Is my baby getting more milk than it seems
I, a loving husband and father, come humbly before you knowledgeable LLL members asking advice for my wife and new daughter.
A brief history of the pregnancy...my wife was diagnosed with both gestational diabetes and preeclampsia in the last month of her pregnancy. She ended up having to have a c-section(9-16) due to the preeclampsia and currently still has high bp although her body is beginning to regulate it better. Also a week after the baby was born my wife developed a fairly large hematoma in her abdomen where the c-section incision was. She was hospitalized for two nights and they treated her with antibiotics and she bounced back fine. She also has hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome and takes meds for both. The baby is doing great aside from being a little cranky now at 5 weeks.
My question has to do with the amount of breast milk my wife produces. She breastfed the baby exclusively until she was put in the hospital for the hematoma. But she pumped while she was in the hospital and I was shocked by how much she yielded. She got at least an ounce usually more each time she pumped. But after the hospital she's never been able to get that amount. We've also had to give the baby formula from time to time since then just to give my wife time to recover from the hematoma. But my wife continued to pump at home with our Madela In Style but with very little result. She also fed the baby from the breast when she felt up to it.
Now we're trying to get back to exclusively breastfeeding but I'm worried the baby isn't getting enough. I know the baby is a better breast milk extractor than the pump but the pump just doesn't seem to be getting anything(like not even a half an ounce) which makes me worry the baby is getting only a little more. Another thing to note(which may or may not be important) is that my wife's breasts never got hard like everyone said they would and she's never been able to feel a letdown.
I've been trying to track her pees and poops as the LLL book says to do. Her urine doesn't seem as abundant now that we're breastfeeding rather than supplementing with formula but it isn't super concentrated and dark. So that makes me think she's getting enough. Any advice for me to ease my mind or help the situation? I just don't want to be starving my daughter if my wife's breasts aren't able to produce milk.
Re: Is my baby getting more milk than it seems
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!
At this point, is baby exclusively nursing? Or is mom still supplementing with formula and/or pumped milk?
In general, babies are better than pumps at extracting milk from their moms. So it's very possible for a mom to nurse successfully and yet be a not-so-successful pumper. What you want to keep an eye on is diaper output, weight gain, and nursing frequency. They tell you more than pump output and more than observing mom nurse or pump. As long as baby's diaper output is normal, weight gain is normal, and baby is nursing a minimum of 8x (preferably 10-12x) per day, then all is as it should be. If you and mom have doubts about baby's intake, you want to try to get baby to nurse more often, get in to see a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC), and have the baby weighed. (Remember to have the pediatrician use the same scale every time, with baby always weighed in the nude or in a dry diaper.)
There are a couple of reasons to watch your baby's intake and growth carefully. Mom having 2 medical conditions which can affect supply- namely PCOS and hypothyroidism- is one. Mom should definitely be monitored carefully in the postpartum year, and have several TSH levels done over the next few months, since it's very common for thyroid function to fluctuate very widely in the postpartum year. The second reason to watch your baby's intake and growth is that mom has had a tough start to breastfeeding, what with the pre-e, c-section, additional hospital stay. The fact that she has not been exclusively nursing, and has done a lot of supplementing, is something that could be affecting her milk supply, though those issues are generally solved by more nursing and/or more pumping.
Don't worry about mom not getting engorged (i.e. not getting rock hard breasts). It's not actually something that happens to all women, and it is less common in women who have larger, softer breasts. More space for milk to hide = less engorgement.
It really sounds like everything is okay, since the baby's pee output is on track. Just keep an eye on things, and do your best to be the most liberated man in the universe- nothing helps a new mom more than a dad who spontaneously scrubs toilets, purchases take-out, changes diapers, wipes down the countertops, and offers to hold the baby for a bit so that mom can get a nap or a shower. You're probably doing all those things already. Oh- and don't forget to tell your wife that she is doing an amazing job as a mom and that she looks great. Trust me, she needs to hear those things! Tattoo them on the inside of your eyelids, if necessary, and repeat ad infinitum. :D
Re: Is my baby getting more milk than it seems
Hi dad, boy you and your wife have had a rough go of it! glad mom is doing better.
mommal has pretty much covered things so I will only say, you would certainly not be the first dad (or mom) to worry about if thier baby is getting enough.
Try to remember that breastfeeding is biologically normal and the way all mammals for all time including humans feed their young, with only the last 100 years or so of human history aside.
You guys may have more challenges than typical due to the situations of birth, hospitalizations, supplementing, etc. But the basics remain the same.
As long as baby’s weight gain is on track and nursing is comfortable for mom, all is almost certainly well. And a newborn baby must feed very frequiently. If there is a question about any of those things, then some fine tuning may be needed. But there is no way responsible parents with access to accurate information & support are going to let their baby starve. It just does not happen.