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formilk Profile
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posticon Intro and TENS question


Newbie here! I found this site while doing research for avenues to induce lactation. I found I really enjoyed reading everything. My primary purpose for inducing lactation is so I can breastfeed my baby who will be born via a surrogate in Sep. I read what Dr Jim said about the TENS and would like to hear from any of you who have has experience using the TENS to induce lactation.
12/31/2009, 7:19 am Link to this post Send Email to formilk   Send PM to formilk
 
MJ Milkmaker Profile
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posticon Re: Intro and TENS question


I bought a TENS unit from one of the links provided by Dr.Jim and tried it immediately. Ouch!!! It was actually pretty uncomfortable for me. I was expecting a gentle, kneading sensation like the ones I've experienced in the past with muscle stimulation from a TENS unit. This just felt like electrical current running through my breasts. I'm curious to know what others have experienced as well and look forward to reading additional replies to your post. Good luck!
1/3/2010, 3:07 pm Link to this post Send Email to MJ Milkmaker   Send PM to MJ Milkmaker
 
formilk Profile
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Re: Intro and TENS question


Wow finally a person who tried the TENS. The one I used has a variable switch that makes the amount of voltage surge almost pleasant. I was like a warm muscle twitch inside my breast, strange but nice. Sorry your expereince wasn't the same. My hubby works too much for him to be albe to induce lactation exclusivley. More update to come!
1/5/2010, 8:58 am Link to this post Send Email to formilk   Send PM to formilk
 
sally51 Profile
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Re: Intro and TENS question


I tried a Tens machine to induce as an adjunct to using a pump (I have a Medela Swing)as my husband is out of the house for at least 12 hours every day emoticon so decided it might be a good idea for the sake of cosistancy, and also I get impatient)

I bought a good one, with a variable speed, set it to minimum, and nearly shot through the roof - as MJMilkmaker says, it just felt like an electrical current and I would say I had a very high pain threshold! I won't be trying that again.I will stick to the pumping, much more pleasurable.

Sally ;-)
1/6/2010, 2:54 am Link to this post Send PM to sally51
 
DrJim4 Profile
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Re: Intro and TENS question


Sorry to hear about your negative experience using a TENS unit. It sounds like it was much too strong. Most TENS units have 2 functions; the first is a muscle reeducation or muscle contraction function. It makes the muscles contract. You have probably seen advertisements for these to "tone your abs". You don't want to use it on this setting. The second function is to block pain. It does this by sending a small high frequency current a few millimeters into the skin to stimulate the nerve endings. Stimulating the nerves this way interferes with the transmission of pain signals on the nerves. People use TENS units a lot to block pain from many different places on the body such as the low back or shoulder or an elbow etc. They often walk around and work with these things on all day. It should not cause pain. It should be barely perceptible when it is on. This is the setting one could use to stimulate the breasts. The breasts have a lot of sensory nerves, more the closer to the nipple. Of course, there are sensory nerves all over your body in the skin but your breasts are special because they have a connection to a pathway up to your pituitary. Breast stimulation causes the release of a little pulse of Prolactin. One little pulse doesn't do anything but hundreds of pulses cause breast changes leading to lactation. I think maybe after what was said above about an expensive TENS unit being too strong that the best TENS units are probably the cheapest, simplest and smallest ones. One should not pay more than $50 and if it is only 2 or 3 inches long it can be hidden in a bra or something.

When you first begin to try to induce lactation your breasts are in a dormant state with no milk producing activity going on. If you use a pump to stimulate, you will have to use it multiple times a day- say 4 or more times a day, and you will probably not see any milk for at least a month, maybe several. 4X a day for 30 days means pumping on at least 120 occasions before seeing a drop of milk. What happens during all this time is you are doing nipple stimulation from the mechanical action of the pump in addition to the most important aspect- repeated compression of the sinuses underneath the areola. All of this stimulates the nerves and causes a pulse of Prolactin release. Over time the Prolactin brings about lactation. During this first month, before any milk comes in you can use the TENS unit, set on a low, pleasurable level, to stimulate nerves around the areola to cause Prolactin release and help you on your way. Once milk comes in you must use a pump to get the milk out of the breast as well as stimulate for further Prolactin release. So TENS is only good in the initial phase to increase the number of episodes in a day where you can get some Prolactin release.

Hope this helps.

DrJim
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newstarters Profile
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posticon Re: Intro and TENS question


Does stimulating for 30 minutes every two hours increase your chance for success?
1/11/2010, 6:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to newstarters   Send PM to newstarters
 
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Re: Intro and TENS question


Well, in the early phase when the breasts are not making milk suckling stimulation just causes pulses of Prolactin. At first nothing seems to happen but gradually the breasts start changing and the little alveoli start to turn on. This takes weeks. Suckling for 30 minutes causes about the maximum amount of prolactin to be released for that session. It does no good to stimulate for 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes because the nerves start to desensitize after a little while. The most Prolactin is released probably in the first 15 minutes or so, less in the second 15 minutes and almost nothing in a third 15 minutes. After a session the breasts should rest a little while without any additional stimulation to allow them to become resensitized. The maximum frequency of stimulation is probably about every 2 hours and the maximum effective length is about 30 minutes so... yes! If you use a TENs unit the most effective schedule would be to turn it on for about 30 minutes every 2 hours.

DrJim
1/12/2010, 9:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to DrJim4   Send PM to DrJim4
 
Anne05 Profile
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posticon Re: Intro and TENS question


Just to add to the conversation... I have a tens unit for back problems, so I decided to make it part of my process with trying to induce just a few days ago. I have it set on low just like you suggest and it does feel nice, not painful at all. I think there's a big advantage to doing this to be more consistent with frequent nipple stimulation to help move things along. I get so busy or there are times my kids are around that in my small house even with my door shut and locked they would hear the noise of the pump so I don't always get in as much pumping as I need to, but at least I can put on the tens and get the stimulation in on schedule without anyone even realizing that I have the pads under my shirt on my front instead of my back lol. Dr. Jim, thanks for so much great advice with tricks like this, it's so helpful!
1/21/2010, 8:45 am Link to this post Send Email to Anne05   Send PM to Anne05
 
Alicia58 Profile
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Re: Intro and TENS question


Have started to induce lactation around 6wks ago. I have also started to use a tens every 2hrly when I am at work. I have only seen a couple of drops of clear/white fluid occasionally but have experienced swollen painful breasts + stopped menses. Seem to be very engorged by the end of the day. Can this be possible as there isn't any milk. Our main nursing times are 7am + 7pm
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sapphireyes Profile
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Re: Intro and TENS question


I was wondering where did you get your TENS unit from? I'm ready to buy one, and there are so many options, besides the link to Dr.Jims, so I was curious about yours?
           Thanks! Kim
2/6/2010, 11:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to sapphireyes   Send PM to sapphireyes
 


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