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Thread: low milk supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    10

    Default low milk supply

    I am the mother of twin boys that are now 8 weeks. The boys couldn't latch on to me because my nipples increased in size during pregnancy and were too big for them. I saw 3 lactation consultants in the hospital and one at home 3 times. Since I couldn't have them latch, I began pumping with the hospital-grade pump every 2 hours, but I have an extremely low milk supply. I already take fenugreek, blessed thistle and goat's rue and Domperidone and nothing has worked. I still can't get the boys to latch on one breast at all and then other latch is inconsistent. I have been supplementing from day one. I have been pumping 10-12 times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time for the past 8 weeks. I was wondering if anyone knew if my supply is 25% of what the boys need, will it continue to be 25% of what they need as they get older?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,615

    Default Re: low milk supply

    Welcome and congratulations on the new babies! I'm sorry you've had a rough time with nursing them so far, but I really admire the fact that you've made the commitment to pump and that you have continued to try getting them to latch. As they grow, the size of your nipples/breasts will matter less and less, as they grow more and more. That's the good news.

    The bad news is that making more milk requires removing more milk, which means pumping more often, or for longer time periods, or having the kids nurse effectively. Considering the amount of work you're already doing... It may be difficult to figure out how to get more pumping sessions in. And since the babies are currently about 75% formula fed, their volume needs will probably increase with time. (Breastfed babies' volume needs change relatively little compared to those of formula-fed babies.). That means that the 25% of the babies' diet you're producing today may ultimately make up a lower relative percentage of their diet.

    I know that all sounds very discouraging. But please don't be discouraged! You are doing an amazing job and any percentage of your babies' diet that is breastmilk is valuable for them- be it 100 % or 1%. It's also valuable for you, since making milk has lots of health benefits. And if you can ramp up the pumping, or get the babies to nurse, i think there's every reason to expect that you can get your supply to increase.

    Just a couple questions about possible physical barriers to increased supply:
    - Are you currently pregnant or on hormonal birth control (icluding Mirena)?
    - Have you been tested for thyroid problems, PCOS, or retained placenta?
    - Did your lactation consultant check your shield size? (Poorly fitting shields can impact production.)
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: low milk supply

    Thanks for responding and for the encouragement, I could use it!

    I've spoken to 2 doctors about my production- no PCOS or anything. I do have hypothyroidism, but it's controlled through meds and I was tested every 4 weeks during pregnancy and after. My levels are perfect. I am not on birth control and I already use the largest breast shields- the glass medela ones.

    Luckily, my boys actually get about 70-80% breastmilk. Both my partner and I pump for them (she also has low milk supply, but she continued to lactate by feeding our 20 month old) I pump about 15-20 oz a day, which is up from my original amount.

    We practice latching every day, but I have to go back to work in about 4 weeks, so I am worried I won't be able to keep up what I am doing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,615

    Default Re: low milk supply

    In that case, I'm going to guess that the issue is predominantly that you are one of those women who doesn't respond all that well to a pump. Not fair! I did read recently about a mom who was considering using an oxytocin nasal spray to help her get letdowns... Maybe you could talk to your LCs or midwife or obstetrician about that possibility?

    I just have to say that it's awesome that you and your partner are both making milk for the kids! I am jealous. I've asked my husband to at least give it a try, but he won't...
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,612

    Default Re: low milk supply

    Congrats on all the hard work you are doing for your babies!!

    You're already pumping often, with a hospital grade pump. There are just a couple of other ideas that my body responded well with that you might give a try

    power pump once a day in the morning. Pump 12 minutes, off 12, pump 12, off 12, pump 12. It's a lot of work, obviously, but that got me to produce about another 3 oz total for the day. I did that every day until my baby was 9 or 10 mos old.

    Also, try eating brown rice, green leafy vegetables, and oatmeal. My body really did well with the brown rice, but many women rave about oatmeal. I always eat it anyway so maybe that's why I didn't notice a difference.

    Hang in there! Low supply is difficult, and so is pumping for babies who won't latch on....please hang in there and ask for help when you need it.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: low milk supply

    Thanks for the advice. I will try anything I can to make more milk. The pumping has worked. Originally I was pumping only about .5 oz total and now I get about 2oz per pump.

    Thanks for the encouragement. It's so hard to watch both babies and pump so often. Hopefully I can make it to my goal of at least six months.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    1,293

    Default Re: low milk supply

    Just wanted to give you a , pumping is hard work. WIth twins and low supply its even harder. You are doing a great job and it's fantastic that your partner is giving them milk too.

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