Low Milk supply - advice needed!
My son is now almost 10 weeks old, he had difficulty latching and eating in the hospital and he had low blood sugar so we had to give him formula in the hospital. I would have him nurse for 10mins and then he would be fed by bottle and I would pump until he was done - while at the hospital I pumped and nothing ever came out. When we got home he was having formula still and I was still trying to nurse him he would suck for over an hour at a time and still not be satisfied, but I would still try. I got a breast pump around day 4 and I was able to pump 2 oz at a sitting. Over the first month nursing him was tedious and frustrating because he just didn't latch well so I pumped and pumped and pumped. I was pumping about 5oz in a sitting ever 2-3 hours and i was very consistent at this. The pediatrician said that he would most likely catch on to latching as he gets older and that he did. I would nurse him for about 45mins at a time but still he didn't seem full and was always so fussy. Within the past 3-4 weeks I have been trying to breastfeed more and he latches great now, but my milk supply seems so low that he almost always needs 4oz of formula afterwards. Now when I pump I get 0.5oz out of one and maybe 1oz out of the other.. it's very upsetting because I have been trying so hard and sticking with it so long because I refuse to give up. I have been trying to feed him then pump but the oz never increase and he is still never satisfied. I have tried using fenugreek and it worked well to get my supply up, but the most recent time I tried to take them it caused my son gas issues. I am considering trying Mother's milk, or milkmaid tea but I don't know if that will work. If there is any advice you could supply me with that would be greatly appreciated, I am on my last string before giving up completely and I really don't want to do that because I know what is best for my baby, but continuing this way is so stressful on me and i know that is not what is best for me.
Re: Low Milk supply - advice needed!
Welcome! I am sorry you've been having such a tough time. I know that what you are going through is intensely tiring and frustrating, but I want to assure you that there is a way back from the edge, if you can get the right tools and commit to doing the necessary work.
The fact that you were getting 5 oz every 2-3 hours using the pump is tremendous! It definitely indicates that you are capable of producing plenty of milk, so that is a great advantage. Based on what you've posted, I am thinking that there are a few. Potential explanations for your baby's latching/nursing issues:
- Nipple confusion (a.k.a. flow preference) due to early and frequent use of the bottle. Babies are smart and rapidly learn that it's easier to get milk from the bottle than it is from the breast. This can lead to a baby refusing the breast, sucking lazily at the breast, and ending a feeding early and fussing in order to get a top-up from the bottle.
- A physiological issue with the baby that makes latching/nursing difficult. Tongue-tie, a short tongue, a cleft palate, or a recessed jaw can make it difficult for a baby to latch on deeply, and that can lead to difficult with transferring milk.
In your shoes, I would do the following:
- Contact a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for in-person help. A good LC can help you maximize your pumping output, evaluate whether or not you really have low supply, help you troubleshoot your LO's latch, and check for anatomical issues (like tongue-tie).
- Pump frequently, preferably using a hospital-grade pump. If you're using anything less that a Medela Pump In Style, you're probably not getting as much out of your pumping sessions as you could. Try to pump every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night.
- Check out this link on weaning from formula supplements: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html
- Try the tea. Worst thing that happens: baby has gas issues from it, you decide to stop, and you wasted a few $. Best thing that happens: it works well and baby has no problems!
Re: Low Milk supply - advice needed!
also, I've been told a number of times that how much you pump isn't an indicator of how much milk baby is getting. good link here (this site is awesome... learned about if from this forum)