Help-Breastfeeding question

[deleted account] ( 26 moms have responded )

Although my son was due May 26, he had to be born by C-section on April 4 because of my severe preeclampsia. He is in the NICU right now, and will be for several weeks. I'm trying to pump and take milk to him, because I know it's the best thing for him to eat and because it makes me feel a little less helpless to do something that is actually making him better. I'm not producing much milk though-just a little each time I pump. The amount has increased over the past few days, but there still isn't a lot-or at least there doesn't seem to be to me. I haven't really got a clue about how much milk I should be producing. Even though he doesn't eat much right now, I'm worried that I'm not making enough to feed him, and I don't know how to produce more. I pump every 3 hours for 20 minutes with an electric pump that will do both breasts at once, and I drink water and juice constantly. Is there anything else I can do to up my production?

26 Comments

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Barbara - posted on 04/13/2009

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Has your milk come in yet? I know with my first it took almost a week, but with my second it only took about 4 days (that's another story though.). Once your milk comes in you'll make more. The more u pump, the more you'll make. But you should only be pumping as often as your baby would eat, like every 3 or 4 hours, but remember they have growth spurts also and will need to eat more.

[deleted account]

Things are still going well with Colin-he's eating more everyday, and hopefully in a week or so we're going to be able to move him to breast/bottle feeding.  My milk production went way up yesterday and has stayed up today, so I think maybe I was just unneccessarily worrying about things-but thank you all so much for the suggestions-I have tried some of them, which I am sure is why my production has gone up so much.

Jennifer - posted on 04/13/2009

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Hi Diana,

Hope things are ok with you and the baby? I am currently breast feeding. the problem with breast feeding is that it's supply and demand. this means that the only thing that will improve the quantity of milk to the breast is the baby sucking at your breast (our bodies release a hormone oxytocin in breast feeding). i know this is difficult for you at the moment. expressing alot can reduce milk flow (our bodies can't be fooled) the best thing you can do untill you have your baby at home is to try and either have him close by or have a photo close by to where you are expressing, this helps to maintian the bond between you (releasing Oxytocin). Also try to express in the morning as this is when your supply is at its most as most babies tend to feed less in the nights, and make sure that your diet is at its best i have been told by my midwife that high calorie, but healthy foods are best. i hope this helps as all the above have helped me so much.



Best of luck, Jennifer x

Sherena - posted on 04/13/2009

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i have 2 boys and breastfed them both .my youngest is 14months and is still on the breast !try putting hot wet flannels on your breast when pumping or pumping in the bath i find the hot water helps my milk flow.

Jen - posted on 04/13/2009

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Diana, Congratulations on your little boy. My daughter turned breech and we had to have a C-Section several weeks before I was due. My daughter was in the NICU for 10 days after she was born, I know how hard that must be for you. I learned that taking care of yourself is the best thing for you and the baby right now. You are recovering from a major surgery and are also worried about your little boy. I pumped every three hours, even in the middle of the night, while I was pumping I would call her nurse in the NICU to check on her. My suggestion is to keep taking your prenatal vitamins and a huge supply of water. And relax, if you are stressed it effects your milk supply!



Every situation is different. My husband and I planned to start breastfeeding after she left the hospital, the nurses suggested we start in the hospital. It was a little stressful, but eventually we got the hang of it, after she would eat, they wanted to make sure she was full so they would give her more of my breastmilk out of a bottle. My husband would feed her while I pumped the remaining supply. It worked out great! My other suggestion is a Medela nipple shield. Your little boy is used to drinking from a bottle, so trying to latch on to a nipple is a little harder for him. The nipple shield goes over your nipple and is a little bigger. I'm sure the nurses or the hospital's lactation consultant can help you. I used it for 3 months and am thinking about starting to use it again. My daughter is 9 mos old and starting to teeth, so I'm thinking about using it until she learns I'm not a chew toy!



Hope this helps!

Theresa - posted on 04/12/2009

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I now have a 2 year old son. I gave birth via c-section to a 10lb 9 oz full term boy who I could NEVER produce enough milk for. My laction specialist at the hospital and with the doctor insisted that I get an herbal substitute called "mor milk plus" made by motherlove. YOu can research it on their website we had someone in the are who sold it. They also habve other prducts that help in other ways. If you need more tissue(or whatever). I would read the website and see if you can find one in your area. It works. This stuff was also designed for adoptive mothers to breastfeed their children. The liquid works the best though tastes awful. You need to decide if that's what you really want to do, if you will put up with the taste.

[deleted account]

Quoting Katie:

My son was born at 31 weeks, 3 days and I went through the same thing. It is sooo hard, but worth it. To prepare you, when you get home it is going to still be a month or two before he is going to be really efficient at getting milk out, so continue to rent your pump to maintain your supply while he figures it out.

Kangaroo as long and as often as you can. You will notice after a couple hours of holding him to your chest you will go in the pump room and be able to get more milk out then you can without holding him. Some hospitals also let you pump next to your baby, which helps. The nurses were fine with me getting up from kangarooing every 2 hours or so to pump and I sure got lots of milk out then (even though I could only get about .5 an ounce at home).

Fenugreek was my lifesaver. It really does help your supply (although you have to take A LOT, like 10+ capsules a day until you smell like maple syrup). You can get it at any vitamin shop, wholefoods store, or GNC.

Pump often for shorter times. Every 1.5 hours for 5-10 minutes instead of 20 every 3 hours. When you get home you are going to have to nurse him almost all day for the first few weeks because he is probably going to have a weak suck and fall asleep easily. I used a maya wrap sling for my son at home so that he could nurse while I moved around the house. Plus, they help them grow faster and develop better.

Join Moms of Preemies and Breastfeeding Moms on this site, then find a La Leche League group near you and start going. They will give you lots of encouragement even before you get your baby home and you will be able to weigh him before and after feeding once he can come with you to make sure he is getting enough (which he will be, it's just for your state of mind).

I know this is soooo hard. I went through the same thing last year. Kudos to you for continuing to breastfeed, it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Now I have a beautiful 8 month old boy who still is breastfed and is a terrific eater, so it will get better!


Thank you so much for sharing your story.  Although I certainly would not wish this situation on anyone, it's been nice to see that other moms really, truly have been there, and to hear their stories.  I just found the Moms of Preemies group this morning and joined, and have been looking through some of the posts there.



I've been doing kangaroo care sometimes when I go and visit him, but sometimes the nurses will just hand him to me all wrapped up in a blanket.  I think I'm going to have to get over my timidity and just insist that we do kangaroo. 



It is a very frustrating experience, but I think our whole family will be stronger, and we'll have a very tough little boy when he comes home.  =)

[deleted account]

Quoting Katie:

My son was born at 31 weeks, 3 days and I went through the same thing. It is sooo hard, but worth it. To prepare you, when you get home it is going to still be a month or two before he is going to be really efficient at getting milk out, so continue to rent your pump to maintain your supply while he figures it out.

Kangaroo as long and as often as you can. You will notice after a couple hours of holding him to your chest you will go in the pump room and be able to get more milk out then you can without holding him. Some hospitals also let you pump next to your baby, which helps. The nurses were fine with me getting up from kangarooing every 2 hours or so to pump and I sure got lots of milk out then (even though I could only get about .5 an ounce at home).

Fenugreek was my lifesaver. It really does help your supply (although you have to take A LOT, like 10+ capsules a day until you smell like maple syrup). You can get it at any vitamin shop, wholefoods store, or GNC.

Pump often for shorter times. Every 1.5 hours for 5-10 minutes instead of 20 every 3 hours. When you get home you are going to have to nurse him almost all day for the first few weeks because he is probably going to have a weak suck and fall asleep easily. I used a maya wrap sling for my son at home so that he could nurse while I moved around the house. Plus, they help them grow faster and develop better.

Join Moms of Preemies and Breastfeeding Moms on this site, then find a La Leche League group near you and start going. They will give you lots of encouragement even before you get your baby home and you will be able to weigh him before and after feeding once he can come with you to make sure he is getting enough (which he will be, it's just for your state of mind).

I know this is soooo hard. I went through the same thing last year. Kudos to you for continuing to breastfeed, it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Now I have a beautiful 8 month old boy who still is breastfed and is a terrific eater, so it will get better!


Thank you so much for sharing your story.  Although I certainly would not wish this situation on anyone, it's been nice to see that other moms really, truly have been there, and to hear their stories.  I just found the Moms of Preemies group this morning and joined, and have been looking through some of the posts there.



I've been doing kangaroo care sometimes when I go and visit him, but sometimes the nurses will just hand him to me all wrapped up in a blanket.  I think I'm going to have to get over my timidity and just insist that we do kangaroo. 



It is a very frustrating experience, but I think our whole family will be stronger, and we'll have a very tough little boy when he comes home.  =)

[deleted account]

Quoting Cody:



I found this pdf about how big a baby's stomach is (when born full term).  






http://healthnetatwork.com/resource%20do...






I though it might help you feel better about how much you are producing.  A few ounces (even 2) per pumping after 10 days or so is actually  the very amount your baby would be taking at each feeding!  You are doing an awesome job and giving your tinsy one an amazing gift in your breast milk.  Keep up the hard  work.  You inspire me!!!





Thakn you!  I'd seen the measurements, but the visualization there of comparing it to common objects really helped.  I think I may actually be producing way more milk than I realized.  lol  It helps to look at that and remind myself that he needs nowhere near as much food as I do, and even though a few ounces looks like nothing at all to me, it's more than a meal to him.

Katie - posted on 04/12/2009

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My son was born at 31 weeks, 3 days and I went through the same thing. It is sooo hard, but worth it. To prepare you, when you get home it is going to still be a month or two before he is going to be really efficient at getting milk out, so continue to rent your pump to maintain your supply while he figures it out.

Kangaroo as long and as often as you can. You will notice after a couple hours of holding him to your chest you will go in the pump room and be able to get more milk out then you can without holding him. Some hospitals also let you pump next to your baby, which helps. The nurses were fine with me getting up from kangarooing every 2 hours or so to pump and I sure got lots of milk out then (even though I could only get about .5 an ounce at home).

Fenugreek was my lifesaver. It really does help your supply (although you have to take A LOT, like 10+ capsules a day until you smell like maple syrup). You can get it at any vitamin shop, wholefoods store, or GNC.

Pump often for shorter times. Every 1.5 hours for 5-10 minutes instead of 20 every 3 hours. When you get home you are going to have to nurse him almost all day for the first few weeks because he is probably going to have a weak suck and fall asleep easily. I used a maya wrap sling for my son at home so that he could nurse while I moved around the house. Plus, they help them grow faster and develop better.

Join Moms of Preemies and Breastfeeding Moms on this site, then find a La Leche League group near you and start going. They will give you lots of encouragement even before you get your baby home and you will be able to weigh him before and after feeding once he can come with you to make sure he is getting enough (which he will be, it's just for your state of mind).

I know this is soooo hard. I went through the same thing last year. Kudos to you for continuing to breastfeed, it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Now I have a beautiful 8 month old boy who still is breastfed and is a terrific eater, so it will get better!

Cody - posted on 04/12/2009

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I found this pdf about how big a baby's stomach is (when born full term).  



http://healthnetatwork.com/resource%20do...



I though it might help you feel better about how much you are producing.  A few ounces (even 2) per pumping after 10 days or so is actually  the very amount your baby would be taking at each feeding!  You are doing an awesome job and giving your tinsy one an amazing gift in your breast milk.  Keep up the hard  work.  You inspire me!!!

[deleted account]

Quoting Cody:



It sounds like you are off to a GREAT start. All the advice about is AWESOME!! Do some research on Reglan before you take it...studies have shown a link between Reglan and depression, I took it for awhile and it did help my milk production but also led to me having pretty severe anxiety and I had to stop taking it.  Not that it will have the same effect on you...just do some research before you start taking any medication or aid.





Thanks.  I think that is why the doctor did not give me a Reglan prescription-I have an anxiety disorder and they must've been concerned that a continued dose of it would cause problems.  I tried the warm compresses today and pumped longer, and that seems to have helped some.  And I really think I'm producing more than I realized -it just looks like such a small amount to me.

Cody - posted on 04/11/2009

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It sounds like you are off to a GREAT start. All the advice about is AWESOME!! Do some research on Reglan before you take it...studies have shown a link between Reglan and depression, I took it for awhile and it did help my milk production but also led to me having pretty severe anxiety and I had to stop taking it.  Not that it will have the same effect on you...just do some research before you start taking any medication or aid.

Erica - posted on 04/11/2009

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I suggest pumping every 2 hours. When my supply was starting to run low I would feed Shelby every 1.5-2 hours and my supply picked right up. Drink lots of water, rest plenty and maybe even have a picture of baby with you to help let down. I can never pump as much as Shelby gets herself. Even if you think your supply is dwindling with the pump keep at it, so when your son can breast feed himself there will be milk there.

Meaghan - posted on 04/11/2009

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Are you pumping throughout the night as well?, also pumping while you are visiting him or with a picture of him can help with let down. Good Luck and Congrats!!!

Summer - posted on 04/11/2009

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I have a 9 month old and have olny pupmed the whole time. I used to get up to 60 or even 70 oz a milk in a 24 hour period. It starts out slowly. A few oz here and there. Just keep at it. U can try to pump more often and at night as well. Whole wheat foods and oat meal also help with pruduction. Don't worry any milk u get is good for your child jsut stick with it. Right now it is only eatting a few oz a feeding.

[deleted account]

Quoting Rebecca:

Congratulations on your sweet baby. Sorry to hear you have to be apart from him right now, that must be very hard.
I don't know much about pumping, but just wanted to say I would be pumping more than every 3 hrs, I'm a little surprised you would be advised to do it that long apart.
When my babies were born and trying to get my milk to come in, they fed every hour to an hour and a half. I would try every 2 hours at least.

GL with everything.


I'm thinking that the nurses and doctors are trying to get me on his eating schedule so it won't be so difficult to adjust to what he's accustomed to when he comes home.  They feed him every 3 hours in the hospital.

[deleted account]

Quoting Melissa:

You can take an over the counter organic pill called mothers milk, it also comes in a tea form but that doesnt taste very good. You may want to talk to a lactation consultant, my midwife prescribed me reglan and something else... I have been told that most people produce as much as the child needs to eat, but I could not produce so as long as you are producing just keep at it. You child is a week old so maybe an ounce at a time if that...


I may try that-they gave me Reglan twice in the hospital, but didn't give me a prescription for it when I left.  And maybe I'm producing more milk than I realize, because I'm getting several ounces every time I pump.  It just looks like such a tiny amount.

Melissa - posted on 04/11/2009

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You can take an over the counter organic pill called mothers milk, it also comes in a tea form but that doesnt taste very good. You may want to talk to a lactation consultant, my midwife prescribed me reglan and something else... I have been told that most people produce as much as the child needs to eat, but I could not produce so as long as you are producing just keep at it. You child is a week old so maybe an ounce at a time if that...

[deleted account]

With my son, I had a similar situation. He was getting very little, according to his weight, but I kept making him suck, My milk took a little longer to come in, and he ended up losing 1lbs, so they suggested I supplement him to get his weight back up and until my milk came in. I was not crazy about supplementing, but I did it for half a day, and that was the only way they'd let me take him home, was getting his weight back up. Even though they told me to supplement him, I offered breast first so he would contine to get colosrum, and then fill him up the rest of the way with formula. I  wasn't going to allow myself to get stressed or upset, so I just started pumping like every hour, I was bound and determine that I would breastfeed him. With lots of stress and hard work, I pulled through producing a great supply of milk. So, don't give up you can do this. Keep drinking lots of water until your blue in the face...lol. Stay relaxed and don't get stressed out, b/c stress can decrease your supply or stop it for that matter. Also the warm compresses help bring your milk down. Good luck, you sound like a great mother. Hope your son gets to come home soon as well.

[deleted account]

Congratulations on your sweet baby. Sorry to hear you have to be apart from him right now, that must be very hard.
I don't know much about pumping, but just wanted to say I would be pumping more than every 3 hrs, I'm a little surprised you would be advised to do it that long apart.
When my babies were born and trying to get my milk to come in, they fed every hour to an hour and a half. I would try every 2 hours at least.

GL with everything.

Leslie - posted on 04/11/2009

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i was told to make sure i pump or feed at night (hormons that make the milk are usually highest then), and eating oatmeal can help to, along with the numerous other suggestions! also when i pump (i have a cheapy electric pump) i squeez and message my breast, and i usually get between 2 and 4 oz (my baby's six weeks)

[deleted account]

lol...Thanks for the suggestions, guys.  I'm using a hosptial-grade electric pump: it's actually the same model I used while I was in the hospital.  I'm just trying to get a handle on producing more using the pump, because he's tube feeding and won't be able to bottle/breast feed for another week or two.  I'll try the warm compresses and massaging, and if it doesn't go up in the next day or two I'm going to try pumping every two and a half hours instead of every three. 



I'm feeling ok-but of course it's really difficult to leave him there and come home.  I'm working through the feeling that I did something wrong-it's hard to know that my body didn't do what it was supposed to and that's why he's going through so much.  Parents aren't supposed to learn that they can't always protect their kids this early.  I'm also working through the guilt of feeling like I just abandonded him.  Logically I know all this is untrue, of course, but what the head knows and what the emotions feel are sometimes different.  I'm just trying to rest and to see him as much as possible, because I know that's what I need to do to get past those feelings.

Greer - posted on 04/10/2009

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hey sweetie,congrats!! well, i was the same way withmy first daughter..an then all of a sudden my breasts were huge!!i had more milk than i cud manage. the more u pump,the more u will produce. i agree with catherine,the warm compresses shud help,have u tried expressing ur milk while in the shower? massage toward the nipple,but start right below ur sholder,ur milk ductsreach up there. how are u feeling overall tho? my baby had to stay @ the hospital for a while too, it got me a lil depressed. have u talked to ur OB/GYN? u will be fine Diana,soon ur breasts will be huge,hard,an there wont be a breast pad in the world that will stay dry!!! best of luck!

[deleted account]

Hi Diana,



 



Your milk production starts out with colostrum, which there is not a lot of. This yellowish goo is the most important thing for him at the moment. When my 2 were in the NICU I had to produce also & could only fill a syringe with the colostrum. Eventually your milk will start to come down & you will get more & more.



Another thing that you can do to help the milk come down is to feel your breasts, they should be quite lumpy. You need to massage these lumps until they are a fair bit smaller & you will then get a good flow.



They will probably give him both breast milk & formula, this is ok as long as he is getting your colostrum. Being a premmie baby, he will need that golden goodness of colostrum, so no matter how little you get, ask the nurses to give it to him because it is the best thing for him!



 



Theres really no way to increase your production other than breast feeding, this is what stimulates milk production. But you may just need to get a good flow going, your production should be more than adequate.

Catherine - posted on 04/10/2009

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No breast pump in the world will get as much milk from your breasts as your baby can, and pumping is an acquired skill. Are you using a hospital grade pump? That might help. You can try pumping more frequently, maybe every two hours. Also, continue pumping for a few minutes after you get the last drops of milk. Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable, and try thinking of your baby while you pump. If you can pump with him by you that might help too. Also, try putting warm compresses on your breasts for a bit before you pump. I really like the Gerber Breast Therapy ones. Have you tried leaning over while you pump? Gravity helps! So does masagging your breasts toward the nipples.



 



When I was in the hospital I got 2 ml the first time I pumped and the nurses were amazed that I got "so much." It didn't even cover the bottom of the bottle. Nine weeks later I feel like I have enough milk to feed the whole neighborhood!



 



And you're doing something great for your baby! Check out this story that someone sent to me today. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/1...



 



Best of luck, and keep up the good work. I wish both you and your baby a speedy recovery!

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