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Thread: ReLactating After 8 weeks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default ReLactating After 8 weeks

    hello all... I've read some of the posts and it seems like you gals are a very supportive group)

    I've started to try to relactate after 8 weeks. I'm still a little unsure about it just bc I don;t know if it is possible to get my milk to come in and I know I will feel like such a failure if it doesn't. So.. any advice would be helpful.

    Here's my story... my baby boy was 6 weeks + a few days premature and I was totally devoted to breastfeeding and attachment parenting him. Well, attachement parenting was easy bc that's a natural instinct to me but the breastfeeding was very difficult. My milk didn't come in so I spent 2 1/2 weeks pumping like crazy next to my little guys incubator in the NICU and throughout the night at home. Additionally, I was having a difficult recovery from a C- Section but continued to pump while baby boy was tube fed in the incubator. I started the DOM medication about 10 days into the pumping and saw a slight increase but it never was enough to feed my baby. I was able to work with a LC and latch my baby for a few days but it was clear that I didn't have even close to enough milk to feed my baby. I became frustrated and depressed bc I couldn't get enough milk supply to feed my baby so I gave up figuring if I had to supplement with bottle then why not jusy go all bottle. Now I really want to relactate and try again. But I am really worried that since my milk never did come in fully if it is worth my while to start again.

    I have started latching my baby again and he is latching great! It is like he never left the breast. The LC always said he was a great latcher and that was half the battle. I also started the DOM again just today. I would like to know if it is a realistic goal to feed my baby by breast?? What do you guys think?

    The other consideration I have to always have at the forefront is that he is premie and the # 1 goal is weight gain. So if I latch him every feed for too long, he gets tired and won't take all of his bottle. He struggled with weight gain initially when I took him home from the hospital and he is finally gaining weight at a steady pace but has required a high calorie formula for premie/low birth weight babies to do so. Suggestions??

    Thks mamma's!
    Last edited by @llli*kellybell; January 18th, 2010 at 10:05 PM. Reason: left out info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,955

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    Welcome! It's great that you want to relactate. Don't let the fear of failure stop you- you won't know what's going to happen unless you try.

    Relactation and exclusive breastfeeding after 8 weeks sounds like a realistic goal to me. If moms who have never been pregnant or given birth can nurse their adopted children (and they can and do), just think how far ahead of the game you already are! Pregnancy prepared your breasts to make milk, you actually got yourself to make milk, your baby will latch on and nurse after 8 weeks off- the question now is not "Can I make milk?" but "How can I make enough milk?"

    Here's what I would do:
    - See a good LC, preferably one who is an IBCLC. Nothing beats hands-on help, and I think you're going to want to work closely with an expert for a while.
    - Get the best possible pump you can afford- I recommend a hospital-grade rental pump, as they tend to give the best results- and pump as often as you can. When I had supply issues, I pumped for 10 minutes per side every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night.
    - Make sure you have the right size of breast shields for your pump. Incorrectly-sized shields can result in inadequate stimulation and milk removal or trauma to the nipple.
    - Try to do some power pumping sessions- pump both sides for 10 minutes, rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, and finally pump both sides for 10 minutes once more for a total of 30 minutes of pumping in an one-hour period. Power pumping is supposed to mimic the way a baby feeds and boosts mom's supply during a growth spurt.
    - Get a professional baby scale. You can probably rent one from the LC. By weighing your baby before and after nursing sessions, you will be able to determine exactly how much milk he's taking in while nursing, and that will help you know how much you should be supplementing, and when you can safely stop supplementing.
    - See your doctor or midwife and ask for some tests which could help sort out whether or not there was a physical cause behind your initial troubles with production. Hypo or hyper thyroid conditions can interfere with milk supply; so can polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), severe blood loss during birth, and fragments of retained placenta.
    - Herbs: fenugreek, blessed thistle, and ordinary oatmeal are all good for increasing supply. Contact your LC for correct dosages for fenugreek and blessed thistle. You can eat as much oatmeal as you can stand!
    - Drugs: you already know about Domperidone- just keep taking it.
    - Supplementing: there may be a better way to supplement your baby. (Alternative methods link.) Using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) may be helpful, as it allows you to supplement the baby at the breast, reducing/eliminating the need for bottles while boosting supply, since the baby feeds simultaneously from breast and tube.
    - Expectations: don't expect this to work overnight. You're 8 weeks behind your baby's needs- so while you may see rapid improvement you also may take 8 weeks or longer to get where you want to be. And if you "only" get a few drops, or a few oz, don't let that get you down- any amount of breastmilk is good and there are plenty of moms who combine feeding formula and breastmilk.

    Keep up the good work and keep your spirits up! We're all rooting for you!

    ETA: what's your baby's weight now? I know moms of preemies are often very concerned about weight, with good reason- but once the baby has reached what would be a reasonable birth weight, I think you can relax a lot.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; January 19th, 2010 at 09:35 AM.
    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    18

    Smile Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    thanks so much for your post. All of your suggestions are helpful.

    My baby's bw was 5.7 lbs on Nov 8 and last week he weighed 8.6 lbs. Your right, weight gain is a huge concern. I am going forward with relactating but am definately concerned if I will produce enough milk and if the process of trying to relactate will cause weight loss or slowing of weight gain for him. I plan on contacting the la leche leader in my area asap as well as a public health nurse for support. I'm very interested in the SNS just not sure where to get it and if I can afford it.

    I have found my babes to be getting frustrated at the nipple the last day bc he is now realizing there is no food coming after all his work. He is also not taking his formula as well as he was. So, I have been trying to latch him after a feed now for a comfort feed and he can use my breast as a soother to help him to sleep which he seems to enjoy but he is still getting a little frustrated. I guess its day by day at this point.

    Thks again for your post and many suggestions

    I guess its hard to know how much milk will come in at this point

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,955

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kellybell View Post
    My baby's bw was 5.7 lbs on Nov 8 and last week he weighed 8.6 lbs.
    That's great! Sounds like your baby is a nice, healthy weight now. Have you talked to your doc about switching to a regular formula instead of the high-cal one? It might be time.

    I am going forward with relactating but am definately concerned if I will produce enough milk and if the process of trying to relactate will cause weight loss or slowing of weight gain for him.
    As long as you're careful, relactating shouldn't cause either weight loss or a slowing of weight gain. It's one reason why I suggest getting a scale- with the scale, you will a) always know how much milk the baby is getting when he does nurse, and b) immediately know if there is a problem. (When I was using the scale, I could see my baby's weight increase from day to day.)

    Here's a useful link on weaning off formula: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html

    I plan on contacting the la leche leader in my area asap as well as a public health nurse for support.
    Great! But if you can swing the money for a consultation, the IBCLC is likely to be the most helpful of all. Most IBCLCs do their jobs in part out of love, so they may be willing to help you for a reduced fee or accept payment on an installment plan.

    I'm very interested in the SNS just not sure where to get it and if I can afford it.
    A brand-name SNS or Lact-Aid generally costs around $45-$50 US. If you can't afford a "real" SNS, you may be able to make one yourself. A SNS is just a bag of formuls/milk that hangs around your neck- use some string and a bottle and you're most of the way there. A totally cheap piece of plastic tubing comes out of the bag (or bottle)- all you need to do is find the right diameter of tubing. Your IBCLC or your LLL leader may be able to help you with that.


    I have found my babes to be getting frustrated at the nipple the last day bc he is now realizing there is no food coming after all his work. He is also not taking his formula as well as he was. So, I have been trying to latch him after a feed now for a comfort feed and he can use my breast as a soother to help him to sleep which he seems to enjoy but he is still getting a little frustrated. I guess its day by day at this point.
    That sounds frustrating! But focus on the good news- your baby will actually latch onto the breast. Many babies who've had a lot of time on bottles want absolutely nothing to do with mom's breasts. This link on nursing strikes may be helpful:http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html

    I guess its hard to know how much milk will come in at this point
    It depends on how you respond to the drugs/herbs/pumping/nursing routine you're going to be doing, and whether or not you have any underlying conditions inhibiting supply. If you respond well and have no underlying conditions, and you're determined to pursue this to your utmost ability, then I see no reason why you shouldn't eventually expect a full supply.
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    thanks so much for all your suggestions. I am purchasing a SNS today. I wondered tho if this system is attached my breast do I still need a pump? I am assuming that with babes latched on with the SNS system does that not serve as stimulation to the breast?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,564

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    I think you will still need to pump. That way you can use your milk in the SNS and get your milk to come back faster. There is a great thread around here from a mom who relactated at around 5 weeks. I will find it and link it up for you...

    Here it is:

    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?t=78079
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    have you talked with your local leader?
    she is around to help.
    Find her in the gray bar at the top, pick usa and then your state and then local area.

    you can do it, some baby and mom pairs just take more time to get the hang of things!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,955

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    Definitely combine SNS use with pumping. The SNS typically is not enough on its own to bring your milk back. It's helpful, but frequent pumping is much, much, much more helpful. Also, one hazard of using a SNS is that some babies learn how to spit out the breast and just suck on the SNS tube, in which case they're not providing much stimulation to the breast.

    I found painter's tape to be really useful with the SNS- it allowed me to position the tube near my nipple.
    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!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    18

    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    thanks all for your help. I haven't been on in a while.. things have gotten real busy )

    I have the SNS as well as the double electric medela pump and have started to use both. I do find that the SNS tube is difficult to use and place tho. I guess it takes some practice. I'm still going tho )

    Yesterday was thefirst time I saw a couple of drops of milk come out. It was an exciting monent!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: ReLactating After 8 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kellybell View Post
    Yesterday was thefirst time I saw a couple of drops of milk come out. It was an exciting monent!!
    YAY!! That's great Kelly! and if you were able to squeeze a drop, I'm betting that babes got more than a drop

    Everything has a learning curve. I'm sure you'll find your groove if you keep at it.
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

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