I have noticed you haven't gotten any responses for a while, hopefully you are still collecting data. I wanted to respond, because this is definitely a topic I am interested in. As you have stated, it is frustrating there isn't more data out there. Also, the NP at my Peri's office would try and scare us moms from the NICU by telling us we HAD to pump 8 times a day if we were planning on EPing long term. Boy, was she wrong. My son was in the NICU for 15.5 weeks, and let me tell you, keeping a consistent schedule was a challenge itself. I would have died if I EPed 8 times a day! And since my son was a 25 wkr, he did start on a bottle, but he was good at BFing when he started. However, I got more concerned about what was going in him so I chose to bottle feed when we got home more than breast feed. Eventually, he choose the bottle over the breast. I didn't feel too bad though, at least I got the experience!
Definitely feel free to contact me if you need more info.
1. How long have you been EPeing (or how long did you)?
Still EPing on 11 months and 11 days
2. What is/was your long term goal?
through winter 04 (16 mths total)
3. If you are no longer pumping, did you reach your goal? If no, why not?
4. How did you establish your supply- pumping or breastfeeding?
Pumping, baby was intubated for 10 weeks, couldn't BF until 13.5 weeks old
5. If pumping, how often and for how long did you pump?
For first 16 weeks, VERY sporadic. Tried at least 4 times a day. On a good day I would get 6 times in. As soon as life settled, I got on a schedule of 6 times a day but was sporadic still for a few months. Finally, I became consistent on the 6 times/day and still maintain that. (noticed a drop off of supply if I pumped less) I pump until no more milk comes out, usually about 15-25 minutes.
6. When first pumping, how long did you pump for each session and how many sessions per day?
7. How long did it take for your supply to become established (i.e. when it reached its peak or when it was consistent in volume)?
I reached peak probably when I started to be consistent with pumping 6 times a day. This was late in the game, probably 6 months after my son was born.
8. When established, what was you average volume per day?
24-26 ounces per day
9. What type of pump do you, or did you, use?
Medela Pump in Style
10. At what point in time did you start cutting pump your pumping sessions?
11. How many times have you dropped sessions? And when dropping sessions did you see a decline in volume?
As stated above, on days I pumped only 4 or 5 times, I produced less volume, so I had to pump a couple of days at 6 times to get back up to normal. I am sure if I pumped 8 times a day, I would have even been able to produce more milk, but I wasn't going to wake up at night, especially since my son started to sleep through the night 8 weeks after he got home [:)]
12. When you cut back pumping sessions did you increase the length of time you pumped? If so, by how much?
I always pump until I fully drain, sometimes a few minutes longer (I haven't noticed positive results from this)
13. If you are no longer pumping, how did you start to eliminate pumps (eg. sleeping through the night, starting solids, etc.)?
14. What was the biggest determining factor that led you to start reducing pumping sessions?
15. At what point did you start to see your volume decline (length of time, # of pumps/day, etc.)?
Recently. First I had mastitise (sp?)3 months ago and that caused me to produce less. I got back up, but I think hormones started taking over and I produced less. I got my period back 8 weeks after delivery and have had it ever 4 to 6 weeks since. I have noticed from the time I ovulate until about 4 days after my period starts, my supply goes done. Last cycle it never went back up, so I think hormones are involved.
16. Is/was your supply sufficient for the needs of your baby?
Just started one bottle a day on formula, but all other feedings are Breast milk. Also, my son has severe milk allergy, so I do freeze some milk for days I go out to dinner and eat dairy. (so he doesn't have an entire day on formula)
17. If not, at what point did you need to supplement?
3 weeks ago
18. Do you use, or have you used, any herbal supplements or prescription medication in order to increase your supply? If so, which ones? And at what point in time did you need to use them?
A month after I had my son I took Domperidone (prescription, like reglan but no depression as side effect) and in October I took it. Both times though I was very infrequent about when I would take it. However, I did notice if I took a pill before I went to bed, I would produce more milk in morning. Haven't used anything else
19. If you built up a freezer stash, approximately how much did you have in the freezer at its fullest?
This is so funny! At one point our freezer in the garage was completly full of 2 oz bottles of breast milk I think I had 400 bottles! Sadly, they all went bad. These bottles were from the 3 months before my son started taking a bottle (he was on BM before by OG tube, but it was a small amount each day) When the hospital allowed it (at 34 weeks) I started giving my son fresh milk (it had to be frozen 24 hours previous to this time because of potential bacteria) I wanted him to have fresh because nurses told me that frozen didn't supply immunity (don't know if this is entirely true to this day) And since that time, I was always able to supply enough fresh (my son was NEVER a big eater) In hind sight I wish I had rotated in a couple of frozen bottles a day. I feel so guilty having all that milk go bad.
20. If you are no longer EPing, did you use all your stash?
21. Have you had to dump any of your stash?
All but 20 or 30 bottles
22. Anything else that you would like to add?
I firmly believe the more you pump in a day, the more milk you will produce. And also, breastfeeding even once a day does help produce milk (keeps milk producing hormones flowing) I completly see why many NICU moms give up EPing though. It is just soooo hard to keep up with EPing especially when you are going through a crisis situation. And if you are being told to pump 8 times a day or else, you'll never make it. Luckily I found a story on the web were a woman said as long as she pumped 5 times a day while her son was in NICU she was able to keep her supply up, so I followed her advice and it worked for me. BTW, if a woman wants to pump long term, I recommend buying 2 extra flange kits (i think they are called, the things that go up to your breast) this way, you don't have to wash your supplies so much. This will help the burnout factor. I also recommend getting a sterilizer, this way you don't have to spend a long time cleaning your supplies, because the sterilizer gets everything good and clean. And definitely entertain yourself while pumping, e.g. read a book, watch TV or go online. This way you don't feel your life is consumed by the pump.
Hope this helps!
DH, John (35)
Max, 25 wk, IUGR, 1/20/03, severe PE