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Thread: no/low supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    17

    Default no/low supply

    22 days ago i gave birth to a preemie at 29 +3 via c-section due to severe preeclampsia. my little one can't nurse yet, so i'm trying to create a supply with a pump. i've been unable to get more than 2-3 ml (at most) breastmilk by pump from one breast (other breast doesn't usually give more than a few drops). i have some other issues that might interfere with establishing a supply.

    -we have only started nuzzling 2 days ago due to dd being on cpap
    -i did not pump until the day after the birth (was not encouraged to and was completely zonked on painkillers and mag sulfate-had no idea i was supposed to)
    -have partial hypo-pituitarism, although when last checked prolactin was fine
    -have hypothyroidism-well controlled
    -have pcos
    -had early puberty/breast development
    -had internal bleeding and massive hematoma requiring second surgery
    -was not able to be closed up due to the hematoma and had a wound vac on until 2 days ago, currently open wound but not super deep anymore
    -still have pre-eclampsia though it's improving

    i did notice breast changes during pregnancy. i was insanely sore for the first few months. i grew about a cup size and breasts became heavy and dense. my areolas changed color and grew.

    i would really like to bf my wee one but am feeling highly discouraged at this point. it could be weeks before she can try anything but nuzzling. i was trying to hold out until she can really give bf'ing a good try, but waking up all the time and pumping constantly for a tiny trickle of milk is really starting to get to me. it's looking more and more like i won't be able to produce any real milk.

    i'm currently taking fenugreek and gaia herbs lactation support. i eat oatmeal when i can and try to stay hydrated. i might not be resting the way i should since i spend so much time going back and forth to the nicu, but i'm trying. i'm pumping as often as i can, usually 8-9 times a day. what else can i do?

    one caveat, i don't think i'm willing to try the meds because of existing health issues.

    i'm open to any advice/suggestions.
    Last edited by @llli*beelzebubble; May 11th, 2014 at 01:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,117

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I am sorry that she had to arrive so early, and that you ended up with pre-e. That is so scary!

    The first thing I wonder about is your pump. What make/model are you using, and how does pumping feel? How long are you pumping for each time?
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Hi mama, sorry to hear you've been through such an ordeal. I think it's admirable that you've been pumping through all that! Try not to be too discouraged about the amounts. Any amount of breastmilk is good for your baby. I'm also wondering about the pump. In addition to mommal's questions, are the flanges fitted properly? (A lactation consultant may be able to help with that as well.) Are you doing breast compressions while pumping?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: no/low supply

    i've been using a medela pump in style. i'm going to talk to the hospital about renting a medela symphony. does it really make a difference? i'm sort of in between a 27 and a 30mm flange. the 27 is hard to keep my nipples in the right place, but the 30 allows too much areola into the tube. i've been using the 30, but i'm going to try the 27's.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,117

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Going up to the best possible pump makes a big difference for some moms. For others it's a modest improvement, for some there's no benefit at all. Most likely it will help, but we can't say how much for any individual mom.
    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!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    17

    Default Re: no/low supply

    i forgot to say, i'm pumping for a minimum of 15 minutes each time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: no/low supply

    I think it is worth trying the hospital-grade pump, for some mothers it does make a big difference. Do you find you get a second letdown if you pump for a longer time? When you're exclusively pumping, you have to balance the time you spend pumping with the other demands of early motherhood (spending time with baby, and in your case, healing from everything you've been through medically), and pumping more often yields more bang for the buck than pumping for longer. But if you find you're pumping and you have a few extra minutes, it might be worth trying a longer pumping session to see if you do get a second letdown.

    When you say with the 27's it's hard to keep your nipple in the right place - what do you mean? As long as the nipple is moving back and forth easily it doesn't matter whether the nipple is centered or off to the side. There are also other options for flanges, for example pumpin' pals. Have you talked to a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC)? - they should be able to help you with fit to make sure your setup is optimal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: no/low supply

    I think I might ask the LC at the hospital for an in depth eval of my use of the pump. I'm starting to think that my breasts are an odd fit. I require a larger-ish flange so that my nipple doesn't rub, but then a lot of my areola ends up inside. I've spent a lot of time looking at diagrams and videos tonight and the fit just does not look right to me. Even the 27 has the same problem, a ton of my areola ends up inside. It's making me wonder.

    On a different note, I did rent the symphony, so we'll see how that goes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: no/low supply

    I think that's a great idea. Fit is important, otherwise the suction is not going to work properly. I hope things go well with the symphony!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: no/low supply

    just an update. i'm not seeing any increase in supply. i'm still only getting trickles most of the time-often not even enough to make it into the bottle. i think the total daily amount that i can pump from both breasts combined is less than 10 ml's. i'm not even in the same category as most of these other low supply mothers. it's so frustrating. i'm trying everything i can think of and getting nothing. i don't want to give up, but man...this is depressing, along with everything else. i'm spending so much time trying to address it and getting absolutely nowhere. i'm really just beating my head against a wall here aren't i? does anyone know of anyone who had as horrible a supply as mine at 4 weeks that went on to produce any milk? i don't want to waste hours of my life every day if there's no chance.

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