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Thread: Pumping for a Preemie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1

    Red face Pumping for a Preemie

    Hi,

    I'm looking for help and hope I've come to the right place!

    After 10 years of trying and being told we couldn't have children, I got pregnant. Our daughter, Savannah, was born on May 21st, about three months early. She's doing really well, and I've been pumping every two hours (every four at night) for the last two weeks. I've been given a prescription of Reglan, and I'm still producing very very little.

    My milk increased to nearly 5 ml (a HUGE leap, pathetic as that sounds!) just before and just after I got to hold her for the first time, outside of her incubator, but unfortunately, this is still something I can only do occasionally (just the one time, the other day, so far).

    I've heard people recommend to drink a beer, which might help with let down (which I don't want to do for obvious reasons, plus I hate it), I've heard people say to take a bubble bath, which I can't do for another four weeks because she arrived by emergency C-section.

    Can anyone recommend something else? I'm desperate to increase my milk supply, as they're now increasing her feedings by 1/2 a CC every 12 hours.

    Please help! I've got enough things to worry about and cry about, without feeling sorry for myself that I'm not producing enough milk to feed my baby!

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

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    Hi, I'm looking for help and hope I've come to the right place!
    You have.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    After 10 years of trying and being told we couldn't have children, I got pregnant. Our daughter, Savannah, was born on May 21st, about three months early.
    Congrats on your new arrival!

    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    She's doing really well, and I've been pumping every two hours (every four at night) for the last two weeks. I've been given a prescription of Reglan, and I'm still producing very very little.
    Could you please tell us what type of pump you are using? Also, are you in contact with an IBCLC? Your local LLL Leader? Are you taking any medications (other than the reglan)? Have you had any breast injuries or surgeries?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    My milk increased to nearly 5 ml (a HUGE leap, pathetic as that sounds!) just before and just after I got to hold her for the first time, outside of her incubator, but unfortunately, this is still something I can only do occasionally (just the one time, the other day, so far).
    It's really common for mothers to notice an increase in production when they get to hold their babies.

    Could you pump next to her isolette? Perhaps hold a blanket that has been in her isolette with her? Are you allowed to touch her? If so, perhaps spend some time holding her hand before you pump.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    I've heard people recommend to drink a beer, which might help with let down (which I don't want to do for obvious reasons, plus I hate it), I've heard people say to take a bubble bath, which I can't do for another four weeks because she arrived by emergency C-section. Can anyone recommend something else? I'm desperate to increase my milk supply, as they're now increasing her feedings by 1/2 a CC every 12 hours.
    Some things you can try:
    *Nurse next to your baby's isolette
    *Assure that your breastshield ("horn") for your pump is a good fit (an IBCLC can help with this)
    *Drink to thirst (you know you're getting enough when your urine is pale)
    *Eat well
    *Rest as much as you can
    *Keep up with your pumping frequency. If you run into an issue where you're unable to devote time to a full pumping session, it's better to pump for 5 minutes instead of none.
    *Pumping more frequently for shorter periods of time is often more helpful for establishing milk production levels than pumping longer less frequently (Example-pumping every two hours for 10-15 min vs. pumping every 4 hours for 20-30 min)
    *Try using warm compresses on your breasts while pumping
    *Gentle breast massage prior to or during pumping can increase the yeild.
    *If you find the flow of milk is slowing down during a pumping session, you can stop, massage, then reposition the pump. You might find that you get a little extra.
    *Kangaroo care (as soon as, and as often as, NICU allows)
    *Continue pumping for two minutes after the flow of milk stops. This tells your milk producing cells that you need more.
    *Try to take the time to rest and relax for a little while before pumping
    *Adjust the suction levels on the pump. Some mothers find lower suction works better, while other mothers find they need a higher suction level.
    *Visualize milk rushing forth from your breast like a waterfall, or a faucet.
    *Listen to relaxing music (one study showed that it increased production!)
    *Smell your baby's clothing, blanket, or other baby smells (such as baby powder) while pumping
    *Learn the art of hand expression--it can help you get more milk for your efforts, and could come in handy should you ever forget your pump or it breaks down http://www.lactationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html
    *Combine the tips for assisting MER (on the above link) with pumping



    Quote Originally Posted by ElginMom View Post
    Please help! I've got enough things to worry about and cry about, without feeling sorry for myself that I'm not producing enough milk to feed my baby!


    Here's some helpful resources:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/prempump.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/ma...pply-pump.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/preemie/index.html
    http://www.leron-line.com/PrematureInfant.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    Congrats on your miracle! I had a 28 wkr, and I am oh so very blessed to have somehow kept pumping through our NICU stay, I knew he needed my milk more than anything. Keep at it! You are doing so well already!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    My daughter was born May 22,06 and was born at 36w2d, she was in the NICU 2w and i couldnt hold her either, so i understand when you say that. My daughter was being fed through a feeding tube so she couldnt get my boobie or a bottle But i used the Hospital Grade pump the NICU had right there in the NICU and pumped every 3 hours day and night (thats how often my daughter was eating as well) Then i switched down to only during the day and i had my supply drop as well. Its not fun is it? I would say for you to try as much as possible to pump next to her or even in the room so you can hear or smell her. Get a HOSPITAL GRADE PUMP. Ask the LC at the hospital, LLL leader, call WIC and ask. You should be able to rent one especially since you have a premmie NICU baby. IF you BUY one, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a Medela Pump. Im sure there may be other brands but i ave heard Medela is best and closer to a hospital grade pump. I know its hard to run to a NICU every few hours and have little to no sleep and pump on top of that- trust me i know. Stay on top of it though. set a clock and pump, watch a movie one night and pump- Pumping is kind of like nursing- its supply and demand. You cant pump whenever you feel like it and expect it to work- you have to do it on a schedule kind of thing just as if your baby were hungry every so often and nursing. maybe schedule was the wrong word to use there, but you get the idea im sure. I could tell you herbs and things to take to increase your supply, but right now---

    in my personal opinion- id stick with PUMPING PUMPING PUMPING.

    Mommy to:
    Nathaniel 2/28/05
    Boy/Girl Twins: Raymond 17w4d & Candice 5/22/06
    Lana 12/22/07

    Missing Wylder 9w5d
    TTCAL for another nursling!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    Congratulations on your new little one.
    We had one of our premies 5 1/2 years ago. We were not allowed to let her nurse the first two weeks. My suggestions to maintain that milk are:
    Hospital grade pump (they will usually rent them by the month.
    Drink LOTS of water, cut out the caffeine.
    Kangaroo as often as you can, it will actually raise baby;s temp b/c of skin on skin and a warm blanket iver both of you.
    Warm compresses before you pump.
    Good Luck
    Sally

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    My daughter was born at 25 weeks and I pumped for her day and night, also. It wasn't until she got home that my milk supply took a huge dive! But, it rebounded, some, by drinking lots of water (which I know others have said, but it is true!), and eventually taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle tablets. The lactation consultant I had been working with suggested it and, for me, it worked. If you can pump right next to your baby's isolette, too, that will help. And honestly, when my daughter was first born and the lactation consultant told me to visualize the milk letting down, I thought she was crazy--I had no idea what that meant! But, one day while I was pumping, I closed my eyes, relaxed, took a slow breath, and I let down immediately. From then on, if I was having a hard time letting down while pumping, I would do the same-seeing my little peanut in her isolette, seeing her cute face......it sounded hokey at first, but it worked! Good luck--even if you can only give your little one 5 mL-it's worth it!! EVERY drop of breastmilk helps!
    Kelly

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    congrats on ur lo and yes u have come tothe right place if it wasnt for the ladies here i dont think i would of been as successful as i have been with BF..what worked for me was fenugreek and it still does its herbal and i still use it...i tried reglan and it made me depressed...dont give up and what ever u need ask here

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    Hello!

    I did a search for pumping for preemie babies, and found your post from a year and a half ago. I'm just wondering if you were able to get your problem resolved.

    I could have written that message! My twins were born last Sunday at almost 30 weeks. Because of the 5 weeks of bed rest prior to their birth, and sleeping and being sick because of the pain meds, I did not start pumping for more than 24 hours after their birth.

    I started out slow, and had worked up to about 13 ml on each side in a 15-20 minute pumping session, but now I've almost dried up. They have been able to get enough to feed her, but since they keep going up 1 ml every 12 hours, they are going to have to start supplementing soon. As for him, he has just been on IV fluids, but they want to start feeding him soon and I know I won't have enough for both of them.

    I'm going to call my doctor about getting some Reglan, but I know that's not guaranteed to help. I know how helpless you must have felt, because I feel like the one thing that I could do for my babies, I can't do. How is your baby doing now? Did you figure out how to increase your milk? Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    I'm pretty new to this whole pumping thing, as my baby was born less than a week ago (at 33w6d), but one trick that has really helped me is to use a rice sock. its like the same kind of thing that people heat up in the microwave for back pain. You can buy them at the store, but we just made one by putting about 2 cups of uncooked dry white rice into a gym sock and tying it off.

    We heat it (again, dry) in the microwave for about 2 min on high (more and its too hot for me, but experiment). I put on a sports bra with holes to make the pumping hands free. Then the warm sock goes on my chest just like my baby would when we do kangaroo care. the weight and warmth of the sock reminds me of the baby. Even the little roundness of the sock is a bit like his round little butt when he's snuggled up against me. So the heat helps with the letdown, but the sock also helps me relax and think warm loving thoughts. I always get a few more mLs out when I use this trick than when I dont.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pumping for a Preemie

    I didn't know this until after I returned the pump, but hand compression while pumping will really increase your production while pumping for a preemie.

    I had a 5 week early preemie and was not really allowed to nurse her full time because they were worried about her gaining. I pumped for weeks with little or no improvement in supply and then after I quit pumping, I found this.

    Here's a resource for hand compression and pumping!
    http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastf...roduction.html

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