Breastfeeding Preemies — The Bump

Breastfeeding Preemies

I am a FTM and had my twins at 30 weeks 6 days (currently 6 weeks old at 36 weeks 6 days). We attempted bf a few times in the NICU with little to no success. The most one of the twins took in a 15 minute session was 8 mls and I think that was a fluke! :) I got quite frustrated and felt like I was doing something wrong. In order to get them home they needed to take all of their feedings so we went to all bottles. We have been home now for just over a week and I try to bf once in awhile but most of the time we are unsuccessful. Tonight I tried again and am sooo very excited that we had a successful 20 minute session with one of the twins. I pumped first for a few minutes to get my letdown. She latched right away which is typical and sucked and continued this pattern for a bit and got mad. I switched positions and she latched and sucked for about 20 minutes before she fell asleep. I know she was sucking and swallowing so there was intake. I offered her 20 mls in a bottle after which she took and then another 20 mls which she again tool. So she bf for 20 minutes and got 40 mls after in a bottle. (She typically takes 80 mls from a bottle) Here are my questions:

1. How long is a typical bf session with a preemie/newborn?

2. Since only 1 twin is bf, would you pump on both sides after to keep up my supply?

With the other twin he has issues with his tongue. He likes to keep it to the roof of his mouth. With a solid bottle nipple it is a little easier to coax him to let it down but with bf he doesn't drop it and gets very frustrated. He definitely is very interested and will latch when he drops his tongue down but doesn't suck for long. Any tips on how to help him learn to put his tongue down?

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Re: Breastfeeding Preemies

  • I second the suggestion to try a nipple shield with your son. DD was born at 31 weeks 3 days and we started regularly trying to BF in the NICU her last week (she was there 1 month). The nipple shield helped her latch and stay latched for a while. I always fed her on both sides, and about 20 minutes on each side, sometimes longer. At first I pumped afterwards, but then it just became too much since she took so long to nurse. It would take like an hour to nurse her, a half hour to pump, and then she would be ready to eat again. If your daughter is only nursing one on side or not for very long, I would still pump both sides or at least hand express into a bottle until you don't get much out. It's important to empty the breasts to keep your supply up. If she nurses on both sides though for at least 15 minutes I think that you might not need to pump. How much do you usually get from each side when you pump? If possible, I'd try to breast feed your DD for every feeding. I know with twins that might not be possible. But the more you do it, the better she'll get at it! I've had major supply issues and have seen an LC since the beginning, so let me know if you have any more questions! Good luck!

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  • I agree with pp's and would say try the NS for ds. Allow dd to feed without it if possible. I would also pump both sides after. Especially if you are making milk for two.

    And great job mama!! You are doing so great! Bf'ing a preemie is tough. Bf'ing two is a superpower!

    Also if you go on the bf'ing board they have great advice but can be negative about ns's. For us it was ns or nothing at first. If you are working with a LC or can see one they can find the right size for you and ds.

    Our little hippo was as impatient as mom!

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    Hoping for a full 40 weeks!! 

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    [Deleted User]
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  • Im really new to this breastfeeding thing, but I just had my first successful feeding with my little guy due to the nipple shield he got a much better latch and actually had a full feeding!!  
  • Another vote for the ns here! We used it for almost 22 months. Dd wouldn't latch in the beginning and then wouldn't latch without it! So we kept using it. Good luck!
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  • I use the nipple shield with my smaller boy, Halen.  He nurses like a champ with it!!!

    Me:34  DH: 29

    Married: 7/10/10

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    Many failed IUIs with clomid, femara, and ovidrel

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  • Thanks for all the help and advice! Due to being on fortifier still they're getting mostly bottles. I got a ns and ended up getting another one! When we BF they both use one and do great!! They nurse for 20-30 minutes and I think all involved enjoy it better! I have hope of being ebf in the near future more than I did before! :)
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