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How can I keep my supply going while DS is being tube fed in hospital?

(18 Posts)
DorothyBastard Mon 01-Feb-16 02:53:58

My 4mo DS is in hospital with bronchiolitis. He is not able to oxygenate his blood on his own so is on an oxygen tube. It was also decided that the act of feeding was tiring him too much so he has had a tube fitted down his nose directly to his stomach.

Prior to this he was connected to a drip and just allowed reduced duration 'comfort feeds'. They don't want his stomach completely full at any point as it reduces the space in his abdomen and makes his lungs work even harder. He was on the drip for about 2 days.

While he was on a drip they gave me a Medela electric breast pump and I was pumping before or after each comfort feed.

Since his tube has gone in I have been pumping every two hours pretty much. So he is given 64mls every 2 hours and I pump while he has them.

The problem is that I am worried I'm not able to pump enough and my breastmilk is drying up. I am managing to pump around 50 or 60mls each time so I am falling slightly behind.

What can I do to improve and maintain my supply until I am able to breastfeed him again? I am leaving the pump going on each side an extra 5 minutes after my milk stops; I'm trying to do a few breast compressions while the pump goes; and I am trying to look at and touch him while expressing. What else can I do?

I love breastfeeding and I'm desperate to keep going with it for a feed few months yet. I don't want that hospital trip to bring it to a close.

Jenijena Mon 01-Feb-16 03:02:44

Hello... I am not an expert but as it's the middle of the night, figured you'd need cake flowers and a friendly word because that all sounds pretty horrid at the moment.

Pumping bears no relationship to supply - sone people successfully bfeed big babies for ages but can never express a drop, so that you're managing to get anything out at all is great. Also, supply responds to sucking so it might well be that once your little one is able to feed direct he'll get more out of you than you can, if you see what I mean. For example, by the time my DS was six months old he was a boob monster at weekends, but I was at work and 'producing' nothing between 8 and 6 for five days a week.

Oats and fenugreek are supposed to be good for maintaining/boosting supply. Eat flapjacks!

Hope your little one starts improving soon.

eeyore2 Mon 01-Feb-16 03:04:06

Hi - sounds like you are doing all the right things. I had premature twins I was pumping for and have ended up doing it for several months for various reasons so am now a veteran pumper! A few suggestions - ask the hospital for a double pumping kit (just ask for another kit like you already will have been given). Double pumping more than halves the time you spend pumping due to increased stimulation and makes the whole thing much more bareable. In order to double pump you will probably need a special hands free bra thing that you buy from amazing. The one I like best is pumpease. It is a bandeau that you wear over your nursing bra so you do not have to keep taking off your bra and putting it on again. Just unhook your nursing bra, put the bandeau round your chest, pop the shields through the slit and you are away. You need to double pump around 120 mins a day if possible including once between 1am and 4am when your hormone levels are highest. I do 6x pumps per day including a middle of the night one, for 20-25 mins each.with the hands free bra it is so much easier and you can start to ignore the pump a bit. We had an emergency readmission to hospital once though and the stress really affected my supply. Once we were home my volumes went straight up again. Good luck and hope your baby gets well soon

ingenvillvetavardukoptdintroja Mon 01-Feb-16 03:34:52

Oh how stressful for you and I hope he makes a swift recovery.
My son was in nicu from 5 hours old and wouldn't latch for the first week. I can second the advice about double pumping.
When he was 9 months he also had bronchiolitis but not as severely. Spent one night in hospital. He stopped breastfeeding for a week and it was horrid, pumping always reminds me of that first month away from him. I definitely couldn't produce as much this time round.
I'm sure you're already doing this as you sound v knowledg able but ideally you need to pump at least once between 1am and 5am as that's when your melatonin levels are highest.
Just to reassure you that my son just started again randomly one day. With such an established relationship I'm sure yours will too when he's better.

DorothyBastard Mon 01-Feb-16 04:37:23

Thanks for all your advice and your kind words. Yes it's very stressful, I have a 2.11yo DD at home too so am missing her terribly too.

I am up (and pumping) again. I will get DH to bring me some flapjacks when he comes in the morning and I'll ask for a second pump so I can do both breasts at the same time. smile

DorothyBastard Mon 01-Feb-16 05:11:56

Is it the end of the world if DS has formula through his tube if I can't keep up with supplying them 64mls every 2 hours?

He has formula at home usually around 5 times a week (when DH gets up with him for a couple of hours in the morning before he goes to work, so I can sleep) so I don't mind him having it in that sense. But I guess if I'm pumping every 2/3 hours that's as much as I can do.

ReallyLoveWine Mon 01-Feb-16 05:19:52

I was in your situation when my son was 4 weeks, bronchiolitus, tube fed etc. I was advised to take a natural remedy called brewers yeast. I think you can get it in health food shops. It doesn't taste great so I was advised to take it in chocolate milk of all things! It seemed to help to keep my supply going during those tough times, as well as the night time pumping as others have suggested. Good luck, hope your little man makes a quick recovery x

ReallyLoveWine Mon 01-Feb-16 05:22:03

Also don't beat yourself up over this. Your situation is stressful enough without putting yourself under extra pressure re the breast milk. Formula will be fine.

northdownmummy Mon 01-Feb-16 06:34:27

Must be really tough but sounds like you're doing all the right things. One tip to add is to hold and smell something he's been wearing recently while you express. Also I was told that the middle of the night pumping sessions are critical for boosting:maintaining supply.

CousinChloe Mon 01-Feb-16 06:52:41

This website has a good video for maximising production while pumping

newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html

DorothyBastard Mon 01-Feb-16 15:45:05

Thanks everyone. He has just had his first formula feed. I'm a bit sad but I'm just hopeful I can keep pumping as much as I can, and that things will go back to normal once we're home.

mumchkin Tue 02-Feb-16 12:56:27

If your supply starts to dwindle considerably you could ask to be prescribed motilium. It is an indigestion tablet but its side effect is that it increases lactation. It doesn't have any side effects apparently - I've been on it for 2 weeks and haven't noticed any either. All the best and hope your little one is better soon.

creamoftomato Tue 02-Feb-16 13:08:53

Just wanted to offer some support too. I was in your shoes with a 3 week old just a few weeks ago, also desperately missing my toddler at home and pumping every two-three hours. I don't really have much practical advice but just wanted to say that I think getting back on track with BF will be OK and remember that babies with bronchiolitis start to turn a corner and improve after 4 or 5 days, so it shouldn't be too long until you can get back to normal feeding, even though everything probably feels endless and slow now. flowers for you, bronchiolitis is awful.

DorothyBastard Wed 03-Feb-16 07:32:56

Thanks again to everyone who's offered me advice. It's been invaluable. DS is off the oxygen (hooray) and even off the feeding tube (double hooray)! I've given him a couple of bottles and in a few hours I should be able to start breastfeeding him again. I can't wait smile

Monkeymonstermum Wed 03-Feb-16 07:52:55

Oh lovely news things are going in the right direction!
Just wanted to say I know exactly what you're going through - my now 2 year old was admitted at 17 days old and had to be transferred across the city to the paed ICU unit and ventilated for 4 days then another week on oxygen back at our local hospital. We had only just sorted out feeding when he was admitted (2nd baby - milk v slow to come in both times and baby no 1 had ended up v poorly with hyponatraemic dehydration). We pumped through it and managed though.
There's no problem if he needed a bit if formula - just whatever he needs to get his strength up to get him better. Mine is now 2 years old and built like a rugby player and you really wouldn't know he'd been so poorly so hang in there. Babies with bronchiolitis can get very poorly but generally just need some support for breathing to get over it and then bounce back quickly.
My then 22 month old son did ignore me the first time he saw me after a few days away so just be prepared for you being all excited to see them and then treating you with toddler disdain as you've had the audacity to be away.....was so upsetting at the time but didn't last long at all.
Sending hugs (and big up the NHS super staff for getting our little ones through these nasty times - don't know about for you but for us they were truely amazing). Xxx

HappyHeart87 Wed 03-Feb-16 08:19:01

Hey OP, just jumping on to say WOOP for your DS coming off the oxygen and feeding tube. Little superstar. Well done for battling through with the expressing, sounds like you did all the right stuff! Sending positive vibes your way.

Sweetpotatoaddict Wed 03-Feb-16 08:35:13

Glad to hear he's off the oxygen and feeding tube. My ds had one inserted for pneumonia when he was 7 months, thankfully I wasn't expressing for long as I had the same problems as you. When I did start bf again I was advised to reduce duration of feeds to stop him getting too tired. Breastmilk is quickly absorbed so his full tummy quickly goes down. Hope someone is looking after you and making sure you get adequate food, I found that the hardest thing when ds was in hospital. Lots of brewcake, and some flowers cause it is absolutely awful when they are ill

superj Thu 04-Feb-16 11:03:04

Hi, we've just been through the same last week with my 4 week old on CPAP and then oxygen for bronchiolitis. I expressed throughout but he was on tiny amounts of milk feeds so I now have a nice stash of expressed milk for when I want to go out. It took a few goes to get him back breast feeding well so we topped up with tube feeds and since we've been home he's been feeding way more frequently. I was warned that they try and make up for the food they missed while ill, and he is certainly doing that! He was also put on antibiotics just in case and they've definitely made him more windy and difficult to settle.

Good to hear your little one is on the mend to, and hope you get home soon

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