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Thread: Can't seem to fill 'er up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Can't seem to fill 'er up

    I'm so frustrated. A quick read thru this forum shows I am certainly not alone. My dd was born at 30 weeks; now she is in her 37th week and has been home from the NICU for exactly one week (yay).

    in the past 7 days i have gone back and forth. First I tried just breastfeeding, but she was always always always starving at the end of a feed so I would have to supplement. So I started pumping after every feed but felt like my breasts were never full when it was time for her to feed again. Not to mention it was totally demoralizing to have my husband take the baby from me after feeding, only to hook myself up to the stupid stupid pump while he gets to bond with her. makes me feel like garbage. so I went on a 36-hour "nurse-in" where I used no pumping, just fed her whenever she wanted to eat. went great for a while but then we got off our rhythm after a doctor's appointment came just when she was supposed to eat.

    my husband hates the formula and wants me to pump, pump, pump and i am trying but, ferinstance, today he is out with my stepkids so there is nobody to hold the baby while i pump. i confess that i might be able to juggle both but just don't want to. i hate pumping so much.

    i gather from other posts that she might become a more effective feeder in the next 3 weeks, as she approaches her due date? I feel so sad and useless right now. We both love breastfeeding so much but it's so distressing, esp in the middle of the night, when she falls off and seems full but is too restless to fall asleep... and will only sleep after a bottle. and I feel like crap when don't have breastmilk for that bottle. like a real turdy turd parent.

    i don't know what i'm really asking, just expressing frustration i guess. i kjnow the answer is pump pump pump. is there a way to do it without robbing the next feed of milk?

    i am taking fenugreek, tea, supplements galore. hydrating as much as i can manage. anything i am missing? why can't i fill up her tank?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    I'm sorry you're having such a frustrating time! Have you seen a lactation consultant? Nothing beats hands-on help when you're struggling.

    Have you considered changing the way you are supplementing? A supplemental nursing system or lact-aid might really be useful to you. If you use a SNS or lact-aid, you reduce the chance that your child will develop nipple confusion because all supplementation will take place at the breast. Also, your baby will stimulate your milk supply even as she feeds from the tube, and a suckling baby is generally more efficient at boosting milk supply than a pump is. (This is not always true- small babies, sleepy or jaundiced babies, tongue-tied babies, and babies who cannot latch well can be less stimulating than a pump.)

    i kjnow the answer is pump pump pump. is there a way to do it without robbing the next feed of milk?
    Pumping immediately after nursing is usually the best way to stimulate your supply without draining yourself right before you need to nurse again. But don't fall victim to the myth that you have to wait for your breasts to "fill up" before you nurse again- even when the breast feels very empty, there is still milk in there because milk is always being made.

    my husband hates the formula and wants me to pump, pump, pump and i am trying but, ferinstance, today he is out with my stepkids so there is nobody to hold the baby while i pump.
    It sounds to me like you need some real help right now. Make your husband do it- if he hates formula, he has to be there for you. If he can't be, hopefully you can hire someone or get some other family member to step in.

    Hang in there! Nursing will get easier!!!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    Yeah I don't mean to make my DH sound bad. When he's here of course he'll hold the baby while i pump, but you know, it's a horrible feeling to have to put the baby down because you didnt feed her well enough. just an awful feeling and i felt it was messing with our bond in a huge way. now i have her in the moby and we have peace and quiet, so much nicer than her starving crying and my frustrated encouraging.

    I had a great lactation consultant in the NICU who showed me how to combat nipple confusion, and she is still available by phone -- I am not worried about that. She latches on like a champ and sucks, seems to do great. she just really runs out of steam at certain times of day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Toledo
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    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    I had the same feelings in the beginning. My DS was not quite as early as your DD. He was 36 weeks. Anywho, we did the same routine... nurse, and then pump. Either my parents or my DH would give my DS the bottle after the boobie. I hated it. Made me feel like a failure. The bottle was just so much easier for him to get the goods fast. Long story short, I stuck with the nursing and as he reached his due date everything seemed to take a turn for the better. He became stronger and able to nurse more efficiently. Somewhere before or around the 2 mo. mark we were able to stop the bottle supplements as he was gaining plenty of weight and nursing like a trooper.

    Hang in there, it's very difficult in the beginning... but very rewarding in the end.

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    I don't mean to make my DH sound bad.
    Don't worry, you didn't! I know it must be hard juggling a new baby and a bunch of older kids.

    but you know, it's a horrible feeling to have to put the baby down because you didnt feed her well enough.
    I know. I hated having to choose between the pump and mothering my baby.

    You might want to call your LC and ask if she can rent you a professional-grade scale. You can use the scale to weigh your baby before and after feedings, and by subtracting the before weight from the after you can determine how much milk she took in while nursing. If your baby got 2 oz from you, you know she got enough to eat and you don't need to give her a bottle.

    she just really runs out of steam at certain times of day.
    What times of day? A LOT of babies have an "unhappy hour" (or hours) towards the end of the day. They will fuss and cry and demand to feed extremely frequently, and often have trouble nursing. My personal feeling was always that my kid was fussy towards the end of the day because she was simultaneously too tired to eat and too hungry to sleep.

    Please don't feel discouraged! A lot of moms struggle- you're not alone, and you shouldn't feel bad. You're doing a hard job- nursing a full-term newborn is hard enough, let alone a preemie who's spent time in the NICU- and you should feel really proud of yourself!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    11

    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    My daughter was born at 33 weeks and while in the hospital for a month, she maybe BF a total of 3 times (where she actually got something). When I got home I had the same problems you have, i took every supplement including Motillium 10 (a perscription drug that has a side effect of lactating..not approved in the US) and I still felt like she never got enough to eat. I wanted to give up every day, but i'd tell myself "if i can just pump and give her my BM until she's 6 weeks...then 8 weeks"...now she's 4 months and it's only been in the last two weeks that she has been a really really good nurser. I have went four days w/o pumping...that is a first since she was born.

    I know how hard it is, and it's enough to have a preemie and struggle with everything that brings but the effort your putting forth is so great and you really are doing so much for your baby. It's hard, and even though it can be emotionally draining, it will get better. You're doing great. really!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    1,090

    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    Hello mama ... I am here to tell you that you are not alone... I know what is like to feel that your women body cant function the way is suppous to, I know what is like have to supplement because you dont make enough... BTDT...
    I have a question for you, what kind of pump do you use? may be you need to rent a hospital grade pump like this. Those pump will bring your supply up...
    also, I used Motilium or Domperidome and I had great results... Thanks to that I breastfed my baby as far as 14 months all... Its not to expensive and i didnt have any side effects others then build up my supply... here is some information about motilium and here is some information about nursing your preemie

    I went througt the same... its hard, but I can asssure you it will get better, be patient live one day at the time... I hated pumping too, but you will see how easy it will get... could you read a book while you pump? I used to that

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    meh....wherever
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    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    You have gotten really good advice mama, but I just wanted to add one more thing.

    Kangaroo care. If you are not doing it already, now is the time to start. It helped us SO much.

    Good luck mama...you are doing a great job!
    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    11-25-2007
    Our precious early angel


    Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being ~ Kittie Frantz
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth ~ Albert Einstein
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    24

    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    Goodness, sorry it has taken me so longto respond... things are going MUCH better for us, much better. A lot of the time the fussing after eating isn't that she's still hungry, it's that she's just ... fussy. I've also learned to stop and burp her along the way. My lactation consultant (the amazing Fritzi) taught me that when I hear gulping, that's when she's getting a lot of air, and to stop and burp her then -- it has helped a lot. She had one night of terrible, terrible fussiness and has been very good ever since.

    I have a question: Sometimes when she's eating, she makes grunting noises, like "Ha ha ha ha HAAAA!" and flings her arms and legs in the air. It's so cute I can't stand it, but someone in another forum said "cute, as long as she doesn't fuss after eating." What's that mean? Is this another indicator that the milk is coming out too fast and/or she's getting air?

    Another question: Do you all wake up every 3 hours to feed, or do you pump so you can get some uninterrupted rest? If so, when the heck do you pump? She eats so often - every 2-3 hours -- that I can't imagine I could refill my supply by her next feeding if I pumped, even if I did it right after a feed.

    (If I time it right, I wake up around or before her 2nd feeding and pump then. But I wasn't able to do that today -- I am coming down with a cold and was too wiped out to wake up on time. And boy oh boy, are Lefty and Righty letting me know they're unhappy with that. Off to take a hot steaming shower.)

    edited to say: THANK YOU For the advice and encouragement!!
    Last edited by @llli*madfoot; December 20th, 2008 at 12:04 AM. Reason: forgot to thank people!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,831

    Default Re: Can't seem to fill 'er up

    I'm glad things are going so much better for you! That's great news.

    QUOTE]Sometimes when she's eating, she makes grunting noises, like "Ha ha ha ha HAAAA!" and flings her arms and legs in the air.[/QUOTE]

    Hmmm, this sounds pretty normal to me... Kids make all sorts of weird noises while nursing. My brother would hum and sing- "Hmm, hmmm, hmmm." So long as you're not hearing a "click" sound (which can indicate a baby unlatching), I'd say you're okay.

    Do you all wake up every 3 hours to feed, or do you pump so you can get some uninterrupted rest? If so, when the heck do you pump?
    I always woke up with my baby and nursed. If you sleep through a time when your baby needs to nurse, your supply will go down during that time. So really, if you wanted yo give your baby bottles at night, you'd want to wake up and pump while your baby is having the bottle. IMHO, that's even more exhausting than nursing every 3 hours.

    She eats so often - every 2-3 hours -- that I can't imagine I could refill my supply by her next feeding if I pumped, even if I did it right after a feed.
    It seems counterintuitive, but pumping after nursing will not harm anything. You do not need to wait for your breasts to "refill," because milk is always being made. If you've just nursed or pumped before your baby nurses again, the milk will come out a little slower and your baby may not like that, but you won't be dry. Pumping immediately after nursing is a terrific way to increase your supply without risking your baby being frustrated at the breast. The more often you remove milk and stimulate the breast, the more milk you will make!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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