My baby has been in the NICU for a month. I have been pumping 10 times a day for three weeks. I only get 14-15 oz a day and I am sick of it!
Nurses started making comments about it a few days ago and giving me advice. I am sick of drinking the gross tea. And oatmeals products are starting to taste bland. And if someone tells me to "just pump MORE" again, I might hit them.
Everyone keeps saying not to give up but I am starting to feel anxiety and anger. People say that its not natural to have a small production. Do they know it hurts?
I know when I tell the doctors again, they are going to urge me to continue for the sake of his health. Well, if I wont be able to provide enough in a few weeks, what can I do? Do they think it will magicially get better?
I feel so guilty and frustrated. Can someone give me some advice? Has anyone else dealt with this?
My first was a NICU baby. I pumped until he got to his due date, it was very difficult.
A couple of things; it should not hurt to pump.
Do you have a hospital pump, or a double personal pump; either Ameda or Medela; really no other brand is adequate to build and maintain a full supply for an exclusively pumping mom.
Suction? You do not need it set on high, for me I get maximum milk with the suction and cycle both set to about 1/2 way.
The flange? For me one of my nipples is larger than the other. With a regular flange it hurt, my nipple rubbed inside the tube and I got very little milk from that side, once I changed the flange
things got better. Same could be happening if you needed a smaller flange and too much of the areola was being pulled into the flange.
A little milk or even olive oil to lubricate the flange can help too.
I'd suggest finding a lactation consultant who can help assess your pumping to see if the problem lies there.
I'd also like to say that you are doing very well, it's not easy for sure. ANY amount of breast milk you can supply will provide great benefits for your baby. Your body knows your baby was premature and your milk will be quite different from that of a mother of a full term baby, it is making exactly what your baby needs to be healthy. Unfortunately for me once my preemie came home my milk supply dwindled, looking after a sick baby and exclusively pumping didn't work out for me and he never was able to nurse. I am very glad I was able to provide what I did, you should be very proud of yourself for doing this and for still trying when things are difficult. Hopefully some of my suggestion may help.
Thank you for the response.
When I said it hurt, I meant the comments people make.
I switch between two flange sizes, hoping to see a difference. I dont.
I pump at the lowest suction and highest speed. Its the only way I really get anything.
The lactation consultant is horrible. She is very confrontational
Oh, I am so sorry. You really do sound frustrated. You are doing great, giving your baby any breast milk at all is extremely beneficial, especially at this difficult time. Set yourself small a small goal; eg until baby gets home, then re ***** where you are at, you may decide that is enough, you may decide you want to go another week, two weeks, month, set small goals. Take one day at a time and let the staff at the hospital know you are doing the best you can given the circumstances.
One other thing I forgot to mention; make sure you pump during the night too. Allow yourself a couple of 4 hour stretches between pumps so you get enough rest but don't go longer. Try to pump somewhere between 3am and 5am, prolactin levels are highest then and can help boost your supply.
I wish you all the best, I really do. My NICU experience was 8 years ago, I'll never forget how hard it was. You are in my thoughts.
Your feelings are common and I can’t imagine how hard this must be on you, so first off, I want to give you a pat on the back for making this long. You’ve been providing your baby w/ such great benefits. Pumping should not be causing pain as Mum2beagain said & I’m glad you elaborated on this saying your feelings are hurt, not your nipples.. Another thing about using the wrong flange size is it can also affect supply since a size too small can restrict milk ducts.
With pump only moms, they experience only great amounts of prolactin (via milk removal) and not enough oxytocin (via nipple stimulation), If you stimulate your nipples before pumping (particularly slight stretching and massage) you will get more of this needed hormone to increase supply.
If you want to do less pumping and *TRICK your body into thinking you’re doing more, try this form of “power pumping” –Nipple stimulation (couple minutes of massage and stretching), 5 mins pumping, 5 mins absolutely no pumping or stimulation (take flanges off), and 5 mins more pumping. This will have tricked your body into 2 feedings in only 15 minutes.
We are here for you sister. You can vent to us anytime and we will help you in any way we can, even if it’s just to tell you that you’re doing an awesome job.
i won't reiterate the techniques, since what they said above is true. But I also had to pump and was also sooo tired of it and frustrated in the beginning. So I also set shortterm goals and that's what got me through it mentally. I'd tell myself I'd give it until Friday and then decide if i want to quit. Sure enough when friday came around, I always decided to extend my deadline. but for some reason, this really helped psychologically.
I agree that you should try power pumping and see if it helps.
have you tried a manual pump? i had great results with the harmony. may the electric pump's setting just aren't compatible with your body.
and finally, i always noticed that my supply dropped drastically when i was stressed out and tired. Cut yourself some slack, take a deep breath, and be proud of what have managed to do so far despite the difficulties. you are certainly doing the very best you can- you shouldn't hold that against yourself but rather be proud.
TiredbutHappy also had a really good idea on the manual! That is a great way to mimic a baby's sucking pattern. I like switching as well while I'm at work. (I use hand expression, manual, and hospital grade at work, when I'm away from baby/rarely, I use my pump in style advanced.)
I've found that switching the pressure and the speed around to better match a baby's sucking pattern (which should never be rhythmic when getting adequate milk transfer, but sounds sporadic) helps as well.
im going to ask a silly question... are you sleeping? i know with nicu babies and pumping around the clock sleep can be one of the things overlooked as your baby is not physically with you.
I asked this because when i was pumping i would get the most output after a good amount of sleep. Again, as someone else said pumping in the middle of the night is crucial too since you make more milk then....
also, watch your fluid intake. it can keep you hydrated aand help you make more milk.
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