Spell Saab

How I Established My Breast Milk Supply

July 3, 2018 30 Comments

Every doctor, mother, and website says you should start breastfeeding or pumping mere hours after giving birth but I don’t have to tell you that my birthing experience was less than ideal. The long and short of it is that I lost one of my twins and I was in and out of the Intensive Care Unit myself. I couldn’t visit my surviving baby boy for a week!!☹️

My Ate Unna, among others, visited me every day. She has 4 children of her own and she gave me most of my existing baby supplies (clothes, toys, equipment) including my breast pump. Two days after the tragic death of our little girl, my ate Unna took the opportunity to encourage me to start pumping my milk. We were all trying not to think about my baby boy’s critical condition and as I’m typing this, I’m realizing that my pumping was very therapeutic for me.

When I gave birth, Pancho went straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because he was only 30 weeks and 6 days. Full term babies are born between 37 and 40 weeks. He couldn’t take my milk yet because they wanted to be sure his tummy could take it. We had to wait a few weeks before the doctors finally gave the go signal.

I’m a total control freak so you can just imagine what I was going through. I did my research, I read so many books, I followed all my doctor’s orders. So with everything around me suddenly in chaos, a routine was exactly what I needed. It was very therapeutic for me.

I didn’t stop pumping. I pumped every 2-3 hours regardless if I was in the ICU or in a regular room. I asked the nurses to make sure I would wake up to pump and they sterilized my bottles after each use. My Ate advised me to pump each breast for about 15-20 minutes. I kind of overdid it for the first few days and strictly pumped both breasts for 30 minutes each every 2 hours.

Come to think of it, nobody in the hospital taught me about breastfeeding or pumping until I got discharged ELEVEN DAYS AFTER I GAVE BIRTH!! Establishing your milk supply early on is very important and I’m so thankful for my Ate.

I’m not a health professional so can’t know for sure but I personally believe I can attribute my good, steady flow (at times too much) to those first few days. The more you pump, the more your body will produce milk. I couldn’t breastfeed Pancho for a month and a half so my body thought my “baby” (a.k.a. my breast pump) needed to drink an hour’s worth of supply (30 mins per side) and it produced what my “baby” needed. Until now it blows my mind how magical a mother’s body can be.

These days, I am not taking any supplements for my milk supply. I just pump every 3-4 hours for about 10-15 minutes these days or else I get clogged ducts and they can get very painful. Thankfully, I am still able to collect extra milk to donate to those in need. To date, I think I’ve donated over 500 bags and it makes me so happy when moms send me updates on how well their babies are doing. I cannot donate to everybody, but I try to give as much as I can whenever I collect at least 5 bags. I just can’t pay for delivery to all, and I’m glad mommies have no problem shouldering delivery fee via LALAMOVE (they have insulated bags — perfect for frozen milk!). Check back in a few days because I’m working on creating a form for donation requests!

To sum it up, I completely understand that moms can tire from breastfeeding so they don’t bother to pump anymore. But it’s been proven that pumping regularly and consistently can help with your milk supply so if you’re having problems, pumping for about 10 extra minutes after feeding your baby might help with your flow! It would be great to have a family member take care of your baby while you do your thing. Don’t forget that stress can be a factor in lowered milk supply so just relax and keep going as it will take time before your body adjusts to this new demand! Let me know if this works for you or if my theory is complete BS! Hahaha!! Give yourself maybe a week or two before coming to a conclusion though!

I am currently drafting a blog for my breast pumping essentials! Motherhood has opened a whole new world of hanash for me 😁


Saab

Saab

30 Comments

  1. Reply

    joedy ann camacho

    July 3, 2018

    hi Ms. Saab!!! i also have twins 32 weekers… both na NICU for 16 days… pero unlike yours, nagsastruggle ako sa pag build ng stash… sabi nila no need magstash kc SAHM ako… ngayon eto hirap ako magTandem feed kc si baby boy ko ayaw na ng may kasabay habang nagdedede… unlike my baby girl… nagtry ako mag Power pump… pero di continues kasi noon madalas sabay sila magfeed, and minsan wala ko halos mapump… hay sana mapalakas ko pa supply ko… ☹️

    • Reply

      Saab

      July 6, 2018

      Have you consulted a lactation specialist? If you can find time, call your hospital and ask to schedule a consultation! I hope you’re able to produce enough for your twins <3

  2. Reply

    Rosie

    July 4, 2018

    Hi Saab, congrats and we are REAAAALYYY PROUD OF JIM AND YOU!! Tho reading this makes me feel sad kasi i won’t be able to produce breast milk (dunno if my term is right) pero kasi i have inverted breast. I think this is hereditary coz my Ates also have them. I feel like this makes me less than a mom kapag naiisip ko to. :( But thank you for sharing your experiences sa amin ha. Hello to Pancho and always take care! LOVE U <3

  3. Reply

    Roxanne

    July 5, 2018

    Hi, Saab :) i hope you can donate to me as well. My baby stayed in the NICU for 4 months. He went home last april 26. I have exclusively breastfed him for 3 months. Im a student so I haven’t pumped consistently and this made my supply low. I will be going back to school this july. I wanted him to still take more breast milk than formula so i hope you can donate some of your breast milk to my baby :) thank you :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      July 6, 2018

      Hi Roxanne! So happy to hear your baby is now home with you! I’ll e-mail you :)

  4. Reply

    guinevere cua

    July 5, 2018

    hi! did you get a lot of milk on your first few days of pumping? :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      July 6, 2018

      Not at all! I was barely pumping anything. Then when I was finally cleared to visit Pancho in the NICU on Valentine’s day (6 days after I gave birth, about 4 days of pumping), I started lactating when I saw him huhuhu. My hospital gown was a mess. I know your body produces more milk when you see your baby or even just hear a baby’s cry.

  5. Reply

    JM

    July 9, 2018

    Hi Saab, thank you for sharing this. I am 3 days postpartum and like you my baby is in the NICU. He is sick pa and it affects his latch. So now I barely have amy milk— can barely get 1ml from hand expression or pumping and am extremely frustrated :( I stopped expressing on day 2 but would like to restart sana. Any other tips to get my milk to come? I’m CS so delayed siya. Did you take supplements?

    • Reply

      Saab

      July 10, 2018

      Congratulations on your baby!! I hope your baby gets to go home with you soon. I’m still continuing my prenatal vitamins, calcium and magnesium supplements, and fish oil! Just keep going with the pumping, mama! It will take a while :) Make sure you are well-hydrated! I’m going to try to incorporate more soup in my meals now because I realized I haven’t been doing that.

  6. Reply

    leeanne

    July 12, 2018

    hi Saab, thanks for sharing your hourney. it realy is inspiring. im curretly exclusively pumping for my 2 weeks old due to issues with him latching properly. how much milk were you giving to Pancho back whe he was this age?

    • Reply

      Saab

      July 12, 2018

      Oh Pancho was only allowed to drink abt 5ml of breastmilk every 3 hours when he was that age!! He was still in the NICU and was hooked up to a dextrose to make sure he would still get nutrients. It’s hard to compare with other babies especially with mine since he’s had such a complicated beginning. Make sure to ask your pedia for advice if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Ask your hospital for a lactation specialist and ask all the questions you want :)

  7. Reply

    Grace

    July 14, 2018

    Hi Saab, I have a 2month old baby and I’m exclusively breastfeeding him. I noticed that my supply is not producing much milk this past few days and I’m afraid I wont be able to store milk before I go back to work. I would really appreciate if you can donate to me some of your milk. I’m worried that I may run out of milk in due time. Thank you in advance and God bless you and your family. ☺️

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hello, I’m so sorry but I already ran out of milk for donating :( Pls join Human Milk 4 Human Babies and NICU and Preemie Support Group on Facebook!

  8. Reply

    Mary Grace Gelindon

    July 14, 2018

    Hi Saab! May i know when did you have oversupply? Ive been pumping since i gave birth he is 1 month and 19 days. I need to go back to work in a fews days nlng pero im afraid i couldnt give him enough supply. Gusto ko sana breastmilk padin.

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      I started having oversupply 1 week palang yata si Pancho nun. I wasn’t able to directly feed him for 2-3 weeks yata yun eh so I may have overdone it with the pumping so my body thought my baby needed that much milk. Good luck on your breastfeeding journey!

  9. Reply

    Gel

    July 16, 2018

    Hi! Do you still do direct feeding/latch? Any tips on bottle feeding (breastmilk)?

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hello, yes I do! Whenever I’m at home, I directly feed Pancho :) Make sure not to have your baby super lying down when you first introduce the bottle. It’s very easy for your baby to choke because the flow is different from your breast!

  10. Reply

    Francesca Eriga

    July 22, 2018

    Hi Saab,
    I’m one month post-partum and I’m having a hard time establishing my milk supply for my little one. I’ve tried taking supplements but it’s still not increasing. He is always fussy and cries all the time which makes me so frustrated and helpless :( I hope you can donate some of your milk to my little one also 😭

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hello, I’m so sorry but I already ran out of milk for donating :( Pls join Human Milk 4 Human Babies and NICU and Preemie Support Group on Facebook!

  11. Reply

    Elaine Mati

    July 30, 2018

    Hi Saab,

    Such an inspiration for a mom like me who’s baby is in NICU. My baby is 29 weeker born last june 22 and still in NICU. Having a hard time to supply him my milk. Hope you can donate for my baby. I can’t express consistently everyday because I have to go to charity foundations and govt offices to apply for financial assistance to help settle the hospital bill once we will be given Go signal.

    Thank you Saab.. God bless your family.

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Congratulations!! I’m so sorry but I ran out of milk for donating already :( Pls join NICU and Preemie support group & Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook!

  12. Reply

    Chin

    August 7, 2018

    Hi Saab, I had the same problem with having clogged milk ducts. I breastfeed my 2weeks baby for days only because he had nipple confusion already and won’t latch to me. my supply is still not enough barely pumping 2oz every pump and my boobs easily gets hard like rock. I have read your post that the doctors had injected your nipples. What do you call that process? Thank you for sharing you journey! :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      They didn’t inject my nipple, they had to remove dried milk that was blogging the pore! Do you pump/hand express regularly? Go to a hospital with a lactation unit and ask for help! Good luck!

  13. Reply

    megan

    August 20, 2018

    Hi ate saab super inspiring po ng story nyo i’am exclusive pumping mama i pump every 4 hours and i got 5oz from both boobies ikaw po ate saab ilang oz po nakukuha nyo every pump? i want to increase pa my milk supply malakas na kasi mag demand ng milk si baby my baby is 2months old now.

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hello! I used to pump about 8-10oz from both breasts!! Now I toned down on the pumping because it came to a point na nalulunod na si Pancho sa lakas ng milk ko :( So I just collect my milk from the other breast while I’m feeding him and I get about 2-4oz. And I pump when I’m not at home and I get about 5oz from both breasts :)

  14. Reply

    DONNA S.A.

    August 26, 2018

    Hi Saab.

    I wish I had read your blog post sooner in order for me to establish breast milk supply for my own little one. Around two months, I wasn’t able to breastfeed him a lot as I used to because he would cry just after a minute or two of feeding and so I would give in to his demand of faster milk flow and give him formula so as not to upset him anymore. Your story has encouraged me to commit to breastfeeding him again or at least in providing my breast milk. Thus, I have recently purchased a Spectra 9plus double electric pump and would like to know how to use it to effectively pump milk? What expression level is ideal in order to pump milk? I’m currently on day 4 and going at it religiously and just hope I’m doing it right. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and God bless.

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hey, how’s everything going? Have you been pumping every 2-3 hours for at least 10 minutes? Has your milk supply gone up? While you’re trying to re-establish milk supply, I would suggest waking up every 3-4 hours through the night to pump. Ask your partner for help in cleaning the bottles and storing the milk in the freezer, that’s what Jim did! Hope everything’s working out for you!

  15. Reply

    YEL

    September 16, 2018

    Hi Saab! I just want to share my story. My baby is 2 months old and she was diagnosed for pneumonia when I gave birth so she went straight to NICU also. We stayed for 3 weeks in the hospital and finally went home, but just this week we found out that she has hydrocephalus, and she needs to get an operation. I hope you can refer a neuro pedia for my baby coz we want to ask for a 2nd opinion.

    • Reply

      Saab

      September 24, 2018

      Hello! I’m so sorry you are going through this. We do not have a regular neuro pedia although we’ve set an appointment with one this Friday as recommended by my friend just for another doctor’s opinion. Her name is Dr. Butler from Medical Plaza Makati. Pancho had a pedia as referred to me by his NICU doctors but I was not happy with her and I decided to just take him to my pedia Dra. Ludan of Cardinal Santos. He is still regularly seen by his neurologist Dr. Robles and neuro-dev Dr. Conducto (both St. Luke’s QC and PCMC). He is also doing regular therapy in St Luke’s QC!

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