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Thread: Relactating after 15 years and I need help

  1. #1

    Unhappy Relactating after 15 years and I need help

    Hello,

    I am new to this site and I am here seeking any advice and input that anyone may have. First let me give a quick history, I am a mother of 4 children ages 17-24. I did not BF my first born but I BFed my last 3 children until they were age 2. Never had any issues with milk supply, pumping or with feeding/latching on.

    I decided to relactate for the purpose of providing milk for my tiny, premature and sickly granddaughter. Due to other issues and medications my daughter can not BF, but we both agreed that the baby needs the best start possible. I stepped up to the plate. My milk was good for my daughter (who was also premature) so I figured it would be good for my granddaughter also.

    On 11/5/16 I began the journey of trying to relactate.

    I started out pumping with the Medela Pump In Style every 2-3 hours day and night. I am taking Domperidone and supplements including fenugreek, blessed thistle, brewers yeast etc. I went from seeing a clear substance then cloudy and on 11/17/16 it was officially milk.

    Now for the problem, I can only manually express a few drops ( I do not really know how to hand express and the internet videos aren't really helpful for me) and the same thing happens when I pump. I decided to upgrade and now I am renting a Medela Symphony Hospital Grade Pump hoping that that would help get the milk out but sadly it really hasn't. My breast are sore and achy all the time and I am very uncomfortable. I an still pumping like clockwork even though I'm getting little output. Being that I do not have a baby around me (baby still in hospital & daughter has own place) It is very hard to achieve the let down reflex also. (thinking about getting oxytocin nasal spray) I read on the net that it may help.
    I know that you have to constantly try and empty the breasts so it can be replaced with more milk. I know that this is how you build up your milk supply but I can't seem to get this milk out! I am so frustrated, in pain and afraid that I have gotten this far and will not be able to give my granddaughter the milk she needs. I don't know what to do. How can I get more than a few drops out?:

    During this journey I was scared that my body would not produce the milk because its been 17 years since I gave birth and 15 years since I have BFed. It never occurred to me that my body would fairly quickly produce the milk but I would have issues pumping and expressing it out.

    If anyone has knowledge or experience in this area, your input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: Relactating after 15 years and I need help

    Welcome to the forum!

    My first question is, what's going on with your daughter in terms of medications and other issues? The reason I ask is that often moms are told that they can't nurse due to use of some medication which is actually perfectly safe for breastfeeding, like an antibiotic or a post-birth painkiller. Also, if your daughter's need for medication is temporary, then at this point it might be a good idea to get her engaged in creating a milk supply for her baby, so that she can feed her baby herself. If you feel like you can share your daughter's situation more fully, we may be able to advise you on whether or not she should take this task on herself. No offense intended to you, of course- it sounds like you are a wonderful mom and grandma and you are absolutely terrific for giving this your all!

    If it's really absolutely not a good idea for your daughter to nurse or to bring in a milk supply, then here is what I would suggest. First, I would start getting in touch with organizations which provide human milk for premature babies, because if your grandchild is premature, the greatest benefit from donor milk will be now, while she is still at her most tiny and fragile.

    Second, I would continue with your regimen of pumping with the hospital-grade pump, taking the Domperidone, and taking the fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements. I would make sure to pump at least 8x per day, slipping in more sessions if possible. I would also get the oxytocin nasal spray- provided your doctor agrees that it is a good idea!- and examine your current contraception choices. If you are using any form of hormonal contraception, now would probably be a good idea to take a break from it as all homrmonal contraceptives can cause issues with supply. When it comes to maximizing pump efficiency, it's always a good idea to check your shield size and make sure your shields are correctly sized.

    While you are pumping, try light hand massage. Things like running a comb over your skin forward towards the nipple or doing a gentle hand expression can help the milk start to flow. Heat and moisture can also help, so some warm washcloths or compresses or a warm rice sock might help things get started.

    In addition to the physical and chemical stimuli you are giving yourself, some mental stimuli may also be helpful. So when you are pumping, try to get yourself into a super-relaxed state. Do some deep breathing, visualize things like water flowing. Smell an item of your grandchild's used clothing, like a little hat, as scent is a powerful trigger.

    I wish I had better advice for you. What you are trying to do is really wonderful and it's unfortunate that there isn't a better way to make it happen than time, patience, and effort!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Relactating after 15 years and I need help

    I wish things with my daughter were that simple, but no breastfeeding is not an option for her and she never will be able to. She's not comfortable with the whole donor thing and receiving milk from a stranger. I mentioned it to her but to be honest I have mixed feelings about that too, but I would never tell her that because this is totally her decision and my feelings shouldn't sway her one way or another. This is why I am trying so hard because she will take milk from me.

    I am not on any birth control pills what so ever, only DOMPERIDONE & SUPPLEMENTS Along with pumping. I have tried the warm compresses and hot showers but for some reason It seems like that puts everything to a hault, maybe I should try cold? IDK but It can't hurt. I have tried the 21mm, 24mm and 27mm breast shields from Medela and pain was pretty much the only output because they all seemed to suck my nipple and areola way into the tube. I purchased the Pumpin Pals Shields and so far they have at least gotten me the drops, probably about 5 ml. I ordered a silicone breast flange and I am hoping that it give a better output. My granddaughter is receiving the little I am pumping. The NICU nurses told us that every little bit helps so that is what I do. I will try the you mentioned to see if it helps with letting down.

    Thanks for responding

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: Relactating after 15 years and I need help

    I would never tell her that because this is totally her decision and my feelings shouldn't sway her one way or another.
    This has got to be one of the hardest things for a mom to do- to stand back and let her child find her own path. Kudos to you for knowing when to let her make her own decisions!

    I have tried the warm compresses and hot showers but for some reason It seems like that puts everything to a hault, maybe I should try cold? IDK but It can't hurt.
    If heat doesn't work, try cool. It can't hurt, might help.

    I have tried the 21mm, 24mm and 27mm breast shields from Medela and pain was pretty much the only output because they all seemed to suck my nipple and areola way into the tube.
    Things to try:
    - Lube the shields with a drop or two of olive oil
    - Start the pump out on low and only gradually turn it up to the maximum bearable level

    My granddaughter is receiving the little I am pumping. The NICU nurses told us that every little bit helps so that is what I do.
    Yes, every drop is precious!

    I will try the you mentioned to see if it helps with letting down.
    I hope those tricks do help! Please let us know how things go.

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