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Thread: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

  1. #1

    Default Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    My DD was born 6 weeks ago at 26 weeks via emergency C section due to a placenta abruption. I started pumping as soon as I could after her birth with the help of an LC. I do have Hashimotos and PCOS so LC had me start taking the motherlove more milk special blend supplements. By my second week I was averaging 20 ml a pump but since then it has not increased. I have tried massaging before and during, power pumping, and expressing after. I have also tried some deep breathing techniques before I start. I am pumping at least 8 times a day but usually more. I have ordered domperidone a few weeks ago but I am still waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Feeds are up to 26 ml so any day now my extra supply will be gone there will not be enough to continue on 100% breast milk.

    Is there anything more I can do? Since it has been so long with no increase is it a lost cause? I am willing to do/try anything!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! The fact that you have been able to provide such an early baby with breastmilk is just an amazing thing for her, and represents so much devotion and hard work on your part.

    Some questions for you:
    - What sort of pump do you have?
    - How does pumping feel?
    - Do you ever notice a loss of suction while pumping, or feel your nipples rubbing against the sides of the collection tube?
    - Have you spoken to the doctor about the placenta- did it come out in one piece, or did it end up being removed in multiple pieces (retained placenta fragments can inhibit milk production).
    - Have you had your hormone levels checked recently? A TSH level at this point seems like a good idea!
    - You are pumping 8x per day- but are some of those pump sessions taking place overnight?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    Hi there! Congrats on your baby girl - even though under difficult circumstances. I had my daughter at 28.5 weeks and thought I'd just go ahead and share my experience here - hopefully, it is useful information and you can take some of it and make it work for you.

    Milk supply:
    - Try fenugreek - my LC prescribed 4 times 4 capsules (each capsule is 610mg) - it's an over the counter, so you don't really need a prescription, but maybe check with your LC first anyways. I used Nature's Bounty and Nature's Way, Nature's Bounty works better for me
    - Try UpSpring Milkflow with fenugreek and blessed thistle - it actually worked better for me than the fenugreek capsules
    - Eat oatmeal and drink Mother's Milk Tea

    Pumping vs. breastfeeding:
    Not sure if your daughter is still getting your milk with gavage/tube feeding or bottles already, but try to start nursing her as soon as possible, even if it's just once or twice a day while she is still in the hospital. That way, you can get her used to your breast rather than a bottle. My daughter was away from me for 8 weeks and I started nursing her just about a week before she came home, and now we're still dealing with what I believe is nipple confusion. She does nurse, but just not efficiently and long enough, so I am still pumping and supplementing. Even though my new LC is confident that she will eventually exclusively nurse when with me, it's a struggle and I hope you can avoid this one with your little one.

    This is what I can think of right now - but let me know if you have any questions re: NICU and everything else and I'd be happy to share my experience and give advice as good as I can.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    Thanks for responding! I am almost always at the hospital so I am using the Medela Symphony when pumping. When at home I am also using a medela pump. My nipples became very sore after a few weeks of pumping so the LC had me turn down the pump and told me to pump only 15-20 minutes instead of 20-30 minutes. I also went up a size in nipple shields so that seemed to help.

    I believe my placenta was removed in multiple pieces. I have a follow up with my Doctor tomorrow so I will verify. I will also have her check my thyroid levels. They have not been checked since I had the baby.

    I do get up once or twice a night to pump. For awhile I was pumping 10 or more times a day and getting up every two hours. I got very run down and caught a nasty cold so now I allow myself 3 or 4 hours of sleep before pumping.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    @ maruchis18

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I appreciate it!

    The supplement my LC has me on includes fenugreek, goats rue, blessed thistle, nettle, and fennel seed. I did notice an increase when I first started taking but nothing since. I do eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning.

    My daughter still has an og tube. She is 33 weeks so the nurses said later this week or early next week I can start with dry breast feedings. I am hoping that helps things along.

    It sounds like you are doing an amazing with your daughter! I have read on some other blogs about babies who end up exclusively breastfeed if you just stick with it.

    Thanks again for responding and I will keep you in mind if I have any further NICU questions!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Pumping for 6 weeks without Supply increase

    I believe my placenta was removed in multiple pieces. I have a follow up with my Doctor tomorrow so I will verify.
    I'm in no way hoping that this is the case, but a retained placenta fragment could explain your experience quite neatly. Since the placenta came out in pieces- which does not seem surprising, given that you had an abruption!- I would really push the doctor on this. I think the way you check for a piece of retained placenta is twofold- you check for the presence of Hcg (human chorionic gonadotropin), so basically a pregnancy test, and then an ultrasound. If the doctor is reluctant, I would be insistent- doctors often hate to be shown up and might brush this off with a "Oh no, I checked that placenta and everything was fine."

    I will also have her check my thyroid levels. They have not been checked since I had the baby.
    Great! I would suggest checking them a couple more times over the course of the postpartum year, particularly if you have symptoms.

    I do get up once or twice a night to pump. For awhile I was pumping 10 or more times a day and getting up every two hours. I got very run down and caught a nasty cold so now I allow myself 3 or 4 hours of sleep before pumping.
    This is great. A single 3-4 hour stretch of sleep should not be a problem. What would be a problem would be a 6 or more hour long stretch.

    Are you able to do kangaroo care for your baby? Or is she still too small?

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