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Thread: Helping out a friend

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Helping out a friend

    My friend had a baby a month after I did so our children are pretty close together. Her milk will come in but then it dries up almost an hour later and she isn't able to get any more milk for a week or two. What should I tell her to do to help her milk come in and stay in???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Helping out a friend

    Is your friend currently nursing, nursing and pumping, exclusively pumping, or none of the aforementioned?

    It sounds like what you're saying is that after she gave birth, her milk came in and then dried up almost immediately. That seems almost impossible. When a mom experiences something like that, it's often a misperception or a failure of breastfeeding management. Often a mom will mistake normal supply for low supply, presuming that she needs to feel engorged or full in order to make sufficient milk. Or a mom will think that her baby should eat only every 3-4 hours, and that she should stretch the intervals in between feedings, something which causes supply to decrease. Or a mom will supplement with formula "just until her milk comes in", not realizing that supplementing will increase the time it takes for her to see milk and will decrease the amount she will make. Do any of those possibilities seem like a good match for your friend's situation?

    In general, here is all that is required for a mom to create and maintain an adequate milk supply:
    1. Nurse on demand, even if that means nursing every hour.
    2. Do not supplement with formula.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Helping out a friend

    Yeah, I have a big ? about this. When your friend talks about "milk coming in" to what is she referring? Usually this term is used to describe the one time (per baby) phenomenon of breastmilk becoming ‘mature:’ whitish, and abundant a few days after birth. Prior to that, moms make the early milk 'colustrum' which is actually present in the breasts for months prior to birth. Post birth, hormones allow colustrum to be released from the breasts, but it is typically very scant, a gold or honey color, and not obvious at all, and this small amount of colustrum is all a healthy baby typically needs in the early days. Many moms think that if they do not see white milk dripping from their breasts right after birth they don’t have milk. This is NOT the case, at all! Many moms never leak milk at all. Once milk becomes abundant ("comes in") then mom may or may not feel full, engorged, see milk leak, etc. If a mom does feel engorged, this is typically temporary. For some moms milk coming in feels dramatic & sudden, for others, it is more subtle and gradual.

    But the way you have written this, it sounds like it is something that keeps happening. But milk “coming in” is something that happens only once (per baby). Are we talking about multiple children? Or is your friend referring to feeling a milk 'let down' in the breasts sometimes but not all the time? If that is the case, that is normal and has nothing to do with supply. Some moms feel milk let down, some do not, some feel it some of the time. Or is she talking about something else entirely?

    Anyway, breastfeeding is part of the natural biological process of conception, pregnancy and birth and the fact is it is very rare a mother simply makes no milk. Milk spontaneously drying up for no reason is even more rare, if it happens at all.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 11th, 2012 at 08:26 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Helping out a friend

    she is a ftm and right after she had her daughter she was ebf but her daughter did not gain. She lost weight rapidly so they had to supplement with formula. She has tried pumping but nothing comes out. The other day she was leaking slightly so I told her to try and pump again, she got a few drops and then nothing. She has been trying to pump but nothing happens as if she is not making any milk. Sorry if this is confusing I am only going off of details that she has given me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Helping out a friend

    Well, the weight gain issue could be anything, and this issue of poor weight gain is almost always fixable without stopping nursing. Maybe baby was unable to nurse effectively, maybe baby did not nurse frequently enough, maybe the weight checks were off, supplements are suggested unnecessarily all the time. Even if there was low milk supply, that would not be a reason to stop nursing altogether. As far as pumping goes, many moms are unable to effectively pump. Sometimes it’s the pump, sometimes it’s the mom, but low or even no pump output is not a good indication of milk supply or a moms ability to make milk. I don't know how old baby is, but the fact milk was dripping after not nursing or pumping for some time could be a good sign milk supply wise, but without more info its hard to say. It sounds like your friend unfortunately did not get the breastfeeding help/support she needed at that time the weight gain was a concern. All to common!

    And what to do about it at this point depends on a ton of things. There usually IS a way to start breastfeeding again, should your friend want to, but how depends on many factors.

    It is wonderful of you to try to help your friend but if she wants to either figure out what happened or try to nurse and/or pump now, that is likely possible but she needs to talk to someone who can take a full history from her, see waht her goals are, and go from there. If she is too shy about discussing this all with a stranger, she may find some answers for herself in the books The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition-2010) or Making More Milk. But I cannot overstate the helpfulness of talking to someone who will has a good overall knowledge about breastfeeding and can take the time to listen to your friend’s story. Unfortunately, doctors seldom have this expertise or time.

    Can your friend come onto this forum? Call a LLL Leader or attend a meeting (LLL is Free) or Consult with a lactation consultant? If the issue is language there are IBCLC's and LLL Leaders who speak many languages. Let us know how else we can help.
    EDIT: I just wanted to add that your ongoing support for your friend is very important and I am sure helpful to her.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 12th, 2012 at 08:03 PM.

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