Breast Feeding a Prem Baby

(30 Posts)
FraggleRock77 Sun 01-Dec-13 11:12:11

I've posted a few questions but just for info our boy is 6 Wks old and 36 Wks gestation. I'm currently breast feeding him every three hours.
Before BF was established i was double expressing after every feed but now I'm just making sure the fed off breast is empty (although i know they never fully empty).
Some conflicting advice on NICU causing confusion. I'm worried my milk will slow/diminish as he is not full term. Any advice/guidance please??? smile

NewToAllThis11 Sun 01-Dec-13 13:07:57

Hello - I'm bf my DS who was born at 27wks. When I was bf on demand in hospital I started only expressing when I felt I needed to (boobs feeling sore and full) and once he came home I stopped altogether because I didn't need to.
Is your ds still in hospital and, if so, is he having any other milk, or top ups not from you? I think your milk supply will adjust itself based on how much your baby takes once you are feeding on demand. I was so fed up with expressing after doing it so much in hospital!
It sounds like it's going well so try not to worry too much - I know that's easier said than done.
Feel free to pm me or ask any questions on here. My DS is 8months old now (5 corrected) and I'm planning to continue with bf for as long as he wants.

FraggleRock77 Sun 01-Dec-13 13:37:36

Thank you for the reply. He only has two bottle top ups in 24 hours of 40ml of my milk. No BMF or any other supplements. I suppose i am worried that as his hunger grows my milk production won't pick up to that of a new born baby xx

NewToAllThis11 Sun 01-Dec-13 16:47:37

It sounds like he's doing really well. You should produce more milk as your DS needs it, so the more he feeds, the more you produce. I was a bit skeptical about this, but it did work. I found it much, much easier once DS came home because I could just feed him whenever, including overnight obviously. I know this is stating the blindingly obvious, but he has to be in a schedule in hospital, but he'll probably want to feed a lot more once he's home and your supply will adjust itself accordingly. X

FraggleRock77 Sun 01-Dec-13 16:58:56

Thanks New, it's a bit confusing when you get different advice plus i too am skeptical about the supply/demand status. I just don't want to dry up as it does not feel like my LO empties my breast yet. Again i know they never empty but at least feel a lot lighter. I will just have to have faith and eat more chocolate!!!!! Xxx

Mandy21 Sun 01-Dec-13 22:53:54

Hi I agree with new. I was b/f twins, also born at 27 wks and the feeding at hospital is quite regimented. I think as you get ready to go home, and once there, you might end up with a more 'feeding on demand' routine rather than a 3 or 4 hrly routine. I think if that happens your breasts will be getting lots of milk stimulation - and make more as a result, so you don't need to express.

If your baby is in a good routine though and manages to stick with it, I would maybe express (in these early weeks) from both boobs after the morning / breakfast feed. That way your body is getting a bit of extra stimulation which should encourage production.

The only thing I would also maybe consider is expressing when he has the 2 bottles - that way your body is producing enough for all of the feeds if you ever want to go down that route.

I also thought (when I was getting 1 or 2ml after expressing for 20mins!) that I'd never produce enough milk to feed 2 babies, but I did. Nature is a wonderful thing.

Congratulations.

Dd was born at 35 weeks and for the first few days she was fed via a ng tube, so didn't bf at all. However she went on to be ebf for six months and is now on the 75th centile. So I'm sure you will be fine.

If you are worried about supply then the best thing to do is offer feeds regularly. Dd was very sleepy in the early days and had to be woken for feeds.

You could post the same question in the breast and bottle feeding section as I got some great advice there.

Poppet45 Mon 02-Dec-13 17:46:50

Well bliddy done on getting this far OP. As of last month I just weaned my ebf ex 27 weeker after 2 years and 3 months. Fwiw we ditched the three or four hourly nicu schedule as all bf babies and esp teeny prems need to feed more often than that. Nicus kind of work on a bottle routine and dont really know much about bfing. Dd was on top ups for about a month - I used an supplemental nursing system (google it) and we also used to syringe in the fatty cream from my expressed milk stash to bulk her up too. Shes had alot of issues with reflux, cmpi, tongue tie, zinc deficiency and pneumonia, and is still dairy and soya free to reduce her reflux so not much chance to fatten her up but shes only just under the average weight for a term Waking for feeds every two hours in the day and 4-5 hours at night really helped her in the early days. As did ditching top ups early for my sanity so I could do something other than feed, express, top up and sterilise.

FraggleRock77 Mon 02-Dec-13 20:40:42

Thanks Poppet, and well done you too. You've obviously done a great job. Really helpful to hear all these positive stories and advice. I just can't wait to get home and to get into my own routine xx

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 00:51:15

My DS (now 8 weeks old) was 35 weeks, he was not great at breast feeding so would have a top up of ebm at every feed . He was 4 hourly at first but went to demand as he started to understand how to feed. Once we got home after 10 days I continued to express and top up for a few days, but as his feeding improved and he just took his fill of breast I stopped topping up as he's getting all he needs from me. He's piling on the weight now with lots of dirty nappies.

You really will produce as much milk as your baby needs. Even when he goes through growth spurts and feeds every hour, there's as much milk as he needs there.

Hope things work out for you!

FraggleRock77 Mon 20-Jan-14 09:13:43

Thanks Cluck. DS is now formula fed as he just wouldn't settle at my breast. The Consultant advised me last wk to give up expressing what i could to mix his feeds as i could not keep up (only 10ml out one breast). Maybe i will have the breast feeding dream next time! Xx

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 17:29:34

I'm sure you'll feel much happier now, you'll be able to get a good routine going and at least other people will be able to do some feeds for you!

Good luck and enjoy your little one!

FraggleRock77 Mon 20-Jan-14 18:16:29

Thanks Cluck, after three months i do NOT miss the expressing. No routine however, DS is a feeding machine and rarely sleeps for long! smile

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 18:55:16

I know how you feel Fragglerock!! DS is starting to settle into a bit more of a pattern, just over a growth spurt when he was feeding constantly....exhausting!
We just have to tell ourselves it won't last forever smile. Let me know how you get on. X

FraggleRock77 Mon 20-Jan-14 19:18:39

How old is your LO? Our DS is 3 months actual and 3 Wks corrected. I'm really hoping it gets better soon, I'm exhausted. Potentially 6 months of having a new born plus 7 Wks in NICU! Do you have an evening routine? X

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:11:40

He's 9 weeks actual and was almost 5 weeks early. We were in Scbu for 10 nights, he had glucose and jaundice issues and hadn't worked out how to feed properly....not majorly serious problems but still worrying and stressful (our hospital was brilliant!).

We have a very loose routine as like your lo he's really only a few weeks old. We get up properly around 8am when he wakes me and I feed him and get breakfast for me and oh while he's being changed. Most of the day is spent feeding, changing and maybe Time on his play may or just some singing or lying in his basket looking around. We try and get out to shop or cafe or a walk (I'm lucky that oh work fits around that). I try and get our dinner around 5 but rarely get to eat It on time. The evening is feeding, changing and the occasional bath which he hates! The past week has been much better as I've gone to bed with him around 8, fed him and put him down while I fall asleep watching tv and we both sleep til about midnight. Then we feed and sleep through the night with varying degrees of sleep (I always go and feed in the front room with tv and snacks to keep awake)

It's absolutely exhausting and doesn't always stick to that routine, but it is getting slightly better. Sorry to drone on with all the boring details,

How about you? Are you getting any routine or rest? X

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:12:15

He's 9 weeks actual and was almost 5 weeks early. We were in Scbu for 10 nights, he had glucose and jaundice issues and hadn't worked out how to feed properly....not majorly serious problems but still worrying and stressful (our hospital was brilliant!).

We have a very loose routine as like your lo he's really only a few weeks old. We get up properly around 8am when he wakes me and I feed him and get breakfast for me and oh while he's being changed. Most of the day is spent feeding, changing and maybe Time on his play may or just some singing or lying in his basket looking around. We try and get out to shop or cafe or a walk (I'm lucky that oh work fits around that). I try and get our dinner around 5 but rarely get to eat It on time. The evening is feeding, changing and the occasional bath which he hates! The past week has been much better as I've gone to bed with him around 8, fed him and put him down while I fall asleep watching tv and we both sleep til about midnight. Then we feed and sleep through the night with varying degrees of sleep (I always go and feed in the front room with tv and snacks to keep awake)

It's absolutely exhausting and doesn't always stick to that routine, but it is getting slightly better. Sorry to drone on with all the boring details,

How about you? Are you getting any routine or rest? X

Cluck71 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:12:15

He's 9 weeks actual and was almost 5 weeks early. We were in Scbu for 10 nights, he had glucose and jaundice issues and hadn't worked out how to feed properly....not majorly serious problems but still worrying and stressful (our hospital was brilliant!).

We have a very loose routine as like your lo he's really only a few weeks old. We get up properly around 8am when he wakes me and I feed him and get breakfast for me and oh while he's being changed. Most of the day is spent feeding, changing and maybe Time on his play may or just some singing or lying in his basket looking around. We try and get out to shop or cafe or a walk (I'm lucky that oh work fits around that). I try and get our dinner around 5 but rarely get to eat It on time. The evening is feeding, changing and the occasional bath which he hates! The past week has been much better as I've gone to bed with him around 8, fed him and put him down while I fall asleep watching tv and we both sleep til about midnight. Then we feed and sleep through the night with varying degrees of sleep (I always go and feed in the front room with tv and snacks to keep awake)

It's absolutely exhausting and doesn't always stick to that routine, but it is getting slightly better. Sorry to drone on with all the boring details,

How about you? Are you getting any routine or rest? X

FraggleRock77 Tue 21-Jan-14 07:10:31

Oh poor you. We sound like we have the same life at present!!! Our DS wakes every two hours to feed overnight and feeds frequently in the day time too. I don't do anything else but feeding and nappies! We've had issues with constipation/reflux too which appear to be resolving with Gaviscon/laxatives. I'm holding onto the 'it gets easier' idea. He does settle at night though and seems to understand dark/quiet is bedtime. We bought a really cheap looking frog off amazon, it mimics a heart beat which he likes. X

FraggleRock77 Tue 21-Jan-14 07:12:27

I also go in the lounge to feed but trying to avoid the snacks as no longer breast feeding! Chocolate always forms part of my day though. The 'coping' food as i call it!! X

Cluck71 Tue 21-Jan-14 08:51:05

Yes, at least the constant breast feeding means I can have extra guilt free calories....although I'll haved to be weaned of them when he is!
It's good to speak to other people in the same boat, lets hang on to the it gets better!!!

Does your lo enjoy a bath? Ours doesn't have many but he doesn't like them at all x

FraggleRock77 Tue 21-Jan-14 10:46:29

It is great to share the stress and get ideas on MN. Our LO loves baths. Have you tried immersing the ears under the water plus we have twinkle lights above the table where we use the baby bath and turn all other lights off. He is only bathed twice a wk though x

Cluck71 Tue 21-Jan-14 12:29:07

Oo....will try that! X

Cluck71 Fri 24-Jan-14 11:21:06

Ah! Little chap is going through another growth spurt I think, pretty constant feeding and fewer dirty nappies like last time....I'm wondering if prem babies have more growth spurts. Seriously thinking of starting mixed feeding as I need some sleep (and will help when he's being looked after by someone else) will have to be formula as I can't keep up with expressing!
Driving out to country cafe for lunch today, at least I'll get some sleep in the car! smile

FraggleRock77 Fri 24-Jan-14 12:15:47

We think that our DS is having constant growth spurts, hence starting mixed feeds. We keep being told he will sleep for much longer before being hungry at night again indicating the need to wean, but it has not happened yet and only six Wks until we can possibly wean.
Full formula fed in the last two Wks. So much easier now for DH to help with the two hourly feeds/top ups. He's throwing on over 10oz a wk. We are giving him HIPP milk ready made.
Xx

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