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Thread: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

  1. #1

    Question Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Can anyone give me advice on how to get my milk going and keep it flowing without actually ever nursing the baby?
    My cousin gave birth to her fourth premature baby four and a half weeks ago. He was born at 27 weeks. He is not doing well. My cousin found out a few days ago that the reason behind all his failure to thrive problems is because of the formula feeding. She is unable to nurse him as she has cysts on both her breasts and nipples. The hospital staff are unwilling to give him donor milk as they don't want him to get used to something he will not have when he leaves the hospital. (The are unable to supply donor milk once a baby leaves). He will probably not survive without breastmilk. I am willing to provide him with my milk and his mom is grateful.
    I need help and advice to get my milk going again. I have four children who were all exclisively breastfeed long term. My oldest, 21 was nursed for two years, my second, 19 for 18 months, my third, 15 for four and a half years, and my youngest, 11 for four years. So I have not been lactating for seven years now.
    The day before yesterday I massaged my nipples manually and expressed what looked like dark brown/red colostrum. Yesterday was the same, but less. Today I was hardly able to get a drop out of each breast.
    I have access to an electric breast pump (Medela) which I tried out tonight. It seemed to have the correct motion, but I produced nothing.
    Breastfeeding was never easy for me - I often had mastitis and was engorged a lot with sore nipples for about the first six months. However, I never had a problem producing enough milk and I'm hoping that will stand in my favour now.
    I am really hoping not to have to use a medication, although I don't mind using herbs or eating special foods.
    Should I be eating anything or supplementing with anything special?
    How often should I be pumping? Or should I stick to manual expressing?
    And how long will it take to start producing milk?
    Also, what are our chances of successfully producing milk without ever actually nursing this baby? (He has no sucking reflex at the moment and the nursing staff do not want anyone other than the mother feeding him).

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Hi mama. It is incredibly admirable what you are willing to do for that baby!

    There are many many people that have been able to induce lactation or relactate so I know it can be done. Wet nurses were a very common things in days gone by.

    There is a forum here for inducing lactation. http://forums.llli.org/forumdisplay.php?f=50 You will probably find a lot of good information there.

    I wish you and the baby and baby's mama the best of luck!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Wow. Good luck, that is very admirable of you to attempt to do this for your cousin's baby. I don't know anything about relactation, but I did have another thought that may get you some milk sooner.

    You may be able to get donor milk directly from other donors too. Have you looked at milkshare? I was never able to figure it out, but when I have extra milk that I can't use up, I call up a local birth center and ask if they have any moms who need milk for their babies. Do you have birth centers or home birth midwives where you live? They may know of some moms with oversupply.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Thank you to both of you for your replies. I guess at this stage, I'm not overly worried about starting to produce milk - I'm fairly confident that with the correct information and resources I will get it going. I'm more concerned about the fact that I won't actually ever be nursing this baby - so therefore I won't get direct baby mouth to nipple stimulation. I'm wondering how successful I will be producing milk from manual or pump stimulation only.
    My cousin will have access to other donors milk from Wedendsay until my milk is in. The only reason she will have it though, is because the hospital staff now know that once I am producing milk, baby will have it once he leaves the hospital. If it weren't for that, they would not give him any donors milk!
    I will check out the recommended forum, thanks again!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    I would go and see a lactation consultant ASAP. You may have better luck with a better pump- I used a hospital-grade pump and it made a world of difference from the loaner off-the-shelf model I had been using previously. There are some other things you can do to induce lactation- drugs, herbs, even (I think) oxytocin nasal spray- that the LC can help with as well.

    You may want to read through the links on this page: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/adopt/rel...resources.html

    It's terrific that you're willing to do this for your cousin.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    What is the difference between a hospital grade pump and the one I'm attempting to use? I've never had to use a pump before and have always had success with manual expressing.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*TheresaMae View Post
    What is the difference between a hospital grade pump and the one I'm attempting to use? I've never had to use a pump before and have always had success with manual expressing.
    Well you really get what you pay for when it comes to pumps! They are much more finely tuned and there weren't any corners cut to save on space or portability. Cause they are usually bigger and heavier than double electrics like the Medela PIS. It's kind of hard to explain the difference with actually pumping too. The hospital grade just FEELS better. Kind of like the difference between a pinto and a rolls royce. Sure they both get you from place to place but the ride is way better in a rolls!

    To maintain a supply the PIS is perfect, it's not meant to induce lactation though. That's what hospital grade pumps are for. You could rent one for a month or two and then switch back to the PIS.

    Also is the Medela pump your using already been though an owner or a couple of babies? The motor in those aren't meant to last that long (although they do) so even if it "works" the motor may not be functioning at 100%.

    http://www.asklenore.com/breastfeedi...protocols.html
    This is a really great resource - it has a protocol for induced lactation. I think it answers most of your questions you had above.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sixyearplan View Post
    I just wanted to point out that induced lactation, even in mothers who have previosusly lactated, is a long process. The quickest results are typically with medication (like reglan of domperidone) and the results with the most success in terms of volume of milk produced tend to occur with the protocol with birth control taken first as outlined on the Ask Lenore site. It doesn't sound like you have enough time to follow that protocol though.
    I just linked you to the main page but there's an accelerated protocol (for relactation) - I'd still recommend looking into it because it's hard to tell how long it might take to induce lactation by pumping/herbs alone. They've sort of honed in how to do this without nursing a baby.

    You said that she'd have milk from Wednesday till your milk came in - does that mean even if it takes you 4-6 weeks she'd have milk? That's about what the accelerated protocol calls for.

    About getting in touch with an IBCLC (lactation consultant) in your area. She might be able to get you there faster and/or without medications you don't want to use.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    With the baby born at 27 weeks, I think she will have at least 4-6 weeks to get her supply going. I have never heard of a premie that young going home in a month an a half. Odds are, she will have 2 to 3 months minimum before the hospital cuts them off.

    Good luck momma, and I hope you are getting lots of support from the hospital staff and LCs. I think it is crazy that the hospital would withhold a life-saving substance like that, just because the baby wouldn't get it at home.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Producing milk for someone else's premature baby

    [QUOTE=@llli*ladydilee;788499]With the baby born at 27 weeks, I think she will have at least 4-6 weeks to get her supply going. I have never heard of a premie that young going home in a month an a half. Odds are, she will have 2 to 3 months minimum before the hospital cuts them off.QUOTE]

    I think she said the LO was born four and half weeks ago so she may not have that much time.
    What area of the country are you in Mama? Maybe someone can provide more info about the milk share in your area.
    Jessica

    Moma to DS1-the monkinroanie (3/09) and DS2-the sweet pumpkin (5/12)
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