I have been having problems since my son was 5 weeks old. he is just over 3 months and the problems continue. I started supplementing my milk with my own expressed milk or formula. He often was fussy and my pediatrician felt that I didn't have enough milk for my baby. I have tried everything to increase my milk and there are times when I need to give a small supplement bottle and other times when he wants 4 times supplements throughout the day. It is hard, very depressing and it have to admit, I am starting to get really tried... especially now that it has become more apparent that he prefers the bottle and I am scared that I will lose my milk. this morning I decided to give him a bottle for a full feeding (the first time) and I pumped mine. It had passed three hours since I had last breastfeed him (he normally eats every 3 hours but sometimes less) and I got 100ml total (roughly 60ml from one and 40ml from the other) it is not a lot but it isn't nothing either. this is my problem - from the beginning, since he was born, I have always had a surge of milk when he first attaches, then there is about 3 minutes of very little milk that comes out and then another surge.... he used to be patient but he is no longer (as he likes the bottle) so he might get 20 ml from a breast and then fuss, he won't stick to it. My milk has ALWAYS come in this way, a surge - a moment of very little and then another surge of milk. My husband said that he thinks that I have engorged breast... that it takes time to break down the milk. I don't know if that is possible, I don't have sore breast or nipples. the only thing that I can think of is that sometimes I do get red in the face when I finish breastfeeding and it has been pointed out to me a few of times. people ask if I have a fever and I say no of course. I guess I WILL have to measure that next time.
This is my question - does this sound like engorged breasts? and is it possible that my feeding is just unique? that my breast flow is different? my son is no longer willing to work. I am also thinking of stopping breast feeding and just express my milk from here on as I am finding it so discouraging but I am concerned that I will not be able to do that for a long time... when he is 6 months we have an 18 hour plane trip and I think from that point on it will become difficult as we will be contantly traveling. I was hoping to breast feed him to one year.
thank you for your attention
I wanted to add that the 3 minutes of little milk sometimes can be longer, like 5minutes...but it can be even more. but in general 3-5 minutes. my problem is that he doesn't want to wait that much for more to come
What you describe is normal, and has nothing to do with engorgement. Here's what's happening: when baby first begins to suckle, he gets nothing. As he continues to suckle, milk begins to flow, perhaps just a few drops at first. After he has been nursing for a while- perhaps a few seconds or as long as a few minutes- milk begins to flow strongly and steadily. This is your letdown phase. Some moms can feel it, and those who don't can often identify it by watching the baby. When baby is swallowing a lot, perhaps with a "suck-swallow-breathe, suck-swallow-breathe" pattern, he's getting a letdown. Now, letdowns don't last forever. After a minute or a few minutes of intense milk flow, the milk flow slows down to a trickle or maybe even stops. At that point, baby gets a rest and can decide if he's feeling full or not. If he continues to nurse, he may generate a second letdown phase. And if he continues to nurse after that, he may generate a third, fourth, fifth, etc., letdown. (Most babies seem to be satisfied with 1-3 letdowns, depending on how much milk is released each time.)
When a baby is getting a lot of bottles, it is quite common for him to become impatient at the breast and resist working for a second or third letdown. He knows that fussing at the breast means that mom will go and make him a bottle. The best thing to do, in general, is to take bottles out of your nursing relationship and nurse as much as possible, allowing baby to boost your supply to where it needs to be and training him to nurse better because he will not to expect a bottle at the conclusion of a feeding.
Becoming red in the face is interesting, and that's something I have never encountered before. But I have a hypothesis about what my hype causing it: your hormones. One of the hormones released during brestfeeding is Oxytocin. Oxytocin has many roles in the body, but one of it's most interesting is that it is released when people are feeling affectionate. The warm glow you feel after sex, when you are probably flushed? That's oxytocin. The cuddly feeling you get when you nurse? That's oxytocin, too, and it may be making you have a warm glow to your face when baby is finished nursing.
I can completely understand why you feel frustrated with nursing. But I strongly suggest that you continue to feed the baby at the breast and not get into exclusive pumping (EP). EP has many drawbacks, and it will be much harder to make it to your 1 year goal if you pump. Especially when you are traveling. Nursing on a plane, nursing in an airport- that is easy. Trying to pump on a plane, or find an electrical outlet in a private clean location in an airport or a train station- that's HARD.
I just realize that I never responded. This info that you gave me really helped me. I had no idea what letdown actually meant!!! thank you! I am still breast feeding, sticking to it even if it is not always easy as I don't have a lot of milk.... but I am giving him every drop.