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Thread: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    25

    Default Please Help! Sick Baby diminished supply

    Even though my baby is 5 months old, I'm new to low supply problems. In the beginning I had big oversupply issues. I spent 3 months trying to slow down to a good level for my poor baby who was drowning in milk. Finally at about 4 months I noticed my milk stabalized, my breasts were soft and never too full and my baby seemed very happy. Then when he was 4.5 months we went on a 2 week vacation and I didn't bring my breast pump because I hadn't needed it for a while and it didn't fit easily. Big mistake. My baby got a stomach bug and was throwing up and not eating well for several days. I hand expressed what I could, but when we got home, my supply had obviously diminished - a lot. It feels like by half, although I have no idea if that's accurate since I have no idea how much he was eating before. Ever since 2 or 3 days after we got home my baby has been screaming at the breast and not sleeping well and we are both sad and frustrated.

    Because he spent the first 3 months being drowned, he has no idea how to wait for a let down. He just screams and refuses to eat anything if it doesn't come out right away - which it doesn't anymore. It takes several minutes of sucking for anything more than a drop or two to come out and he simply won't do it. I've been pumping every hour during the day for 4 days (I seem to get about 1.25 oz per hour for a total of about 22 oz) and nursing 1-2x per night on top of that (he will thankfully suck and eat when he's sleepy), but I haven't noticed any increase which is scaring me because in the past, all I had to do was leak too much and my supply would jump up.

    Is it too late for me? Have my hormones stabalized to the point that once I slow down, I can't build it back up anymore? Or am I stressing over nothing and 22 oz/day + nursing at night is normal for an 18 pound 5 month old baby? Do I simply need to help him learn how to suck for a while before getting his meal? If that's the case I could use advice on that as I don't want nursing to be a bad experience for him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,652

    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    It is NEVER too late to increase supply.

    It sounds to me like you have a baby who never really learned how to work for a meal, because your oversupply made things so easy for him. It sounds like right now he's getting a fair number of bottles. What would happen if you shelved them? Would he refuse the breast completely, or just battle it? If he will nurse, I think I might at least try putting the bottles and the pump away and saying, basically, "Little Man, you had an easy ride so far. But today, you and I are going to get this nursing thing down, even though it's not going to be fun for either one of us."
    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
    Aug 2011
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    25

    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    Thank you for your response. It's a good idea. I think I'll try it. **But if he does refuse, won't that defeat the purpose of trying to increase my supply? I wish I could be sure I had enough before I try it. Do you think 22 oz during the day with another feeding or two at night is enough for an 18 pound baby? It doesn't seem like very much to me.
    Last edited by @llli*mamma.christine; August 10th, 2011 at 09:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    That sounds like the right amount: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html

    If the baby does refuse, then obviously it's not going to help your supply, and you're going to have to pump and try to woo him back to the breast. This link covers how to do that: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html
    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
    Mar 2010
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    Northern Cal.
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    4,984

    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    22 ounces plus additional feedings actually sounds perfect. If you had oversupply before, then chances are, your breasts respond very well to stimulus. However, the pump does not maintain supply as well as the baby and some women don't respond well to it at all, so switching to exclusively or almost exclusively pumping can be REALLY hard on your supply (I had O/S but when I started pumping at work, I had to work much harder to maintain my supply). So your focus should be on NURSING as much as humanly possible. I would try just getting rid of the bottle and seeing what happens. If you find that's not working, then give your baby one or two ounces of milk in a bottle, tops, to take the edge off and then put him back on the breast. Also, encourage him to nurse for comfort, especially at night. Nurse through naps and sleepy time and nights if you can. A lot of babies that are ornery at the breast when they are awake will nurse happily when they are sleepy. You'll be a little tired, yes, but it's a great way to get your supply up. And you'll also be retraining your baby in the art of nursing.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    Maybe you could try pumping or expressing by hand for a few minutes before nursing? I'm wondering if it could help shorten the amount of time he has to wait for a letdown, give him a bit more immediate reward.
    Karen
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Please Help! Sick Baby diminished su

    Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate the support and ideas from all of you. I'm emotional because I love breastfeeding, but this baby has been the hardest of my 4 and it's likely my last so I REALLY don't want to give up, but he is also a champion nursing striker. My parents came to visit and he hardly ate anything for 3 days while they were here even at nighttime when no one else was awake. I thought I was going to explode and die, but I didn't pump more than necessary because I thought it was just my o/s issues again. Once they left though, he started eating again and it took two or three days to get my supply back up to where he was comfortable and happy, but that was before the 4 month mark when it was easier. My other babies would nurse for comfort by this age, but this baby was so traumatized by the oversupply, I think, that he will NOT eat unless he really wants to. He's treats it more like a necessary contact sport than a comfort thing.

    So here's what I've done so far today. He nursed really well at 12am and again 4 am. I tried to nurse him when he woke up at 6:30, but he screamed and so I tried to convince myself he wasn't hungry yet. At 7:30 he was starting to complain so I offered him the breast which he refused. I gave him a little rice cereal and tried to nurse him again, but he wouldn't so I rocked him to sleep and pumped a couple of times during his nap for a total of 6 oz. He woke up at 9:30 and took 4 of the 6 oz from a bottle. 3 hours later I used a pump to get myself to let down and then he latched on and ate for about a minute on each side. I pumped afterwards and got almost nothing. This is where I started to get paranoid I'm drying up. My breasts feel SO empty and he's an efficient eater, but there's no way 1 minute on each side is enough to get a good meal. I gave him a little bit more cereal because I needed to get my other boys out of the house (they've been shut ins for the past 4 days) and I didn't want to get stuck in public with a hungry baby who refuses to eat. I pumped to let down again when we got home at 3:30. He ate for maybe 30 seconds on each side. Maybe. I pumped for 10 minutes afterwards and got almost 3 oz.

    So since 7am (it's now 4:30), I've pumped 9 oz. He's eaten: 4oz of breast milk, a serving of rice cereal divided between 2 meals and nursed for about 3 minutes total. That just doesn't seem like he can possibly be getting enough, but it's all I've been able to do and I'm feeling stressed and worried.

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