Question about pumping and preemies.

I don't really want to get into my story but here are a few facts to help you answer my question.

I don't have a baby but she would have been a preemie. She would be 30 weeks by now.

My breastmilk came in (kind of) so I'm trying to donate it. 

I didn't get the pump till day 4 but was leaking starting day 2.

I only get about 1oz to 2 oz per pumping session.

I've TRIED to do it every 2 hrs but at night sometimes let it slip till 6hrs because I can't wake up.

Obviously I can't do the normal things that women can do to "let their milk down" I have no baby to look at/hear/smell and thinking of it just makes me sad. I can't take lactation drugs or herbs because then I couldn't donate it. Warm compresses and massage don't seem to help...

My question is this. I've been told by several people (not Drs or nurses... just family and friends) that the milk I'm producing would be enough for a preemie and that's why I don't have alot. They go on to say that it will come in eventually and to just keep pumping. I've looked it up online but am getting mixed answers. Since you guys actually HAVE preemies I want to know what kind of results you are getting if you're pumping.

Last but not least. I'm not looking to be praised for what I'm doing. It's just something I have to do because I can. I'm just looking for a honest answer to an honest question...

 Thank you for your help.

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Re: Question about pumping and preemies.

  • My preemies were born 9 weeks ago.  I am not pumping as often as I should.  I pump about 6 times a day rather than the recommended 8-10.  However, I currently get anywhere from 3-5 oz per session. 
  • If you're pumping every 2 hours, getting 2 oz at a time is about right.  From what I understand, your body produces about an ounce an hour.  When I was EPing when my son was in the NICU, I'd get about 3 oz every 3 hours, which is also in line with the 1 oz / hour rate of production.  Now, I pump about 6oz in the morning after my son nurses, and the I pump 2-3 oz every time I pump after that during the work day.  My son is 10 months old.  After my milk supply was established, I was able to sleep 9 hours / night without waking to pump.  Now, I feed my son at 7:30, and he sleeps until 7am.  I don't pump between those hours, and my supply is still good.  You don't say how long it's been since you started pumping, but, if it's been awhile, you may not need to wake to pump anymore.

    I know you aren't looking for sympathy, but I'm so very sorry to read about your daughter.  And I think donating milk in honor of her is an amzing thing.  Milk banks LOVE milk from preemies, and I know it will make a huge difference for someone.  A lot of people on this board (myself included) donated milk.  Let us know if you have any questions about that, too.

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  • What you are pumping sounds exactly right.  I remember giving the NICU 10cc-30cc syringes at first, then going to 1.5 to 2 ounces every 3 hours. 

    I know you aren't looking to be praised, but I wish I had thought to do this when I lost my DD at 20 weeks.  What a great way to honor your little angel.  

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  • BunnyJenny, I'm from the February board and on behalf of your other month board bumpies, we send many thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this time.




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  • I stopped EPing almost 9 months ago, but maybe I can help a bit.

    It took me a few weeks to really get my supply going, and I had to be diligent about pumping every 2-3 hours.  Once I got going though, I didn't have any supply issues.  It took J a good month and a half, almost 2 months before she would regularly take 2oz at a feed (she did have tolerance issues in the beginning, so she couldn't take as much milk).

    If you're getting 1-2oz per session, that will definitely help a preemie, especially a smaller baby. 

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  • Bunny Jenny,

    First of all, I am SO sorry for your loss!  I lost my first at week 18 about a year ago.  My milk came in, which to me seemed the ultimate cruelty.  I didn't know about milk donation, so I stopped mine as best I could with tight bras (which still took weeks!).  With my son being a preemie and my having an oversupply, I am donating, too.  So despite your not seeking the praise, you are an AMAZING MOTHER!!!!  I couldn't have done what you are doing.

    1-2 oz. per pumping is pretty good for a lot of moms (preemie or otherwise).  Some women get a lot more, some get less.  Last time I checked, most milk banks don't have minimum quotas for bereaved mothers, so if you are ok pumping it, they are happy to have it.  If you need a milk bank, I'd be happy to share the info for mine.  

    (I've missed overnight pumpings.  You do what you can, and don't beat yourself up about it.)

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    DD1: BFP July 2010...HG in first tri, MC delivered vaginally at 18 weeks October 2010

    DS: BFP December 2011...SCH at 5 weeks, SBR at 7 weeks, Placental Abruption at 13 weeks, Hospitalized at 25 weeks, pPROM at 28 weeks, PTL via CS at 31 weeks 

    DD2: BFP January 2013...P17 shots, delivered via VBAC at 39 weeks
  • Not to be a downer, but sometimes after having a preemie, milk doesn't come in fully. I pumped for 16 weeks after my daughter was born and it never fully came in the way it should, despite having lactation consultants give suggestions, taking blood tests, etc. Sometimes it just happens that way.

    I'm not saying this to be discouraging, but rather to be encouraging. One of the hardest things is having someone tell you how it "should" go and then wonder why it isn't going that way. If your milk doesn't increase the way you feel it should, it doesn't mean you did anything wrong. Just do your best and trust that whatever you do, it's a good thing.

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