Milk supply for preemies

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by paperclippy, May 13, 2013.

  1. paperclippy

    paperclippy Well-Known Member

    Hi folks! My twin girls were born two weeks ago at 31w3d and are in the NICU. I'm pumping and my supply has been gradually increasing and is now up to about 25oz/day. I'm wondering if it is going to keep increasing steadily, since from what I've read I will need about 60oz/day to feed both of them once they're able to come home. Right now they're each getting about 1oz per feeding 8x/day (via tube feeding) so I'm oversupplying and freezing the extra, but I'm assuming as they grow they're going to need more and more milk. One of the lactation consultants at the hospital said that there are medications I can take to increase my supply, but if it keeps increasing at the rate it has been (adding 1-2oz/day) I *think* I will have enough by the time they are ready to come home, which is going to be at least 4 more weeks.

    So I guess my question is, for those of you who started out pumping with preemies in the hospital, did your supply increase steadily? Were you able to provide enough milk when they came home?
  2. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My supply was a bit all over the place for the first few months. Up and down, had some trouble after a difficult bout of mastitis, went on motilium for a while. It did seem to take a long time for my supply to meet their demand and it didn't really happen fully for me until we were breastfeeding exclusively.

    Have you thought about your long term goals with breastfeeding? At this point, do you think you'd like to continue pumping exclusively or are you hoping to breastfeed exclusively, or do a combo? It's also okay to not have an answer to this question and just take it day by day. But sometimes knowing where you'd like to be in 2 weeks, 6 months or next year can help inform your decisions now.

    I would say that for now, if it's working, continue to do what you're doing. If supply growth starts to taper off, there are lots of things you can do to help increase your output, up to and including medication if needed. But you may find you never need it, you know?
  3. paperclippy

    paperclippy Well-Known Member

    Ultimately I would like to do a combination of pumping and breastfeeding. I'm planning to go back to work full time so I won't be able to breastfeed exclusively, but I would like to breastfeed when I'm at home with them. Also, the doctors say when they come home from the NICU they will still need to have fortifier added to milk for half their feedings, so their goal is 4 breastfeeding sessions and 4 bottles of fortified breastmilk per day.

    Thanks for the advice!
  4. weegus

    weegus Well-Known Member

    My supply did increase steadily. I pumped every three hours day and night for quite some time. 25 oz. a day is awesome!! When I read that you saw that they needed 60 oz per day by the time they come home, I was like WHOA... that seems WAY too high!!!!! I went back to my pumping and feeding records (yep, I kept track and still have my notes), to see what my twins were getting. When we went home, they were getting 1.5-2 oz per feeding for a total of at most 32oz per day total(plus I was trying to breast feed). Here is roughly where we were by age:

    2 months - 48 oz total per day (3oz 8x per day each) - I was pumping close to 68 oz per day by 3 months.
    4 months - 48 oz total per day (4oz 6x per day each)
    6 months - 60 oz total per day (6oz 5x per day each + introduced solids)
    9 months - 64 oz total per day (8oz 4x per day each + solids)

    I was able to exclusively pump for 10 months before my supply started going down (cut out one too many pumping sessions... couldn't get my supply back up after that). I did not take any supplements to increase supply but I did drink a TON of water, ate oatmeal regularly, and drank Guinness beer a couple times per week (all things I had read help supply). I was required to fortify their breast milk with Neosure formula until close to 4 months for weight gain so with the added calories of the formula, they may not have drank as much when compared to just regular breast milk. And maybe this is more information than you needed, but I hope you weren't stressing over getting your supply up to 60oz per day in just a few weeks!!! You are doing great!

    ETA: I quit breast feeding all together at 6 weeks and just pumped.
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