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Thread: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Just looking for support and hopes of a light at the end of the tunnel!

    My little girl is 6 weeks old now (adjusted age, 2 weeks) and we had slow weight gain right away. The past two weeks we have managed gaining 5oz per week with the help of supplementing EBM after feeds in which she is still showing hunger cues (so she usually ends up needing about 6-8oz extra a day, in the late afternoon and evening, of course).

    The schedule of constant breastfeeding, pumping after she feeds, and the awkward supplementing with the SNS is starting to get to me. I'm not giving up, because I know that soon she will be stronger and sucking better/longer...but I'm getting pooped out. I'm also currently waiting for my domperidone order to get here so that maybe it means it will push us into the "just enough" supply category. Ugh.

    But really, how long should I let her stay at the breast? She gets lazy after only a few minutes of active sucking (and I do the whole routine of skin-to-skin, cool washcloth, tickling, switch nursing, etc). The NICU nutritionist says I can't let her go longer than 30 minutes because she's going to tire herself out. I dunno, it seems odd to me and I'm not quite sure what to believe on that front. I'm certainly willing to let her go as long as she wants/needs if that means less pumping and supplementing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,207

    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Tire herself out? That seems like odd advice - in general you want babies this age to nurse for as long as they want to - but I'll be interested to hear what other mamas have to say. Mainly just wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing a great job and keep at it! For a full-term baby, the first two weeks are usually the most arduous and then things gradually start to get better. Given that your LO was premature and had slow weight gain, maybe it will be a little longer before she's caught up with where a full-term baby would be, but it's not going to be forever. You can do this mama!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Now that she's officially a term baby, I don't think that "don't let her stay on the breast too long/tire herself out" thing applies any longer. We don't tell moms of 2 week old babies who were born at term to limit time at the breast- in fact, we tell them NOT to do that because there's so much variation in the amount of time it takes a young baby to get a full meal. Some newborns are done in 5-10 minutes, others tale closer to an hour.

    I'd love for you tell see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, and talk to her about your baby's latch and efficiency at the breast. You might want to consider renting a professional scale, and doing some weigh-feed-weigh tests at home. By subtracting your baby's before-feeding weight from her after, you can accurately gauge her intake over the course of a feeding, and by doing that you can know whether or not your baby really needs a supplement, or just some more time on the breast.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4
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    Dec 2009
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Thanks, ladies!

    mommal, I have seen the local IBCLC lady (it's who I am renting my Symphony from) and from that session she feels that latch is very good, it's just that baby is rather lazy and/or weak. We haven't done any weight tests...but we can barely afford to be renting our pump right now. I wish we *could* rent a scale, I would feel so much better about milk transfer in these early days! At least this is baby #2, so I feel more confident about what to do.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Ugh that nursing/supplemeting/pumping treadmill IS exhausting. Just rmember it is temporary. maybe you could discuss with your IBCLC or your pediatrician at what general benchmark your baby needs to reach in order to stop all the extras and simply nurse?

    How often does baby nurse, btw? How many times in 24 hours?

    What makes you think you do not make enough milk, btw? Couldn't her weight gain issues be due to the lazy suck rather than a low milk production? Of course the two things can happen at the same time. Just wondering.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Well, we started out just at the breast and no supplementing and that's when we had slow weight gain (I also wasn't pumping after nursing sessions either). So I am just assuming that her poor suck in those early days decreased my supply. With the new routine, it's building back up slowly but surely. It seems they are fine with me taking away the supplementation as long as she continues her current progress. I try to only supplement if she's still hungry and I just can't handle her being attached to me anymore.

    That said, if she's napping, I do wake her up at least every two hours. I don't really need to, though, as she is pretty much always nursing. No joke. I'm lucky if I get a chance to pee and make my DS some food. And at night we co-sleep, so she has full access to the breast. So I suppose I don't really know how to answer the "how often" because it just never stops! haha

  7. #7

    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    So I suppose I don't really know how to answer the "how often" because it just never stops! haha
    That sounds good and normal to me! It should basically never stop for the first 6-8 weeks or so. As long as baby is gaining normally, that is fine, and I would only suggest that once baby IS gaining appropriately at the breast alone, you certainly can stop both supplementing and pumping, which will make life waaaaay easier (even with a constantly nuring baby!) You should only need to pump as long as you are supplementing (whether with ebm or formula.)

  8. #8
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Things seem to be getting better a tiny tiny bit at a time. Our supplementing is soooo close to being done. We seem to be going every other day of only needing 2-4oz a day as little "top offs" in the evening. Her gulping is also getting more consistent and stronger (I can actually hear her now)! It is so rewarding to see her satisfied and "milk drunk" after a feed.

    I keep praying that this is good progress and we don't backslide too much when we have a growth spurt or something.
    Momma to Tobin 11-13-09 and Ivy 9-14-12
    We are a snuggly family!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    But you have always actually made enough though right? Because the supplements were your pumped milk? Did your Dome come yet? Are you using that now?

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Dec 2009
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: When will it get easier? (Preemie and low supply)

    Supplementing used to be with formula but then I was able to rent the Symphony (and I was pumping after every feed to help increase production. Dom hasn't arrived yet which is super frustrating. I emailed about it and they said to wait yet another week and then they will resend. Ugh, so frustrating!
    Momma to Tobin 11-13-09 and Ivy 9-14-12
    We are a snuggly family!

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