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Thread: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Born 8 weeks early, my son has been used to bottle feeding from the get go from being in the NICU. He is now 7 weeks old. I try to breast feed, but it never satisfies his hunger and he ends up needing anywhere from 80 to 100 ml from the bottle. I am not able to pump that much milk between feedings so I end up having to supplement with formula. How do I break the cycle of trying to pump constantly to have enough milk yet try to produce enough for him to feed directly from me? I feel like I am in cycle of not producing enough milk no matter which way I feed him.

    I have tried the suggestions by my lactation consultant including eating almonds and oatmeal, which have helped a little.

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Just keep feeding him every single times he demands it. The more he eats the more you will make for him. I too had a baby that spent time in the Nicu. I pumped for her every 2 hours every day (and even through the night) until she was able to start breastfeeding. Once she was able to start nursing I just continued to nurse her every time she demanded. You can do it honey. Just keep working with your LC. Supplimenting will actually decrease your supply as BM works on supply and demand. Best wishes honey and to you for working through this and still trying to breastfeed against the odds

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html


    heres a good link to kelly moms....
    80-100 mil isn't too much.
    most babies don't learn to nurse well untill after their due date..
    theese links might help too

    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBpremature.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    422

    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Preemie Mom View Post
    Born 8 weeks early, my son has been used to bottle feeding from the get go from being in the NICU. He is now 7 weeks old. I try to breast feed, but it never satisfies his hunger and he ends up needing anywhere from 80 to 100 ml from the bottle. I am not able to pump that much milk between feedings so I end up having to supplement with formula. How do I break the cycle of trying to pump constantly to have enough milk yet try to produce enough for him to feed directly from me? I feel like I am in cycle of not producing enough milk no matter which way I feed him.

    I have tried the suggestions by my lactation consultant including eating almonds and oatmeal, which have helped a little.

    Thank you for your help!
    Congratulations on getting your baby home! Give your baby time -- he will get it!

    Your baby is not yet full term -- often takes beyond full term for a premie, who has had other oral experiences, to really "get" breastfeeding well.

    What is getting in the way of pumping more thoroughly or more frequently? It sounds as if you really need to pump more -- and you need an effective pump and a pumping routine that can "fit" with life right now. Can you share more details so we can help you with this? Either baby or pump really need to remove milk effectively/thoroughly at least 8x/24 hours...

    Also, bottle-feeding technique and feeding-bottle flow rate can affect transition re: reinforcing breastfeeding or interfering with it. Let us know if you'd like more info on that too.

    Hang in -- and keep us posted!

  5. #5
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Thank you all for your quick feedback and helpful links!!

    I currently pump 8 times a day for approx. 15 minutes and generally yield between 50 and 110 ml. I start out strong in the morning, but typically it decreases throughout the day as I get increasingly tired. My son was only sleeping around 8 hours a day up until the last few days, so I largely spent my time holding him so he would relax (and pumping one-handed then switching sides). The doctor didn't seem to worry about his lack of sleep.

    Tummy time now relaxes him so I am able to pump both sides at once. I am also renting a pump from the hospital, which helps.

    I just struggle on how long to pump before breastfeeding - or to do it immediately afterwards. Plus the timing of my pumps is sometimes off because sometimes he wants to eat every hour an a half or two hours instead of three (the max. the doctor will allow between feedings). One of the links that was provided offered some tips on this which I appreiciate.

    One thing I have also noticed is that when I pump, I always yield considerably more (sometimes 2 to 3 times more) milk on one side compared to the other. I originally thought the problem was with my pump, but I think the problem is with me....

    Also - if I need to supplement feedings with formula,which I do at almost every feeding, is it better to not give any breastmilk I have pumped or is it ok to give a bottle of the breastmilk that I have and then a bottle with formula with the remainder of what he needs? He tends to fight taking formula at all, so I am not sure the best way to handle this. Hopefully I will get to the point that I will have enought pumped breastmilk that I won't need formula. (And hopefully eventually not even have to supplement with pumped milk!)

    Sorry for the multitude of questions... I appreciate your help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    72

    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Preemie Mom--

    Reading your post was deja-vu! My girlies were 34 weeks and I did the breast, bottle, pump routine for 10 weeks before I finally decided something had to change! The routine took 1-1.5 hours and we were on a 3 hour schedule!

    I tried many, many different things: nipple shields, SNS, decreasing the amount that I was "topping them off" after nursing, different bottle nipples, and cup feeds. I must have talked to 4 different LLL leaders for ideas. None worked for us. Finally, I decided to stop pumping and giving bottles cold turkey. I had a friend's mom (she BF her kids) come over for the weekend for reassurance because I was completely convinced I was going to starve my darling children, but--THEY DID FINE! I pumped for comfort only (pumping just until you feel like you won't explode) in the first few days because I found that even though it seemed like I wasn't pumping enough milk for the babies, once I was only nursing I was engorged! The girls went in for weight checks a few days after we made the switch and were doing fine!

    Not having to do that whole routine made such a difference. I finally could enjoy the babies and have the BF experience I dreamt about while PG. I could go places because I could feed the babies without machines or bottles even. I only wish I did it sooner!

    Hope this helps!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    422

    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    1. Your milk is ALWAYS better and worth giving vs. formula! Nothing else has immunological protection!

    2. Glad you got the hospital rental pump -- also glad you're double pumping. Research shows moms get more milk overall per 24 hours when they double pump. It is NORMAL to get varied amounts throughout the day -- getting more earlier in the day and less later. Think amount pumped over 24 hours rather than amount per pumping session. Also, it's also normal to get more from one breast than another, so that's not a problem with you. You're normal! And you're doing a great job for your baby! Are the 15 minute sessions related to how milk is coming out or some set time someone told you? Do you massage your breasts just before or during pumping -- breast massage is also associated with obtaining more milk.

    3. Now that your baby is reaching full-term age, why does his pedi want you to BF only every 3 hours? It is NORMAL for a full-term baby to BF at least 8 but up to 12-14x/24 hours is not unusual because BF is a drink of water, a snack and a full meal + it's comfort, closeness, security, etc. (Do you ONLY eat because your body needs calories, or do you sometimes eat when you're bored, lonely, at a social function, etc.?) Are you working with an IBCLC -- a lactation consultant or an experienced LLL leader? Has anyone checked re: how "organized" your baby's sucking is at this point -- and/or has anyone suggested test-weighing using a sensitive digital scale to weigh you baby just before and just after breastfeeding to measure how much milk your baby is able to transfer during a ("good") breastfeed?

    Re: cold turkeying the bottles for breastfeeding -- that can be a good idea and really can work but you will know when you or your baby is ready to try this.

    Hang in -- you and your little one are on your way!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    550

    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Just wanted to send some and say way to go mama!!! It's great that you are working so hard to provide the best for your son!!!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    Thank you!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Baby was in NICU, how do I transition from bottle to exclusively breast feeding?

    are things any beter today?

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