Breast feeding....supply slowing down.

Shannon - posted on 07/20/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son was 8 weeks early, he is still in the NICU. I've been pumping everyday but now my supply seems to be slowing down. What should I do?

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Liz - posted on 08/02/2009

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Hi Shannon - Keep going! I pumped about 8-10 per day for however long was needed - bit boring but worth it. We did lots of skin to skin cuddling which seemed to stimluate my breasts even though she wasn't actually latching on and feeding. Drink plenty of fluids and make sure that you are eating well too. My daughter was 7 weeks early, in NICU 10 days and we stayed in hospital for 1 month. Millie was a very sleepy baby and the issue was not breast -vs- bottle but giving her the time to develop so she would wake for a feed. All my milk was given to her via a naso-gastric tube or a feeding cup. She only worked out breast feeding with the help of nipple shield for a couple of days and we haven't looked back since. She is now 19 weeks old and has been fully breastfed since. Sounds terrible but the more you worry, the worse the problem will become. Give yourself a pep talk and concentrate on what you can influence such as your diet & relaxation and get pumping! Good luck with it xx

Freakalr - posted on 08/01/2009

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Talk with your OB about starting on some Reglan, they normally give it three times a day for ten or so days but I took it for eight months every day. The more you drink and the more you pump the more you will make good luck!!!!

Rachel - posted on 07/29/2009

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My son Zac was 7 weeks early and spent a month in the hospital. I pumped every 3 hours for 15 minutes on each breast using medela hospital grade pump at the hospital & at home I used the medela swing electric pump which I bought from the chemist (you may have different pumps to what we use in Australia). At first I had really low supply and painful breasts (which meant heat bags were my best friend)...but I persisted. I spent many hours at the hospital every day 11am-9 or 10pm) and most of that time I spent holding Zac in my arms just cuddling.

For the first 4 weeks Zac was fed my milk through a tube and a bottle at alternate feeds and I didn't bother with the breast feeding because I was told it was too hard for him to breast feed at that stage and that I would have him out of the hospital quicker if he would feed on the bottle for every feed. I think I tried him on the breast a handful of times the whole month he was in the hospital.

I pumped non stop even through the night I set alarms and expressed every 3 hours and then would take that milk with me to the hospital. At the hospital I expressed right before every feed so that I could feed him via the tube or bottle during feed times and then cuddled for 2 hours before the whole process would start again. Also I moved his crib next to me while I expressed at the hospital. Once my milk came in and I established the expressing routine I felt relief that Zac only fed from my milk and not formula.

Zac is now 4 months old and I breastfeed every feed except once a day I express so dad can feed. It took a while we were bottle feeding most feeds when Zac came out of hospital because he would be on the breast for an hour at a time we then got down to doing 3 bottle feeds (expressed milk) and on breast for 3 meals (20mins each side). Then we cut that down further to finally I was doing all breastfeeds (approx 5-10mis total) but now I have introduced the bottle for one feed because I found that he no longer wanted the bottle at all but I didn't want this to be a problem if I was not going to be there for a feed. When I express now I do it first thing in the morning approx 6am and am able to express 2 meals (360ml/ 12oz). I have freezed some but am yet to use any frozen milk.

Eventually your milk supply should increase if you stick with it and express religiously. Try not to sleep through those feeds through the night. Even if you don't do the full 15 minutes on each side (I did 7 on each side when I was exhausted) or if you sleep through one session increase the time you express for the next session to 30 minutes on each side but don't do this more than 2 nights in a row. Also make sure you are drinking lots of milk and water yourself. Good luck - it is worth the exhaustion of pumping non stop (I now have a freezer full of milk!).

Iysha - posted on 07/29/2009

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I had a problem with my milk supply too. I was pumping every 2 hours and not making very much. It's been nearly a month since Kylie was born and 3 pumping sessions equal one of her 2-2.5oz bottle feedings. When I would breastfeed, my daughter would be on for 30 min. then I'd put her down after she would fall asleep. Like 10 min. later, she ws hungry again. She does take comfort in going on the breast, but not getting much milk.



Yesterday I had a Nurse come over to my house and we talked about what was going on. She said that most babies and mothers of babies in the NICU have a hard time breast feeding because it's easier with a bottle and they're bottle fed by the nurses. Also, their jaw muscles aren't strong enough. Mothers have a hard time producing milk because the baby isn't constantly on the mother's breast. Babies born full term are breast fed right away and every hour and a half from then at the hospital. She said not to beat myself up about it if it just never happens. I am perfectly fine giving Kylie formula and breastmilk when I can.



If you absolutely have to breastfeed your son, pump every 2 hours, go to the NICU as often as possible to breastfeed him and pump right after. Every feeding is important!



I was in the NICU with Kylie every day from 8am-6pm but bottle fed her because I wanted her out ASAP and the whole feeding thing was the only thing keeping her there. If I would have pushed the breastfeeding thing, she would have got out later than she did.

Angela - posted on 07/24/2009

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My son was 13 weeks early and after awhile my supply slowed down too. the lactation consultant put me on domperidon. you should ask about it. It's amazing how quickly it works!! Im not sure if you can get it in the states though I think it is banned there

Keri - posted on 07/24/2009

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My daughter was born at 35 3/7 weeks and was in NICU for a 8 days. In the beginning it was hard to get my supply in, but the lactation lady at the hospital had me nurse and pump at the same time. After about 6 feedings like this, my supply was good to the point we had milk to take home!! Once we got home though, my supple dwindled again. Come to find out she was having a hard time pulling milkl down and would be too tired to eat after 10-20 minutes. Here I was thinking that she was getting milk so I wasn't pumping. Once we got that under control and my milk supply was still low, my OB ended up putting me on Reglan. It is actually a heartburn medication. We had to also suppliment a little with the Neosure formula. The more you keep up with it, the better it will get.

Lee - posted on 07/24/2009

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I delivered at 24 weeks 5 days. My lactation consultant told me I would have a lot of trouble. I did. My milk supply was never greater than 20-30 ml every 3 hours. After about 3 weeks that amount dwindled down also. The NICU nurses encouraed me to try mother's milk tea or fenugreek. When those didn't work, I started taking Reglan. Nothing helped much. Good luck!

Emily - posted on 07/23/2009

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Start eating Oatmeal and drinking ALOT of water. In no time your milk supply will suprise you. Also make sure you are getting enough sleep. I had to pump for my daughter for 4 weeks and it helped alot!

Estell - posted on 07/23/2009

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drink, drink, drink!!! I had the opposite problem, i refered to myself as a cow. But it's true, the more you drink, the milk you make. And i know it's hard, but the more you stress out about the NICU, the less milk you'll produce as well. When my daughter was in, her head nurse gave me one of her blankets that i could smell, or hold on to, or just have near to help me with pumping. Ya know, so it was more like she was there with me. It helped too. Hang in there. Things get better, try not to put so much pressure on yourself either. :)

User - posted on 07/22/2009

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I have a somewhat opposite story -- I had the exact same problem, my son is home and my supply is still somewhat low. I would make sre you are in good health and my lactation consultant has me doing power pumping. Two times a day when the supply is really low. YOu can google it but it is basically 5-10 min on and 10 off four an hour.

Krystian - posted on 07/22/2009

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You should probably talk to a lactation nurse. I thought that my supply was slowing down but it wasn't. By the way my daughter was born 5 weeks early and she spent 2 weeks in NICU. Anyway, my lactation nurse told me to stop pumping and to only breastfeed my daughter. When your baby is put to breast, your hormones will immediately shoot up and milk will leak...it doesnt do that when you pump because pumping is not exciting. At first it may be but then it becomes a drag...so it doesnt really increase. She also told me that pumping actually slows down your milk. My daughter is home with me now...I breast and formula (Neosure) feed. (Neosure is made especially for preemies)
While she was in NICU, I would go up there everyday to put her on my breast and let her drink from there because pumping just wasn't getting it lol...you still have it. :) You can also try something called Moherlove More Milk...its also something you can get from GNC...try looking at Kangaroo care's website too...it was very helpful :)

Crystal - posted on 07/21/2009

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When my supply slowed, I started pumping for 45 minutes each time I pumped, which was every 3 hours. It's alot of time sitting there but well worth it! I never had a HUGE supply but pumping for longer periods did help. Also, as soon as your son's doctors approve, if you'll let him try to nurse this should also increase your supply! Good luck and congrats!

Emily - posted on 07/21/2009

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My son was also 8 weeks early and spent a month in the hospital. I pumped every 3 hours for 15 minutes and kept a good supply. I pumped religiously though...I didn't sleep for longer periods at night. I'm assuming you are using a hospital grade pump? I did all my pumping with a Medella pump in style and it worked out well. Drink lots of water, and try to get those night pumps in because your milk level is higher at night. Keep at it, I came so close to giving up and now am still breastfeeding my son at 1 year old. Good luck, I know it's hard but you can do it!

Hadleigh - posted on 07/21/2009

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When my supply started to decrease my midwife put me on Domperidone (not sure of spelling now) tablets. These definatly helped increase supply after the first 24 hours on them. I know a few people who have used this and it worked for them also! Doctors can prescribe it too...it was my last ditch attempt to keep feeding after nothing else worked since my bub was also prem and i was expressing.



Good luck

Kelly - posted on 07/20/2009

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How often are you pumping? I found that increasing from every 3 hours to every 2 hours for a few days helped to increase my supply. I also wouldn't leave it any longer than 4 hourly at night. I also found that having a photo or blanket that smelt like my son with me helped with the let down. Also try to express next to his crib in the NICU if you are able to.



Good luck and I hope your son will be home with you soon

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