Milk supply is decreasing, help!
Ok, here is my situation.
My daughter was born two months early, and was in the NICU for five weeks. During those five weeks I couldn't go to the hospital every day because it was over an hour away (no negativity please) so when she did start bottle feeds, I couldn't be there to nurse her 24/7.
When she came home I put her to breast a couple times a day because she still wasn't too coordinated with sucking/swallowing/breathing. And I bottle fed her the rest of the day with milk that I had pumped. For the first two months I was producing milk like no one's business - like 8 oz a session. For about a month now, it has decreased dramatically, I get anywhere from 2-5 oz depending on how long I go between sessions and what time of day it is. it's usually about 3oz.
I was doing so well pumping every three hours, even at night when she was in the NICU. Even when she came home. But at the two month mark when she'd been home for a little bit and I was able to do more, I made the mistake of slacking a bit while pumping. So my supply decreased a bit. But I just started pumping more and it was back up in no time.
My huge concern is my daughter still isn't great at breastfeeding. I have been trying to put her to breast more, but either she starts crying or she will only nurse for about ten minutes and start crying. I'm trying to put her to breast as often as I can so my supply will increase - but it doesn't seem to be working. Mainly I'm assuming because she doesn't nurse that much. And after she either doesn't nurse at all or only does for a few minutes - I have to feed her so I give her a bottle. I know I should put her to breast every feed and just pump at work (now working Thursday through Sunday) but like I just said, after either not eating at all or hardly anything - I have to feed her, she's still hungry!
I read somewhere about how you're not supposed to have your period while nursing, I've had mine since a month after she was born - which I'm told is unusual. So I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it.
I am terrified that I will run out of milk - I just thawed out the last few bottles remaining. So tomorrow I am really going to try to get her to breast all day, but she gets so frustrated so easily :( I don't want to have to switch to formula, because I know how great the milk is for her. And plus I would feel like I gave up on her.
I feel like I'm being selfish for thinking it's too hard to nurse her like every hour-hour and a half (if I'm lucky enough to have her nurse). And I know for sure that if push comes to shove and I have to switch, when my milk is drying up and my breasts are full and sore I will think "I could be pumping this for her," or in the future like at work on a break I'll think "I could be pumping right now" i truly feel like I'd be giving up. But I feel like it's stressing me out - which I know hinders the supply.
I just bought some Mother's Milk tea (nasty!!!!! but going to try to add honey) and some fenugreek today - so I'm praying those help.
Any advice would help, I'm so very sad and scared!
Re: Milk supply is decreasing, help!
First welcome to the forum! You have come to the right place!!
Second, breath and relax, when you are tense your LO is going to pick up on that. iME every time I bring my personal issues to our breastfeeding sessions, she keeps it short. So relax. I want to address one thing first, your pump output in the beginning was outstanding! I would consider that over supply. That's not a "typical" pump session. I average an ounce every four minute up to 3 ounces, than I get about 6 ounces total for my sessions at work and that's about every two to three hours. You understand the concept of milk supply? The more milk that is removed from the breast, the more milk your body will make. Stay nourished, stay hydrated and you shouldn't have to hard of a time upping supply. That also means not to wait long periods of time between milk removal, be it the pump or your LO. Also try skin to skin contact. I went topless a lot of our nursing sessions. She really loved that. To caress my skin and feel my warmth. It was safe and helped her become an excellent nurser. We had challenges in the beginning.
I think your doing just fine. I would try it like this, when you are home, try skin to skin while nursing. Try different nursing positions. We started out in the football hold, now we are die hard side laying nursers. Try nursing every two hours or on demand if she's showing hunger cues. Then pump. Pump after her nursing sessions. Also babies that new are going to nurse every hour to hour and a half. Feeding her is your job. Get a nursing station together, snacks, water, books, magazines, chargers for electronics and nurse! Sometimes it will feel like your starting another session but you just ended another. Mothers milk is such a perfect food there bodies digest it so easily. It's the perfect system if you think about it. Created specifically for our babies needs. By them nursing so frequent, they are telling our bodies how much they need. We need to turn off our brains and listen with our mommy hearts. When they are hungry, we must feed them. Laundry can wait, dishes can wait, hubby's arms work just fine (I don't mean to offend sorry to anyone whose husbands arms don't work) he can make a sandwich. Your job is to feed that LO and help her grow!
The ladies on here are going to say it much better then I can, but you will be fine, it's as simple as supply and demand. In a few months your going to laugh at yourself for being so scared. It's understandable, I was there, a few times. Be scared, it's okay, but laugh at yourself too.
Good luck and I look forward to an update!
Re: Milk supply is decreasing, help!
I also have noticed a drop/almost a complete stop with my milk supply. I currently have a cold and took Tylenol Cold & Sinus, a total of 3 times. I last took it yesterday morning at 2 am, so it has been completely out of my system for 24 hours now. However, I just pumped for 15 minutes and only got a 1/2 of an ounce total. I have never had an issue with a low milk supply before, I normally get anywhere from 4-6 ounces per pumping session, depending on what time of day I pump. I called my OB to make sure that this medication was safe, which he said it was. I'm scared that my milk supply is drying up and I plan on bf for an entire year. I have drank 3 20 oz. water bottles in 3 hours before pumping, and still only got 1/2 of an ounce!!! what can I do?!?!?! HELP please!!!
Re: Milk supply is decreasing, help!
You can do it! Rest assured a full year + is possible with just pumping if you opt to. I personally breastfed my son through pumping for 15 months and never had to supplement. It was so much harder than just breastfeeding, but there were complications and no one to help, so I know I didn't want formula, so I just pumped. From the time I started pumping I never pumped less than 10 min per side, and I had plenty of milk for the baby, and every 3 hrs on the dot. If I felt my supply was decreasing I pumped 5 min longer per side every 2 hrs for about a day, till it had recovered. I highly suggest a double pump so you are getting them both at the same time. Even if there is no active milk coming out, I pumped, the extra pumping and stimulus will tell your body that you need to make more milk. I know a lot of breastfeeding moms that tried to pump and gave up because they would stop pumping once the milk stopped flowing, and dried up, so I think that my incentive to pump for a specified amount of time no matter what is what made the difference. Maybe try that for a few days and see what happens? I know that schedule may be hard at work, but pump as often as you can, and for a full time if possible. While at home if you do want to nurse your baby, definitely skin to skin contact, and take it easy and relax. If you tense so will your baby, and then pump after each feeding for a good amount of time, to get your supply back. When she nurses and cries do you try to switch sides or reattach her? Always feed baby first, then pump, if you are wanting to breastfeed from the tap. Anyway I hope this helps, and I just know it can be done, oh and the more you relax while pumping/nursing the the better it will be. I remember I was pumping one time and I had just got home from work, I was a sheriff dispatcher, and it had been a horrible day, and I was so stressed, my milk wouldn't even letdown till I stopped and vented/cried to my hubby and just relaxed! You are doing the best for your baby and I applaud your determination and strive to give your baby the best!