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Thread: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    Hi, This is my first post but I have been reading these forums for weeks. I just wanted to say that everyone here has been helpful and I have learned a lot! My son is 3 months old and we have been EBF since birth. However I struggle to maintain my supply. I know this because when my supply is up he is happy and content after feeds but when it is down he tries hard to nurse and pulls at my breasts and then comes off screaming. I nurse on demand however often it may be but if there is no milk he will not nurse. There has been a few days I have had to give expressed milk that I put in the freezer on my better supply days. The only way we have been able to keep nursing is because I keep adding herbs to increase milk and now have gone on dpd. As soon as I take a new herb or increase an herb my milk supply goes up and baby is happy and life is good again. Several days later supply drops and he is unhappy and I have to work hard just to get him to nurse. Then I will come up with something new and the story repeats itself. Its so crazy because I can have plenty of milk one day and the next day I am down to nothing. I was hoping that I was imagining things and that he was just fussy sometimes but when I took him to the doctor he had lost from 12.1lbs to 11.4lbs in three weeks. Thank goodness the doctor was not worried because my son is still at a good weight but of course we cannot continue that. I pump after as many feeds as I can even getting up 1-2 times in the middle of the night to pump when he refuses to be woken. I am exhausted but so determined but at the same time I don't want to starve my baby. I am running out of ways to boost my supply.

    Info: I am on 9 fenugreek 9 blessed thistle 9 marshmallow root and 120mg dpd
    I am a stay at home mom with a 12 year old who helps out (bless her!)

    Thanks in advance!!!!
    Last edited by @llli*Camche3; July 3rd, 2011 at 08:33 AM. Reason: 9 marshmallow root not 3

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    i would say get an IBCLC.

    when he is fussy do you leave him at the breast or take him off?

    diapers?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    The IBCLC here are not great. I can only find 2 and neither has gotten back with me when I call. I have contacted someone from lll who came to my house to check latch and speak with me. She tried really hard to help but says I may just be "one of those moms". When he is fussy I keep trying for a while and he will keep latching on an off until he gives up. After a while I get up and walk around with him and try to distract him and then go back to try again. Somtimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. His diapers are good lots of wet on good days but less on bad. 3 poops per day lots of times but he does skip days especially when my supply is low. I have heard that is normal though. I will try another call to the LC tommorow. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    I don't like that someone said you may just be one of those women...what does that mean?

    my initial thought is that it doesn't make any sense to have low supply one day and not the next.

    is there a time of day when he seems more unhappy about nursing?

    my thoughts:

    1. get a scale to weigh baby before and after feedings to see how much he is taking in
    2. do compressions at the beginning of each nursing session. also watch for signs of good drinking, swallowing etc
    3. lets take advantage of the fact that your production is greatest in the AM, between 3-5. I would co sleep if you do not already. Get the baby to nurse very often in those early hours and keep that up in the morning. Encourage him to eat early and get a lot of calories then. Our production is less in the evenings so if he is getting good calories in the am if he is fussy in the evenings he still got a good amount of nutrients.
    4. keep a journal for a few days on as much as you can. what you eat, your sleep, his eating, diapers, mood etc. Maybe you can pick up on a pattern in writing that you are not currently aware of.

    How do you feel about that?

    Also, are you supplementing with formula at all? if yes, when and how much.

    did you bf you daughter? did you have these issues?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    The reason I can get my supply up is because I have increased herbs or the dpd. But I don't really want to increase the dpd anymore and am running out of ideas for the herbs. Besides they don't last that long before my supply decreases again. He is more unhappy in late afternoon but I know that my supply is lowest then and he is also fussy then too. On the days when my supply is lower he cries after most feedings unless he fell asleep but when he falls asleep he will wake up hungry after only 15 or 20 minutes. I will check into getting the scale. I think maybe I can call Medela to get one or find out where to get one. I have been doing the compressions but only after his good drinking slows down so I will start doing them at the beginning of the feeding now. We do cosleep but he only will latch every once in a while not nurse. I have to get up to pump because it seems like if I wake up engorged it causes my supply to drop. I will try the journal and see if that helps but everything I eat and drink I do to benefit him. I eat oatmeal and only drink water. I eat protein and dark leafy green vegs. I don't give him formula. So far I have had the extra bm to feed him from pumping. But I haven't done that much. Now that he lost weight though I'm afraid that I should supplement more often. I only bf the 12 year old for 6 weeks due to lack of support and being young but I bf my 8 year old son for 9 months. He was failure to thrive until about 3 months when doctor recommend I use cereal and formula 3 times a day. No one told me that birth control would affect production. At 8 he still doesn't gain weight well. Thanks so much for your help!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    Hi again

    I do not know about herbs etc so we will see what others say.

    I think a scale is going to be your best bet here, it will tell you how much he is getting.

    I am not a fan of supplementing with formula, but there are cases where it is going to help. If he is losing weight you may need to start, I just do not know how much. I would not use cereal to gain weight though. What does your dr want to do?

    Do you have expressed milk frozen for bottles instead of needing to use formula?
    Last edited by @llli*mtmama; July 4th, 2011 at 11:13 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    My doctor that I have now is a real fan of breastfeeding. (unlike any doctor I had with my other kids) He didn't say to do anything just yet. He just wants to see him again on Friday because this is the first time he has lost weight. He is still in the 20th percentile which is where he was at birth. He had jumped up a little for a bit. I have been reading about dpd a lot and some people say it takes three weeks to notice a good increase so I am hoping that in another week (will make three weeks for me) it will be better. Its a shame that there are people out there who can breastfeed but wont and people who desperately want to but have lots of trouble doing so. If It comes down to it I will give formula but hoping I don't have to. No matter what I won't give up trying even if I can only give him a small amount of bm a day.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    by the way, why did you start taking the herbs? how did you "know" to?

    was he losing weight early on?... you answered it while i was typing

    lets see how it goes. you are very fortunate o have such a supportive dr.
    Last edited by @llli*mtmama; July 4th, 2011 at 11:04 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    I first started with fenugreek (just one or two a day) because my seemingly satisfied baby all of a sudden wasn't. My breast were also extremely soft and I could pump nothing. The first few days I thought it was a growth spurt but it kept getting worse and after just a few minutes of nursing he would pull and squirm and then scream. 24 hours after starting fenugreek, he was satisfied again until a week later it started again so I upped the fenugreek and again he was happy. When I reached the max dose of fenugreek and it happened again so I called someone from la leche league. She suggested blessed thistle. I had to immeadiately go to the max dose of that for it to work. When it happened again I reasearched and learned about dpd and marshmallow root. I ordered the dpd but it took two weeks to get so the marshmallow root worked in the meantime. That helped for a while so I just held on to the dpd but then I ended up having to take that too. This is why he never had a chance to actually lose weight. I still have another couple of different kinds of herbs that I have researched about (Have read the book "making more milk") but I just don't understand why nothing works long term. The only things I know are that I have to drink lots of water. I can't go all night without feeding or pumping and that my breast don't hold a lot of milk therefore feed/pump very often which I am doing. As far as baby goes, maybe he doesn't completely empty my breasts. I hope I can get the scale because it would be interesting to know how much he does get.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can't Maintain Milk Supply

    a baby that doesnt seem satisfied does not mean you have low supply. Also, pumping is not a way to tell how much milk you are producing. The best indicators are:
    diapers
    weight gain
    is baby lethargic

    The drop in weight to me is a warning sign but it is more often the result the baby is not removing the milk adequately or not nursing often enough. Either way, then your body will not produce enough since it is supply and demand. So you are left thinking that you don't produce enough when really that may not be the case.

    the best way to increase supply is with nursing.

    I woud read through this link: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/lo...ly.html#supply

    Tell us how it goes with the scale and at the dr.

    any word from the LC? hands on help is really going to be important here.
    Last edited by @llli*mtmama; July 4th, 2011 at 11:06 AM.

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