Milk Production

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.
maxs mom
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Re : Milk Production

Postby maxs mom » Fri Apr 09, 2004 03:33 pm

My son was born at 25 weeks and I pumped the entire time he was in the NICU. I am still pumping and he is 14.5 months old. At first, it was very challenging to pump because I felt I couldn't pump often enough and I wasn't producing enough milk. Here are some things I found useful.

1. Drink a ton of water and eat plenty of food. This is not the time to skimp on calories.

2. Reglan should help a little, I used Domperidone. It's basically the same thing, but Dom costs as much as the bottle of champagne of the similar name, so I would probably stick with the Reglan. The one down side of Reglan is it can cause depression as a side effect, so be careful because you are definitely going through a tough time.

3. Fenugreek has worked for many friends I know. They took 2 capsules with every meal and many saw a slight increase in production.

4. Pump at least 6 times a day. If you have a hard day and only pump 4 times, go back to 6 or 7 the next day. When Max was in the NICU I pumped anywhere from 4-7 times a day. When he got home I pumped 6 times a day, usually around the same time of day, and that helped.

5. Breastfeed as soon as you can!!! Even if the baby doesn't latch on, it is amazing the increase in milk you'll get when you hold your baby close to your chest. It has something to do with hormones. I saw the biggest increase with milk when I was finally able to breasfeed Max (when he was about 12 weeks old, all babies are ready at different times though)

Whatever you do, don't dispair! Any amount of milk you can get for your baby is a huge benefit. And if you are producing more than they are giving your baby, be sure to store it in the freezer and keep it for later. When storing, try to store in bottles instead of bags, it will last longer. And be sure to rotate in the frozen stored milk on a daily basis and freeze new stuff in return (maybe one feeding a day) that way you will always have a store of milk.

I am 100% glad I stuck it out. My son has a severe Milk and Soy allergy and can only tolerate one formula called Neocate. It is VERY expensive and would probably cost about $500 a month if I was feeding him that full time. The allergies did not appear until he was out of the NICU, so you never know with these things.

I wish you the best of luck and please feel free to write me if you have specific questions!

Kara (33)
DH, John (35)
Max, 1/20/03, 25 wks, 534g. (IUGR), severe PE

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Re : Milk Production

Postby raetay » Thu Apr 08, 2004 07:47 pm

I had terrible problems with milk production. I had to go off the pill because it was affecting my production, took Reglan on a monthly basis, plus fenugreek (the herb), and still never made enough. I finally quit pumping at 4 months (my son was never strong enough to breast feed). My doctor said that most women who solely pump end up running out of milk around 4 or 5 months. I did pump frequently, but ended up wearing my body out. So the doctor recommended every three hours through the day and then sleeping six hours at night. It actually helped with my production. It's so hard to struggle with that on top of all the other stress you have in your life right now. It's also hard when all the doctors are telling you that giving your baby breast milk is the single best thing you can do for them, but you just can't do it. Hang in there! And don't guilt yourself if you can't make enough milk.

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Re : Milk Production

Postby emmybree » Thu Apr 08, 2004 04:13 pm

I had the same problem

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Re : Milk Production

Postby catherine » Fri Apr 02, 2004 04:32 pm

Hi Matt's mom... laugh all you like [:I] the nipple stimulation thing works tremendously well!!! The letdown that will result will shower DH so for milk enrichment purposes... better off taking care of it yourself!

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Re : Milk Production

Postby angelkat » Fri Apr 02, 2004 03:41 pm

One thing that hasn't been brought up yet... Try drinking root beer (it really does help!!!) any type of root beer as long as it is root beer. My LC (also one of my best friends) always said to sleep during the night because having a child in the NICU was stress enough and in the morning you will have a nice supply....

Good luck to you...


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~i~ Katlyne(12/9/02-04/02/03) and little bud (Due 09/11/04) ... N=79068509

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Re : Milk Production

Postby matts_mom » Fri Apr 02, 2004 02:45 pm

it's been exactly 8 weeks since my son was born. i pumped every 4 hours in the hospital for 4 weeks, right after bf'ing. i was pumping a grand total of 60cc in 24 hours after 2 weeks. at 4 weeks i was at 100cc in 24 hours. now i pump around 180cc in 24 hours. i tried fenugreek tea while in hospital but it gave me hives. i have two prescriptions, one for domperidone which i used and it helped with letdown. the other i have not tried yet - its for maxoran, which i believe is another name for reglan. i have heard of other things which are supposed to help - drink lots of water and rest often, beer, brewers yeast, root beer, blessed thistle, fenugreek and my personal fav, having dh play with your nipples whenever he can[:D]although not sure about that. when i was pumping in the hospital, talking to dh helped me. i seemed to express more milk when i was talking to him on the fone or in the same room with him. the best for me is just to bf when matthew is hungry, top him up with a bottle, then pump.

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matthew-born Feb 6, 2004, at 34 weeks due to hellp syndrome

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Re : Milk Production

Postby amyk » Thu Apr 01, 2004 09:15 am

The fenugreek caused all sorts of intestinal problems with me, if you catch my drift. I got to the point that just smelling that stuff would make me cramp up.
My doctor then prescribed Domperidone and it worked really well for me. Unlike Reglan, it doesn't have the possible side effect of depression. It is a bit expensive though, and I have to go to a pharmacy that compounds drugs to get it. Still, if I hadn't gotten it, I feel certain that I would have abandoned BF'ing (or actually I should say pumping) altogether.


Chloe (8/6/01) 35 weeks, p/e, hellp
Tristan (9/3/03), 32 weeks, p/e and hellp AGAIN

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Re : Milk Production

Postby hutced » Thu Apr 01, 2004 08:42 am

When I had my daughter at 41weeks I had a heck of a time producing enough and I was doing everything possible, mothers milk tea, pumping after she nursed and I was also told to try brewers yeast tablets, it makes your breast milk and sweet smell like maple syrup. But I would definitaly check with a lactation nurse or your dr before trying this, my daughter was a healthy baby and almost 8 lbs at birth.

I didn't have much trouble with my son 35wks, although I was expecting to, so I did start battling it early. I pumped with a hospital grade pump and I started drinking the mothers milk tea right off the bat. oh and I pumped every 2 hours all day and night and drank tons of water and no caffine!!!

Good luck.

Emily 3-6-02 41 1/2wks, 7lbs15oz
Evan 10-21-03 35wks, 5lbs6oz, PIH/PE (placental abruption)

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Re : Milk Production

Postby tahoe4 » Thu Apr 01, 2004 06:49 am

I didn't have problems with milk production after deliving my 34 weeker. But some things the hospital lactation consultant suggested since I wasn't able to pump until about 4 days after delivery were these things:

1. Pump every 2 hours, even throughout the night. The more often you pump, the better your production will get.

2. Put a warm wet towel (or baby diaper, unused of course[;)]over your chest for a few minutes before pumping.

3. Use a hospital grade pump at least to begin with.

Hope that helps...

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Re : Milk Production

Postby laura » Wed Mar 31, 2004 06:07 pm

The neat thing about mother's milk tea is that it has the herb fenugreek in it, something that you can take in capsule form if the tea doesn't do it for ya (tastewise, I mean)

I had a bit of luck with gatorade (I know, I'm like a broken record about it) and I didn't feel so dehydrated all the time with it. I had more luck with the fenugreek capsules downed with gatorade than the reglan, to tell the truth. I don't think I ever produced more than 4 oz per day, tops, either child though. Good luck- and keep up the good work. 8-10 oz may not be enough to fill a freezer, but every bit helps.

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