baby and I have to mention that she is very clingy right now too she doesn't like to be put down. Also we have doctors appointments So I have alot going on right now. I just can't fathom having to fit in pumping every 2 hours on top of everything else.
I could try it but i'm not sure if it will even help. I've been struggling since day one to have any milk. My mom had troubles breast feeding and could only breast feed any of her 4 kids up until they were 3 months.
I don't even know if my poor nipples can even handle it. With all the pumping that I was doing it was really damaging them and making it very very painful and cracked.
Breastfeeding has been unsuccesful. Because my daughter was born so prematurely she was on the bottle straight away and because she's had the bottle more often she knows the difference. So I am not attempting that any more. Right now my only concern is if I should continue to try and pump. I'm just starting to feel very hopeless and frustrated!!!
I should also mention im on some mild anti despressants and I am even eating oatmeal and oatmeal crisp..
Moving this to Breastfeeding Premature Infants for more replies.
Pumping is not supposed to cause sore, damaged nipples. You may have pump parts that are the wrong size for you. You may also need to adjust your pump's settings. A lot of mothers think that turning the pump up as high as it can go and as fast as it can go will yield the most milk, but this is rarely the case...and it can lead to nipple trauma.
Do you have a local LLL leader or IBCLC whom you could contact? IRL support can be a big help to mothers trying to build their milk supplies for a premature baby.
I am also wondering if you have any family or friends who could help you out at home with all the things you need to take care of. As carpentergirl mentioned, pumping with a hospital grade pump every 1-2 hours would be helpful in building your milk supply. You don't need to get rid of your PIS...once your milk supply is built up and your baby is hopefully learning how to nurse, you can go back to it. However, renting a hospital grade pump, even for a few weeks, can make a big difference.
HTH. Hang in there!
Originally Posted by turbo_mom
Congratulations on your daughter's homecoming! (What was her actual due date?) As someone else mentioned, any of your milk with its incredible immunological factors appears to have beneficial effects re: lower infection rates.
However, also as per a previous response, I'd urge you to rent a hospital-grade pump. The pump you are using is a good pump when used for the job it was designed for -- and that's to maintain production for a mom with well-established lactation who is pumping several times a day. Its motor really was not designed to establish/maintain lactation 24/7. Plus, it often takes more time to get the amount of milk a rental can get in a pumping session.
How many times in 24 hours are you pumping and what is your pumping routine? What many of us find is that when a baby comes home, a mom gets busy and pumping sessions decrease without mom realizing what has happened. Pretty soon production dips down. Galactogogues, such as the domperidone or fenugreek should be thought of as something to "boost" production -- not something that can create it. No amount of pharmaceutical or herbal galactogogues can make up for thorough, frequent milk removal -- gotta remove milk to make it.
What do you think is causing the cracked, bleeding nipples? Is it from the pumping -- or from breastfeeding? Where are the cracks on your nipples? Are the flanges -- the pieces of the pump collection kit that fit directly over the nipple and areola -- the correct size? Poor flange fit may cause skin damage and also may result in lower production.
Hi i know where you are coming from i had a really bad start and almost no supply in the begining but you are producing milk and that is the most important thing.
I agree with pp that your pump parts are to small, mine were and i had cracked bleeding sore nips from it as soon as i got bigger ones everything changed, i also agree that you need to rent a hospital grade pump, yes its a bit expensive but it will help immensely there was a huge difference for me and i only needed it for a month. I know its daunting thinking about everything you think you need to do everyday but the only things you need to do is take care of the baby and you.
It is not a lost cause you are here for help so you have hope, i can tell you after almost 3 months of not latching me pumping around the clock my daughter just suddenly got it. It can happen.
pumping every 3 hours may not be enough right now, its hard to get used to every 2 hours, i just tried to pump as often as i could, no matter if it had been 2 hours or not if i had a few minutes i pumped. You can do it. There is so much help and support here. Pm me if you like. Just keep trying you are doing great , my sis has a preemie and i see the struggles she has with the doctors appointments and everything else. hugs to you and your little blessing
Thank you for your replies ladies :)
I will continue to try and pump every 2 hours but im sure it will take a little while to get into a routine. I think I will continue to use my own pump before I decide if I really need a hospital one. My medela pump really is the same thing as the medela pump I used in the hospital. I did have good supply for a while and my pump worked great its just really difficult maintaining it. I went off of my domperidone for a week and I had practically no milk after.
I also did get a larger flange it's a 27 mm instead of the standard 24 mm. I found that it worked fine for me but I still had cracked nipples.
The cracks were mostly on the areola and directly around the nipple so everytime I would pump it would pull the scab apart and bleed. So I took a week off to heal them.
So I will try to continue drinking alot and I wil try to pump alot more. True I have not been religious with it. I guess what im trying to understand is why I have to work so hard to get milk when other moms in my situation are producing too much milk. I feel defected or something LOL
Hang in... Pumping at least 8x/24 hours seems to be an important number -- below 8x and production seems more likely to head down. There are lots of ways to get in those 8 pumping sessions -- doesn't have to be every 3 hours on the dot. Can be more frequent when baby sleeps and less when baby needs you or your need a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. If you'd like a log to keep track of pumping sessions, which really can help keep one "honest" about how much pumping is happening, I'd be happy to send an easy-to-use one we use where I work as a LC if you contact me via personal email and make sure to include your email address.
I truly can understand wanting to use a pump that you've invested so much in, but that investment isn't going to amount to much if you quit because you feel defeated because production is low. I truly wish I had $1 for every mother who was shocked by how much more milk she started getting (after a few days) and how much quickly she got it when she started using a pump designed for the required "job." Do they really use pump-in-styles (PNS) at the hospital where you delivered? They are NOT supposed to. The hospital grade pumps used in most hospitals are the same as the ones rented, and rentals are NOT the same as PNS.
Drinking a lot of liquid is not associated with increasing milk production -- overhydrating can actually interfere with milk let-down to some extent. (Has to do with the anti-diuretic hormone and its "attachment" to oxytocin -- the let-down hormone.) Drinking to thirst is important, which means not ignoring thirst, but it isn't necessary to overload with liquid. In general, this isn't an issue because someone producing a fair amount of milk is thirstier (and hungrier).
Is there any way for you to see an IBCLC who can watch you pump? And see if 27 mm flanges are OK? (There are bigger ones.) Or if you may have some yeast that is causing cracking? (Your description of problem sounds as if it could possibly be that. You could also ask your doc to look at that.)
Keep up the good work and keep pumping -- see if the 8x/24 hours helps.
I know what you mean about finding it difficult to pump, when your baby needs to be held. Sometimes just being across your lap on a pillow isn't enough. Something I did to hold my baby and still have acess to my breasts was to put her in a Snugli carrier on my back. I could sit on the edge of my bed or couch, rock her back and forth as I sat there, and have my breasts free.