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Hey ladies! My names Brittany, I have a 3 yr old son Jake and I had twin girls Sophie and Emily on April 16. I've been pumping for them for about 3 weeks now. One was in the nicu for 5 days for being small (she was 4lbs 1oz) and had a really weak suck so she couldn't effectively BF. The other one BF well but I found it hard to keep up with BFing one and pumping for the other so I went with just pumping.
Anyway, I just had a few questions for you...
1. How long should I be pumping for each session? It seems to take about a half hour to completely empty my breasts. It's like I have a really slow flow or something. I have to go to the let down phase about 3 times to get the milk going again and it only flows for a minute or two and then it's done. But if I wait for a while more will usually come out.
2. I'm only getting about 3oz per session. I've been taking Domperidone and pumping every two hours during the day and at least twice at night. I've increased from making a quarter oz from each breast to 1.5oz per each breast. It's definitely going up but I'm wondering if there's any hope in me getting to like 5oz per session? My milk never fully came in so I've had to work really hard to get to where I am now.
I am Carin and I am an EPer for my daughter Jocelyn. I am not EPing by choice. I wanted to BF but my daughter was born 3 weeks early and has moderate hypotonia ( low muscle tone). She had a weak suck and I have been pumping since she was born.
I have another special needs child in addition to Jocelyn but I commend you for wanting to feed your babies BM. The one thing my LC told me when I was faced having to EP is that the baby is the best thing to keep a supply going. Because of this, I let my daughter comfort nurse(non nutritive feed) whenever she let's me (mainly at night when she is half asleep) to stimulate me, then I go pump milk and I yield at least an ounce more than I would have if she didn't just suckle at the breast. Sometimes I need a break and will go and pump and not let her suckle but I crave that BFing relationship I believe she deserves.
When my daughter was 3 weeks old, I was pumping for 9-10 times a day for 30 mins each session. I drank 120 oz liquids, took an herb capsule called "Lactation Blend" and I was on Reglan. I did two-3 week cycles of Reglan with a 2 week break between cycles. I ate one cup of oatmeal each morning and drank a beer each night. I still currently do the capsules, beer and liquid but I am down to 7 pumps a day( I just dropped my last pump , my MOTN pump just in the last couple weeks)
When I pump, I massage the breasts during the letdown. I letdown almost right away and it lasts a couple minutes and then it is like ten minutes before the second letdown and then another ten minutes before the third letdown. Our breasts truly never empty so I only go for three Letdowns or 35 minutes which ever comes first. Some women respond to a pump much better than others. Your output is totally normal. A 5 oz output per session would be considered an over supply but to an EPer an over supply is a great thing. The oz per session will vary greatly as it depends on a lot of factors. I get way more in the morning than in the evening.
Keep in mind you are only three weeks into this journey. It takes 12 weeks at least to establish a stable BM supply. I saw increases in output until 15 weeks in and then I stabilized. I was pumping about the same as you were at three weeks and I was up to 55-60 oz a day at 15 weeks. I am now at 48 oz per day because I dropped my MOTN pump.
If you haven't visited kellymom :: Breastfeeding and Parenting I would. There are excellent tips on EPing and supply. I won't lie. EPing is a pain in the *****. I have to feed her bottles, pump, then wash bottles and sanitize pump parts. Plus I am replacing various parts every couple weeks. I have surrendered my large freezer to store milk so I can have my freedom back in a couple months. I haven't been able to wear a real bra in months as my nipples are raw at times. My baby is worth all of it. I just want you to think twice before going the EPing route. Have you talked to an LC about the weak suck or to see how you can possibly BF one and bottle feed the other?
I am sorry if I am offending you at all. I just have been down the road and if I could change anything, it would be that I wouldn't have given up so easily to giving her a bottle. I know that whatever decision you make is going to be right for your family. The biggest battle with EPing is and will always be keeping your supply up. I hope that you have a really good double electric pump and a hands free bra IMO is going to be your best friend. EPing is harder than BF and FF combined.
As far as answering the question of whether you could get 5 oz per session. If you mean every 2 hours then I would say that expectation is unrealistic. I am getting one oz per hour per breast and I am considered to have oversupply. Try not to focus on the number of oz right now as you are most likely producing enough to feed your babies. Just make sure you never miss a session and if you can try to get one session ahead of your babies. I had to resort to setting an alarm for the night time pump when she slept through the night when I was still pumping in the night.
You are doing a great job! Every drop counts. I am sorry for my long reply but since Jocelyn made me an EPer I am rather passionate when I hear about someone else deciding to EP. It's a tough job but you can do it.
If you are able, I would definitely suggest talking with a lactation consultant, they would be able to offer hands on help if you want to try BFing and offer advice on pumping.
I also ditto doing breast compressions while pumping, this usually helps yield some more milk. Milk making is a demand and supply process, the more you demand from your body, the more it should start supplying you, but it can take a few days to catch up with that demand.
I have EP'd for over 2 years. It is WAY TOO EARLY to give up any pumping sessions in the middle of the night. At this point, you should be pumping every 2 - 3 hours around the clock. No skipping sessions. Once you hit 8 - 12 weeks, then depending on your supply you may consider cutting back on pumping sessions. The goal of EP'ing (unlike BF'ing) is to build up an oversupply in the beginning bc that freezer stash will help when your LO's hit a growth spurt.
All this advice was based on having just one LO, but since you have twins, you will need to pump even more to be able to keep up with feeding both of them.
Personally I never thought EP'ing was all that bad, I know others are very passionate about things one way or another - but for me EP'ing was just a time commitment. Yes, I had to wash things more (bottles and pump parts) but I'd have had to wash bottles anyway if I had FF and washing the pump parts takes just a couple minutes. and if you use a hands free option, or learn to hold them in place with one hand, leaving your other hand free for other tasks, you can get a lot done while you pump.
For the short time we were able to BF, Kaiden was such a slow & messy eater, that believe me, it was easier and quicker to EP!!
I think you misunderstood what I said and what she asked. She didn't bring up MOTN pumps and I did. My point to her was that even though the LO's begin to STTN I recommend doing the MOTN pumps until 5-6 months of age.
I didn't see if you had ther children other than Kaiden but I can say from experience that having more than one kid and EPing is difficult. I formula fed my oldest at four months and I am here to say that feeding him formula was easier than EPing is now.
At first EPing was easier than BFing when my daughter took an hour to try to nurse then I had to supplement feed her my pumped milk but now thatshe takes a bottle in under 5 minutes I wonder if EPing is really "easier" than bottle feeding alone.
EPing for Jocelyn is a blessing but it is by far not easy. My life revolves around this pump as I schedule my life around my pumping schedule. I just don't believe in making a fairy tale out of EPing. There is another forum I post on in cafemom that is for EPing and I know that any of them would rather BF than EP any day.
I am glad some people have a better experience with EPing than I have. All I am saying is there are a lot of sacrifices given when EPing and time being only one of them.
No, I don't believe I misunderstood - I simply meant my advice was based on having one child, not twins, which is exactly what I said.
You had already commented on her specific questions and I couldn't add more to what you said about those questions except what I offered in conjunction wity your advice about MOTN pumps. She asked for more help in her last statement and I wanted offer my experience. My experience is different from yours. Yes, I would agree your situation is much different from mine. I REALLY don't mean to offend here, truly I don't, and I apologize if this does offend you, but to me your post was kind of negative about EP'ing and since my EP'ing experience has been pretty positive overall, I want people to see more than one opinion about it, KWIM? It doesn't have to be negative OR positive but I think it helps people to see both sides of it all. After all, some people have a positive experience EBF'ing and others don't.
I can't stress enough that every situation is different and although you are very correct in that EP'ing isn't a fairy tale, but it can be as workable as one makes it, depending on their situation.
I consciously chose to make EP'ing a positive experience, and for ME, overall, it was. That's all I'm saying. I wouldn't have been able to do it this long if I hadn't.
Maybe Astrid can chime in, having EP'ed for her triplets.
Thanks for your replies ladies! BFing twins is extremely hard. If I don't tandem feed them I'd be up 24 hours a day. I can't tandem BF unless I have someone to hand me the babies. It's impossible to get them both latched by myself. Since I don't have anyone to help me anymore, pumping it is. I don't mind the pumping anyway.
I am definitely not planning on giving up any night time sessions. I just pump whenever the girls wake up to eat. Usually 1:30, and 4:30 or 5:30. I definitely get the most milk at the 4:30 pump and again when I pump around 7am. I'm just going to keep on keeping on and hope for the best I've read everything on kellymom and numerous other sites as well as all the tips listed on this forum. So I think I'm educated enough now to make this work. Again, thank you so much for all your help. I'll definitely be sticking around in case I need any more help
Britt- I wish you luck and you are doing good with your babies by giving them BM.
Greenchild- offended by what you said- no
Offended by how you said it- yes
Do I feel you misunderstood me- yes
I appreciate you having your input no matter what it may be and yes I agree that people should hear things from more than one person. I don't appreciate being shot down for sharing my opinion on the sole basis of "negativity"
I will agree to disagree with you as if I said anything else it might be like talkin to a wall.
I apologize Britt if I appeared too "negative and argumentative".
That's alright I was offended by how you said what you said as well. I wasn't trying to shoot you down, that is NEVER my intention to anyone, so again, I apologize and please don't take it that way . . . . I am not a wall so please let's not insult each other and keep this thread to its original topic. Things typed can come across differently than they would in person and this may not even have come up if it weren't for having to type instead of speak.
I was a part-time pumping mummy and from my perspective BF'ing was sooooo much easier. I know EP'ing can be done but I would encourage you to keep up a BF relationship if at all possible. As your LO's get older and stronger you'll be able to get them latched by yourself and then I'm sure BF would be easier Heck ... I could barely get one latched in the early days ... let alone two. I hope it works out for you. Feel free to ask any questions you can think of.