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Thread: new mom with a 3 week old (preemie) and hardly any milk supply..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default new mom with a 3 week old (preemie) and hardly any milk supply..

    Hi my name is Summer and I am a first time mom of a 3weeks old little boy. I am having HUGE problems breastfeeding. I think it all started in the hospital and now I don't know what to do!! My son was born an entire month early and was not allowed to imediatly start nursing as he needed to be under an oxygen hood. We told the nurse I wanted to breatfeed and that my SIL was bringing a Medela pump(just the motor/pump thing not the parts) that I needed the tubbing and other parts for it so I could start pumping for them to tube feed him. Well he was born on a friday night (11:22 pm) and I did not get my pump parts until Sunday afternoon (I was out of it and didn't even realize that it had been that long - I had pre-ecalampsia with 170/150 blood pressure and was on I'vs, pain pills and a cathater until noon sunday) anyways, when I first started pumping things where great when we both came home tuesday I was pumping every 2-3 hours like I was told (I never even saw a lactation counsultant it was like they forgot about me) my son can not latch on properly due to his mouth size and my breast size so I can only pump for now. My milk came in around day 8 and I was pumping about 3 ounces (he was only eating barely 2 at the tiem so I figured that was normal) than it slowly increasded to about 5 ounces each time I pumped well now it has gone down to a few drops out of one side and only barely an ounce aout of my other one. What happened??? A friend said I could just be dryign up early but at 3 weeks?? that seems REALLY early.. Any suggestions??

    Thanks Summer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: new mom with a 3 week old (preemie) and hardly any milk supply..

    hi summer:

    i had a preemie too - born 8 weeks early, brought home 4 weeks later, and now 18 weeks old. i had issues with bf-ing at first,too. i was never able to pump more than 2 oz. at a time, and it was usually more in the 30-45ml range. here's some things that i discovered along the way and what worked for us - hopefully it will be helpful to you.

    first of all, output at the pump is NOT a good indication of how much milk you're making. babies are much, much more efficient at extracting the milk than a pump is. the decrease in your output at the pump, though, could possibly be just the normal regulation that your breasts go thru after the first couple of weeks where they adjust to supply and demand.

    in order to pump more milk, i pumped every 2 hours and made sure to set my alarm so that i could pump at least once in the middle of the night. i also found it helpful to pump until no more milk was coming out, rest for 5-10 minutes, then pump again. i could usually get another 10ml or more at that second pumping. i also used a hospital-grade double electric pump that we rented from the hospital; not sure what kind yours is.

    i was finally able to stop pumping entirely when ds got the hang of bf-ing. it took us 3 weeks, but here's how we did it. i made sure to try bf-ing at every feeding, making sure to wake him up if necessary. at first he wasn't latching on properly, and then i'd have to pump and give him a bottle. later, he'd latch on properly some of the time but not always, but i was encouraged that he COULD latch on at least some of the time - it wasn't like he wasn't getting it at all. lots of times he'd get too tired to bf enough and would fall asleep at the breast, so i'd pump and bottle-feed him at these times too. after about three weeks, though, he had the latch and the stamina to bf exclusively - he was 39 weeks gestation at this point.

    two things that helped us with the latch. in the hospital, the lc suggested that the football hold was easier for preemies. BUT, i was getting so frustrated with it that i finally tried the cradle hold again, and that's when he started latching on. the other thing that helped was the lower lip flip - after baby is latched on, use your thumb to flip the baby's lower lip out so he has fish lips.

    you may want to look at some of the posts in the preemie section of this forum. also, kellymom.com and http://www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html have lots of good bf tips and videos.

    hang in there!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: new mom with a 3 week old (preemie) and hardly any milk supply..

    I think the absolute best idea for you is contacting a La Leche League leader or lactation consultant (IBCLC) for one-on-one support. They can guide you much better than anyone can over the computer.

    Is there a La Leche League Group in your area? The leaders will help you for free. Here is the link to find one:
    How to Find a La Leche League Leader Near You

    Or you can find a list of International Board Certified Lactation Consultant's here.

    Let us know how things progress for you. Good luck!

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: new mom with a 3 week old (preemie) and hardly any milk supply..


    Congrats on your new arrival!

    The first thing I would suggest is to check your pump. It is totally possible that it is not working properly. That could be one explaination for the sudden decrease in your pumping output.

    You might consider trying hand expression to see if you get more milk that way: http://www.lacationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html

    How often were you pumping before you milk came in? How frequently are you pumping now? How often are you putting baby to the breast?

    Here, we can help you gather information, and give you lots of support. However, it would really be beneficial if you could see someone in person. It's entirely possible that your baby *can* breastfeed, even if it looks like your breast won't fit. Someone who can see you in person, can help you tweak the positioning and latch to make it work for both of you.

    Here are some great resources (only "lalecheleague.org" links are LLL resources):

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