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Thread: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    2

    Default Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    My son was born at 27 weeks and discharged from the NICU 10 weeks later (2 weeks ago). They sent us home with instructions to give him 4 bottles/day with a fortifier mixed in because of his problems gaining weight without it. He tolerates it well and eats like a champ at the bottle.

    Breastfeeding is another story. Most of the time at the breast he does well. He latches on well (although I've been using a breast sheild), sucks well, breathes better (requiring less oxygen) and sleeps better afterward. However, he falls asleep after about 10 minutes of nursing and it still takes him about 20 minutes to empty the breast. It's not that my supply is too much for him (he'll take up to 3 oz by bottle, but usually stops at 1-2 in the 10 minutes he breastfeeds) because he wakes up less than an hour later wanting more.

    I've started giving him four bottles in a row so that we can breastfeed all night, which helped with the juggling I'm having to do with the bottles and pumping to maintain my supply and being able to breastfeed all I can. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    I'm not sure what I can suggest, but I wanted to let you know I think you are doing great! I was nursing and pumping round the clock with our preemie and I know how exhausted you must be. Our LO was under 5 pounds when we brought him home (34 and a half weeks) and we experienced the same sort of thing... only our NICU sent him home with instructions to nurse exclusively. I literally spent all my time nursing, then pumping whatever DS didn't need. I had a freezer full of expressed milk.

    Just remember that your LO is just now a newborn! He's a little guy who is literally tuckering himself out while nursing. Even full term babies are sleepy in the newborn stage. Patience and persistence -- as he grows, he'll be able to handle the task!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. It is always appreciated. These situations are so trying for moms!

    Let me ask you this...I haven't been pumping at night when I am strictly breastfeeding because I want him to be able to breastfeed when he wakes up hungry an hour after he finishes nursing. If I pump right after then I don't have much in the way of breastmilk when he wakes up (it's a timing thing), but I don't want to risk losing my milk supply by not pumping. Any advice here? Is there a better way to approach this situation and juggle it all?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    You may want to ask your doctor about getting rid of the fortifier soon. My pede let me get rid of our fortifier shortly after he was sent home. He was about 36 weeks and was gaining and he said we didn't need it anymore. At that time I went cold turkey and cut out the bottles. He was wanting to nurse 24/7 at first so I nursed him on demand all day and most of the evening. I allowed my partner to give him a bottle or two through the night so I could sleep a few hours straight through. This gave me the strength to continue the marathon feedings. The more I put him to the breast the more he wanted it and the more milk I made. Yes at first he wanted the easy option but the more he BFed the more he wanted only me. Now he doesn't like the bottle he needs me. It took a few weeks of not much sleep and only BFing. We failed a few times and went back to a bottle here and there but we pushed through and are strictly BFing now. If your LO is gaining and making enough wet diapers and there are no other problems your pede should clear you to try BFing full time. As far as your LO he will get the hang of it and start eating better and space out his feedings. Don't give up!! The best advice I got was IT WILL GET BETTER!! And that is so true. You can try waking him every 2 hours during the day if he falls asleep try to stimulate him. If you are done and feel he hasn't got enough give him some in a bottle. The more you BF he will take less bottles and more breast. Keep at it and good luck. Mine is ready to eat now gotta go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs up Re: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    I just wanted to say hang in there. My son was 36 weeks exactly. I was induced because of preclampsia. He was underdeveloped and spent 1 week in NICU. The nurses at the hospital told me that I couldn't breastfeed him until he was over 6 lbs because it would "be too physically exhausting." I am a nurse myself, but wasn't educated on breastfeeding enough to know better. So I started pumping and did so for a month until I joined a breastfeeding support class. My son now is able to breast or bottle feed. He learned to latch on at 1 month of age. This shows me anything can be done. Breast milk really is the best if possible, so hang in there and protect your baby!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Juggling breast, bottle and pump with Preemie

    My gal was 34 weeks- 1 week in the nicu, with no real serious issues, and came home just under 5 lbs, and boy howdy- we worked so hard to get her nursing! we pumped and bottled for the first 5 weeks almost exclusivly then I had to use a shield because of flat and inverted nipples. it took a lot of work, but she was off the bottles at 5.5 weeks and off the shield by 2 months old- now she's one and still nursing like a champ. it was so worth all the work- it does get so much easier. she's still little- just under 16 pounds at 1 year, but she's doing great.

    When i was trying to transition from pump to breast, I had to pump for every bottle i was giving her so my supply responded like she was feeding. In the early days- it was really important to try to keep bottling/feeding and pumping under 1 hour. it was hard sometimes, but it really helped me get a bit of rest inbetween feeds. It was also really hard not to focus on the numbers- the amounts of milk she was taking from the bottles and how long she was nursing for. It was a balancing act in the beginning to learn how to tell if it was a good feed, but i found it really helpfull to do before and after feed weights ( health clinics, midwifes, doctors, LC's may do this for you) So i could see that she was getting milk from me- even though she was faster on teh boob than the bottle sometimes. I learned to watch her feed so i could tell if it was a good one, until i could trust that she was getting enough by gaining weight and wet/ poopy diapers.

    I'd also say that getting off the nipple shield might help with the tuckering out at the breast. It takes longer for them to get a letdown with the shield so they have to work harder. It can be a bit of a struggle to get them used to your nipple, but it's possible- and much handier when you're out in public!

    it sounds like youre doing the right things- pumping with the bottles in the day and nursing at night- if your feeding full feeds at night, then there is no need to pump after.

    try to keep in mind that your boy doesn't get credit for being in the word those early weeks- he's just now a newborn, so you have time to sort it all out. when my gal reached term a lot of things turned around for us, i hope you're on the up-swing now

    Hang in there- you're doing a wonderful thing!

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