Pumping for premie

User - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone i'm new here. My daughter was born at 26 weeks and 2 days old. she is still in hospital and is now 29 weeks 2 days and doing great so far. I have been pumping since she was born and was doing really well until last weekish. I noticed my milk supply was going down. This weeks it's even worse. I pump every 2-3 hours and pump once in the middle of the night so i get 6-8 pumps a day in. So why is my milk drying up? I was having an awesome increase and then it just out of no where took a huge decrease for no reason. My left breast produces almost nothing now at most 5ml every 2 hours I'm only making about 15- 20 ml every 2 hours when i used to make 30-50 last week.
when i need to pump around the 2 hour mark my breasts ache and feel heavy. I noticed to my breasts are shrinking down to pre pregnancy size. ... supply and demand is obvsiously not working.

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Mandie - posted on 02/09/2011

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stating the obvious here, but just in case, looking at a pic of your baby or even imagining her will help your body kick into gear also. start to think about her in detail a bit before you start to pump. pumping is harder, with 4 children that have nursed, i was never able to get as much out as they would take. if you don't have to save every bit, try hand expressing in the shower too to stimulate higher production. i really hope it works out, there are so many mothers that don't even try, it's heartbreaking for those that want to and it doesn't work. side note, beware mother's milk tastes very bitter, but it does work wonders. i used it with my first child when i had to supplement because of latching problems, and it increased my production quite a bit

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Cindy - posted on 02/12/2011

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Stress will do it, drinking more water will help and having the right pump makes a huge difference, I had a preemie too and pumped for 28 days and I started producing less at one point. I decided to dedicate 1 whole day to BFing and rest and relaxation for myself while drinking tons of water and having naps and baths and instead of pumping every 2 hrs I switched to every 3 exclusively and stopped night pumping , I also had hot showers before pumping and used hot moist towels before pumping and looked at a pic of my baby too and my production went way back up! Good luck and stay relaxed, if all else fails ask a doctor for something to help increase it. BEST OF LUCK!

Abby - posted on 02/11/2011

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I had my twins in the NICU for a couple weeks and had to pump for a few months. They had trouble feeding. I eventually dried up when they were 5 months. Unfortunately, pumping just isn't like actually breastfeeding. You're loosing your supply because you aren't actually feeding your baby. If you use a hospital grade pump. it will help, but you should try feeding her if you can. Not sure if the hospital allows that or not. And you might have to start pumping every 2-3 hours at night too. When I stopped doing that, my supply went down. Don't wait too long though or you won't get your supply back. Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 02/10/2011

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I pumped for my twins from birth till 5 months. Every time they would feed I would pump right after.The first thing I will say is my milk supply went down ALOT when I went from pumping after every feeding at night (every 2 hours tops, which was exhausting) to only once during the night. I still kept up with the daytime pumpings. The once at night really seemed to make a difference. There must be something to do with nightime feeding and milk production. Other than that I would recomend fenugreek and blessed thistle. You can get them in capsles at any health food store.I would take these along with the tea the others recommended. Even if the tea has these in them I would still take both. I always did the tea and the herbs with all my kids and it has helped alot. Breastmilk is very important for preemies or any other baby IMO but please remember that if your baby needs to receive formula, do not beat yourself up. I had planned on only breastfeeding my twins till at least a year and I could only pump for them till 5 months cause I mentally couldn't take the pumping anymore. Good luck, you can do it!

Julie - posted on 02/10/2011

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I so feel you pain , i had my baby 9 weeks early and at 3 weeks after i went through the same thing, I wasnt getting but 5mls every pump, I went and bought the FenuGreek at health food store about 8 dollars and started that and also , i read that your milk wont fully come in because of a hormone in our bodies that need that skin to skin contact for our milk supply to fully come in, i have been struggling with this since we came out of the hospital middle of December...Stress is a huge factor on our milk supply also , even tho we dont think we are under a lot of stress our inner body is telling us different, Just because our babies are doing fine in the NICU and gaining weight we are just wanting to hold them 24/7 and be the one that feeds them every time and change there diaper every time, which makes our milk not want to come in, Oatmeal is a good think also , lots of water and patients, i still have to take the Fenugreek because im under a lot of stress due to a house fire 36 hours after i brought my preemie home, so i understand how you feel and what you are going through, Ask the Dr is you can start breastfeeding also instead of pumping i know once i did that my milk came in a little better..

Take care of you and your little one she is a cutie..

Jodi - posted on 02/09/2011

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I just brought my preemie twins home (today! lol, sleeping in my arms as we speak!) and I had the same problem. My lactation constultant told me about "Power Pumping Boot Camp", it sucked, but it worked like a charm for me and brought my supply right back up (with the help of Fenugreek). Here's how it works, take a weekend and over those two days, 3 times each day take an hour and sit down and get really friendly with your pump. Pump for ten minutes (for the first pumping, I just pumped until nothing came out anymore, a bit longer than 10 minutes). Rest for 10 minutes...pump for ten minutes, rest for 10 minutes so that you pump 3 times and rest 3 times for a total of an hour. I was told to this for up to 3 hours at a crack, but my nipples got seriously sore, so I stuck with one hour with 3 hours between "sessions". At night I made sure to pump every 2-3 hours, no power pumping, just regular. After your weekend is up, do one power pumping session each day if possible.

This works (or so I read) because it mimics a baby during a growth spurt who eats frequently with short breaks between feeds. It worked wonders for me! Also, as someone else said, get the hospital grade pump, our insurance covered the rental of one because they were born before 36 weeks.

I also highly reccomend Fenugreek and Mother's Milk Plus (I got mine at our hospital, but it is available online.) Also, get in touch with a lactation consultant, they can offer invaluable insight and priceless support for you. Your hospital should have AT LEAST one on staff. Best of luck, you can do it!!!!

Katrina - posted on 02/09/2011

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A few things others have said that I'll end up saying again and I have a few things to add as well. My niece was born premature and my SIL pumped.
You absolutely need a hospital grade pump, your typical grade one won't keep up with the demand of exculsively pumping 24/7. Is the hospital sending you home with blankets from your baby and giving your baby a blanket from you so that you each have the others' scent? If not, you need to. Having your baby's scent with you helps stimulate milk production and ups your production. You need to be pumping more at night than only once. Most babies nurse every 2-3 hours at night. You produce higher levels of milk producing hormones at night then during the day. If you don't pump enough at night your supply can drop. Here's the hardest one, relax. If you tense up and stress out you cut your supply. I know it is insanely impossible to relax when your baby is in the NICU but you have to try for your baby's sake. Make sure you're drinking enough water and eating good solid foods. Again, another thing I know is hard when you're worrying about your baby and probably traveling back and forth from the NICU & home and trying to deal with basics of life.
You can do it! I wish you all the best!

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2011

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women who deliver prematurely often have trouble making enough milk in the beginning because your body did not have as much time to prepare for breastfeeding...then on top of that, pumping is not nearly as effective at maintaining milk production as a nursing baby.



i exclusively pump because i never got my son to latch on. in the early weeks and months of life, it is crucial to pump every single time baby eats (which i know is impossible to tell with tube feeding)...which includes at night. at 3 weeks old, my (full term) son was eating every 2 or 3 hours at night and that is how often i was pumping. in the early weeks and months, you need to be pumping between 8, and 12 times a day unfortunately.



supply, and demand DOES work, it just can be more difficult when exclusive pumping. also, because you are exclusively pumping, your milk supply takes a lot longer to become "well established" and is very unstable. i didn't consider my milk supply well established until my son was 6 months old.



once you increase the number of times you pump in every 24 hour period, if that does not help you should look into products that help increase milk...fenugreek, blessed thistle, mother's milk tea, more milk plus, real whole oatmeal (not the instant). prescription domperidone.

Katie - posted on 02/09/2011

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I bought my tea at GNC. You prob could prob find it at any health food store though. If there's a GNC near you, then they definately have it.

User - posted on 02/09/2011

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I'm not sure because they feed her at the hospital 8ml every 2 hours now. They were upping her feeds every 24 hours for the last few days because she was on an iv line and they want to get her off and to get her to start gaining weight. Which she has gained 90 grams in 3 days. They feed her through a tube going to her tummy. So i'm not sure if what i'm making is = what she needs. It seems as the days go on i am making less and less. Where could I buy that tea? I don't like tea but i'll try anything at this point. I don't want her having to go on formula because she is a premie and it can be hard on their little tummies and its best she have my breastmilk. I had a c-section with her also and am still in alot of pain due to falling down my stairs a week after i had the csection.. I'll feel absolutly gutted if I dry up and can't do at least this for her.

I am using the hospital grade pump. They gave me a Medela Symphony double pump to take home for free until she is out of the hospital. It was the same one i was using while i was in the hospital.

Kerri - posted on 02/09/2011

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Are you using the hospital grade pump? My friend had to use the hospital grade pump to feed her premie, she was not producing enough with the Medela.

Katie - posted on 02/09/2011

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Maybe since your baby's 3 weeks old, your supply is starting to regulate itself. At the beginning when your milk first comes in, your body makes too much milk until it figures out how much your baby needs. If you want to increase it, you could always try Mother's Milk Tea. It worked for increasing my supply when I wanted to increase it so that I would have enough left so that I could pump to freeze. The average for someone to pump is only 1-2 oz at a time. Are you making enough milk to satisfy your little one? If you are then your supple and demand is working. I think your supply is just evening out.

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