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Thread: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Question 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Hi,
    I delivered my son at 35 weeks and he was in NICU for a night, then with me. We were discharged home on day 3, but readmitted the following day for critical bilirubin levels. For that time I was breastfeeding and he was having adequate wet and dirty diapers. He was then in NICU for 6 nights and I was not allowed to breastfeed. . . they tried to convince me to give formula but I was insistent and he only has received breastmilk. We are home now and he is 3 weeks old. But I am having trouble getting him transitioned to fully breastfeeding. I saw a lactation consultant, and she has me using a nipple shield to help him get more milk when he nurses. When we weighed at the LC, he took about 35mL in a 10 minute nursing session. She advised me to offer a bottle of EBM after every other feeding, and he takes anywhere from 20-70mL. His stamina at the breast is not great. . . he gets very lethargic and only lasts about 8-12 minutes. Also, I don't feel empty at all. I am pumping 4+ times per day to ensure my supply is maintained. He has started taking 60mL in about 10 minutes, even using the Medela slow flow nipples. I am very eager to phase out the bottles. Anyone have experience/success with this? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Hi mama. Congrats on your baby! What you are experiencing is rather normal for a preemie. (I know that's probably what you didn't want to hear!) It took us until around our due date to get the hang of BF, and I put him to breast every single time. I kangarooed him all the time, took baths with him with him very near the breast, wore him topless, etc etc.

    Another suggestion would be to get the breastflow bottles. Even a slow flow nipple might be too fast (meaning that he will enjoy getting the food with no work) and a breastlfow nipple makes them work for it and also mimics letdown so they don't start relying on the immediate suck=satisfaction.

    I am sure you will be there soon mama. Keep up the good work!!!
    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    11-25-2007
    Our precious early angel


    Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being ~ Kittie Frantz
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth ~ Albert Einstein
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Looking for more information about vaccines?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    My 33 weekers had a hard time too. They use up all their energy just surviving. At night I ONLY nursed while co-sleeping. as in I wouldn't get up to pump or make a bottle.. Then just worked my way around the clock. Now they get two bottles a day for their medicine and thats it. if it wasn't for the meds they would nurse full time
    Jaxon (07/13/08) weaned at 27 months
    Alexa and Braxton (11/18/10). My NICU miracles.

    http://swallomlife.blogspot.com

    "This above all: to thine own self be true" -Hamlet

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Thanks for the fast replies. Babies r us just told me the breastflow bottles/nipples are discontinued. I will see what I can find online. Did you use a shield? My LC said it helps baby get more milk at each feeding. I have a follow up appt on Monday so we can do a weigh before and after to see how he's doing.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lmc View Post
    Thanks for the fast replies. Babies r us just told me the breastflow bottles/nipples are discontinued. I will see what I can find online. Did you use a shield? My LC said it helps baby get more milk at each feeding. I have a follow up appt on Monday so we can do a weigh before and after to see how he's doing.
    That is weird about the discontinue...I see them all over the place! I just looked them up and you can get them at amazon.com for a pretty good price too if you can't find them locally.

    I personally never used the shield. We tried like twice, and had kind of a hard time with them, and the LC said that as long as he was getting milk we could do without so we just went without. One thing that we did do was an sns feeder. It is like a little tube that you attach to your breast with a bottle of milk, so baby feeds from your breast but is getting supplemented at the same time. That way not as much confusion from the bottle. My LC made me one out of "spare parts" but I know that they sell them. i think medela makes one.
    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    11-25-2007
    Our precious early angel


    Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being ~ Kittie Frantz
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth ~ Albert Einstein
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Looking for more information about vaccines?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Babies r Us may not have them, but they seem to be widely available online.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    I had my son at 33 weeks and he was born with a very very weak sucking reflex. They kept givaging him. It takes awhile for the reflex to kick in. They say around 37 weeks it should kick in, but I think that is wrong. The nurses in the NICU are really pushy about bottle feeding and I think it takes even longer for the baby to understand breastfeeding because of this.

    My son was able to go home 13 days after being born, but I had a fit and I think they were done dealing with me. I kept him at my breast for 24 hours and it was clear he was getting enough milk. I kept that crazy schedule up at home (he was literally attached to my breast all day) and he was able to get what he needed while his sucking reflex strengthened.

    Some of it is waiting it out because there is nothing you can do until they are at the age where they have that natural reflex.

    Don't give up! At three years old he is still nursing (he is as I'm typing this!)
    Adoptive and Bio Mommy to Two Breastfeeding Boys!

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  8. #8
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    Default Update Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Update-we purchased the breastflow bottles and they slowed him down. Monday we saw the LC and did a pre/post nursing weight without the shield. He has gained 14 ounces in 14 days and took 80ml in 10 minutes!!! Yay! So no more bottles and no more shield. We are on Day 2 of just breast and he's doing awesome! Plenty of wet and dirty diapers. And all this before his due date has arrived.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough at breast

    Awesome!!! Nice work mama and baby!
    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    11-25-2007
    Our precious early angel


    Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being ~ Kittie Frantz
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth ~ Albert Einstein
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Looking for more information about vaccines?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 35 week preemie not getting enough a

    yay! you are doing it
    Breast is not best ~ it's the only first baby food

    If breastfeeding offends, you are staring too hard

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