discouraged about BF... is it too late? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-13-2010, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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My son has been in the NICU for 23 days now (not expected to come home for another 5-7 weeks) and my milk in sad shape. I had blood pressure issues and was on a high dose of bp meds that I could not keep my milk for him, so I pumped 8 times a day and dumped. Right before I got on the meds I was getting close to 70ml a pump... now I am getting tops 6ml from both breast.

Now it has been 6 days that I have been off of the meds and my supply is just hanging on. I pump 8 times a day, with Medela Symphony that we rented from the hospital AND the Medela Pump In Style that I use when I am not at home. I have talked to multiple LC's at the hospital and seem to get different answers from each one. I am trying to eat over 2,000 calories and drink at least 60oz water a day. I am also taking Mother Love to help with the increase but still getting very little. We have started to nussel and try to bf with my son and he has latched on and sucked a little but I go pump right after and it doesn't change my volume. I am worried that it might be to late for my milk to come in and for me to produce enough for him.

Has anyone else experienced this and still was able to breast feed when your little one came home? This was the one thing I wanted more than anything with this pregnancy and I am still hanging onto hope that we can make it work. I have decided that I won't stop pumping and attempting to bf until my body stops making milk. Even if I get 1ml at each pumping, thats 1 ml of breastmilk goodness that he is getting.
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#2 of 9 Old 10-13-2010, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by LeytonsMom10 View Post
I have decided that I won't stop pumping and attempting to bf until my body stops making milk. Even if I get 1ml at each pumping, thats 1 ml of breastmilk goodness that he is getting.
^ What a great attitude to have!

I think you can do it. I do not personally have experience with NICU pumping, but I wanted to give you some encouragement.

I have a friend whose daughter was in NICU for 3mo. She pumped the whole time so babe could have milk, worked some with the SNS, and at 9mo and lots of confusing advice, ditched the SNS and LCs and Docs' coaching, went with her instinct, and was finally able to get babe solely to breast with no supplementation!

Other moms here have more experience with boosting supply with herbs (fenugreek for one) and Rx (domperidone?). Keep going, mama! You are doing the absolute best you can for your baby.

Happy and in love with my family!
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#3 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 11:04 AM
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When I had my 29 weeker my supply dipped around 3-4 weeks after she was born to around 2 ounces a day. I switched to only using the hospital grade pump (I used a pump in style once I got home and that seemed to be part of the problem) and pumped every 20-30 minutes during the day if I was able. I wouldn't do as long but the increased frequency seemed help. Around the time she came home (6 weeks old) I was getting more but only enough for maybe 2 bottles each day. I kept putting her to the breast even though she wouldn't take much. It wasn't until a few weeks after her due date we really got the nursing figured out. Once she was latching on well my supply went up a lot and I was able to stop supplementing after a few weeks.

Hang in there I know it's discouraging to get very little from pumping. Every little bit helps.

mama to six ('98, '00, '04, '04, '06, '08)
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#4 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 12:52 PM
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The pumping you did was excellent! So your milk DID come in. It may take a few weeks or maybe months, but if you are persistent, you may be able to get your supply where baby needs it. My baby is 10 mos now and we are still having to supplement between 3-6 bottles a day, BUT *I* am very lazy about pumping (complicated). YES, every bit of breastmilk your baby gets is fantastic! You can do it!

Tamara: Aspiring doula, partner to Brazilian musician, mom to THREE GIRLIES!
(4/01, 6/07, & 12/09)
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#5 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 02:16 PM
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Yes. Don't lose hope.

My milk didn't come in for what seemed like forever, and then my dd was in the NICU for 10 days. When we got home, it took me two solid weeks of constant pumping 10-12 times every 24 hours to get my supply up. My dd didn't learn to nurse until she was 3 months old, so for me it was a matter of pumping to keep the supply up until my dd was ready to nurse. So I say that if you can keep pumping/nursing, it is never too late. You can do it.
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#6 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 08:52 PM
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Good for you, for sticking it out and having this attitude, despite how hard all of this is! And congrats on your son.

No, it's is not too late. Absolutely not. If your son is premature, then any little bit you can pump for him makes a difference. Some moms just don't respond well to the pump--I'm one--but that has no bearing on how well you'll do when he can nurse. I wasn't getting much more than you are but I was eventually able to successfully EBF my twins. Even if you were to stop getting milk at all, you should still pump several times a day to remind your body that you aren't done. I have heard from multiple LCs that your body can easily relactate for an entire year after weaning, so a few weeks is nothing.

As for him being in there for 5-7 more weeks, mine weren't physically able to nurse until after that, so that also doesn't mean it won't work.

As for the supplement, it sounds like the Motherlove may not be helping much. Have you tried Fenugreek capsules? 3 of them, 3 times a day. The LCs I saw all said that regimen has given the best results in studies.

The other big thing that helps with milk production is skin to skin time. Are you able to hold him in the NICU? Can you take his shirt off when you do? I used to wear button up shirts to visit, because then you can just put the baby in the kangaroo position on your chest and sit there for a long time while he sleeps on you. Wonderful for milk! Also wonderful for your hormones, bonding, and mental health. If you haven't been doing this yet or aren't sure how to get it set up, talk to the doctor about it. There is a lot of evidence showing the importance of kangaroo care, so a neonatologist would be glad to help you make it work. Best of luck!
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#7 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I love hearing that I still have a chance and not getting the remark of "well it might be too late" which is what I have been hearing alot lately. Or getting weird looks when I only bring in 5ml of BM or ask for syringes rather than bottles when they know my son is almost a month old.

We kangaroo once a day for 3 hours, IF my son handles it well. At first he seemed to do really good with it and now he gets really fussy, desats and bradys about 1.5 hours into it. We are also trying to BF so I would think that all of that stimulation would help with production but its not. I have noticed an increase when I eat about an hour before and take the mother love. I can't do capsules because I can't swallow them. I know its weird but I never have been able to swallow pills. The told me today that since he is 1500 g they have to start giving him formula, so whatever I can't produce for his feedings they will supplement with formula. I told the nurse today that I don't care if I am only getting 1ml, im not giving up on this until we can EBF and I know my body doesn't have anything left. Her response was that some women just cant make milk and its not a bad thing it just happens. Grrrrrr. I hate being told what I can't do.

Anyways thanks for all the advice. I am still clinging onto hope... more now than before so thank you!
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#8 of 9 Old 10-15-2010, 02:05 AM
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Way to go mama! You've got the right attitude, and screw all the nay-sayers and non-believers! When my supply wasn't enough for my 30-week boys I drank Mothers Milk tea and it boosted my supply pretty much over night, and kept it increasing. I stopped having to drink it after a couple weeks. It's so awesome that you can kangaroo him for 3 hr per day. Even with the spells it is totally worth it.

Mama to twin boys born at 30 weeks. 5/21/10. 
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#9 of 9 Old 10-15-2010, 12:49 PM
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Keep working on it; I know that it is really hard work. I had a 29 weeker with an eight week stay at the hospital. I tried for 5 months to breastfeed and was not successful in the end. I am not trying to discourage you. Like you, I did not have many supporters. I pumped like crazy too. Every month when I got my period my supply would plummet too. Sometimes I barely had enough for my son's next feed. It was very stressful.

But I was stubborn to not use formula like you are determined to breast feed. I knew that once I opened the formula I would have to use it in the next month and this would have made me lazy. I ended up pumping for 14.5 months and cannot look back and regret it. By giving it everything I am proud of myself and so should you be of yourself. I eventually took Domperidone but believe that it is illegal in the US. Good luck to you.
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