How long did you pump for your Prem?

Caroline - posted on 01/12/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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My Prem (G-31 weeker) was born 5 months ago, with a weak suck. She had an underdeveloped tummy, which has lead to processing and feeding issues. She started feeding on nasal gastric and breast (min) and was allowed out of hospital when we went to pumped bottle and breast and now 3 months later we are still on breast and P- bottle. I pump about 4 hourly and have to careful to do this otherwise I begin to lose my milk. Has anyone pumped short/long term for their prem and if so what issues did you face? I am finding it harder to get out ...and pumping at a cafe? haha.

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11 months, but it was so hard to keep up supply. LO was on exclusive breastmilk (fortified) for 6 months, but then it was downhill from there. I dropped a pump every month/month and a half. By the end I was only pumping twice then once a day. AND I had loads of breastmilk stored and found that it had extra lipase in it (gave it that strong metally smell/taste) and LO wouldn't take it. It took me a couple of months before I could bring myself to throw it out. All that hard work, wasted!!

Caroline - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi everyone,
It is a different road being the mum of a prem! Have just got back from camping so it was nice pumping in the trees and open space. We have a very good chilli bin so was able to store milk for 24hours so we managed ok. As I have a good supply and she is latching to maintaining it I am just going to continue until such a time that I lose my milk or she latches for good... ahhhhhh

Tonya - posted on 01/24/2010

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I had bad production problems, I hardly got anything. my baby had problems latching on, so I only pumped after the firs few weeks. I pumped every 3 hrs. for 6 wks. and then stopped because I couldn't supply hardly anything.

Emily - posted on 01/22/2010

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I don't think the issue of drying up is due to prematurity. Any time you pump exclusively, you risk losing your supply because pumping is just not the same stimulation as a baby sucking.



My daughter was born at 30 weeks and I pumped exclusively for about a month until we brought her home. I was determined to get her nursing straight from the tap, because I hate pumping! Thankfully we haven't had many problems and she's nursing well.

Kathryn - posted on 01/22/2010

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I pumped for 6 weeks but only was able to get 15 cc's total each session, due to complicating health issues which basically shut my milk production down. Once my son reached 10% breast milk and 90% formula, I threw in the towel. I was taking Reglan to up the milk production and it sent me into a deep funk, so I quit. Best sleep of my life that night ... I felt guilty about the decision until my OB reviewed all the reasons why I shouldn't have been able to pump for the 6 weeks I did - now, not so bad at all!

Charlotte - posted on 01/21/2010

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I was epressing and breastfeeding for about 2-3 weeks till i was so worn out, I wish i could of kepted going

Gemma - posted on 01/19/2010

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from what i am reading a lot of people with prem babies had their milk dry up very quickly, my son is now 13 weeks and i am still pumping, he does have some formula as i dont produce enough for him. i am slowly finding i have less and less time to pump so eventually i think he will be on full formula.

Christy - posted on 01/19/2010

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My Prem (G-27) weeks fed nasaly also. I pumped for seven weeks before I dried up.

[deleted account]

My son was a 25 weeker. I started pumping the day after he was born (the nurse was surprised by this, she said it usually takes a few days for milk to come in when babies are preemie) and I pumped every 3-4 hours for 9 months and then my supply dried up.

Victoria - posted on 01/18/2010

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I have a 34weeker who is now 7 1/2months old He never really latched on (Why would you when your nose tube fed the get a bottle and then have to work for it) I pumped the whole time in hospital for 6 weeks. Then at home until bubs was 16weeks. I basically dried up as I was around the clock looking after my baby and the house so there was no real time to put my feet up and drink enough water to keep the breastmilk producing. I was trying to pump when time permitted and was down to once or twice a day only getting 10ml. It took my a long time to realise my baby prefered the bottle instead.

Laura - posted on 01/18/2010

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when I had my daughter I had her at 26 weeks gestation she was born on December 8, 2009 I pumped for about 4 weeks the whole time I was in the hospital I pumped everyday every 3 hours for 20 minutes on each breast and I did very good I got some milk enough to feed her but as soon as I got home I bought a pump the same brand that was in the hospital (medela) but not the same machine as soon as I got home I did the same thing pumped every 3 hours for 20 minutes on each breast and I was not doing good at all I was getting less of milk in each breast sometimes I wouldn't even get none in one so I went out and rented a machine the same kind I used in the hospital and I still got the same nothing improved so I stopped pumping and she is on formula now and doing very well with that.

Gemma - posted on 01/17/2010

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my son was born at 29 weeks, i pumped from day 3 as was so ill could not do anything to start with. i still pump now and how and he is 3 months old- keep trying him on the breast he will latch some days and not others. he has a mixture of formula and breast milk and is growing nicely.



during his say in NICU i found pumping ok as was easy to leave him with nucrsing staff and go and punmp but once he came home pumping became more difficult finding the time to do it is challenging, i am lucky in that i have a supportive husband who feeds durig the night whilst i pump its during the day i struggle with when i am on my own. i never pumped in a cafe but have in the back of the car- i used to work my time out around pumping feeding etc- i try to pump every 3 hrs but not always possible

Barbara - posted on 01/17/2010

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That's right. I took fenugreek and a prescription, I think it was Regalin at one point. I rented a Medela pump from the lactation consultant at the hospital. I was able to pump from both breasts at the same time. Froze my milk. I think I had milk in freezers all over the city and at my grandmother's and mother's house. It supplemented the formula well after I was done pumping. I eventually got a breast infection after I was on the Regalin and I stopped, after 6 months. Stopping pumping was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. My son is 14 years old now and very healthy. He was born at 27 weeks, in the hospital for 2 1/2 months, 1 pound 15 ounces (a poop and a pee shy of two pounds as the doctor put it back then). He was 3 1/2 pounds when he came home.
I don't think I actually held him til he was 2 or 3 weeks old. He's so tall and healthy now. What a blessing that he turned out so healthy.

Sjolanda - posted on 01/17/2010

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My baby was G-29 weeks she was 2 pounds at birth. She was in the hospital 1 month & 1 week. When she got out she weighed right at 5 pounds. I pumped for 9 months she never went on the breast. I alternated between breast & premie formala.I also took fenugreek for my milk.

Nicole - posted on 01/17/2010

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I pumped for my preemie for almost 8 months. She also had a weak suck, and just did not want the breast. I had to pump every 3 to 4 hours around the clock to keep my milk supply up, but after about 4 months my supply dropped drastically (by half) and I had to start her on formula. She drank it fine, though. After that I decided I could not keep up that schedule of pumping and only pumped 5 or 6 times a day. I just needed more time for me, and to take care of her. If you want to keep your supply up, or to increase it, it is best to pump for longer sessions, especially first thing in the morning. I would recommend you see a lactation consultant who is experienced in moms who pump long-term. You can do it, but it takes dedication. I am also part of a yahoo group that is for moms who pump only for their babies, because they could not breastfeed. It is called Exclusively Pumping, check it out.

Iysha - posted on 01/16/2010

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I pumped for about 2 weeks after my daughter came home (she was about a month and a half. I tried to breastfeed a bit and while she was in the NICU I gave her pumped milk and formula. I decided after pumping and trying to breastfeed that if she isn't getting much from me and I still need to formula feed then I might as well stop and give her formula only.Once I did give only formula I was much better and so was she. No more screaming once being let off the breast, no more storing and heating, just straight formula and my baby finally was able to gain weight! Pumping is fine when you have the supply, but it is a nightmare when you pump around the clock and get an ounce or less after puming each time. My aunt pumped for a year... while her son was in the NICU and after he came home and couldn't breastfeed. I thought it was just way too time consuming for my life and just not convenient. I think it is amazing you have gone 5 months! You must be very proud =] I know I would be!

Barbara - posted on 01/16/2010

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I pumped for 6 months. My son was born at 27 weeks. By the time they let me try to breast feed at the hospital, he had "nipple confusion" where he only wanted the bottle. So I pumped. It was hard. I took a medication that got my milk going again at one point, but then had complications and stopped. I filled everyone's freezer's with little baggies of frozen breast milk.It lasted for quite a while after I stopped pumping, supplemented with formula.
I remember using the conference room at work to pump. I think I did it every 2 hours or so. Best of luck to you. It's hard at times, but you are doing the right thing for your baby.

Nolwazi - posted on 01/16/2010

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I pumped every three to four hours, exclusively, for 12 months. It was A LOT OF WORK and very stressful because I had to plan my life around pumping. I had to watch the clock to make sure to be home on time to pump or carry my pump with me to friends' houses. There were times when I just couldn't pump because I had to take care of the baby's other needs (lots of doctors appts), my school age daughter and other family responsibilites. My milk supply would be reduced, then I had to build it up again by pumping more frequently! As hard as it was, I did it because I thought it was the best thing I could do for my son who was a 27 weeker. My advise would be do the best you can, don't stress yourself or feel guilty if you absolutely can no longer do it; pumping is hard work! Regarding your frozen milk supply getting old, this doctor who is a Director of Clinical Research and Lactation at a University Hospital where I delivered (she's done extensive research on breast milk) frozen breast milk is good for a year. Good luck and hang in there!

Delaney - posted on 01/16/2010

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i pumped for 2 months. i quit because i was so wore out. i had to pump and then feed her too, so i was up twice as long. if you can do it, more power to you! because its so hard on your body!

Erika - posted on 01/16/2010

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my son was 3 month early and the dr said that the only way that my baby were grow fast was breast feeding so i didnt for 5 month because by then it dry(my breast didnt produce no more milk)

Julie - posted on 01/14/2010

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I pumped for 14 weeks, supply never came in well as I didn't start until a week or more after he was born. He was born at 26 weeks. I think every little bit you can give of your own helps and all my effort is a reason why he is doing so well today.

My personal pumping hero is a friend of mine who pumped 18 MONTHS for her daughter born with a cleft palate!!!

Michelle - posted on 01/13/2010

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I pumped for 7 months about every three hours. I was pumping on average 12 ounces or more every three hours. I'm not a big person so all I can say with that is cleavage here I come. I had twins and supplemented with formula. At around 7 months they started spitting up excessively. I had to cut out the breast milk since they didn't spit up as much as when on formula. I would've done all breast milk but couldn't produce enough for both of them. Boy did I feel like a milking cow and look like one, too. It was a lot of work, but my boys are super healthy and it didn't hurt them.



I would recommend getting a hospital grade breast pump. Sometimes hospitals will sell used ones then all you need to do is switch out the tubing and such. For me I had no trouble with my milk supply as long as I kept pumping, ate well, and get drinking fluids.

Emily - posted on 01/13/2010

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I pump for my son still he just never took to the breast its been 6 months now and i pump every time he eats i started to lose my milk suppy then i started takeing regalin witch has been a huge help it is impostant to make sure you get enough sllep and water and use a high grade pump

Caroline - posted on 01/13/2010

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Carie - This was a lovely thing to do and you should feel really good about it. What an awesome job to keep your milk in case your daughter could have it! AMAZING. If I had no milk I would go to a bank it is a really good idea. In N.Z we don't have a milk bank anymore it stopped in the 80's I believe, I have 3 massive shelves full in my deep freeze which I will have to throw out as it is getting too old. Hence doing it over again to get some fresh stuff. I'm sure the 6 mums you helped think this is very special.

Carie - posted on 01/13/2010

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I pumped for my little girl for almost 5 months (a week shy). I never got to give my little one my milk. She could not handle it. I kept pumping with hopes that I would be able to feed it to her. She had many GI problems and it just never happened. About two weeks before we went home I stopped. They told me that she would never be able to have it. I was super sad. This prompted me to look into donation. I found a milk bank and did all the testing (STD, drug etc...) when they sent me a final tally on what I had pumped they said that my milk would feed 6 Pre-term babies for a year. I felt a lot better about not being able to help my own child because I helped so many others. I pumped the amount that you would pump if you were pregers with twins because my little girl started out a twin.

Caroline - posted on 01/13/2010

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Hi everyone, thanks for all your stories it can be a long road that other mummys just dont understand! I think I will begin freezing more so it is fresher and then I can make a choice later. We have a very limited supply of "good" formula in New Zealand so if your baby has any issues with using the basic you can end up paying out some really big money. Right I need to go pump haha

Delaney - posted on 01/12/2010

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i pumped for 2 months. with her only wanting a bottle, i would stay up twice as long and lose that much more sleep. i give you credit if u can keep pumping. its SO hard!

ANDREA - posted on 01/12/2010

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My son was a 28 weeker and was born in July 2009. I pumped for the whole time he was in the hospital and a lil after he came out which was in September. I didn't pump as much as I should have so my milk ended up drying out. I do believe though that the breast milk was what made him progress so rapidly. He now drinks NeoSure formula especially for premature babies. The only problem we had in the beginning was him being very gassy and constipated alot. It has gotten alot better but he still is gassy but just passes alot of gas and not as much constipated. If you decided to stop pumping im sure your baby will be fine with minimal problems.

Lindsay - posted on 01/12/2010

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I pumped for just over 4 months every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night. It was rough but by keeping up the rigorous scheule, helped me to freeze a lot of milk, especially while she was still in the NICU. I didn't have production issues, I was a milk machine! I did howver have terrible problems with clogged ducts. It was soooo painful! I had the worst time getting them unclogged and it would happen again within a week or so. It was the reason I ended up stopping. Even stopping at 4 months she still had breast milk for an additional 2 months (and would have had more had a freezer door not been left open!)

Kara - posted on 01/12/2010

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I did it for 4 months, every two to three hours with my daughter who was born at 34 weeks. She had touble latching and then got thrush which neither of us could get rid of for the longest time. I also simply don't produce milk like I should no matter what I did. I had production trouble with my first and really wanted to be successful this time and did EVERYTHING I could but it just didn't happen. I took a medicine (domperidone) to increase my supply but at most I only got about half of what she needed and then the medicine started to give me an irregular heart beat so I stopped it and I basically dried up. It was really hard. I had to schedule my life around needing to pump which was hard especially since I had a son who was 2 1/2 at the time. I finally had to allow myself to realize that I did my best and that's what mattered and as long as my daughter was fed and healthy that's all that mattered.

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