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Thread: Do I have a supply issue?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Do I have a supply issue?

    I have 3 week old twin boys. Because I had GD, while in the hospital the babies had to be supplemented with formula due to blood sugar issues. We cup fed to avoid nipple confusion and they both latched quickly and BFing hasn't been a problem since. We continued supplementing until my milk came in but they've since been weaned from formula.

    I tandem feed on demand, usually every 2-3 hours. If one is sleeping, I wake him up so I can feed them both. I pump for 15 mins after every feeding to increase supply and try to fit in at least one power pumping session a day. I usually get about half an ounce per breast after each feeding, sometimes less (half an ounce in total).

    I'm eating lots of oatmeal and taking fenugreek (3 pills 3x a day). I feel like I'm getting a fair amount of rest (~6 hours) and I'm drinking lots of water, as well as Mother's Milk tea. I tried adding blessed thistle, and although my supply seemed to briefly dramatically increase*, it made the babies spit up and gave us all soft stools.

    In the afternoons/early evenings they want to nurse constantly. They'll nurse, fall asleep, I set them down, 10 mins later they wake up hungry. I do continue putting them to the breast because I want my body to know to make more milk, but I feel so guilty because they seem like they're starving! I supplement in the evenings with bottles of expressed BM so help make sure they're full before we put them down.

    At first I thought this was a growth spurt, but it's been like this for at least 10 days. Could it be or do you think I have a supply issue? Shouldn't I be able to pump more than a half an ounce or an ounce at a time? Should I increase fenugreek to 4 pills 3x a day?

    My pedi was impressed I'm able to solely BF as she said she rarely sees mothers of twins be able to do that. I know it's totally possible and I have a huge desire to 100% provide for my babies, so I'm looking for all the help I can get. Any advice? Any thoughts?

    *What I mean by "dramatically increase" is that I was getting closer to an ounce per breast when pumping after feeding rather than the lame 1/2 ounce when taking blessed thistle. It's too bad, because I definitely noticed a difference. Maybe I should try it again at a lower dose? I was taking 3 pills 3x a day.

    TIA!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Welcome, and congratulations on the new babies! It sounds like you are doing an absolutely fabulous job.

    The pattern you describe, of near-constant afternoon/evening feedings, is 100% normal, particularly for such young babies. Most moms have a bit of a supply dip in the later hours of the day and this, combined with a baby's normal tendency to get tired and cranky as the day wears on, causes babies to "cluster feed" at the end of the day. The best way to get through it is to roll with it. Just nurse on demand, nurse as much as possible, and the babies will eventually train your body's internal clock to make more milk at the end of the day. Also, as the babies grow and get stronger, they will be better able to get the milk out and you won't have to do these marathon feedings.

    I suggest shelving both the pump and the bottles. Pumping is just stressing you out (1/2 an oz after nursing is totally normal, by the way) and making you work harder than you need to be. If you are worried about your babies' intake, just watch their diapers. Good diaper output means good milk input. And the bottles- first of all, at only 3 weeks it's not recommended that a baby get any sort of artificial nipple at all, since it can screw up the baby's latch, and second, every time you offer a bottle you risk your babies learning that fussing means getting bottle-fed. Since it's easier to eat from a bottle than the breast, many babies learn to stop nursing, fuss, and thereby demand a bottle instead of working to nurse.

    I really think you're doing an absolutely terrific job. It sounds to me like your pediatrician may have (unintentionally?) planted a seed of doubt in your mind- if she rarely sees moms of twins able to exclusively breastfeed, then maybe you can't do it either.... But you can, mama!!!! You can and you are.
    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
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Thanks so much for your reply and the encouragement!

    Diapers are good, for sure. I'm relaxed with the pumping during the day because they nurse so much but I'm afraid to totally cut it out because even after nursing for hours on end, they still seem so hungry! I can't bear to give up the supplement of BM (2 oz each) and I need to pump to have that on hand. I mean they cry and scream and furiously put their hands in their mouth. I just feel awful! I've been trying to make sure they get it before they get really fussy right after they wake up with a cry/hands to mouth so it doesn't seem like a response to fussiness but more a response to them just being hungry. I want to cut it out but I feel like they're too hungry most evenings not to. One day this week I was able to skip it. We'll see how they do tonight. I just keep nursing and nursing which I totally love so I don't mind one bit. Just hoping my supply is enough so I can satiate these babies!

    Thank you again!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Hi! you are doing so awesome! i agree with mommal about the pump, no need. your babies will remove milk much better than a pump all babies need to suck suck suck. i just kept my babies on my breasts ALL DAY . Just set yourself up in a comfy place with some water bottles, snacks, books, laptop, whatever. just nurse. they need to suck for nutrition, to build your supply, and to feel safe and comforted.

    keep up the good work and dont bother with the pump

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Diapers output normal = milk input normal. Must keep telling yourself that.

    The end of the day is hard, even with just one baby! If you feel you must continue to offer the bottle once a day, don't feel bad about that. But do continue to at least try to nurse instead of using the bottle. I know I had to have a bottle ready promptly at 7 pm every night with my first daughter... She was just too fussy to nurse, and the bottle shut off the screaming like a light. I thought I'd be stuck doing it forever, but around 3 months old she decided that bottles were for chumps and she'd rather nurse. She didn't have another bottle until she was around 2, and found an old one in a box of baby toys!
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Diapers output normal = milk input normal. Must keep telling yourself that.
    you're totally right. i should relax -- it'll probably help with production, too! i'll see if we can skip the bottle tonight. as a matter of fact, i haven't even been able to pump a full 4 oz today because i've been nursing since like 1pm pretty much constantly! today only one of my guys is fussy though.

    did you ladies experience the furious signs of hunger when you were cluster feeding? i guess it's normal if the diaper output is normal. we have our 1 month check up monday. i'm eager to find out how much they've gained. fingers crossed for great weights!

    thank you again!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    my lo constantly rooted and had his hands in his mouth. they need to be at the breast. need to. think of biology/evolution. they suck to build supply. twins, they need to get that supply to twice as much as a mom with one baby. their job is to stimulate the production. you just need to put them there so they can do it

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Hi. It's me again.

    Here's the latest. I took my boys in for their 1 month check up this week. They only weigh 7lbs (they were 5lb15oz at birth) which makes them underweight for their age. The doctor still wants me to continue to supplement expressed BM (2 oz a day per baby). I had managed to cut out the supplementation at your encouragement the week prior so I was excited to be on a roll but after hearing they're behind in weight, I want to help them grow as much as possible so I've added it back in. (I know! Probably wrong thing to do!) I don't offer the bottle when they're fussy. I do it to top off feedings when they still seem hungry after they've been nursing for a while - I usually give them each 1oz midday and before bed. So here's where they are...

    At night they sleep anywhere between 2.5-5 hours and they nurse for about 30 mins at night, so things are good there. But during the day, they want to eat every 1-1.5 hours or so and then they stay on the breast for 45min to an hour. For example, today they nursed from 10-11am, again from 12-1:30. I put them down for a few minutes and they both screamed in hunger so they are back on the breast right now and it's 1:45. I totally don't mind (love it, actually) so I'm happy to do it but again the doctor felt like at this age they shouldn't be eating that often. I know my doctor's objective is to have healthy growing boys and she probably doesn't care as much as I do about EBFing (but she's a huge supporter of BFing), but I also want healthy growing boys. I'm still pumping for 15 mins after most feedings (usually 6x a day) and I get anywhere from 4-9oz a day. But on a day like today where they're nursing constantly, I don't pump until evening.

    So a few more questions:
    1. Does it seem odd to you that one month olds want to nurse that frequently during the day?
    2. Is it normal for your pumping output to vary like that on a day to day basis? I sort of feel like the day I got 9oz was a day that my supply increased to keep up with their demand but the last 2 days I was not able to pump that much. Perhaps my supply is up, but they're eating more so I'm able to pump less again?
    3. Also, does my pumping output seem low to you? I keep reading about women who will pump 5oz after a feeding in one sitting!

    I plan to continue putting them to the breast whenever they are hungry or showing signs of hunger. I love my time with them and that's what I'm here for who ! To care for my babies.

    TIA.

    Signed,
    Clueless FTM who desperately wants to EBF twins
    Last edited by @llli*babybaker; August 18th, 2011 at 11:47 AM.
    EBF FTM to twin boys born at 37w on 7/15/11!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do I have a supply issue?

    Hi!

    both my sons (not twins) wanted to eat constantly. i just sat with them on a boppy and moved them back and forth, from one breast to the other throughout the day.

    I disagree with your dr that they "shouldn't" be eating that often. babies need to suck A LOT and need to be at the breast a lot, some more than others.

    A friend of mine has a lo who nursed every 3 hours, that's just not how my son is. even now he nurses very frequently, not as much as those early weeks but more often than 3 hours. at least every 2. so to answer your question, it is perfectly normal for them to nurse that often.

    As for the pumping, it will vary. your body is still trying to figure out exactly how much milk to make, it takes time. plus there are many factors that affect your response to the pump, if your are stressed etc. i was pumping about 2 oz only before i went back to work.

    you are doing great. do you have the womanly art of breastfeeding? i found it very helpful

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