Another new mom with low supply!
Hello ladies. I literally just found this forum, and found another thread with a similar situation to mine. I am so glad that I am not alone in my situation... My hormones are crazy and have me crying just about every day anyway, but the breastfeeding stress makes it even worse! I am going to try and describe my situation.... This is going to be long, I'm sorry.. I don't know how to be concise with this....:
First about my pregnancy/me - pregnancy was fine... no issues. This is my first child. I do have flat nipples, so I made sure to take the breastfeeding class at the hospital where I delivered. I met with the lactation consultant briefly after the class, and she examined my nipples. She recommended that I buy breast shells to help bring my nipples out. When I wore the shells my nipples were out a bit more, but they never stayed that way. (The nipples would go flat again when I didn't wear the shell)
My son is 19 days old. He was overdue by 5 days, and after 3 hours of pushing he did not want to come out so I had a c-section. We met with the lactation consultants about 3 or 4 times while in the hospital (96 hours). Overall, my son had a good latch... his lips were around the whole areola and he had good sucking motions per the consultants. (There were times that the latch was VERY painful and one of my nipples bled once... I attribute that to him still learning to latch or him being so hungry)
My son became jaundiced in the hospital and had to spend his last night under the phototherapy light. We supplemented with formula via syringe that night. We were discharged when he was 4 days old, and I think my milk finally came in that night. and went to the pediatrician on his 5th day. He had lost 11% of his body weight (15 oz) by that time, and the doctor recommneded supplementing with formula (up to 2 oz) with every feed (every 2-3 hrs). We went back the next day for a weight check, and he had gained about 7 oz back. We were then told to supplement just every other feed. (FYI - we went back to the doctor when he was 11 days old and he gained another ounce)
Long story short, my son was always so hungry we could never supplement just every other feed. If I just breastfed him, 15-30 minutes later he would be crying and showing signs of hunger again. He was on the breast constantly (hours at atime) but never satisfied. (This actually happened in the hospital on our 3rd night too.. He was up all night crying, so bad that the nurse took him to the nursery so we could get some sleep. The nurse in the nursery had to feed him formula through a syringe that night).
When he was 1 week old I set an appointment to meet with lactation again. I essentially found out at this point that I have a lazy sucker, and she gave me tips to know when he is really sucking/swallowing or comfort sucking... I try to wake him up when he falls asleep at the breast, and if it's been awhile since he's swallowed I break the latch. She also gave me a breast shield because my nipples are short too and they weren't hitting the roof of his mouth like they should. But because I got the breast shield I also needed a pump because the shield prevents the breast from fully emptying. She said i would probably only need the shields for about 2 weeks, and I needed to try the bare breast first before the shield. I bought the Medela Pump in Style.
So the shields almost seemed to make things worse. It's a struggle to get my son to latch onto the bare breast now, but sometimes I am able to. (He would latch on quickly before, but suck lazily) It still didn't help to satisfy my son, so we still had to bottle feed. The process of breastfeed, bottle feed, and pump took 1.5 hours... This stressed me out so for a few days I just pumped (and bottle fed). I only pumped about 0.2-0.3 oz total per pump... I called lactation again, and they told me that this can be normal but suggested that I take fenugreek for up to 7 days to see if this helps my supply. I started that 3 days ago... I don't really see an increase yet. I also learned that I need to continue feeding from the breast, so I am trying to either breastfeed or pump every 2-3 hours. I put all the milk I pump into one bottle and feed it to him at the end of each day.
Okay, so that's about everything. I guess more than anything I just wanted to tell my story because it makes me upset that I can't produce enough milk to provide for my son... and all the time it takes during the day just to do everything I'm "supposed" to do (breastfeed, pump, bottle feed). It's not so bad when my husband is home because he can do the bottle feed, but when he's not then I'm either spending basically my whole day feeding or I am skipping a pump or breastfeed. i would love any additional advice anyone has, but at this point it seems like the fenugreek is my last hope. If this doesn't work to increase my supply I don't know how much longer I am going to continue all of this.... :cry
Re: Another new mom with low supply!
I have BTDT. Not the low supply -- I tend to have an OS instead -- but the pumping, the bottlefeeding, the baby wanting to nurse all the time, all of it, in my 7 years of having babies and lactating.
This IS fixable. You CAN do this.
I think you need to know the following:
1. it's totally, utterly normal for a baby to want to nurse all.the.time. Nobody told me that with my first, but that's how they get your supply up. I was sure something was wrong, but there wasn't. It was just him needing to nurse.
2. If you are using a nipple shield (I think that's what you must have) it's OK. If that's how you can get baby to nurse, that's how you get baby to nurse. You might be able to wean baby from it later. But right now, nurse the baby. The old shields kept the breast from emptying and could decrease supply, but the new ones don't.
3. Bottlefeeding a new baby is a sure fire way to get a baby to not nurse. First thing...stop using a bottle. Feed any supplements in an alternative way. Because a bottle is easier to eat from than a breast, so a lot of new babies fall right asleep when they are offered a breast.
4. Your supply is a bit low...but using a PISA, not nursing, if you aren't pumping every 2 hours around the clock, I'm not really surprised. But it's possible to get your supply up. Absolutely possible. So I'm not too concerned that you can't. Most moms, once all is said and done, make 1 oz per hour, so use that as a goal to reach, perhaps.
5. You need to take a lot of fenugreek. Take enough to make your urine and sweat smell like maple syrup. And it can take more than a week for some moms to have results
6. And if it doesn't work, you can try domperidone.
7. Know that no pump is as effective as a baby. Many moms try to rely on a pump when they really shouldn't.
8. Nursing will help draw the nipples out. There are some other gizmos you can try as well to evert your nipples.
To get your supply up:
nurse as much as possible. Even with the nipple shield. Get an SNS (I like the Lact-aid one myself) and offer supplements in that, instead of a bottle.
NO MORE BOTTLES
Get a hospital grade pump and pump with that as much as you can. The difference is amazing, honestly
Give it some time. A pump is not as effective as a baby, so it can take a week or more, if you end up just pumping, for your supply to come back up.
Take more fenugreek. There are some other herbs you can try too, like blessed thistle
Eat oatmeal for breakfast
Otherwise, watch the baby and make sure he's wetting and pooping enough. You can look into doing a pre and post nursing weighing session to see how much he's transferring. Don't watch the clock. If baby takes an hour, he takes an hour. It's OK. This goes quickly. Every one of us here felt like all she was was a human pacifer. That's NORMAL.
You can do this. I EP. I have four kids. I did it (I'd rather be nursing though). I'm no superhero. You can do it too. Don't quit too soon. I wanted to quit every day for the first 8 weeks of my oldest son's life, but I didn't and I nursed that child until he was 2.
Re: Another new mom with low supply!
Hi, I've recently joined the forum too and I agree with what you said, it's amazing to know there is so much support out there. I thought I would just let you know that I have had similar issues and totally understand how it feels to feed, supplement, express, feed etc and then before you know it you are repeating the cycle over again. It feels like it will never end - so I wanted to tell you that it really does get better. I found weeks 2 & 3 the hardest because that's when I found out my baby wasn't getting enough and was losing weight. I was so upset - I cried for days. I never even considered the possibility that I would need to use formula, so I was devastated that I had to give it to my daughter to get her birth weight up (I resisted for days, but eventually went ahead on the advice of a certified Lactation Consultant who could see that my baby was just losing too much weight). My daughter is now 8 weeks old and although my feeding issues aren't completely resolved (I have just posted a thread myself about my issues) I feel I am managing everything a lot better now - and don't cry nearly as often!
I also wanted to share that, having tried just about everything I could find to boost milk supply including Domperidone and endless cups of Nursing Tea, the only thing that has really helped has been acupuncture. The day after I had it for the first time I woke up in the morning and was able to feed entirely from the breast for the first time since introducing formula :). Like I said - my issues aren't totally resolved and some days I feel like it's too long a road to continue, but victories like this keep me going. And even if acupuncture doesn't boost your supply it is a wonderfuly relaxing treatment which you definitely deserve (the needles don't hurt - feels like a quick pin prick and then you get to relax).
Best of luck, I really hope things improve for you xx
Re: Another new mom with low supply!
Thanks ladies for the responses... this whole situation upsets me so much. I've officially stopped taking the fenugreek now... It gave my son very loose stools. I continued taking the fenugreek for two days just to see if the fenugreek did increase my supply (pumping and dumping the milk, not putting him to the breast). I saw no real difference in my pumping, and I don't want to delay breastfeeding any longer. I plan on trying to breastfeed starting again tomorrow evening (hoping the fenugreek is more out of my system), and will see at that point if it made a difference in the breastfeeding.
kellymom.com stated that loose stools can be a side effect for the baby, but also a side effect of baby getting too much foremilk (meaning the fenugreek caused an oversupply). I don't really see how it could be an oversupply issue for me though....
Thanks April for letting me know its okay for baby to want to eat all the time. That is likely the case with my son, but I was not able to meet his demand at all... of course, I realize now that the bottle and everythign else just made things worse, even though I always offered the breast first. I'll have to research your other ideas some more, thank you April. I'll have to give lactation a call about other methods to supplementing without bottles... The issue for me is figuring out what method I can sustain long-term... it's exhausting trying to get through each day when my husband is working. Then I go back to work next month which makes things even more difficult (I can pump at work with no issue though, thank goodness)
Butterfly, thanks for your response too. I'll have to check out your post, and look into the accupuncture. I like the idea of accupuncture because it seems like the most "natural" remedy.. hopefully I can figure something out, like you, to increase my supply so I don't have to supplement as much! My son is starting to eat 3 oz (sometimes 4) at feedings so it's going to be difficult... :(
Re: Another new mom with low supply!
Just an extra note that as you are at around 3 weeks, I really encourage you to persevere for a tiny bit longer if you can. At 3 weeks I felt like there really was no hope but decided to just take one feed at a time and whenever I felt I couldn't do it anymore I decided to "think about quitting tomorrow".... and of course tomorrow gets extended indefinitely! So hang in there, there is great advice on this forum and there are lots of avenues that you can still try (I am now at 8 weeks and will think about quitting "tomorrow").
Originally Posted by @llli*goldentickets
In the meantime if you've stopped the fenugreek, perhaps try fennel tea or some other kind of Mothers Milk tea that doesn't have so much fenugreek (if that upsets your baby) - I am still drinking 3 cups of nursing tea a day, no idea if that's helping but i figure it can't hurt - and my tea doesn't contain fenugreek (I am in Australia - it's called Weleda Nursing Tea so not sure if this is available elsewhere).
Finally - if all else fails, something my sister said to me made me smile - "Motherhood is full of things to worry and feel guilty about - don't peak too soon!!" :lol
All the best x