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Thread: Should I give up on breast feeding?

  1. #1

    Default Should I give up on breast feeding?

    This is a serious question, as I've been told by 1 lactivsits that I may fall into the 1% of people who may not be able to nurse due to my low supply.

    I never thought I would even be writing this post. I have literally had wonderful dreams about breastfeeding prior to being pregnant and I even chose to have a med-free birth so that I could ensure nursing success. I've read books and even naively threw away formula samples and coupons. Well, after 6 hours of pushing, DD did not latch and that's when things started to go downhill. I have flat nipples and she had a tongue-tie, which was cut immediately. I started to pump every 2-3 hours in the hospital and supplemented in the meantime while trying to get her to latch. A few days later, DD latched for the first time with the aid of a nipple shield, although her ability to latch was hampered by my low supply. I also have PCOS.

    Fast forward 5 weeks, and now I am a tired and tattered mess. I have been seeing a great LC weekly, attend regular BF support groups, take fenugreek, mother's love special blend, 90 mg of domperdione, started metformin, eat all the right foods, drink a ton of water, started metformin, do acupuncture, and even started to take oxytocin nasal spray to facilitate letdowns. I pump about 15 ounces per day and yet whenever DD nurses, she only takes in about an ounce, even over an hour's span. My LC thinks we just have to wait for her mouth to grow larger (she is now 9 pounds 3 ounces) but I don't know how much longer I can take any of this. I have yet to go a single nursing without supplementing. We just introduced the breastflow and the new medela calma bottles last week (after using the SNS via breast and finger-feeding for 4 weeks). We found the calma too fast but she drinks from the breastflow just great, so it's not necessarily a sucking problem.

    For the first time, I want to give up. I already gave up on my dreams of EBFing but now I am ready to throw in the towel hoping to nurse without supplementing. I'm wondering if I should just pump 3-4 times a day (realistic) and just feed her from what I get from that and do formula for the rest. I just don't know what to do.

    Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Don't give up mama! Trust me it WILL get better! This is one of the hardest times for most breastfeeding moms, regardless of supply. It sounds like you are doing everything great. Are you pumping right after you nurse her as well? And doing breast compressions? This can increase your supply. Just remember (which I'm sure you already know) the more milk you take out of your breasts the more milk you will make. Are you underweight at all? I have a very fast metabolism and if I don't eat often enough I lose weight and my milk supply drops because the food is burned off so fast. So I was told to eat a spoonful of peanut butter before every meal. It slows down my metabolism a bit and helps my body hang on to the food a little longer and able to produce more milk. We are ALL here for you. Post away and we will be there to support you. Again I promise it will get better. It really truly will!
    Melissa

    Young SAHM of
    Afton (A1) (1/24/09) and
    Autumn (A2) (8/29/11)

    Sealed in the SLC Temple

    and and now CDing!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    I just wanted to offer encouragement. That it can work out. I breastfed then nursed my DD for 2 months before it got better. I pumped a minimum of 10 times a day. From what you are pumping, if you are both pumping and nursing, if doesn't sound like low supply. My DD had a weak suck and wasn't transferring enough and I have flat nipples but as she got bigger and stronger it got easier and easier. I just made sure I nursed her all the time in addition to bottle feeding. It was exhausting but now we are 5 months going strong (I have a thread called "so many tears" if you want to read. We also did see a speech language pathologist specializing in feeding issues.

    Hang in there, it will get better!
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Oh I want to mention, to boost supply you want a hospital grade pump and you should pump after every feed. If you nurse her and she takes an ounce, then you pump and get an ounce or so then feed her that by bottle. You won't need to supplement with formula. I was always just one step ahead of my LO and it was so discouraging sometimes. Frustrating, I know.
    Last edited by @llli*pizanite; January 24th, 2012 at 06:37 AM. Reason: Too early
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,852

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Mama, this is such an individual thing that we cannot tell you what you should do. You need to examine your own heart and discover what makes sense for YOU.

    I know it must be very, very hard to do everything you can to ensure success and still fall short of your goal. But I think you should take pride in the fact that you have done something incredible, put in an amount of work that few people would have even contemplated, and managed to provide your baby with quite a lot of breastmilk. 15 oz per day is nothing to sneeze at! Especially when you have PCOS. You worked amazingly hard for that 15 oz.

    One of the many beautiful things about breastfeeding is that it does not have to be all or nothing. And not that my opinion matters, but I think that if you decide to pump 3-4 times per day and supplement with formula, and nurse for the pure enjoyment of it, that is a very fair middle course.
    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
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    I am working wi a mama IRL who is going through exactly what you are going through. She is doing everything right. Just like you are. But she can't make enough to feed her baby 100% from her breasts. She just can't. She nurses and baby is still hungry and needs a supplement. So...she supplements. She nurses first always, gives a bottle, the nurses again to end at the breast, and then pumps but is about to stop pumping. And ...it is OK. The relationship is there. So it is not all or nothing

    I would say this...if baby can nurse at all, do NOT EP. EPing is much more difficult than what you are doing already for the long term. She might grow into nursing. But EPing is always 120 minutes a day at the pump. It never gets easier. I have EPed for a year for a cleft baby who never could effectively nurse well enough to thrive, despite trying hard. I wish I had kept trying, as now, post-op, he can use a Breastflow bottle. But if you don't keep trying, you don't have a chance to transition back to the breast, or even have that nice relationship.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Thanks ladies. I have tried all the suggestions here-- pumping after nursing (doing that this very second), doing breast compressions, doing my best to empty breasts after each feeding, am not underweight, etc. etc. If there is some kind of intervention or help, I have done it. I've talked to 5 lactation consultants.

    Another problem is that DD only really takes the breast maybe 2-4 times a day, depending on her mood. I'm so worried that she will just reject it once and for all as she gets smarter. I have put in my EVERYTHING into this and I just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    It really helps that some of you think that i have hope. It helps to hear success stories.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    I am sorry that you are having trouble.

    It will get better. The first 2 months were very hard for us. As DS got bigger and stronger things got easier and now at 5 months he is a pro.

    You CAN do this, even if you choose to partially BF and partially use formula that's OK. BF does not have to be all or nothing.
    I am Klisti, I married my best friend Kris two years ago.

    The love of my life, Wyatt 8-28-11 AKA the little dude

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*glenrapids View Post
    Thanks ladies. I have tried all the suggestions here-- pumping after nursing (doing that this very second), doing breast compressions, doing my best to empty breasts after each feeding, am not underweight, etc. etc. If there is some kind of intervention or help, I have done it. I've talked to 5 lactation consultants.

    Another problem is that DD only really takes the breast maybe 2-4 times a day, depending on her mood. I'm so worried that she will just reject it once and for all as she gets smarter. I have put in my EVERYTHING into this and I just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    It really helps that some of you think that i have hope. It helps to hear success stories.
    Have you done SNS feedings instead of bottles? Some babies decide they prefer a bottle when they are older and smarter. I know it's fiddly -- I've used it myself -- but it might preserve your nursing relationship, and it's a way to combine stimulating the breast with feeding the baby instead of pumping, then feeding, which takes up so.much.time.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Should I give up on breast feeding?

    Hopefully an encouraging story: My good friend, who attended natural birth classes with me, unfortunately seems to suffer from "insufficient glandular tissue." Her breasts changed little during pregnancy and never got bigger at all even after birth. Her milk didn't come in for seven days. She did everything right (although she says she'd start pumping sooner next time), but was only able to make about 20% of what her baby needed. It SUCKED. She was grieving. It was not fun.

    But what blew my mind was her response. When many of us would have just give up, she didn't. She solicited milk donations from her BF'ing friends. She used an SNS with formula for most feedings. She took handfuls of supplements and domperidone. She nursed and pumped that 20% even though it was time consuming. I was just like, . And she kept it up for about ten months! Even when she went back to work as a lawyer! Her baby got a lot of formula. But she also got a lot of breastmilk.

    So yeah, she's a little insane. I don't want to you to feel bad if you can't do that, bc I'm not sure I could either. But I did want to say, you can try to hang on to what you have here, just take it day by day, etc. At five weeks, I would not give up yet, because women can and do recover their supplies that late!! Of course, as Mommal says, we can't tell you what's right for you. But I know that at five weeks postpartum, I was a total freaking mess and my breastfeeding issues were no where near sorted out. Thus, for me personally, I know that I would keep going a bit longer, long enough that I can look at my situation more objectively, and know in my heart that I have TRIED. For me, that would mean trying a bit more, to see whether baby's growing mouth might help. And I'd redefine success for myself. Exclusive breastfeeding is wonderful, an ideal that folks should strive for. But if it's not possible for you, that doesn't mean that nothing short of that will do. On the contrary: Every drop of breastmilk that baby gets is a good thing. Every drop. Whatever you can do, that is good for your baby. Good luck, and hang in there!


    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.

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