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Thread: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early baby

  1. #1

    Exclamation Little supply for 3 1/2 month early baby

    I had my baby 3 1/2 months early and she's currently still in the NICU. She is up to 19 mls evey 3 hours. Problem is, I'm only pumping/expressing 15 mls at max using a Lactina Select model and pumping every 2-3 hours. I'm on the Fenugreek tablets, and mothers milk tea as well as eating oatmeal twice everyday and snacking on oatmeal cookies throughout the day. For the past week or so I've also been doing some extra hand expressing to better empty the breast and hope that stimulates a higher supply but with all this, I've not seen an increase.

    I'm frustrated with my lactation consultant, as when a nurse said I should be getting ounces I panicked and went to her and told her I really hadn't gotten much of a supply. She stated not to worry, as long as I was producing more than the baby was eating I was alright and shouldn't fret (as it can make it more difficult) So the next time I saw her I mentioned I still wasn't getting much. This was past 21 days after the baby was born and she told me I should be worried, after 21 days what you have is usually what you have. (I feel like that was poor information communication on her part, I was told not to worry and got no warning to what to be looking for) I feel like this can't be right, as the baby grows it would stimulate your body into producing more milk, wouldn't it? And now I'm reading that the fenugreek isn't recommended for use in pumping for preemies.

    Is there still hope that I can get a supply? She's been in the NICU for a month now and I will probably be able to put her to breast even just in recreation in the next week or two and I'm determined to do this. Either I dry up or I feed her. I'd just don't want to supplement as I'd rather be sufficient in feeding her on my own. Advice please? I'm trying not to be discouraged but it's starting to get difficult.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    I don't have any advice specific to a preemie, hopefully some of the mamas here who've been there will chime in later. But I can tell you that it is almost always possible to boost your supply and the advice from the LC that what you have is what you have is totally false.

    Are you getting more than one let down when you pump? I am not familiar with that specific pump, but some have a letdown button that you can push after the initial flow slows and the suction goes really fast (mimicing the fluttery suck of a baby trying to get a let down) and you can get another letdown. You've probably tried that, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    have you looked at the info on Kelly moms breastfeeding page? there is a good link about how to pump when baby isn't at the breast any.
    it sounds like you should be pumping way more often.

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/ma...pply-pump.html

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    Congrats on your baby! I remember the NICU days all too well. It seemed everytime I turned around someone was giving me bad news or a conflicting opinion or something to make me cry. I have also learned, the hard way, twice, that hospital LC's are just not as knowledgable. I would do some research and find the best one in your area, an IBCLC, and consult with her. My advice is get your pump flanges checked to be sure they are the perfect size for you, consider a different pump and increase the amount of time you are pumping. So if you pump every 3 hours, increase to every 2 hours. Around the clock. Never miss a pump session. If you pump for 15 minutes, start going 20 minutes. When you aren't pumping spend time with your baby on your bare chest as often as the nurses will allow. If you can pump right next to the isolet, do that. I have found those to be the most helpful in increasing supply over drugs and diet.

    Keep us updated. It's hard now, but this is just a minor blip in your journey of motherhood.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  5. #5

    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    Typically I only get one letdown, two occasionally and not for terribly long as I'm beginning to think I have letdown issues. I don't believe the Medela Lactina has separate settings but it's harder to get any letdown at all with the Symphony (I use this at the bedside) that does have the setting that mimics the fluttery sucking. And I use that setting more than the standard just to try and stimulate letdown. I appreciate the tip though! As the LC didn't even tell me what the letdown was, I had fun figuring that out and I'm not super sure about it in general since I seem to be having issues with it.

    I really wish I could have had/read that kellymom.com article on day one of expressing! That would have been infinitely more informative than the articles and talk I had with my LC. Thank you!

    I have been pumping next to the isolet for 4 of my sessions, more if schedule will allow and I am pumping on average for 20-25 minutes to make sure I'm emptying them out. I asked another LC and she said I may be stressing myself out too much and to try and stick with the every 3 hours rule...but I'll probably be a nut and throw in a power pump or to when I have the time/energy. In the mean time though, I'll certainly start looking for an IBCLC to consult since there are so many conflicting opinions and what not in the NICU, I do appreciate the tips and support kst!

    On another note, I asked the doctor today and I can start recreational latching tomorrow morning, so hopefully that'll help stimulate some supply as well!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    Keep in mind that so many women have trouble with letdown for the pump. It's so frustrating. For me, I didn't have trouble in the beginning but when I went back to work it was hard to get a letdown with the pump. And I agree, bringing baby to the breast should definitely help stimulate your supply and I suggest having the pump ready to go so that the second you put her down you can pump.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  7. #7

    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    Had my recreational latching and I think it went well, but even though I got the skin to skin and her making attempts at sucking...I've seen a small decline in my pumps at and after 2 pm and it's getting more difficult to get a letdown. I'm confused and devastated, I didn't make any changes but at this rate I think I will go pump every 2 hours. Extra stress or not, I don't know what else to do. I did double check the flanges and their size, as well as kangarooing for 3 hours a session twice a day.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    I think pumping every 2 hours is a great idea. Isn't it more stressful thinking you can't feed your baby than trying to pump?

    I remember when my daughter was in the NICU. There were so many days that they didn't let me hold her or I couldn't get to the hospital. I also felt cheated out of those early days of sleep deprivation and being able to cuddle with my newborn in bed. Bonding as a family, just loving on my baby. For me, the only thing I could do for her was to pump. So I set my alarm and no matter where I was or what I was doing I hooked up. Because I couldn't breastfeed. And I couldn't hold her when she was crying. But I could give her my milk.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    This is the first time I've posted in the preemie forum because, honestly, I feel like I don't belong since both my babies were full term, and I don't personally know the pain that you moms go through when your LO's are in the NICU.

    I do have some experience with pumping, though, which I hope will offer you encouragement. When my first child was born, she couldn't latch and transfer milk because of my anatomy, and I had supply problems due to insufficient glandular tissue. The hospital LC's were helpful in some ways, but in others I feel like they really missed the boat. One of those ways was that my pump flanges were definitely too small. (They never hung around long enough during my pumping to see my nipples uninvert a bit, so they didn't know, I guess.) You might want to check out this link just to double check in that area.

    http://lactinv.com/breastfeeding_qna..._breastshields

    Also, I wanted to encourage you that you really can keep building your supply. Mine kept growing for three months after my daughter's birth, and I really attribute it to my pumping like a madwoman. (I hadn't been able to produce enough to feed her my own milk exclusively until six weeks post partum, and that really worried me.) It sounds like you're doing a great job at the pump, and it should yield results.

    You also might want to play around a little with the vacuum on the pump. I found that I really had to increase it to the point where it was not comfortable to get the milk to come out. Others may disagree with me, but in my case because of my very stiff breast tissue, I had to use a high vacuum and breast compressions even to get the milk to flow. I also found hot compresses on my breasts before pumping, or massaging or even shaking the breasts helped.

    I also discovered that when I could get my mind off my worries (I was constantly reading about how to get babies (back) to the breast and really fretting about my lack of direct breastfeeding), I actually pumped more. I ended up reading a lot of novels (all 21 of Patrick O'Brian's nautical novels a couple of times!), and that really helped me not focus on whether I was producing milk or how much I was getting or how many more minutes I needed to put in during that session ...

    I'm glad you're getting to hold your daughter now, and I hope it encourages you to know that you can definitely keep building your supply. Pump and pump and pump, and know that every suck that pump gives is giving something of you to your daughter!
    I breast milk fed my Blossom for fifteen months (after exclusively pumping for thirteen). My Bud (nineteen months) is still nursing directly (after a rough start that included a few months of pumping and supplementing with mommy's milk).

    TwoDewdrops: Nursing Dresses and Tops for Discreet Breastfeeding (and Pumping)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Little supply for 3 1/2 month early

    kst & duae - thank you both very much. I was silently contemplating throwing in the towel and I appreciate the support and it has certainly inspired me with a new sense of determination to get through this. Thank you both so much!

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