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Thread: low milk supply for my premmie :-(

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default low milk supply for my premmie :-(

    Hi, Has anyone got any advice?
    I have a 7 week old baby boy, Shay, who was born at 32 weeks and we spent the first 5 weeks in intensive and special care. Initially I wasn't able to breastfeed him, but expressed milk for his NGT feeds. My milk was a bit slow to come in at first, but by the time we went home he was fully breastfeeding.
    Now he isn't gaining enough weight, only 10g a day, and even lost a bit of weight last week. My milk supply doesn't seem adequate and has dwindled I think. I am having to give him 1 supplementary formula feed a day as well as EBM top-ups.
    I am taking fenugreek capsules, fenugreek, fennel and milk thisle tea, eating lots, drinking lots, sleeping ok.
    I have a 2yr old who I successfully breastfed until she was 16months.
    Any advice, ideas etc would be much appreciated as I feel strongly that I want to breasfeed and am feeling quite low and inadequate that its not taking off.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,900

    Default Re: low milk supply for my premmie :-(

    Can you tell us a little bit about his feeding pattern? How often does he feed a day? How long does he actively nurse at a feeding? Do you hear lots of swallowing? Is the latch comfortable?

    How is his diaper output? Is he meeting his milestones?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: low milk supply for my premmie :-(

    Congrats on your litle one! From experience, I can only say to make sure that for every bottle of formula you give him, make sure you pump at least that much, your body will then know it needs to make more milk. that along with a ton of other suggestions your local LLL leader willl have for you. Mine saved me!! Call her!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: low milk supply for my premmie :-(

    He latches on comfortably, though since I have given him bottles twice a day he sometimes gets frustrated with the breast and a bit frantic spitting it out if my milk doesn't flow straight away and doesn't open his mouth wide enough. sometimes i have to help him get his lip curled back.
    He feeds every 3 hours or more frequently, in the evenings say between 5 and 8 he'll be on and off constantly. he sucks well and i can hear him swallowing but only during a let down which lasts for a minute or so. then he often just waits, not sucking! i sometimes hand express into his mouth to get him sucking again. There will be about 5 letdowns during a feed, sometimes more. During the night he doesn't feed for as long.
    The health visitors have been concerned about his weight gain, which should be 20-30g a day, but currently is only 10g or less.
    He has plenty of dirty diapers and I think enough wet ones, though sometimes it is hard to tell.
    yesterday my period came back, and my breasts felt very soft and not full at all. I used to wake up in the mornings totally full and leaking but this hasn't happened the last few days.
    I live in Australia and unfortunately don't think la leche league is over here.
    If my milk decreases still more, I am considering taking maxilon....have you any advice?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: low milk supply for my premmie :-(

    Your situation sounds a bit like mine. My 4 month old daughter was born at 31 weeks and was in the NICU for about 7 weeks. I was pumping the whole time! I hoped when I brought her home that I would be able to wean myself from all the pumping ASAP, but I soon found out that if I did it too quickly I risked losing my milk supply. I was pumping 6oz every three hours, but she was only eating 1.5oz! I gave my baby bottles on and off at first when I was afraid she wasn't getting enough to eat, but the I decided to stop because I figured practice makes perfect and I didn't want to sabatoge my breastfeeding attempts by giving her the bottle too often.
    If I were in your situation, I would breastfeed my baby as often as possible...whenever you think he's hungry or just wants to nurse so he can get as much practice as possible. As my daughter got bigger and stronger she started to nurse MUCH more effectively! I would keep pumping until his eating and your supply equal out, but first to get your milk back up I would pump 4-6 times a day after he has eaten well, and definately when he receives a bottle. Make sure you pump until you've totally emptied your breasts! As your baby gets bigger and better at nursing you'll be able to pump less and less.
    As far as your son's slow weight gain, I would ask the doctor/lactation specialist about using a supplement tube until he's breastfeeding well enough that your milk supply won't be threatened by introducing the bottle again if you want to. This tube is attached to a little bottle of milk that hangs around your neck, and is taped to your breast so that when your son is nursing he is getting more without having to burn so many calories, but he's still practicing his breastfeeding skills! This way he doesn't start preffering the bottle to your breast, and he will still be getting enough to eat.
    Hope this helps! Best wishes!

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