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Thread: Supply issues- is there hope?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default Supply issues- is there hope?

    My daughter was born at 36 weeks and is now 2 weeks old. She spent 10 days in the NICU where we didn't really attempt breastfeeding. I also had a breast reduction 10 years ago. I have been religiously pumping since day 1, every 2-3 hours, throwing in a power pump 1x a day. I have started putting little one to the breast a few times a day. My question is, I am only getting <30ml per pumping session, taking Fenugreek and am not seeing an increase. Is this as much as I can expect? I'm having a horrible time trying to juggle time at the breast, bottle feeding, pumping plus clean up of everything that I feel I am getting NO time to just cuddle my baby. I'm extremely discouraged and we don't really have any support of LC in my area.
    How long should I give it to see an actual supply? I'm also not sure when I can really push breastfeeding with my baby as we are concerned about her weight (current 4.5 lbs). We have a pedi appt Wed and will ask about that then. How long should I keep trying? I hate to give up, but I'm not sure I can handle this, emotionally at least.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    Hi Momma,

    Sounds like your doing some great things for your baby by regularly pumping and getting her to the breast as much as possible (babies are far more efficent than pumps at getting out milk, so that will help with getting your supply up).

    Other things which may help include taking herbal supplements like fenugreek, drinking plenty of fluids and eating oatmeal (works for me!).

    It sounds like you would benefit from the experiance of mums who have had to pump from birth (because of cleft lips, time in NICU etc), many of whom managed to wean their baby onto the breast. You could try creating a post which mentions that you are currently pumping for your newborn to get a 'specialist' response.
    Mum to Alexander, born 2nd April 2010

    Still at a year and when apart
    Part time cloth and

    Midna is our cat - it made sense at two in the morning whilst hunting for help!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,621

    Default Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby!

    30 ml (1 oz) is not bad output for a pumping session, especially for such a new mama! An average yield seems to be about 1.5 oz per hour. Is there any way for you to increase your pumping frequency, and see if you get better results? Also, what sort of pump are you using? I wouldn't use anything less than a hospital-grade rental.

    2 things that may help you with your workload are:
    1. Place a large basin of soapy water by your sink, and throw used bottles and pump parts in as necessary. I found it easier to do 1 couple large washing-ups per day, instead of a zillion little ones.
    2. After pumping, leave your pump screwed onto the bottle you've been pumping into, and pop the whole thing in the fridge. Re-use the same set-up the next time you need to pump. My LC said it was safe to do this 1x before washing everything again.

    With reduction surgery, it's hard to tell if and when you're going to be able to get a supply that's equal to your baby's needs. Some moms who nurse after reduction can, some can't- it all depends on how many connections in the breast were severed by the surgery and how much milk-producing tissue was removed. You might find some knowledgeable help here: http://bfar.org/

    How long you keep trying is up to YOU. As you try to decide, remember that breastfeeding isn't an all or nothing enterprise. Any amount of breastmilk confers health benefits to mom and baby. You don't have to provide the totality of your baby's diet to reap the benefits.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    with PP, and also remember that you're little one is still a premie! My guess is that a 4.5 pound baby doesn't actually need more than an ounce per feeding, so you're probably on track.

    It is SO time consuming in the beginning, even if everything is going smoothly. So I would just encourage you to keep trying and know that it actually does get easier in time. Just try to get her to your breast as often as you can - but I think a lot of Mamas of preterm babies will tell you that it took their babies a while to get the hang of nursing.

    Good for you for working so hard to give your LO your milk.
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    11

    Thumbs up Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    Update:
    So glad I didn't give up! Pumping is going well, I can pretty much provide her entire needs with expressed BM, about 18oz/day. We also had major success with nursing today! Granted, I don't think she actually got any milk (still drank her entire bottle afterward) but she was at least on the breast suckling for 30 minutes twice today!
    It's supposed to be rainy/gloomy tomorrow and my husband is going to the Mardi Gras parades so I plan on spending the whole day in bed doing kangaroo and focusing on breastfeeding.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4,894

    Default Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*1019toby View Post
    Update:
    So glad I didn't give up! Pumping is going well, I can pretty much provide her entire needs with expressed BM, about 18oz/day. We also had major success with nursing today! Granted, I don't think she actually got any milk (still drank her entire bottle afterward) but she was at least on the breast suckling for 30 minutes twice today!
    It's supposed to be rainy/gloomy tomorrow and my husband is going to the Mardi Gras parades so I plan on spending the whole day in bed doing kangaroo and focusing on breastfeeding.
    It can take a full term baby a long time to find the breast. It took my daughter 2 months to nurse (a 33 weeker). It's totally possible and so worth it when it happens.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: Supply issues- is there hope?

    yeah hang in there!

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