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My son has a very serious medical condition and is not allowed to eat anything by mouth. For the last 3 few months I have been exclusively pumping and because of some serious GI issues not even able to give him the pumped milk. We have been given the green light that if all stabilizes in the next few months I will be able to start giving him breastmilk in his feeding tube. I am trying my hardest to keep up my milk supply but it is definitely taking a hit. We have been inpatient more than out the last 3 months so my schedule is off. What do you recommend to get back on track?
Definitely pumping as much as possible...when establishing (or re-establishing supply), I've heard some say pump as often as every 2 hours if possible, even during the night. That is pretty demanding, though.
Power pumping may be helpful:
Power pumping is a technique that can be helpful in building a milk supply. For more information on basic pumping techniques, see the pumping section below. Here is a brief explanation of power pumping.
Power pumping involves using regular pumping techniques and setup, but in a unique way. The idea is to mimic a baby who is nursing frequently to increase a mother’s supply, as is common in the nursing relationship during a growth spurt. To power pump, hook-up as you would for a normal pumping session, pump for 10-20 minutes, rest 10 minutes, then pump another 10 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes, then pump again for 10 minutes. The mother does this for about an hour, once per day, to increase supply. At other pumping times during the day, routine pumping is used. It can take about a week to see an increase, so don’t get discouraged.
Some mothers prefer to concentrate their efforts and have a power pumping weekend, called “Power Pumping Boot Camp” by some lactation consultants. They power pump at each pumping for a couple of days before returning to routine pumping.
I don't know how long you pump at each session...I started out just pumping until no more milk was flowing, which was about 10 min or less. At some point, someone gave me the tip to pump for at least 20 minutes, even if nothing was coming out. What I found was that I'd often get a second (or third) letdown. It was also providing additional stimulation.
Fenugreek helps some people...never helped me much. Brewer's yeast did, though. I used to to bake lactation cookies, which did help my supply. I have a recipe I can track down if you're interested.
Massaging while pumping helped me pump more, and also, hand expressing for a few minutes after pumping helped...sometimes I'd get an extra ounce from each breast just by hand expressing for a minute or so after turning off the pump.
Those are some of the things that helped me. Best of luck to you...ask away if you have more questions!
Are you pumping for your little one? Planning to pump?
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Very good article, thank you for the link. The section on breastfeeding grief/redefining success describes so clearly what I went through with our nursing issues. I've never heard of Power Pumping. At this stage, that sounds much more doable than trying to pump every two hours again.