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Thread: no milk even after trying everything

  1. #1

    Default no milk even after trying everything

    Hi everyone. I've reached out to about 20 people on this topic now from nurses to doctors to an LC to one of the members of the local LLL to friends and friends of friends and I have tried everything I can think of but I just wanted to ask a few questions before I give up on trying to breastfeed my two week old daughter.

    Background: I had an emergency c-section on 3/6/2012 after 16 hours of labor due to my daughter being over 8lbs and transverse. I did not have any milk before I left the hospital on 3/9/2012. I started using a pump in hospital but was only getting less than a ml of colostrum since I did not have milk. My daughter did not come home with us due to jaundice and was bottle fed for 24 hours before actually leaving on 3/10/2012.

    I did not have any milk come in until 3/12/2012. It was only about 3ml total each time I pumped. Over the past 10 days I have not gotten more than 5ml per pump. Daughter will latch properly but we started supplementing since she got very dehydrated and was not making any wet diapers in longer then 12 hours.

    At her two week appointment she had lost weight so we started having to supplement more. Since 3/12/2012 I have tried everything anyone has suggested to me: fenugreek, Mother's Milk tea, oatmeal not taking my allergy medicine any more, pumping, letting her nurse whenever she wanted, manually expressing...none of it has worked to get more than maybe 1/2 an ounce a whole day, still only about 5ml a pump. (I might be missing some stuff here that I tried since I've been so obsessed with it over the past week.) I never feel engorgement or any hardness/fullness in my breasts.

    I am honestly about ready to give up and I do not feel remiss in doing so as long as I've exhausted all of my options. I spend more time crying and worrying about my lack of milk than I do loving and caring about my daughter.

    I always dreamed of a natural birth and breast feeding my daughter for years but I feel like have been robbed of this experience for some reason. I want her to be healthy and happy though and she is not thriving due to my lack of milk. I feel like I have not seen any woman in my situation and it makes me feel like maybe I am missing something.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    Your baby is 2 weeks old, your milk has only been in for a week and you get 5ml each time you pump? How often are you pumping? Because that sounds like an adequate supply. Who is telling you that isn't enough? And what's more is that your baby is probably getting way more when nursing directly. How is her latch? Once your milk came in how are her wet/poop diapers? Have you spent a day nursing without any supplementing?

    Don't give up just yet. Let's back it up and start from the beginning. It's not hopeless.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  3. #3

    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    My pediatrician told me that's not enough. She needs to eat, according to the ped, 24 ounces a day and I can't even pump half an ounce in a full 24 hours. I get barely anything every time I pump -- it barely lines the bottom of the container (maybe you misunderstood because it's only 5ml, not 5 oz). Her weight was dropping. She had no poop or wet diapers while I was ebf. I tried spending 24 hours ebf and she did not pee the entire time and cried constantly and showed signs of hunger no matter what I did to keep her on breast. Once I started giving her formula she has started to gain and now has an appropriate amount of wet/dirty diapers.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    What did the LC say about her latch? Is she expressing anything from your breast? Are you using a hospital grade pump with the appropriate size horns?
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  5. #5

    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    The LC said her latch is fine -- she's got flanged lips. She'll nurse but there's absolutely no swallowing going on after the first about 15 seconds when she seems to swallow twice or so and then comfort nurses until she starts to drift off. The pump I have is a Medala (not sure the model but it's in a tan carrying case) and the LC says I have the right flanges.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    I would rent a hospital grade pump and pump constantly. It's completely possible that your body is being slow to make milk because of your birth circumstances. And I know it's stressful. While I had enough milk, it took my daughter 2 months to latch and my son 3 weeks. So I exclusively pumped with each in the beginning.

    Hopefully someone with low supply will chime in soon. I'm sorry you are going through this.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time, mama. I remember when my DD2 was transverse for several weeks towards the end of pregnancy- I was freaking out about whether or not she would turn (she did), and so scared of ending up with a c-section... I'm sorry you didn't get lucky.

    It sounds like you are doing everything right, so it's kind of a puzzle to me why you're not seeing more milk. There are a few medical issues that can cause supply problems, so I would suggest going to the doc and getting some tests. Conditions that can cause supply problems include:
    - retained placenta
    - thyroid problems (very common in postpartum women, even in women who have never had thyroid issues before)
    - hormonal problems (PCOS being the most common one)

    There us also a condition called IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue) that can cause severe problems with supply- but I assume your LC would have picked up on that.

    I assume you're pumping all the time, but if you're pumping any less often than 8-10 times a day, you're not pumping enough.

    Please don't let this situation get you down. So many mamas struggle with supply and it is awful, especially for a woman who had her heart set on the "perfect" experience. But one of the beautiful things about breastfeeding is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. If you can nurse exclusively, that's great. If not, that's okay too. Every drop of milk you can give your child is an amazing gift.

    Has anyone suggested supplementing your baby at the breast, using a supplemental nursing system or Lact-aid? That might give you a more peaceful nursing experience- though the tubes from a supplementer can be fiddly- and allow you to enjoy your baby and breastfeeding more. You might also want to talk to your doc about Reglan and Domperidone, which are Rx drugs that, as a side-effect, can increase prolactin levels and milk supply. Both have additional side-effects and are not right for all women, so don't take them without speaking to your doc!
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    My daughter is 2 months now, and when she was born she hadn't had a wet diaper until day three, where I supplemented to get a wet diaper so we could go home. I just wanted to say that when I tried to pump at the beginning I couldn't get anything out; my DD would nurse for 5 minutes sometimes and be done. Just this past 2 weeks I've started getting more when I pump, around 4 ounces. Pumping isn't a proof of what your supply actually is.... I hope you figure things out so you can continue to breastfeed as you want
    Mother of 3 beautiful girls, and expecting baby number 4 in July

    Elisabeth ~ 9/25/07
    Eliana ~ 1/08/09
    Elivia ~ 1/22/12 ~ EBF

    with all 3 still

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    I agree with mommal. Milk does not just 'not happen' for no reason. Either there is an underlying physical issue/condition that makes it difficult for your body to be able to produce milk, (and such things are rare, but do happen, and may or may not be 'fixable') or the low milk supply is caused by not removing milk effectively and frequently enough, from the breasts, either by an effectively nursing baby or, if that is not possible, with a very good, hospital grade pump perhaps in combination with hand expression. Or of course there may be a combination of factors.

    I am very surprised you saw a lactation consultant and all she had to say about your situation is that the babies lips are flanged correctly. What good is that to you when your baby is losing weight? This does not sound like this was helpful to you & I am sorry about that. Was this a private appointment with a board certified LC or just a looksee from an LC in the hospital? There is a huge difference. Generally speaking, doctors and nurses are not much help in such situations unless they have made breastfeeding an area of personal study.

    If you have not already, I suggest you to get the book Making More Milk and visit the website lowmilksupply.org.

    I also suggest you get some referrals and make some calls and find a local IBCLC who has experience helping mothers with low supply and see her for an appointment-such appointments normally take a minimum of 90 minutes.

    I would also say it is very important you are pumping frequently (10 X a day if possible) with a hospital grade pump if baby is unable to nurse at all or unable to nurse effectively. And I agree with mommal, this is the type of situation a lactation aid may be very helpful.

    If you have tried everything, you have tried everything. You are right, if this is stressing you out so much your quality of life is affected to too much of an extent, and you have persued every avenue open to you without result, then you can let go without regret. Mothering is about way more than breastfeeding. But since you are posting here, I sense that you are NOT ready yet and would like to keep trying. Even if it turns out you have irreversable low supply, breastfeeding need not be all or nothing, many mothers who are unable to make 'enough' milk find they are able to combination feed and feel quite happy with that. Every drop of breartmilk is beneficial and every minute spent at the breast is beneficial. Is combo feeding the "ideal?" perhaps not, but one of the first lessons of motherhood is "ideal" does not happen often, but things can still be pretty darn good.

    For general information/clarification for anyone interested: a mothers first milk is colustrum, colustrum is milk, it is extremely nutritious, it is the first milk, it is all babies usually need in the first few days, colustrum in small amounts is all that is usually present in the first few days after birth, it does not look like mature milk, it comes in very scant amounts, and it is often difficult to pump much, 1) because it comes in scant amounts, and 2) because hand expression seems to work better for many moms in those early days when colustrum is present. Certainly there are circumstances where a baby requires supplementation, but it is not the norm.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    20

    Default Re: no milk even after trying everything

    I had low supply with my son who was an emergency c-section as well. I feel for you, it is so hard when the two things you really wanted (natural birth, breastfeeding) arent going how you planned. I think emotions can definately play a big role, so try to relax and enjoy your baby. With my new baby i have had much better luck. I have been taking Go Lacta and it seems to be helping. And i have been eating ALOT of oatmeal. I have also read about alfalfa tonic and other homeopathic remedies. Even if the birth wasnt what you wanted, it was beautiful. Your babys way of entering this world. And you have a beautiful healthy baby. I know its hard to see it that way now.

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