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Thread: Newbie with a Few Questions

  1. #1

    Default Newbie with a Few Questions

    Hello all!

    My name is Tiffeny and I am new to these forums. I had my first son (Liam) on 5/12/11 @ 25 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia. He weighed 1 pound. He is currently in the NICU on a ventilator so, of course, he cannot be breastfed yet. The doctors at the NICU are big pushers of breastfeeding and/or feeding breast milk. They feel that breast milk can be the difference between life and death for a preemie.

    I had always dreamed of breastfeeding my baby from the start, but nothing has gone as planned with this pregnancy/delivery. I want to give my baby the best I can, so I am currently pumping so he can be giving my milk through an NG tube. I plan on trying very hard to breast feed him once he is old enough. If it doesn't work to breast feed, then I plan on pumping and feeding breast milk for at least the first year or longer if I can.

    So I have a few questions....

    1. I am worried about keeping up my supply. This is my current routine. I pump every 3 hours around the clock for about 20 minutes each session. I am currently getting about 3-4 ounces from my left breast and 2-3 ounces from my right breast. I am 3 weeks out from my c-section. I think that my supply seems good right now, but I am worried about it dropping off. Does this seem like a good schedule and a good amount of milk? I am trying to use massage and compression to help empty my breasts. I just want to make sure I am doing all I can to keep up a good supply. I know that when you are only pumping it can be hard to keep up the supply. Plus, it will probably be at least 8 weeks before I can try breast feeding. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am renting a Medela Symphony pump.

    2. I have had a few consults with a LC to make sure that I was doing everything correctly. She said I was using the right size cups (sorry I am not sure the real name is) and that everything looked good. However, my nipples are VERY sensitive and a little red and sore. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong? They don't really hurt while pumping, but they do if I rub against something. I am trying to give them air time and I am also using ointment on them. Again, I just want to make sure I am not doing something wrong.

    3. Lastly, the last few days I have noticed at random times that my breast kind of "tighten up" and it is almost painful. Then they relax and all is well. This generally happens within an hour of the time to pump. Is this normal?

    Sorry for the long winded post and all the questions. I just really want to keep up my supply for my son and I want to make sure I am doing everything correctly. Thank you all so much in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questionsith

    Hi, congrats !

    First, I want to say that are doing an amazing thing for you baby!!! Liam is lucky to have you.

    I'm a first time mom to my 6 month old so breastfeeding is still a bit "new" but here are my thoughts:

    1) your supply is great. I just started going back to work and every three hours I can only pump 4-5 ounces in total. I did read here that it's common for moms to have a great supply at first but then it starts to regulate and it may drop a bit. Maybe a more experienced mom can add to this. Also, maybe you can try pumping every 2 hours or 2.5 hours? I remember the first month or so I would feed at least every two hours.

    2) my LC recommended these Medela nipple cup things. It's basically a shallow cup that you put over your breasts and then wear whatever over it. Then there is mo friction or rubbing. I'll look it up when I can get to my laptop and post a link. It helped me a lot the first few weeks when my nipple was feeling raw.

    Hope thus helps! And good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,941

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    I think that your current routine sounds great! Keep it up

    The tightness that you mention about an hour beofre you pump can be milk filling up in your breasts...you can pump then or either wait till your normal time!

    good luck and keep pumping
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    Sounds good to me!! And there are moms here who have successfully gotten to nurse after a NICU stay, so don't get discouraged....It can be done!
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    Oh, I'm so glad you're pumping for your little one. It really is the best medicine you can give him.

    My first child (not preemie but complicated delivery) could never learn to nurse. We tried and tried and tried and tried more and tried again. I ended up exclusively pumping for thirteen months, feeding her nothing but breast milk (and appropriate solids when the time came) for fifteen months, and donating lots and lots of milk to a milk bank for other babies who need it.

    A book that really helped encourage me was [I]Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk[I] by Stephanie Casemore. (I've loaned my copy so I can't check if that's the exact spelling.) It isn't by a medical professional, but it can give lots of good tips.

    The Medela Symphony is wonderful. I found that using Pumpin' Pal breast flanges/breast shields (the cups, I think you called them) helped ease some of my discomfort. They're angled so they take some of the pressure off the nipple and allow you not to hunch over when pumping. (That was giving my back trouble.) Pumping really was always very uncomfortable for me, but that had a lot to do with my particular breasts, too.

    Another super resource is Dr. Jack Newman's Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Questions and Answers. He also has a website. He's a huge advocate of not giving a bottle (finger feeding, using a lactation aid). It can seem overwhelming or discouraging if you have to use one (my second took two months to nurse, four really to master it--he's still nursing at sixteen months, so it is possible), and I cried and cried when I had to give him a bottle just to get calories in him. I thought we would never breastfeed, but he did learn. (He had a disorganized suck and had great trouble sucking on anything, even the bottle.)

    Remember to take it one day at a time, even one pump at a time. Use the time when you have to be separated from your baby to pump as much as you can (and still take care of yourself). It will be easier to pump when you don't have to worry about his physical needs every moment.

    Babies can learn to nurse after being fed in other ways. The best way to help encourage that is to have a super supply, and in your case, that means pumping. It's hard to like the pump, but try to remember it's helping you to give your precious baby his best possible food/medicine.

    I'm trying not to overwhelm you with words. I hope this is encouraging and helpful. I will be glad to share as much information as you want.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    Oh, somehow I missed that you have sore nips. Me too and I have a whole thread in the EP section about that. I have not been able to solve it.

    ETA: but maybe something in that thread will help you
    Last edited by @llli*aprilsmagic; June 7th, 2011 at 12:57 PM.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*silverelyning View Post
    3. Lastly, the last few days I have noticed at random times that my breast kind of "tighten up" and it is almost painful. Then they relax and all is well. This generally happens within an hour of the time to pump. Is this normal?
    This is what it feels like when my milk lets down between pumpings or breastfeedings. A strange squeezing pins-and-needles sensation in my breasts. Oddly the letdown with the pump or baby feels less like pressure and more like tingles.
    Tamara -
    Mom to Lydia born 2/28/11

  8. #8

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    Thank you all so much for the replies and helpful hints.

    @llli*bbbsmama ~ Thank you for the nipple cup/shield idea. Works great. I also got some soothies and they help a lot too!

    @llli*duaeguttae ~ Thank you so much for the book suggestions. I am definitely going to be ordering those. Anything I can do to help out my little man in the NICU.

    @llli*tamaraknits ~ I believe the sensation I am feeling is letdown, but I can't believe it happens when I am not pumping. But I do leek when it happens, so I have been wearing pads so as not to embarrass myself, hehe.

    I met with the LC at the NICU to have her look at my nipples and evaluate my pumping and my flanges. I was using the 24mm. She had me try the 27mm and the 30mm and the 30mm felt the best. I have been using those for almost a week now and my nipples are starting to feel better. I can't believe I need such a big size! I wonder if my baby will ever even be able to get his mouth around my huge nipples, LOL!!!

    About 4 nights ago, I slept through my alarm to get up and pump and I went 6 hours between pumpings. I was in so much pain! I had a few clogged ducts and engorgement that I finally got rid of yesterday. It was horrible. But since then my supply has decreased from 6-8 ounces every 3 hours down to about 4 ounces every 3 hours. Do you think that is still a good amount, or should I start pumping more frequently to get my supply back up to 6-8 ounces?

    You ladies are so wonderful and I thank you so much for all your help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Newbie with a Few Questions

    IMHO, if you want more milk, then you can pump more often. However, if you don't NEED it, you don't have to. It could be related to skipping pumping that one time -- in which case, it should come back up if you resume your normal schedule -- or it could have been a coincidence, as your supply will naturally drop some over time. Most moms produce about 1 oz per hour under normal circumstance, so if you are getting 3-4 oz every 3 hours, you are right in the normal range.

    However, because you would like to BF when baby can, it might be more helpful to have an OS at that time, so I would probably push it a bit by pumping during the night every 4 hours (just to get a little rest) and then every 2-3 during the day as possible.

    I get sleeping through the alarm. I did it several times I ended up having to drop the night time pumping session, out of sheer exhaustion (I am EPing for a cleft baby, and I have 3 other kids to look after, a household and farm to run, and a PT job out of the home). If you have to drop it, drop it, but try to not do that until your supply is well established after 12 weeks PP.

    Regarding large nipple size...I use a 36. My nipples are not huge, just that's what was comfortable, and yes, a baby can nurse off of them So don't worry about it.

    Letdowns between pumping sessions or nursing is VERY normal. Happened to me all the time with my first baby. It gets better over time as your supply regulates.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

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