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Thread: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

  1. #1

    Default Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    Hi! I am a momma new to the forum...My baby was born at 33 weeks and spent 7 weeks in the NICU. In the beginning we breastfed one to two times a day starting around 2 weeks because he wasn’t quite strong enough and requiring 02 for feeds. So he wasn’t introduced to the breast right away.

    We have been home for 2 and 1/2 months and I have been breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. He is taking anywhere from 1 ounce to 3 ounces of formula supplement. Sometimes it is ebm because i recently started pumping after his feeds. However I haven’t been doing all of them because sometimes it is not possible...I have estimated his intake is about 4 ounces or so. He is about 11 pounds.

    I have also started taking fenugreek 3 times a day (3x600) and using Mothers Tea 3-4 times a day.

    When I pump, I usually yield about 2 ounces and haven’t seen a signification increase in milk.

    My questions are...Are there other suggestions that I'm not trying? To be honest, at times I feel frustrated and wonder if I should switch to all formula because I doubt my ability to increase my milk supply. I really would love to exclusively breastfeed but don't know if this will be possible because of our history.

    Will it get easier once he starts cereal?

    He has started sleeping from about 8 to 3...would you recommend that I get up to pump around 1 to help my supply? What about power pumping? Anyone see a difference with this?

    Oh, so many questions!

    Would love to hear some thoughts!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    Welcome and congratulations on the baby! It's awesome that you have him at the breast. I know it can't have been easy with such an early bird!

    When you say you're using 1-3 oz of formula, is that after every feeding or is that your total for the day? (I'm guessing it's the former.). This link may help you wean from the formula supplements: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html

    How would you say your baby is at the breast? Does he feed eagerly and effectively, or does he pull off early in hopes of getting a bottle? And how often are you nursing him in a 24 hour period?

    Yielding 2 oz when pumping is normal output. I know that seems surprising when you think about how much your baby will drink from a bottle, but most exclusively breastfed babies take in about 2-4 oz at the breast. That's it. They also tend to nurse frequently, making up for the smaller size of their meals (relative to bottle-fed babies) by eating more often.

    With regard to increasing supply, supplements like fenugreek are great. But they are not a substitute for increasing the frequency and thoroughness with which you empty your breasts, either by nursing or pumping. The best way to increase supply is generally to nurse on demand, since a baby usually empties the breast better than the pump. But if your baby isn't a great nurser or pulls off early looking to get a bottle, you're going to need to use the pump. Pump after feedings, pump in between feedings, and use a good pump. I suggest using a hospital-grade rental with correctly sized shields. Power pumping will help. Pumping at night will help. The more stimulation you give your breasts, the more often you remove milk, then more your supply will increase. I know it's a LOT of work, and I hate telling a busy mom of a newborn that she needs to add to her workload, but the above really is the best way to achieve your goal. And you can achieve your goal. I am sure you are full of self-doubt. A lot of moms who have rough experiences are. But YOU CAN DO IT!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    Hi! Thanks for your response. The reassurance is helpful! I have visiting that kelly mom web site about weaning....I have seen some mom's decreasing a whole supplement rather than decreasing it through the day. Does it matter...

    Yes, he does take 1-3 ounces throughout the day...I have been tracking it and it's anywhere from 10-13 ounces of supplement/bottle per day...sometimes this is ebm but it's mostly formula.

    I feel like he eating fairly eagerly. Although I have been switch nursing for the last 2 weeks and the second round, he pulls off and looks at me like...this is empty! I'm nursing 8-10 times a day. I nurse as much as he will take. Sometimes when he is tired he will latch other times, he cries and pushes away, as if he is saying NO! I don't wanna eat, I want to sleep!

    Do you find that bf babies sleep through the night? He has been getting up between 1-3 for a feeding still.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    I don't think it matters that much if you drop an entire supplement all at once or just use slightly smaller bottles throughout the day. The key will be watching your child and seeing how he reacts to a given tactic.

    It sound like you are on the right track with your nursing frequency and with the switch nursing. The more you nurse, the more you can get the baby to switch back and forth, the better. And if you can pump enough so that all your supplemental bottles contain breastmilk rather than formula, you will know your supply is where it needs to be!

    Do breastfed babies sleep through the night? Some do. Many don't. Same as formula-fed babies. I know people will tell you that formula makes babies sleep, but I don't think that's true. I know my formula-feeding friend always looked just as tired in the morning as I feel, and I honestly think her job was harder because she had to mix the formula and warm it up in the middle of the night instead of just haul out a breast.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    How long before I see a change...I started pumping after most day feeds and power pumping 2 times a day.

    Also I have worked up to 3 pills of feugreek 3 times a day but havent noticed a difference. Any thoughts on this??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    Are you still giving about 2 oz per pumping session? Because that really is normal output.

    How long it takes to increase supply depends very much on you as an individual. Everyone responds differently to the pump, to a given make/model of pump, and to frequency and intensity of pumping.

    WRT fenugreek- supplements are nice but not everyone responds wildly to them. Is 3 pills 3x per day making you smell like maple syrup? If not, you may need to increase the dose. But again, supplements aren't necessarily a gaurantee of increased supply. Frequent pumping is more efficacious.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and supplementing my 33 week preemie who is now 4 months

    I get about 2 oz when I pump during normal pumping session without breastfeeding. I get about that much when I pump after he goes to bed. Im using a medela pump and style, bought new after baby's birth.

    I have been pumping after most feeds during the day for about the last 2 weeks and today I just tried power pumping for an hour at 2 different times. I will try that again tomorrow and the next day to see if I see an increase.

    I'm going to increase the dose of fenugreek. How about More Milk Plus. When I went to pick up another bottle of the fenugreek the sales person was telling me about this. I didnt buy it though. Has anyone had success from this??

    I was also reading about bf after supplementing. And I tried this today when it seemed as if he wanted more after his bottle feed. He took to bf afterwards and didnt seem to fuss afterward.

    We have a 4 month check up tomorrow so I will see how my little guy is doing with his weight. While he is 4 months, he is more in line with babies his corrected gest age, which I'm told is completely normal. Do you know how many ounces I should expect a 11 pounder to take? I've read to avoid the numbers game, but the NICU has me trained to think that way.

    I'm keeping my figures crossed for some changed in the next couple of days, even if it is only in small increments!

    Hoping all the work will pay off!!

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