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Old 09-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #1
kadiera
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pumping frustrations

Gah!

So, long story short: DS was born 13 weeks early (tomorrow was his official due date). Because of breathing issues, he has still not been allowed to try breast or bottle. I've been pumping since he was born, and it's driving me insane.

Until a week or two ago I was more than keeping up with him by pumping (because he was small enough that he didn't eat much), but I've basically been stuck for the last month and a half at about 9 ounces *per day* of milk, no matter how often I pump, no matter what pump I use (well, no....I had a "Purely Yours" pump and that cut my milk supply in half over the course of a week; replacing it with a hospital pump put me back at 8-9 oz a day within a week).

He hit a growth sprurt just recently, and the NICU is now feeding him about 13 ounces per day (divided by 8 feedings) - and by growth spurt, I mean that he's gained nearly a pound in the last 2 weeks. He was 1 lb 7 ounces when born, and is a little over 5 lb 8 oz now, 3 months later...basically, if he'd been born now, they'd not even have been bothered by his weight and sent him home - breastmilk really is best, apparently, because he's growing just fine with fortified milk, moreso than he was on IV feedings.

The lactation consultant at the NICU says not to worry, because babies are more efficient than pumps, and the fact that I'm as close as I am to keeping up is a good sign. She keeps saying we likely won't have any issues when we get to actually breastfeeding, as do his nurses, because he's totally ready to eat other than not being so good at breathing. He sucks really well and is old enough compared to when he should have been born that he should be able to feed about as well as a newborn would. But I'm still worried - this is one thing that I don't want us to miss out on amidst all the crazy things we missed with him being born so early.

In the meanwhile, the only reason he's not getting formula right now is the stash of milk in the freezer from the weeks when he was IV only and the weeks that he only got about a teaspoon of milk per feeding. And sooner or later he's going to burn through all of it, especially the longer it takes him to get to the point where they'll let him attempt to actually eat rather than feeding him through a tube.

So, I can't easily pump more frequently right now - I'm back at work because we have no idea when he'll actually come home (and I was only eligible for another 3 weeks of leave, which I would have run out of two weeks ago anyway...so by coming back to work, I can take more leave when he does finally come home). I desperately need what sleep I get because my body is still recovering from all the crazy things that led up to our emergency C-section, but I pump at 10 pm, 2 am, and 6 am and sleep in between. Even when I was on maternity leave, pumping 10 times a day for a week didn't get me more milk than pumping 6 or 7 times a day gets me, so I don't know that pumping more would help.

I've got a hospital-grade Medela Lactina at home, and a Pump in Style at work, and I use the Medela classics at the NICU when we're there, so I've got decent pumps.

I started taking fenugreek this weekend to see if it helps.

Other suggestions? What do I gain by changing the suction or speed of the pump? Would using different sized horns make a difference? They don't want to put me on medications just yet - besides the fact that they'd rather let him try to eat first, apparently the drugs can make depression worse, and I am already struggling with that amongst this whole mess.

Thanks.

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
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JuliaMaite
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Re: pumping frustrations

Try eating oatmeal as well. You say you are pumping at 10pm, 2am and 6am put also have a pump at work... do you pump at work? I would add pumping sessions anyway, even if they don't seem to increase...together with oatmeal and fenugreek (and any tea like mother's tea or thistle tea).

Also, I increased my supply (it was going down when I returned to work and started pumping) by doing 'super pumping sessions' 15 minutes, 20 minute rest, 15 minutes... granted, this would have to be done on a weekend unless you have a private office w/ lock, but it did help A LOT!!, just don't expect miracles over night...

I have also read (I don't remember where) that the first three months are critial for your milk supply. Around now is where you should increase it so that your prolactine levels can stay high enough for future months.

GOOD LUCK!! DON'T GIVE UP!!
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:54 AM   #3
kadiera
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Re: pumping frustrations

Right now, I get 7 or 8 pumping sessions in a day - 6 am at home, 9, noon, and 3 pm at work (plus or minus a bit on times depending on how things work out), 6 pm at home, and then 8 and 10 if I'm home or around 9-ish if I'm at the NICU, and then 2 am. (and I try to sleep before and after the 2 am one).

We've got a really nice mothers' lounge here, but my boss would probably get unhappy if I spent all my time in there pumping; but a weekend of trying to get in lots more pumping might work. It's hard though, because I have virtually no time the rest of the week between work, sleep, and the NICU, so I try to get out of the house at least once on the weekend.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:01 AM   #4
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Re: pumping frustrations

Here's something that may help:

http://www.workandpump.com/boosters.htm

Also found as a link:
http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/4092/relax.html

I know it's tiring, but time will go by in a blink of an eye and before you know it, your baby will be xx years old and you will think it was ALL worth it...
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