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bad start to breastfeeding? sup/pump/nursing survival tips needed - Page 2

post #21 of 28
You've gotten such excellent advice, all I have left to give is a HUGE hug I believe in you Mama. Raising twins is such hard work without nursing issues thrown in on top. Do what you can and let the rest go.
post #22 of 28
Keep working with your LC to get them doing things right. Preemies are notorious for not driving a mother's milk supply and you probably SHOULD be pumping. You don't have to at night but if you can get 8-10 pumpings a day you're supply should really start picking up. Once they are bigger and start really getting HUNGRY you'll likely be able to start dropping pumpings and bottles altogether, but for now just keep at it. A nurse in may be helpful but if they're very sleepy and not hungry (some preemies do need a bit of force feeding or they won't gain) they still may not be able to really bring up your supply. Don't worry about washing your pump, just put it in the fridge and only wash them once every 24 hours. Have the LC check to see if the horns are the right size for you so you can maximize your output (i know pumping sucks, it really really sucks!). Keep at it, it is totally possible to do this even with preemies, just keep at it.
post #23 of 28
Hi there - I've only got a minute, so I didn't get to read all the responses to your post, but when I read what you wrote, my heart went out to you and I wanted to give you my story, which is a "success story". It'll have to be the Reader's Digest version.

My twins were born at 28 weeks (2 lbs each). I began pumping (fruitlessly, at first) within 48 hours of their traumatic C-section birth. Even though I faithfully showed up at the NICU at feeding time three times a day (that was the most I was allowed), neither boy really got the hang of breastfeeding at first. They were mostly fed with feeding tubes (eventually containing my breastmilk) and then bottles.

But fast-forward, after I got them home and I started to relax about the whole thing, they eventually caught on, my milk supply increased (although I did still pump 5 times a day until they were 18mos and supplemented nursing with bottles of breastmilk). Today they are almost four years old. DS1 still nurses once or twice a day.

So, hang in there! And try to relax. That's a big key!
post #24 of 28
i don't have time to read all responses, but wanted to encourage you. It took me one full month before my milk came in enough to feed my girls. They are 16 months now and feeding well. I think the main thing is to keep with it...it's HARD. I supplemented, but when I finally stopped supplementing and just kept nursing ALL the time, my milk finally came in. I also think it took a long time for my body to recover from my C-section, etc. When my swelling in my feet finally went down, my milk came in. So, that just takes time. Keep trying. It's totally worth it!

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

THANK YOU for all your supportative replies. They mean so much to me, and reading your successes is the inspration and encouragement I needed most...

I want to reply in more detail, but need to find a moment first... can you beleive a fractured my little toe?! So.... a bit crazier here than it was before. But I will be back to reply in more detail...
post #26 of 28
I also couldn't read all the replies, but it sounds like you've gotten good advice. I just want to say that it will get better.

My babes were born at 37.5 weeks, which I thought was great. HOwever, Benjamin was in the NICU because he wouldn't eat at all and Sarah had a poor latch. I didn't realize the full implications at first and didn't pump as much as I should have. As a result, my supply suffered. I spend weeks pumping, nursing and supplementing. Eventually both babies got older, bigger and stronger. At that point they could nurse better, which helped my supply. Benjamin actually did not productively nurse for 4 weeks.

Now, at 9 weeks, I am still supplementing, but it is only 4 ounces a day. I only pump once a day, in the morning and the rest is straight from the breast. It's been a long, hard road, but we're doing it. I think by 12 weeks we shoudl be soley on the breast and that is my goal.

I also did want to say that I too received the advice to give a little from the bottle first. It worked well for me at night when the baby was too frantic to nurse properly. A little from the bottle calmed her down so she was able to latch and stimulate let-down. However, typically I do only supplement afterwards. The SNS was too much for me (one more thing after pumping, nursing and bottle feeding). I did get supply up without it thankfully.

Good luck!
post #27 of 28
I too couldn't read all the replies, but I just wanted to give you some encouragement. My twins were born at 31.5 weeks and also given bottles in the NICU. I pumped tons, but had to do it all on one breast since the other is "broken". I did establish a good supply from the start, but it wasn't until my daughter was more than a month past her due date that she finally figured out how to nurse well enough to not need her feeding tube or bottles dripping onto her lips trying to get her to open her mouth and suck. She was 3 months old!, and she is still nursing at 3.5 yo. I'm so so so glad I stuck with it and kept pumping like a mad woman. This hard stretch doesn't last forever. My son, unfortunately was never able to figure out how to get enough milk out at the breast and I pumped exclusively for him for 18 months. I still think maybe I could have tried harder with him, and I wish I did, though I gave it my best at the time. My best advise with pumping is to drain your breast completely with pumping, and then pump for another 2 minutes to really boost up your supply. Also massage your breasts with pumping and at the end of the pumping, hand express with the pump going to really get it all out. A drained breast sends a strong message to your body to really kick up your production a notch or two.

I find it odd that your LC has you using bottles over an SNS! My son nursed great until bottles were introduced at the NICU, then his latch turned lazy and he would essentially just comfort suck at the breast and expect him meal from the bottle afterwords. He would scream terribly if he wasn't given a bottle after nursing, because he was still hungry. I had tons of milk in the breast, but he just couldn't latch right once he acquired a taste/preference for the easy route (for him!). When a baby gets used to sucking with a bottle or even a pacifier too early on, they get accustomed to sucking with their mouth only partially open and the tongue doesn't do the milking motion it need to do with nursing. The SNS can be a pain to use at first, but it does reward them for sucking properly at the breast (and sucking at the breast period!). I work as an OB nurse and I would NEVER suggest a bottle over an SNS. We cup feed, spoon feed, finger feed, and SNS before bottle feeding. Bottles never encourage a nursing relationship, and I'd encourage you to really give the SNS a try. The Lactaid is a good system.

I wish you the best
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you again for everyone who shared their stories... it helps so much.

Originally Posted by cdahlgrd View Post
My twins were born at 38 weeks. It took us 2 months before they breastfed.


They also had latch problems: small mouths vs. huge nipples. It took time for them to grow big enough to latch effectively.

I tried to pump, nurse, pump, bottle, pump, nurse, etc. but my help went home and I coudn't do it all by myself. So I stopped nursing and just pumped and bottlefed.

After 2 weeks of no nursing at all(and much less stress around feedings), my dh suggested I try again and see if they would latch. . . .and they did!! They were 8 weeks old and FINALLY nursing like they had been nursing from birth. 1 twin needed a few more days of bottles on occasion because he would get tired and not empty his breast. But that was just a few days.

We nursed for 3 years.
thank you for sharing this... There are days when I just can NOT nurse-sup-pump... and sometimes, someone wakes up to eat right after I pump, and it hurts to nurse just after I've pumped, so I give a bottle... also, while I'm working with my ds, who is nursing better, I've been giving dd more bottles than nursing chances, and I feel sooo guilty for this. I worry I'm screwing things up when I do this.

But your story made me feel SOO much better about that.

Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
How many ounces of formula are you supplementing with in a 24-hour period? What is your babies' weight gain like?

I do think the nurse-in is probably the easiest and quickest way to get to the point of exclusively breastfeeding, but I'm hesitant to recommend it wholeheartedly without knowing how many ounces of formula your babies are currently getting.


Do you have access to a baby scale? Could you rent one for a couple of weeks? Perhaps if you could weigh your babies every couple of days, you would feel more confident in eliminating a certain # of ounces of formula per day.


I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but ds gets about 140 ml (4 oz) per day of supplement now, and dd is getting much more, almost 400 ml (13.5 oz), with only 160 ml being formula, the rest was ebm. Ds is nursing a lot more than dd.

Originally Posted by twinmama2010 View Post
I wish I could tell you a story from the other side- but I'm in the same boat. 2 pre-term babies (38 weeks) having difficulties with BF- and we are on a similar plan to you. We are breastfeeding 8-10 times per day, pumping 7 times per day, and supplementing with formula after each feeding (as per a lactation consultant). I keep wondering if we will get off this horrid schedule and just be able to nurse at the breast on demand...so I'll keep looking at this thread for hope.

Hang in there! I've wanted to give up numerous times...I am SO sore. But- we can do it! Just know there is another soul out there trucking right along with you. Best wishes!
It is good to know there is someone doing this "along with me". I'll think about you when I'm hating the pump!!! And send you good nursing vibes

Originally Posted by fyrebloom View Post
Keep working with your LC to get them doing things right. Preemies are notorious for not driving a mother's milk supply and you probably SHOULD be pumping. You don't have to at night but if you can get 8-10 pumpings a day you're supply should really start picking up.
How can I get in 8 pumpings during the day?? I'm lucky if I get 4 pumps, tho I am nursing, too. Still....
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