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Thread: Worried about supply

  1. #1

    Unhappy Worried about supply

    My LO is 14.5 weeks old, she was born one ounce away from albs and now weighs about 13.5lbs. She's been 100% breast fed and has been gaining weight and growing at a good rate.

    In preparation of my return to work next week, we have been giving her at least one bottle of expressed milk a day. We offered 4oz and she'd usually leave one to one and a half ounces. This past week she started sleeping anywhere from 8 to 10 hours without waking at night but continued to eat every three hours. Since then she would finish the 4oz and keep sucking for more so I offered her a half more and another half more and she kept taking it. Due to different reasons this past week (family emergency keeping me away from her, medical procedures inhibiting me to nurse her) she's been receiving more and more bottles of expressed milk while I pump and she's now up to 5.5oz at a time and drinks about four times a day.

    I pump as much as 8.5oz in the morning and from there my supply dwindles to 4 and then 3.5 and then 3 and then as little as 1.5oz. Sometimes I make enough in total for the day that she drinks and sometimes I don't and when I do it's because the morning pump session extra ounces helps. The other night I nursed her for bedtime and she wouldn't sleep. She stayed a little fussy so I offered her a bottle and she drank it all!

    I haven't had to supplement with formula yet because I've been digging in to my freezer stash and the excess I pumped in the mornings.

    I realize that pumps aren't as good at removing milk as your baby but I can't help but worry that she isn't getting enough from me anymore. She'll need about three bottles for her caretaker when I return to work in two days and I know I won't produce the 16+ ounces in those three pump sessions during the work day to make up for what she's drinking. And then I get home and want to nurse her but I've only been pumping about 2 ounces around bedtime. She's been sleeping so much more during the night and wants five ounces at a time during the day and I don't produce that much in three hours, let alone at the end of the day before she sleeps.

    I'm at a loss. I know that formula isn't evil and its okay to supplement if I need to but I'm afraid this is the beginning of the end and I really wanted to nurse her for longer.

    Because of my work schedule and her sleep schedule, I'll be nursing her once before work, she'll have three bottles while I'm at work and then she'll nurse when I get home before bedtime. If I need to supplement due to my low supply at the end of the day I will only nurse her once a day. Do I nurse her and then offer her formula before bed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Worried about supply

    Why is your baby sleeping so long night? Does baby sleep in the same room with you? Does she use a pacifier or is she swaddled? It's not out of the question but it is a bit unusual for such a young baby to sleep such a long stretch every night. Babies who are not swaddled, not given pacifiers at night, and sleep in close proximity to their mothers, tend to wake on a more natural pattern so that they will nurse overnight as is normal and typically necessary. If you are already sleeping close to your baby and not using swaddling or a pacifier, you can try waking baby at night to nurse. This would have the benefit of keeping your milk production normal long-term. And of course it would mean more closeness and special time with your baby even after you're back to work.

    But at this point, I'm not sure why you think you have low milk production. I cannot see a birthweight posted, it looks like there was a typo, but you say that baby has been gaining well. If the baby is gaining well on their mothers breast milk, the mother does not have Low milk production. Additionally, From what you describe, your pump output is extremely high. Good pump output once a mom is back to work and pumping during separations, is somewhere around 2 to 4 ounces per pump session. Also a typical feed for a three-month-old would be somewhere between two and 4 ounces, but that would be assuming baby is nursing or being bottle fed with normal frequency which would usually be at least 8 to 10 times for 24 hour day.

    I think what is happening is your baby is being overfed with the bottles. If you look on this website and search the term toolkit. You will see the tearsheet toolkit look for the PDF document that is called bottlefeeding the breast-fed baby. As you will see from that, it is recommended that babies cue fed with the bottles just as they are at the breast. There is more to it, I suggest you read the whole thing and give it to your babies caregivers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Worried about supply

    PS I totally agree that formula isn't evil. However supplementing when it isn't necessary and not nursing baby (or pumping during separation as needed) with normal frequency certainly will harm milk production overtime, and baby being bottle-fed in a not breast-feeding supportive way both would bring a more rapid end to breast-feeding than you may prefer. So figuring this out now and taking steps to stop the snowball effect of supplementation is smart.

    Also it is normal for milk production to "falloff" a bit towards the end of the day. This does not mean you have low milk production. If baby nurses lots in the evening that is totally normal and does not mean that supplements are required. Even if you were home all day that would be normal.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; March 1st, 2014 at 10:44 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Worried about supply

    This definitely sounds like overfeeding from the bottle. Average daily intake for a breastfed baby is around 19-30 oz of milk per day (according to the reliable kellymom.com). If your baby is getting 4 bottles of 5.5 oz apiece, she's getting 22 oz per day from the bottle, which means that all or nearly all her entire daily requirements are being met with bottles.

    One of our smart working moms here says that "night nursing is a working mom's best friend". It helps the baby stay familiar with the art of breastfeeding, it helps mom maintain good milk supply, and it reduces the baby's need for bottles at daycare because some of her calorie needs are being met at night. So if this were my baby, I would start waking her at least once during that long overnight stretch. I know everyone says "don't wake a sleeping baby", but they forget that there are often good reasons to do so, and that there is no harm in doing so.

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