Breastfeeding

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Joined: 06/24/12
Posts: 252
Breastfeeding

Should I begin to do anything now to try to stimulate my supply? I am 28w6d today. What do you recommend that I could do NOW and up until delivery to ensure I will have a much better chance of being able to breastfeed my daughter this time around? TIA!

Clarkton's picture
Joined: 01/07/08
Posts: 1972

There is not really anything you can or should be doing to stimulate supply before her arrival. The best thing to do is let her nurse on demand once she arrives. You can also look for a local group like an LLL group in your area...you can start attending meetings now and they should be a great resource to prepare you and to give you emotional support once she arrives.

Best of luck! I hope everything goes smoothly for the rest of your pregnancy, with her arrival and with BFing.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

Nothing now but I agree with the on demand idea. Make sure you sit to nurse with something to do like a book or TV.

dd1 didn't latch for a week and dd2 was in the NICU for over 3 weeks with no BF. For both of them, pumping was super important so I was ready when they were. I pumped every 3 hours, including at night. The nipple stimulation is key. ideally it will be from your baby but if not, the pump works.

You also need to think about your comfort level. if you or your baby has trouble latching, the LCs or nurses will be touching your breast to try to make the baby latch.

A support system is also key. if you are around people who BF, it seems normal and you get more relaxed. if you aren't, it can feel confrontational or uncomfortable.

If it is something you really want to do, just make sure you ask for help if you need it. I always told myself that as long as I'd done everything reasonable, if it didn't work out that was fine. Good luck!

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3210

You have some excellent advice thus far. Smile

There are a few things that you can do to prepare:

1) Review our nutrition guides for breastfeeding that can help you provide your body (and your baby!) with the optimal nutrients for breastfeeding. (All of these are excellent sources for developing baby as well!)

Breastfeeding Nutrition Guide -- Highlighting Important Nutrients

Best Breastfeeding Nutrition Guide

2)Arm yourself with information! These can help you get your breastfeeding relationship off to the best start possible! They can also help you be prepared for some of the common scenarios that tend to crop up in the first 6 weeks. Here are two that I highly recommend:

Breastfeeding -- Starting Out Right

Help Your Baby Breastfeed Before It's Even Born

3)Continue to seek support! Do this both IRL and online. One of the phenomenal aspects of Pregnancy.org is the ability to connect with others with "been there, done that" experience that they are willing to share! Smile

Read their pearls of wisdom here:
Breastfeeding Tricks and Tips from Pregnancy.org Members

Kudos to you for reaching out and preparing as best as you are able now! I wish you the very best for the remainder of your pregnancy & beyond!

If you would like even more information on breastfeeding (or other topics!), don't forget to search online! We have a whole section dedicated to Breastfeeding!

Have more questions!? Fire them our way!

~Missy

Joined: 05/15/08
Posts: 413

Eat lots of healthy food, so that your body will have plenty to work with when the time comes. As you approach your due date, trying to stimulate directly could cause contractions, so that's probably not a good idea.

I went through bfing h*ll with ds1. Here's what I learned. NEVER, EVER, EVER allow ANYONE (including nurses and doctors) tell you you're letting the baby spend too much time nursing. It's perfectly normal for baby to be basically glued to your breast for the first week. That's how baby gets all the colostrum and stimulates sufficient milk supply.

Baby's don't have watches, and they don't know about schedules--they just know about hungry and not hungry. Sometimes babies fall into a nursing pattern. Others don't. My boys both wanted to sleep at night from day one. They'd wake up once, maybe twice. Trying to force them to nurse every two hours just discouraged them and made them stressed about nursing. When I let them sleep as long as they wanted and pumped when I needed to, we were all much happier.

Joined: 06/24/12
Posts: 252

I have a very high chance of daughter being in the NICU after she is born, and Drs told me they will need me to pump, measure my milk and than feed my daughter for the first week or so. Could this absolutely ruin our chances of getting DD to latch at the breast? I was hoping, if (I pray to the lord) my milk supply allows, that I would pump, allow them to measure my milk and than freeze that supply for a later date, but only allow my daughter to latch to the breast. I have such a fixation with being able to breastfeed this beautiful little human being, and I know the despair I will feel if I am unable to would be unimaginable. I have now been hospitalized over six weeks, and was not allowed downstairs for the breastfeeding course I was scheduled for, and also I am ashamed to say I haven't done as much research as I could have with this free time.

CAN ANYONE PLEASE TELL ME THEIR EXPERIENCES OF BREASTFEEDING A NICU BABY?

Clarkton's picture
Joined: 01/07/08
Posts: 1972

My DS1 was born unexpectedly early at 33 weeks 4 days. He spent 17 days in the NICU and I wasn't able to breastfeed him at first. I rented a hospital grade pump, they had them readily available at the hospital, and started pumping every 2 to 3 hours around the clock. It is tiring, especially trying to get in your pump sessions and spend time with the baby in the NICU but you have to pump that often to stimulate your supply since the baby can't and you need a high grade pump. I ended up with loads of milk to freeze...still keep up pumping often even if you get way ahead of her demand.

When I brought DS home I had only been able to attempt bfing him I think twice in the hospital and we started out at 1 bfing session in a 24 hour period and then worked on replacing 1 bottle feeding session per day over time until we worked up to EBF. I'm not going to tell you it was easy but it was very worth it. I did end up EBFing my DS before it was over. I think the only reason we made it was because I had my mind set and was determined we would not give up.

You can totally do it too. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have, I'll try to answer them. You can PM me too if you'd like. :goodluck:

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

my story...

After delivering at 33w5d, I started pumping within hours I'd the birth. They provided containers and labels. My NICU is very pro-breast milk and encourages pumping even if you don't want to nurse once they are at home. Feedings are very scheduled and they either want a full nursing session or the full volume of breast milk. if the baby is not gaining weight, they will fortify the milk with more calories.

initially in the NICU, they aren't on full feeds and get most of their nutrition from an IV. Once they start having BM/formula, it will be through a nose tube (gavage). They do it gradually to get the gut ready for the full volume of milk.

For me, dd2 slept a lot. We started trying bottles around 34w and BF shortly after. When I BF, she had a horrible latch and would be exhausted after 1-3 minutes and fall asleep. The nurses would let me try to nurse her but until she could actually nurse, they would set the gavage feeding up at the same time so she would associate nursing with feeling full. Drinking a bottle would make her sleep through the next feeding. BF would make her sleep through the next 2 feedings. It took 2 weeks for her to drink a full bottle.

I tended to encourage bottle feeding and attempted to BF about 4 times a week. Once we got her home, I used the days dd1 was at preschool to just sit there and be available to nurse. After a week at home she was nursing half the time. It took about 6w at home to get her to nurse at anytime.

My advice
1. double pump. get a bra to let you and double pump every 3 hours (10 minutes or 1-2 minutes after milk stops). There is a pump at the hospital and most insurances cover pumps for NICU babies. my hospital took care of it all for me. if your baby actually nurses for 20 minutes, you don't need to pump.

2. keep a notebook tracking how often you are pumping and how much. This will help a LC help you and let you see progress.

3. I needed a nipple shield and apparently that is common with NICU babies.

4. ask for help and let the nurses know your plan. if something isn't working, they might have suggestions.

5. pump after kangaroo care

6. Time and age really help with ability to BF

7. Don't worry about bottles screwing things up. As long as you have the milk and put in the time, she will be able to BF.

Being able to eat was our main obstacle for coming home. I did see lots of babies born before 30w able to BF. Feel free to ask more!

Joined: 12/11/02
Posts: 485

Morked on breat y first son was born at 34 weeks and 1 day. We worked on bfing while he was in the NICU. I also pumped too.

My younger son was born at 26 weeks and 3 days. I am currently pumping but will eventually get to bfing

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I just wanted to add that normally, I hate pumping. However, when your baby is in the NICU, it is kind of surreal because you know you've had a baby but you have no baby at home. Pumping was kind of therapeutic for me because it was the only thing I could do at home to help my baby.

Joined: 06/24/12
Posts: 252

"~scifigal~" wrote:

Morked on breat y first son was born at 34 weeks and 1 day. We worked on bfing while he was in the NICU. I also pumped too.

My younger son was born at 26 weeks and 3 days. I am currently pumping but will eventually get to bfing

Oh my!! I had not seen a post that you delivered! What happened, hun?

Joined: 06/24/12
Posts: 252

Thanks so much for the answers ladies! I will be bookmarking this page, and sending you a PM when I deliver!

Clarkton's picture
Joined: 01/07/08
Posts: 1972

Also wanted to add that as soon as you deliver, even if babe is in the NICU, get in touch with the LC in the hospital. Some are not that great but I have had really good experience with them where I have delivered. The NICU/hospital where I deliverd DS1 was very pro bfing and pumping for him and the LC was a great help with getting me started pumping and with tips on how often / how long to pump, etc.

batbird's picture
Joined: 08/29/06
Posts: 325

Only thing I really want to add here, IS DO NOT STIMULATE NOW!!! Nipple stimulation can trigger labor.
Now, the best thing for milk production, relax, you can do it. Stress will hinder milk production.

Joined: 06/24/12
Posts: 252

Thank you very much! I do know not to stimulate my nipples now. I just will do anything in my power to make sure I have a supply that is enough(*fingers crossed* more than enough) for my youngest. I had a barely there supply with my daughter, and I am truly hoping that has solely to do with my age, I was 16 at the time. Thanks again everyone! Wishing you all health and happiness, now and in the future!