Boob machine

One of the 8,000 things I suddenly have less time for these days is the boob machine, formerly known as the breast pump.  Despite that, I’m still moving forward with inducing lactation.

I started trying to induce lactation at the beginning of July. After a few weeks with a hand pump and a whole lot of fenugreek, I started getting about 3 drops at a time – not bad for someone who has never been pregnant, but still – 3 drops after 6 pills a day and 30 minutes a day with a hand pump?

I broke down and got myself a double electric pump (paid for by Bl*e Cr*ss, thank you very much) and domperidone.

I took 40 mg a day of the dom to start. My only side effect was a weird feeling in the back of my throat – more just general grossness than nausea. My homeopath gave me something to take when I felt that grossness and it knocked it right out. I did see my milk supply increase, but we’re still talking a VERY small amount – I was pumping without bothering to attach the bottles.

Two days after we got Roo, we had a home visit from a lactation consultant. She suggested upping the Dom to 60 mg/day for a week or so, then going to 80, and recommended nursing Roo with the SNS and using the pump 8-12 a combined times a day. It’s definitely hard to get up to that number, since we’re bottle-feeding at night to preserve my sanity, but I’m trying to put him on without the SNS for at least a couple of minutes each time before we give him a bottle. (Though we have to really pay attention to how much time we let him go between feedings or else the wheels come off the cart).

Well. The SNS is a pain in the ass. I’ve got the hang of using it, and had some help with the actual mechanics of breastfeeding, but I do occasionally still attach the tubing at a weird angle and then wonder why Roo is either complaining because he’s not getting any milk or coughing because the tube got him in the back of the throat. Plus, the tubes need to be flushed between every use, which is tedious – and WHO KNEW that when they say “newborns eat every 2 hours” they meant “newborns take 45 minutes or so to eat and then need to eat again 2 hours from when they STARTED eating”? And I wonder why I’m not doing anything else…

All that said, though, I’m definitely producing more. I went up to 80 mg of Dom about 4 days ago and have this to say: I had no idea that it was possible for breasts to have growing pains, but OH MY GOD.

I’ve reattached the bottles to the pump and at this point am pumping about 1/2 an ounce each time. It’s not much, but it’s enough that I’ve started adding it to Roo’s feedings along with the formula. He’s eating about 2 1/2 – 3 ounces 8-10 times a day, so I think my goal by next weekend is to produce enough by pumping over the course of the day to bottle-feed him with only breast milk at least once a day. (That sounds ass-backwards, doesn’t it? But go with me here).

The other good news is that my midwife sister-in-law informs me that babies are way more efficient than breast pumps, so he’s probably getting a lot more from me than I’m pumping. Today I couldn’t get the stupid SNS to stop leaking, so I just put him on without it. It took him a good 45 minutes, but then he burped like an old man as milk dribbled down that cute little chin, and when I offered him a bottle he only took an ounce. Whoo!

Questions? Advice?


17 Responses to Boob machine

  1. Milkshake says:

    OMG! That sounds like an amazingly good progress! For what it is worth, I think I read somewhere that 4 oz. of breastmilk provides the necessary amount of antibodies for a baby. WOW!

  2. livinwiththaboyz says:

    Kudos for the breastfeeding! Aren’t baby boys the best!

  3. Mimi says:

    That is awesome! It sounds like you are doing exactly what you should be.
    Pumping and caring for a baby can be very tiring but once your milk supply is well established and you don’t have to pump as often it will be so much easier. Keep up the good work.

  4. Erin says:

    Amazing! It sounds like it’s going really, really well–difficult and exhausting, but great nonetheless. Roo is lucky to have such dedicated mommies who are both doing this and supporting the one who’s doing this.

  5. Jen says:

    The SNS *is* a pain in the ass. I used one with my son because of low milk supply (he is my bio son). So many times I wanted to throw the g-d thing across the room. It was a very frustrating journey. That being said: I am glad that I stuck it out. it got easier with practice, so much so that we could nurse in the dark without looking. If it’s leaking it’s usually in the lining up of the tubes and the gasket that fits over the small plastic piece in the yellow top of the bottle (if everything isn’t in place just right you’ll have formula running down the center of your chest). I now have a nursing almost-2-year-old who doesn’t give a rip that he’s getting maybe 1/2 oz of milk per breast per nursing.

    You can take up to 120 mg of Dom, too.

    Amount of antibodies in milk is inversely proportionate to the amount of milk made – i.e. if you are making only a little milk the concentration of antibodies will be much greater.

    You dedicated and deserve big kudos!! Good work!!!!!

  6. dawnfriedman says:

    Yes, I think that’s GREAT progress!!! And babies are WAY more efficient than pumps so go you!!!

  7. florida friend says:

    I actually laughed out loud at the 45 minutes to eat comment. i feel you, momma. i’m glad you’re so dedicated…and so impressed with your efforts.

  8. Kateri says:

    There’s no comparison between babies and pumps. I’ve known plenty of people who had fat juicy babies and were never able to pump more than an ounce or two. Keep it up, mama. You’re doing fantastic!

  9. Shannon says:

    No advice, just sympathetic nodding at this:

    WHO KNEW that when they say “newborns eat every 2 hours” they meant “newborns take 45 minutes or so to eat and then need to eat again 2 hours from when they STARTED eating”?

  10. Sarah says:


    No questions, or advice I’m afraid but congratulations! It sounds like you are doing fabulous. The person (I forget already) who said the baby will be more efficient is ABSOLUTELY right. I have never had much luck with a breast pump but my daughter was exclusively breast fed and still nursing at 15 months.

    We had to use an SNS in the hospital as she was having trouble nursing. The thing is a TOTAL pain to use. It was very frusterating so I sympathsize. It really helped us though get through a rough patch.

    I’m so thrilled for you! Good job Mama!

  11. afrindiemum says:

    hell, yeah! you ROCK woman!!!!!!!!

    omg. i cannot believe it. i mean, i can. i know it works. but through all this preparation it’s so easy to lose faith in it actually working.

    you’ve given me renewed hope. thank you so much. please, please keep posting your progress. thank you so much.

    congrats to you and roo.

  12. Michele says:

    Only a teeny bit of advice.. SKIN TO SKIN. If you can figure out the logistics of it. Try holding Roo skin to skin when you pump. When I had milk production issues with Cait my Lactation Consultant suggested it. Seemed to help some. The more skin to skin contact you have the better youll produce.

  13. artsweet says:

    AWESOME!!!! Go Boobs! Go you! Go Roo!

    Is NSG also trying to induce lactation? Why/why not? We have had some discussions here about whether Pili will feel left out if I do it and she doesn’t…

    If Guatebaby is actually interested in the Boob, it would certainly be handy to have four of them lactating. On the other hand, given the possibility that GB may have no interest whatsoever in the Boob…

  14. Lisa V says:

    I breastfed Sunshine and Rory exclusively and never produced more than 2 ounces with a pump. You are doing great.

  15. Fostermommy says:

    hey, one question…what are you supplementing the boobjuice with?

  16. Hey, cool read. I just now found your blog and I’m already a fan.

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    one place.

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