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Thread: Very low milk supply - pumping only

  1. #1

    Default Very low milk supply - pumping only


    My son was born 15 weeks early on Jan 27th. I started pumping the next day using a Medela Symphony pump. My milk started coming in after about the 2nd or 3rd day. I pumped about 10 times a day but at my highest the most I ever pumped was an ounce and a half. Then my supply started going down to the point where I only get 10-20mL every 2-3 hours now (And I have to squeeze out every last drop). My son is currently getting tube fed 30mL every 3 hours. I've tried a lot of things to bring it back up: power pumping, double pumping, fenugreek, fenugreek & blessed thistle, and eating a lot oatmeal. I definitely am drinking and eating enough and still taking my prenatal vitamin so that shouldn't be in issue. I am on the mini pill so my birth control shouldn't be affecting it and although I spend every day at the NICU with my son and only get to see my husband on the weekends, I'm not overly stressed.
    Does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions? I would go see a lactation consultant but I've heard TRICARE doesn't cover that and we're living paycheck to paycheck as it is with me not working. I would love for my son to continue to get my breastmilk but pumping and only getting such a small amount has me wanting to throw in the towel and not have to get up in the middle of the night to pump. (After all I'm going to have to get up enough during the night when the baby is able to come home.)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Very low milk supply - pumping only

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Hopefully your LO will be able to come home soon, and you'll get this pumping thing figured out! Here are some suggestions for increasing production and figuring out why you're not getting more:
    1. Consider a different form of birth control. All hormonal contraception- including the mini-pill- has the potential to negatively impact supply.
    2. Make sure you are using the absolute best pump possible, with correctly sized shields. I strongly suggest that any mom who is exclusively pumping use a hospital-grade rental pump.
    3. Pump more often. Many moms make the mistake of not pumping frequently enough. A newborn generally nurses 8-12 times a day, so a mom who is pumping should replicate that sort of demand pattern using the pump. That means pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night, or even more frequently if possible.
    4. Talk to your doctor or midwife about conditions that can cause supply problems. These conditions include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, PCOS, and retained placenta. Thyroid issues are particularly common in postpartum women.
    5. Call the local LCs, preferably the ones who are IBCLCs, and ask them if they take Tricare or will accept a reduced fee or a fee which is stretched out over a period of months. Most LCs get into the business because they like helping other moms, not because they want to rake in the cash.
    6. Consider using Reglan or Domperidone, which are prescription drugs which can increase milk supply as a side-effect. Both have additional side-effects and are not appropriate for all mothers, so talk to your doctor or midwife before taking either one.
    7. Kangaroo care: http://www.kangaroomothercare.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Very low milk supply - pumping only

    Your insurance company is required by law now to cover lactation services.

    Some moms dnt respond well to the Sumphony. I had one mom who was pumping and nursing with supply problems, and she did better with the Classic than the Symphony.

    I would stop the mini pill and see if that helps.

    If you are not now, pump more often and shoot for a total of 120 minutes a day. Dropping sessions too soon and not pumping long enough are two things pimping mkms often do that shoot them in the foot.

    Try some power pumping

    Give it all time. I notice it takes me at least a week, fi not 2, to change my supply for the better via pumping. Thus, if baby can, try direct breastfeeding. It is good for your supply.

    Make sure your horns are the right size
    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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