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pumping problems with baby in the NICU..Help??

Posted by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM
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My baby girl was born almost 2 weeks ago now. She is 11 weeks early doing pretty well so far. I really wanted to breast feed with her and even with all this unexpected stuff coming up, i wanted to breast feed. we had a few issues though the first couple of days. i had some pretty major infections which lead to my daughter coming early and then the first few days she was fighting off some of what i had. her white blood cell count started going down but as they increased her feedings it started going back up. upon testing my breast milk they found that i had another infection noone was aware of because i wasn't showing any signs after being on all the anitbiotics. they took her off the breast milk until they could figure it all out and thats where my problem started. my milk production went down drastically in just 2 days of them taking her off my milk. i was still pumping at 3 hour intervels and drinking tons of water but i went from about 70ml every 3 hours to about 20mls and can't seem to get it up past that for very long. Ive been drinking mothers milk tea, eating oatmeal, taking fenugeek capsules, pumping next to my daughter when spending the day at the NICU but i can only seem to get it up to about 50mls and then after 2 more times its back down to 20.... im really worried i want to be able to provide for my daughter when they allow her to go back to my milk, the formula seems to be tough on her tummy and i just dont know if its going to happen with how my production has gone down...has anyone else had problems with producing milk especially with the breast pumps? any other advice would be greatly appreciated im willing to try anything to get my production back up and feeling a bit desperate.

by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM
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by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 9:59 AM
You're doing everything right, with the water, tea etc. I started out with a good milk supply in the NICU with nursing and pumping. Then since they determined my preemie was burning more calories than she was consuming while nursing they basically made me stop so she was then on a combo of formula and pumped milk. My supply went down drastically with only pumping. I pumped for about 10 months for her and I really didn't get a lot despite me doing all the right things. A pump alone won't do the trick :( it's so hard. Good luck to you.
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by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 10:14 AM
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 Can she be on breastmilk from the milk bank?  Its better than formula!!!   Are you using a hospital grade pump?  If not I would rent one from the hospital.  When my dd was 2 weeks old I was lucky if I got an ounce each pumping session.  Just keep pumping momma.   Its whats best for your little girl. I know its tough but you can do it.    Try the hands on pumping method.  Google it.   It will help stimulate you to produce milk.  Also if you are on antibiotics your production will go down till you are off of them again.   Her feeds are likely going to be less than an ounce for a while so as long as you can get her the milk your pumping your doing well.  Stress isnt gonna help any.  Hugs and hang in there. 

by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 8:35 PM
Did your production ever increase? My baby is 3 weeks old today, she was born 4 weeks early, and the most I have ever gotten while pumping is 25 ml. Just wondering if it will ever increase, or if maybe I will just not produce much.
by on Apr. 6, 2013 at 9:35 AM
Try kangarooing her. Hold her skin to skin against your chest. My milk production always went up after doing this. And don't give up hope! My little one wasn't able to nurse at all for the first month. I pumped everything she ate. She's now 3 1/2 months and thriving. It took a couple weeks, but my milk supply did even out eventually. And now she's all breast. Not a pump in sight!
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by on Apr. 7, 2013 at 8:23 AM
Thanks for the advace! I'm starting to do a little better since they got the problem with my breast milk straightened out. She is back on breast milk primarily, and my pumps have atleast gotten up to 40mls consistantly. I am going to keep up with everything, and definitely work on the hands on pumping technique some more. Hopefully I can bump up my production a little more. Another set back though, I came down with an upper respiratory infection so have to spend a few days away from her. Its only been one day so far and is already really saddening, but I'm doing my best to keep from letting the stress take over.
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by on Apr. 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

I had a horrible time pumping for my 28 weeker.  I tried everything but I still wouldn't respond to the pump.  A week before he came home from the hospital we switched him to formula because he was term by that time... but preemie babies at our hospital get donor milk if the mother can't provide any/enough.  Maybe you should see if your hospital offers that or if there is any way you can do that!

I was devestated but between the stress and everything else I just couldn't do it, eventually I got over it and realized my son is happy and healthy even on formula and that's all that matters.  And atleast he got my milk when he needed it the most!

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by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM
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 Keep pumping ladies.   Remember that even newborn babies only eat an ounce or two at a feeding.   Keep pumping your supply will increase.  I think my baby was a month old before I could get more than an ounce per side at one session.   Eventually you will get there just stay dedicated and remember its the best thing you can do for your baby while in the NICU!!

by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

When my son was born (29 weeks)  The pump that I bought I found out from the nurses at the NICU wasn't strong enough when I had the same problem.  So they gave me a Medical grade pump to rent.  It worked but I pumped every 4-5 hrs, which is what was recommended when not alot of milk was coming even with the new pump.

You could also try holding ur girl skin to skin by ur breast and see if that stimulates the milk flow.

by on Apr. 23, 2013 at 2:15 AM
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Thank you to everyone for sharing! I am facing this dilemna as well. My NICU preemie isn't ready for the breast yet so I am trying to pump enough for her growing demand. The only pump that works for me is the Medela hospital grade, and I was able to rent one from the hospital and that is helping. Almost three weeks of pumping and I usually only pump one ounce total each session. I'm trying to relax and convince myself that more will come! Thank you for your stories- it's reassuring to know others are having the same concerns. Kangaroo holding, breast massage, staying rested/hydrated/fed/stress-free, looking at her, smelling her, oatmeal, teas, fenugreek, lactation consultants... My life, right now, revolves primarily around breast pumping. Hopefully more will come!

by on Apr. 24, 2013 at 8:10 AM
When my preemie was born, I had the same issues. Like everyone has said, stick with it! I was able to pump enough milk for my son during his NICU stay which was 41 days, but toward the end I was barely keeping up. The most I would ever get at a pumping session was 2 oz combined, but the average was more like 1-1.5 oz. Once he came home and I was able to try to actually nurse him more often, my supply increased dramatically - it pretty much tripled. He is a great breastfeeder now but still takes a bottle while I am at work. I pump on weekdays and I get about 3 oz per session now - exactly what he drinks per bottle when I am away.

The truth is that pumping alone can't stimulate production like a nursing baby can for most women, especially first time moms. If you can hang in there now during your NICU stay and focus on getting baby to nurse when he or she is able, you should see improvement. With everything I had been told and read, I was almost convinced my baby would never nurse and I think that's a common feeling with preemie moms. A little persistence can pay off, though! When baby is ready, offer the breast before every single bottle. Give up when baby gets upset, and try again next time. Also, try using a shield - my son has never nursed without it. My son hardly breastfed at all in the NICU - he maybe latched for a total of 5 minutes one time. After 36-hours of offering the breast before every bottle when we got home, though, he was nursing like a champ, and he's still going strong at 10 months.

I know it's hard now, but just keep pumping and don't give up. It is possible to increase your supply later and it is possible for your preemie to breastfeed, no matter what anyone might say. You can do it!
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