Question....

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gdsgft007's picture
Joined: 08/29/09
Posts: 418
Question....

I am looking for a way to increase my milk supply so that I can start breastfeeding my 7wk old. I was pumping at first because she was in the NICU after birth since she was born at 34wks5days. They were giving her a bottle and I was pumping. I tried to get her to latch on a couple of times and she did. However because she was so small, she didn't stay on for long. I started to give her formula more and pumped whenever I could. Basically when she would allow me to pump. Now the formula is making her very gassey and constipated and I want to go strictly to breastmilk. What can I do to increase my milk supply? It's only been 2 1/2 wks since I attempted to pump. I started to pump again today (and everyday I'd squeeze to see if milk was still there.). Any advice is welcome. It really upsets me to see her in such pain and discomfort.

Thanks in advance.

Joined: 05/23/07
Posts: 88

The best thing you can do to increase your supply right now is to nurse, nurse, nurse! If you can put her to the boob as much as possible, it should help tell your body that it needs to make more milk. I know it is a bit of a catch 22 initially, but frequent nursing sessions should help quite a bit! Good luck and congratulations!

gdsgft007's picture
Joined: 08/29/09
Posts: 418

Thank you so much for that advice. One more question though.....should I also try Mothers Milk? Will that help as well?

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

The "little" things you can eat to help are oatmeal (in any form- some people even say oatmeal cookies!), drinking Mother's Milk tea, and make sure you are drinking LOADS of water yourself. Some people even say dark beer makes their supply increase- don't get drunk, but one beer if you like, might give you a little boost! And yes, just nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse!!!!

Joined: 11/03/05
Posts: 748

If you can, do a nurse in. Spend the day in bed with your DD. Get comfy, with water, snacks and entertainment close at hand. Take off your shirt and cuddle your little one. Put her on the breast every time she stirs.

I've also found that b/f on one side and pumping on the other at the same time works great. You need an electric pump and a bit of skill to juggle both.

Good luck. It might not be easy, but where there is the will, there is a way.

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

You have gotten some great advice! I agree that nursing as much as possible will probably me the most effective. If you want to try oatmeal, Mother's Milk tea, etc, then those things may help as well but probably not as much as simply nursing. I did have good luck with the milk tea when my daughter was going through her growth spurt at 6 months. I nursed constantly but it seemed to give me a little boost. (Or, it could have been my body finally catching up and producing more. Who knows!) Best wishes!

gdsgft007's picture
Joined: 08/29/09
Posts: 418

I have been trying to get her to nurse as much as possible. However she gets so frustrated. Also I try to pump often as well. Thank you ladies for the advice. I am super determined.

Joined: 04/30/09
Posts: 2257

My DD was born at 36 weeks and 4 days (gestational measurement was at 36 weeks even) and we had to give her some formula in the first couple of days because my milk wasn't coming in and she was losing too much weight from not eating. She latched a couple of times, but like your LO, wasn't strong enough to stay on despite having a great sucking reflex. Once my milk came in, I just put her to the boob as much as she wanted. If she didn't nurse, I'd pump to let my body know how much it needed to make. I know it can be really discouraging when they don't just latch on from the get go, but you can do it!

As mentioned above, a nurse in would be great, intaking plenty of water, good foods (3 meals a day and 2 to 3 snacks for baby is what my LC always said) and rest helps. I found mothers milk tea more helpful to me then fenugreek pills, but it was just a "surge" more then an overall production boost. Also, relaxing is a big thing.

If you have one around you, I highly recommend a BFIng support group. My hospital has one and it was invaluable to me in those first few months was invaluable. If not, I'm sure there's an LLL meetup near you.

Congrats on your LO and KUP!

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

My first son was born at 33 weeks 4 days and spent 17 days in the NICU. We had only attempted bfing twice when he came home. I did pump every 2 to 3 hours around the clock from the beginning but even still I struggled with supply issues...or at least the fear that our problems nursing were due to low supply. It was really hard to get him off the bottle and on to the breast but we were successful. It was so worth the struggle in the end. My best piece of advice for any mom with a newborn struggling to nurse is "determination is absolutely key".

I think you've gotten some great advice already but wanted to say you might want to try a supplemental nursing system (SNS). I never used one but was thinking it could be really helpful in your situation while you try to build up a good supply. It will allow your little girl to get fed through a tube while she nurses. It will keep her from getting frustrated at the breast and give you the stimulation you need to increase your supply.

Best of luck! and please KUP Smile

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

"Clarkton" wrote:

My first son was born at 33 weeks 4 days and spent 17 days in the NICU. We had only attempted bfing twice when he came home. I did pump every 2 to 3 hours around the clock from the beginning but even still I struggled with supply issues...or at least the fear that our problems nursing were due to low supply. It was really hard to get him off the bottle and on to the breast but we were successful. It was so worth the struggle in the end. My best piece of advice for any mom with a newborn struggling to nurse is "determination is absolutely key".

I think you've gotten some great advice already but wanted to say you might want to try a supplemental nursing system (SNS). I never used one but was thinking it could be really helpful in your situation while you try to build up a good supply. It will allow your little girl to get fed through a tube while she nurses. It will keep her from getting frustrated at the breast and give you the stimulation you need to increase your supply.

Best of luck! and please KUP Smile

ETA Here's a link to the medela brand just so you can see what it is. HTH

2nd ETA to say...I meant to edit before not quote. Thinking it must be my bedtime. :bonkself:

Joined: 05/23/07
Posts: 88

Super great suggestion from Lynn for the SNS system! Also - great advice from the other ladies. I used More Milk Plus with Mady and it did help...nursing, water (lots and lots), oatmeal, plenty of calories, etc. Great job, momma!

am_leigh79's picture
Joined: 04/25/09
Posts: 23

I'd just like to add thhat you may want to go ahead and schedule an appt. with the outpatient LC. They are much more helpful once you have a baby that is healthy enough to take home.

My Isabelle was 33 weeks, and it was a struggle to get the Dr.s to let me BF. THey wanted me to pump and then feed from a bottle to get her home faster. Being a NICU nurse, I new that it would be really hard to get her back to the breast, so I resisted their advice and put her to breast every 3 hours or so. Even with that, it was difficult with such a small baby that tired easily.

I ended up having to use a nipple shield until she was about 38-39 weeks adjusted age. Then I was able to get rid of it. We have always EBF, even through the hard times.

But, my best advice for BFing a premie is nurse every 2-3 hours (make it your primary job!!!!), get hooked up with an LC you like, and find the LLL in your area and go to a meeting.

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

Duh! The SNS is a great idea for you! We used one at the hospital and for the first couple of weeks at home. It was a LIFE SAVER for us. My DD was 4 weeks early and would just fall asleep as soon as I put her to the breast. We did a lot of skin to skin as well. I think calling an LC and getting an SNS could be very helpful to you.

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

Right now I'm pumping 8 times a day. I find I have to stay more hydrated than when pregnant or else I get horrible headaches. Our NICU LC gives everone a notebook to record when they pump and how much they get. She says that gives her a much better idea of what the supply issue.

I only nurse once a day. I am only up there for 1-2 feeding times. When I first started they tube fed her at the same time so she could get the association of nursing = full tummy. The first 3 times DH or a nurse used a small syringe to drip milk at the corner of DD2s mouth which helped her suck. After that, she would latch but fall asleep after 3 minutes. Initially the very brief nursing session conked her out for the next 2 feedings so they would just tube feed her. After 2.5 weeks, we are at the point where she does a full nursing session. We do skin to skin when I nurse.

At this point, DD2 is pretty eager for nursing so I don't expect it to be a problem to move her from breast to bottle.

Good luck Smile