did anyone else have to feed their preemie formula?

Elyssa - posted on 05/19/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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My son was born at 33 weeks. He was flown to another hospital (one with a NICU) and due to complecations during the pregnancy, I had to stay and recover for 3 days at the hospital he was born at. The Dr. gave me a breast pump to help my milk come in. I pumped for 15 minutes a side every three hours during those 3 days, and nothing ever came out. My milk came in, but because I couldn't get anything out, and because I wasn't allowed to nurse my son, it dried up during the two weeks my son was in the NICU. I ended up having to feed my son formula which is something I did NOT want to do. Did anyone else have this happen to them?

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Naomi - posted on 06/22/2010

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my baby was born @ 28 weeks and now is 2 months and at first my milk was in really good but now it is slowly going away and she is still in the IWK nicu. im taking pills for it but its not helping much.i can seem to keep up with her.

Melissa - posted on 06/14/2010

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My son was delivered at 32 weeks, and I had to pump my milk. I did so for 6 weeks. But once he came home from the hospital I didn't have time to pump and feed him. He was a very slow eater. I had to put him on formula which I didn't want to do, but I was reassured by many nurses, doctors, and mothers that Neosure is the next best thing to brestmilk. My son is now 6 months old and still on Neosure, and I was told by his Ped. to keep him on it until he is at least 9 months old. It has more nutrients than normal formula. He is growing and developing like a normal 6 month old, where is actually only 4 1/2 months old.

Marlene - posted on 06/14/2010

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my son had a mixture of both breast milk & formula. they had him on a 22 calorie diet so every other feeding was similac neosure then they switched to just adding a little bit of formula to my breast milk =)

Liz - posted on 06/06/2010

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congrats on your beauitful little angel!!!! my son was born 10weeks early at 30weeks along he was 2.16 and 15ins the first day in nicu they didnt feed him anything but i also didnt have any milk yet. but to make a really long story short. after he came home after three weeks i had alot of milk stored up but that went really fast so i had to give him a bottle of formula maybe once every few days or so... i brought my milk up by drinking (mothers milk tea) which you could buy at stop and shop or gnc. and i took a few other thing reply back and i will give u the list lol nah it was just two other thing. and i would pump every hour for three hours once a day i would do that. and i would pump every two to three hours but if i had to go some where i would pump after four hour i would also get a good pump if i were you... after do all of this he only need maybe a bottle of formula every two weeks untill he was growing then more... it was really hard i didnt sleep much at all and i went to school but you can do. I stop brestfeeding after nine and a half months couldnt take it anymore ya know... or and when ur pumping try to be in the same room, and also hold her on your bare chest with her with nothing on as well this has many many benfits and just keep trying to get her to latch on even if she wont do it... hope i have helped a little may god bless you and ur family!! ♥

JessieRaye - posted on 06/04/2010

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The key is to eat and drink. You have to put food and water into your body. Pumping takes it out of you.It is possible you have to put you mind to it and be determined. My 1lb 15 oz preemie got his mommas milk with added formula. He also needed to gain weight when he was in the NICU. When we came home about 2 weeks later he started to nurse. I wanted him and was determined for him to nurse. I had to pump every three hours at home when he was in the NICU. I have a older son and even he knew every three hours I had to do it. You have to be deticated and willing to sacrafice a bunch of your time to produce the milk when your baby is in the NICU. If he was home I would have been nursing every three hours. I would somethime put a picture or blanket with me. This helped with the emotion strain I had. I always thought why am i producing milk and I am not nursing. Oh stupid it is for you baby when he come home. I would them put the blanket with my baby in the isolate. So he had that sense of me with him. He could smell me and I felt that help with his recovery. It can be done. i had produced so much milk for him in the end. It filled a 5ft freezer and I had it for the daddy and family to feed him when I was gone.

Beth - posted on 06/03/2010

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I had to pump with both my premie's and it took a while for it to come it but once my milk came in i had no problem. The only thing that i did different was they told me to pump for 20 min every 2 hours. If you pump longer times apart that is what causes your milk to go away. But some people it just happens that way. The stress and not eating well and getting enough fluids is also another factor. It is really hard to eat well and get enough fluids when you are not at home and in a routine. At one point in time i did think that i had dried up but i started to drink lots of water and started eating alot more and i came right back.

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My son was 4 months early 1lb. and 7oz. I was not able to breast feed because he was not ready and they had to give him weight gaining formula when he was finally at 1lb. WIC helped with the formula so it did not cost me anything. He is now 16 1/2 and eats everything and is a healthy kid.

Jessica - posted on 06/01/2010

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Yes... but with a little bit of research after we got home I was able to turn that around and get my kid off of formula. It wasn't easy, but I did find some great resource on Dr. Neumans website to help me out. Just know that anything is possible if you want it enough and are willing to sacrifice to get to your goal... And the key here is your goal.

Pamela - posted on 06/01/2010

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My daughter was a 30 weeker, 2 lbs 6 oz. I started to pump the first day but really never had much milk come in. I would pump for 30 mins on both sides and only get 1/2 ounce. After 4 months of only producing less than an ounce a dayI dried up. A long storey short, I had an open wound from the C-section and was in anti biotics and had to pump and dump for a few weeks. My daugher used the premie formula from the hospital, the 22 cal per ounce.

Here is something interesting. Not sure how long iy had been since you stopped, but up to several months after you can try to start producing again. I was going to do this but did not. Talk with the lactiad specialist at the hosipital. I was told you would need to pump every 3 hours, yes even at night, for 3 days and the follow could start again. If your baby sukcing now, maybe after the 3 days he could latch on. It depends on what you ewant to do. Good Luck, make sure you consult the lactaid specialist they are great. Also I did not know until after I dreid up, but there are pills that can help you produce more milk.

Angela - posted on 06/01/2010

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my daughter was born 3 lbs 3 oz at 33 weeks. I began pumping an hour after I got out of recovery. My colostrum was leaking even before I gave birth so I had instant food for my baby. 2 weeks later I got a blood clot in my lung. I couldn't pump so my milk supply dropped drastically. I brought my baby home at 4 weeks. I used over half my frozen milk supply in the first week. I began giving her half breast milk half similac neosure. It has been a month and she started at 4 lbs 8 oz and is 6 lbs. She tolerates it well and is developing normally for an 8 week old baby. I highly reccomend it.

PATRICIA - posted on 06/01/2010

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I had my baby at 35 weeks and did not have any milk and even with my other children I had to use medication the whole time I was nursing to keep my milk. For the first week in the NICU he had small amounts of formula until my milk came in and the I nursed and gave formula, I only have one functioning boob so it was hard to nurse on demand. but now he is nine months old and 25 lbs! So they do catch up! Hes not quite at the mile stones he should be at, but he is so smart and eager to learn!

Katie - posted on 06/01/2010

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i pumped alot since birth of my sons were early (30 week twins) but once one came home pumping became harder so i eventually asked the dr and he said since preemies often need more calories neosure was best its 20 something a can, one had to have it mixed differently for more calories but he put on weight the other we had to take off shortly after him coming home he had 3 chins and didnt need extra calories anymore

Tina - posted on 05/31/2010

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yeah, I had issues with breast feeding, my son was born at 29 weeks and I was also given a pump to start off with. I would pump and pump and get very little, but the nicu assured me every little bit I could give him was something and was good for him.. after a few weeks I gave up.. it was too stressful on top on having a preemie baby. I was lucky to have an understanding hubby who told me he would support me either way. My son is 10 years old now and just as healthy as can be!

Caroline - posted on 05/31/2010

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Hi Elyssa,
As you can see from everyones stories every situation is different -Baby- gestation and diffculities/ milk production/ situation/ stress at birth and in my case my lass had a very weak suck. A big part for me was the support I was given at the start however I had plenty of milk... Everyone is so different. The way I see it is, (perhaps for my sanity) the fact that the road has been so different from expected may mean the future is too and much more exciting! I continue to pump now - my daughter is 9.5 months and it has been a big slog. My daughter has tummy issues so I have only just begun to introduce formula slowly now. I really wanted the wonderful experience of breast feeding however instead I have a happy well feed little crawler who is going to bring me a world of delicious!

Alicia - posted on 05/29/2010

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My daughters were 9 weeks and 6 and half weeks early. I was young with my first one and knew nothing about premie babies. I was given the pump and I did it, regardless the pain it caused, for 5 weeks. My daughter got nothing out of this, and they refused to let me take her home until she was over 5lbs. Once we started her on formula she was out in a week. Her weight increased along with white blood count and normal body functions. When I had my youngest I knew the same would happen so we automatically started her on formula and had her home in 3 days. I don't think I regret the decision to bottle feed, but with the options your body isn't just ready to do what it normally would with a full term baby. At least that is what i was told after my youngest.

Heather - posted on 05/28/2010

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My daughter was born at 33 weeks. Luckily, I was able to be transfered to a larger hospital, one with a higher level NICU, before she was born. The Mother-Baby unit in the hospital had breast pumps for mother's to use to help their milk come in and to give the preemie that much needed first milk. Before I was discharged, the NICU loaned me a hospital grade breast pump to use until Home Health could get one to me. I packed that pump every where. I wasn't able to nurse my first son, because he simply wasn't interested in it at all, so I was determined my second I was going to nurse. Those first couple of days are so hard because sometimes you get some, sometimes you don't. With a preemie, every little bit helps. The NICU had a pump room with 3 pumps in a private setting. Every 2.5-3 hours, I was in that room religiously...or at my baby's bedside. I was lucky and only after her being in the NICU for 5 days, I was able to try to nurse her. She latched right on was a champ at nursing. However, I know of several mothers who had babies in the NICU who were born at 23 weeks and on. In our NICU, the nurses and lactation nurses were always there to help us and encourage us to pump. They, along with all the many neonatologists and NICU PA's always told my husband and I how important it was for our preemie to have breast milk. There were occasions the first couple of days where she had to have donor's milk, but I was totally okay with that.

I know it is a very difficult, hard and emotional roller coaster with a child in the NICU and the last thing you really want to worry about is having to pump. I looked at it as a way of me helping my preemie, so it wasn't too big a deal. Plus, I was several hours away from my family, living in the hospital while my daughter was in the NICU, so I didn't really have much to do as it was.

My advice, be diligent and do it every 3 hours religiously. Once you stop, the milk will dry up.

Sarah - posted on 05/28/2010

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my daughter was born at 30 +6 and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. although my milk came in and I pumped, she never latched properly. I pumped for 5 months before my milk dried up and in that time we tried everything to get her to latch right. i even had to wear these sily nipple extenders (which look like nipple condoms) and it was so frustrating she and i would both be covered in breast milk and crying (and her still hungry)! that was probably one of the hardest things about having a preemie for me- i felt like I was denied the choice to breastfeed.

T - posted on 05/28/2010

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My baby was born 33+3. I hoped I could have breastfed at least for a year, but she never learnt to breastfeed despite my best effort. It was really difficult to me to accept. She had feeding tube for 3 weeks and was able to get it off after learning to drink from the bottle. At first she got donated breast milk, then after two days I was able to begin pumping and she got my milk ever since. I was lucy and managed to pump enough milk for her needs for the first six monthe and after that I gradually introduced formula. I stopped pumping after 8 months. It was actually really laborous and I was happy to be able to stop and she has been fine with formula ever since, she is now one year, and slowly getting introduced with regular milk products.

Shawna - posted on 05/28/2010

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My son was born at 32 weeks and had to have a feeding tube for the first few days and was able to bottle feed my breast milk after that. At 1 week he was able to nurse, but had bottles of breast milk when I was not at the hospital. I continued to pump in the evenings and take the milk to the hospital, for them to use when I wasn't there to nurse. I guess I produced a lot of milk, because a friend even said she never got that much when she pumped. I was able to nurse my son, when he left the hospital at 11 days old, but used bottle sometimes, when we were out.

Karen - posted on 05/27/2010

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Yes. Nothing wrong with it. They grow just like they were breast fed. Don't beat your self up over it. I pumped for three weeks for my daughter and it wasn't alot. My dad had passed away two weeks after her birth so there wasn't anything more I could do. I didn't feel guilty about it. Formula now days seems to be fine. My hubby wasn't happy that I couldn't pump more than I did, but then again it wasn't his dad that died.

JessieRaye - posted on 05/27/2010

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I forgot to post that he started to nurse two weeks after he came home and we nursed for another 18 months.

JessieRaye - posted on 05/27/2010

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My son was a 26 weeker 1lb 15oz. I pumped for three 1/2 months for my son. I would massage my breast top to bottom to help with the let down. The NICU life is very stressfull. When nursing you need to be relaxed. So unfortunataly we have nothing going for us. I was successfull at pumping but i fealt it was mind over matter. I tried to relax,keep a picture,keep clothing,I always ate and drank when I was pumping. What worked the best for me I think. Was I massaged my breast top to bottom. When the machine quite expressing milk I squeezed every last drop out. I am sorry that everyone had a bad experience. Pass it along to another mom who is having a hard time and this might help them.

Danielle - posted on 05/26/2010

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yes!!!!!! my bub was also born at 33 weeks, I had issues with getting enough milk and then she was too small to nurse anyway, I expressed for 2 months and suplimentry fed with formula as I didn't have enough milk for her, I had to take fenugreek, blessed thistle and a script the dr gave me to encourage my milk supply but still didn't have enough. I stopped expressing when I could only get about 60mls a day and by this time although she was now big enough to nurse she was not interested. Its really hard with preemies, do not under any circumstances feel bad about not being able to breastfeed your baby, not everyone can, be thankful that we live in an age where formula is available and your baby can thrive without your breast milk!

Nancy - posted on 05/26/2010

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Yes, and I was completely traumatized!! I was pumping and bringing milk to the hospital every day for weeks. They put a protein additive in my milk to help him gain weight and it caused a GI Bleed, so they took him off my milk, put him on a gentle formula and he still bled, then moved him to another formula called Elecare, a very hard to find, very expensive formula that has pre-broken down proteins. Bleeding stopped, so they put him back on another formula and he bled again the day before he was supposed to come home, so he had to stay 5 more days!! So, they prescribed Elecare, but insurance wouldn't pay for the $50 per can formula! YES, $50 per can! We got as many free samples as we could, petitioned the hospital to cover it and were denied because he didn't have a feeding tube, go figure! So, finally after putting out about $800 on our credit cards to buy it on ebay, my petition for a grant from the manufacturer (after literally crying and begging on the phone), was accepted and we got it free for a year! So, while I was devastated that I couldn't nurse my son, his health was more important. One more bleed and it may have ruptured his colon. I had to get over it because I was making it about me, not him. He is healthy, smart, active and precoscious! It all turned out fine once I got out of my own way! Best of luck to you!

Kandie - posted on 05/25/2010

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My daughter is now a happy, healthy, vibrant 8 yr old. She was born at 29 weeks. The day she was born (at 3am) I was given a pump. I pumped and pumped and I was sore and still pumped. I didn't produce much those first times and my milk didn't come in for 2 weeks. I was barely getting an ounce each pumping until my milk came in. She was given formula as a substitute and mixing it with my milk. Once she came home, she didn't like to breast-feed, so I pumped and bottle fed....I was only able to breast-feed her at night...she didn't like it any other time. broke my heart....

It's all part of the NICU shuffle...2 steps forward and 1 step backwards.

Kylie - posted on 05/25/2010

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(((((hugs)))) I think this is one of the hardest things about the premmie journey, not being able to feed your baby on the breast from the beginning.

I was lucky-ish. Joseph was born at 27 weeks, and I was on methyldopa for pre eclampsia, which helps your milk supply, and I got enough milk out to support him for 10 weeks. But it all wore off and my milk went to nothing.

So I had to put him on formula.

It was heartbreaking and I cried for a week as my milk diminished. But the moment I made the switch, he started improving and he could come home with me.

I was a bit hurt that he thrived better on the formula, but at least it made the decision easier, if he'd gong backwards I would have felt more guilty.

I still feel sad when I see mums breastfeeding, and I really wish that could have been us, but he's one now and doing great, but yes I still feel sad about it.

Elyssa - posted on 05/24/2010

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I guess I should have mentioned that my son is 2 now, and very healthy... I was just wondering if this was a common problem that anyone else had to face...

Brandy - posted on 05/22/2010

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yes i was sent to a nicu as well and spend about 2wks in icu and then had my daughter e,c-section at 28wks i was given a pump to use at the hospital the day after delivery and stayed about a week in recovery, i pumped every 2 hours for 30mins and felt so embarrased by the amount i gave the nurses because it was barely a ml but they assured me they would add formula to it and give it to her anyway. for three months i pumped like this and the most i ever produced at one time was not even close to 1/2 an ounce i tried everything including herbal supplements and pills from the dr after 3months in the nicu i finally brought her home and i was able to mix one bottle with a few drops before i finally just dried up, my dr and lactition consultant told me to just let it go, they reassured me that the colostrum from the first time pumping was what was the most important for her to have and that she would be fine. now jenna is 15months old and im trying to break her from the bottle. i think the most important thing to remember is that you tried and its not your fault and your baby can still grow up to be healthy even on formula.

Courtney - posted on 05/20/2010

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My son was born @ 32 weeks. I pumped the 3 weeks he was in NICU. About a week and a half before he came home he started projectile vomiting the breast milk. He was put on a lactose free formula and that is what he still takes. He is 10 weeks old. Since he wasn't tolerating the breastmilk I let mine dry up. I was sad to do it but it was best for him.

Ziesha - posted on 05/20/2010

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my daughter was a preemie.she was born at 30 weeks.a few hours after giving birth,the nurse gave me a breast pump.i pump and pump till finally i was producing a good supply of milk.however 2 weeks later my milk dried up.i were so scared for her.i plan to breast feed my baby but it didn't work out that way.today she is a healthy ,happy 4 yrs old. so don't worry just thank God he's here.you just enjoy motherhood it's the most awarding part of a woman's life.

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