Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35

Thread: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

  1. #1

    Default How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    I do not have much success with breastfeeding so I'm pumping exclusively for my son, who is 6 weeks. I'm pumping 2-3 hourly in the day and 3-4 hourly in the night. Right now my supply is meeting his needs and I am producing at a rate faster than he can consume. Is my milk supply considered 'established' now?
    I have read from many websites that you have to pump at this rate for at least 12 weeks to establish your supply if you are exclusively pumping. Do I need to keep at this rate? I dying to drop at least the middle-in-the-night pump as I have hardly enough rest at all.
    He is feeding at 2-3 hourly in the day and 3-4 hourly at night.
    Thanks for your advice and sorry if my question is stupid!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,846

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    Your question is not stupid. "Established" is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot, without there being a clear definition of what it means. Generally, it means that a mom has nursed or pumped enough that her body has been trained to continue to produces about the same volume of milk even if she skips a nursing/pumping session once in a while.

    If you are consistently pumping in excess of what baby needs, think you can probably drop one nighttime session. Just be alert for supply dropping too low, and be prepared to add a pump session back in if it does. Safest course of action, however, would be to continue to pump at night.

    Is there a reason you are EP? We'd love to help you get the baby to the breast, if possible, because direct nursing is usually so much easier than pumping.
    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

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Actually I'd love to nurse him directly too. In fact I do enjoy it. I have a number of problems:
    1) He doesn't seem to be able to have a full meal at my breasts. Each time I latch him, he will drink for at most 5 minutes, falls asleep, I'll wake him, he sucks again (much lighter), I'll wake him again, and this can go on for 2+ hours. When he is finally in a deeper sleep, I'll put him down, and he will wake up 10-15 minutes later screaming for food. I was so exhausted that I almost went into depression. When I decided to pump out and feed him in a bottle, he drinks readily and is able to settle much quicker. Bottle-feeding has saved my sanity. Although I have to say this has made me feel like a complete failure. I have always dreamt of breastfeeding my baby, and here i am, stuffing him a bottle...
    2) He refuses to take my right breast. My right breast has always been the 'under-developed' one. It is smaller and has a shorter nipple. When I pump, my right consistently produces less than 50% of my left. I wonder if the flow is too slow and causes baby to refuse it. So I have to resort to pumping the right side anyway.

    I have consulted a lactation consultant and she says there is no problem with the latching, and that my flow is 'good'.
    My baby is gaining weight well and has good outputs.
    I still latch him at least once a day because I do not want to give up breastfeeding completely. I keep hoping one day he will grow to suck well and eventually I can spend more time on him instead of on the pump.
    He is still a little bit jaundiced but my PD said the level is nothing to worry about.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    How old is baby?

    I am EPing for a baby with a cleft palate and therefore unable to nurse. I was pumping 50-80 oz a day at the beginning, but I did not drop sessions until he was 12 weeks. Establish prolactin receptors now, and it will carry you through dropping sessions. So, depending on your baby's age, don't drop any. Your baby will take more milk later, and you need to have a leg to stand on.

    Honestly, what you describe in your last post is NORMAL. Babies are not meant to lay down separate from mom. It's a survival instinct. Take baby to bed and just nurse, sleep, and repeat, for several days to reestablish breastfeeding. I wish more moms knew this.

    I also have a problematic side, and maybe try a nipple shield on it.

    Was the LC an IBCLC?

    EPing gets harder as you go, just to warn you. Spend all your money and time NOW to get baby to the breast, because the chances of going back as baby gets older and more set in his ways are much, much less.
    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!

  5. #5

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Really? This is normal? He is on his 7th week now. But every time he acts super hungry and would scream for food after I latch him. It totally breaks my heart and I will start to doubt if I have 'normal' breasts, etc.
    Should I bite the bullet and go cold turkey on the bottle for him? Seriously I don't know how I can get through this. I wish he would get better on the breast.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,846

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Wanting to be attached to mom 24 hours a day? Normal. Totally normal. It can drive you bonkers- particularly if you are a first-time mom and not accustomed to the intensity of nursing and caring for a newborn- but it is normal and it is temporary.

    I can understand why bottles seem like the answer right now. But it is possible- maybe even probable- that they are making the fussiness worse. If baby has become used to that "stuffed full" feeling he gets from eating from a bottle, he is going to scream until he gets one even after completing a perfectly good feeding at the breast.

    I think that the best course of action would be to go cold turkey from the bottles for a few days. It is likely to result in some very intense, very frustrating days. But as long as baby continues to produce adequate wet diapers, you can be ressured that he is getting enough to eat and he doesn't need the bottle. I can understand why you'd be extremely reluctant to do this, but now is the best time to put all your energy into getting your LO to nurse. It is not going to get easier with time, as he becomes more and more accustomed to bottle-feeding and less and less patient with the breast. A lot of moms say "Oh, I will just pump for now and hopefully we'll master nursing at a later date"- but usually that later date never arrives. And it is so, so hard to EP. Just ask aprilsmagic.

    Make your investment now, the payoff is so huge! We will help you in any way we can.
    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!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    For what it's worth, what you're describing sounds very much like our first 6-7 weeks. Right down to the weird right nipple (mine's short and sort of triangular shaped, it took 5 weeks just to get him on there without pain and another two to heal the damage). If it gives you courage, I'll say we got through it fine though it was tiring (not so much overnight, but from 4 pm till bedtime he pretty much nursed and fussed constantly, every day). It just never crossed my mind to try to EP, seemed like too much work - instead I just got real comfy with the couch or bed and pushed through it.

    I think it will be hard for a few days but you can totally do this

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Yep. Totally normal for the first few months.

    All your baby has ever known until now is that you are holding them. It's a survival instinct. Put baby down and he might freeze, die of exposure, be eaten by a tiger, something. But if he is with a caregiver, there is warmth, protection and food. When you supplement from a bottle, it is more like us eating a huge meal...overfull and passed out.

    So, if you take baby to bed and nurse on demand, you baby gets what he wants, which is as much milk as he wants on demand, and he gets the comfort he needs, and your supply is better and you aren't hooked to a pump. Because I PROMISE it gets harder. I have four children, my baby is mobile, and it is hard to pump. I'm pumping now, and its challenging...baby wants to play with the pump...he's pulling my hair...tugging on the iPad cable...jumping on the coffee table...His older brothers were all nursed until they were 2, and I was hoping to make it that far with him, but logistics are getting in the way and I'm starting to think about quitting sooner. Most EPed babies are not given breastmilk as long as their mothers might have nursed them because pumping is difficult and quite unpleasant compared to breastfeeding...once you work out the kinks.

    For most mothers, EPing is a short term solution that has long term losses. Yes, it seems easy now, but in 3-5 months, when you have things to do and your life revolves around pumping, you will hate it. I halted our family for a year to pump.

    What I would do is this....give hungry baby a little bit via bottle, then finish at the breast. Always. Work to drop any supplements. Watch wets and poops. Camp on the sofa and nurse nurse nurse. If baby will latch, leave baby there. If you need to, use a nipple shield. Get an IBCLC on board to help.

    My first child screamed and screamed, he wanted a bottle. He was given one while I was in emergency surgery post partum. It took me 8 weeks to get him to where he was not so fussy about breastfeeding. Patience, determination and knowing you are doing what is best for him long term is what got me through those rough weeks.
    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!

  9. #9

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    with all the previous posts. I've posted on this a bunch of times, it's like my mission to keep mamas from EPing.

    When Emily couldn't get the milk out of my breasts at 4 days old (and still hadn't reached her birth weight) I turned to bottles and researched all I could to get my supply up and keep it there. What I really should have been doing is everything in the world to keep her at the breast until my nipples got used to expressing milk and not started bottles until I absolutely had to for work. None of the LCs recommended a supplementer or larger feeding tubes when my milk came in and I was just trying to make Emily happy and feed her. We were really lucky and hardly had to supplement at all the first year apart from growth spurts (no natural ramp-up in production with a pump), but Susan is absolutely right - I would have nursed Emily until she was 4 or even later if she still wanted to, but with EPing I'm going to stop at about 20 months and there were times I wasn't sure I'd make it this long.

    Even as you drop pumps (8x/day seems like complete madness now), you feel a bit of freedom at first, but soon realize that you're still tethered and still have to plan your entire day around getting somewhere you can pump. I was lucky with when she was born because we started this in the winter when there was less to do. Part of the reason we're stopping is that it's going to be summer soon and lugging a pump around to the zoo and the pool and pumping in the car and interrupting everything to pump is just too much. Plus the safe handling when it's warm outside means dragging the pump and a cooler everywhere we would want to go. Pumping only twice a day my supply has dropped to only about 4-8 ounces a day - 1.5 hours of time a day to get just that much. And I was taking all manner of herbs and drugs and everything to keep my supply up until just a month ago when I was making 16-20 ounces at 3-4 pumps a day. In a few weeks I will be out of freezer milk and I'll pump one last time, put the milk in a bottle, cuddle up and give it to her. I'll mourn everything we missed out on all over again and know that that's the last time she'll be connected to me in that way. And it will all be far too soon because I didn't know how to fix it in time.

    I truly wish that I had found this board sooner and that someone had encouraged us to get back to the breast while there was still time. At 12 weeks she still had the instinct to latch and suck and could actually get the milk out, but I was about to head back to work and didn't have enough time left to get her on the breast exclusively before switching back and forth. You have the time and I'm sure your little guy will take to it given the chance. Have you tried babywearing at all? Emily used to sleep so soundly in a sling with me. I could get piles done in the evening after work and still have time with her. Maybe the closeness will help with his fussiness? Feeling you right there might be the key and help with his breastfeeding instincts, too...

    You can do this, mama! You're already so much farther ahead because you've been latching every day!
    Last edited by @llli*marley-n-emily; April 30th, 2012 at 10:11 AM.
    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

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

    Default Re: How do you define milk supply as being 'established'?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*marley-n-emily View Post
    with all the previous posts. I've posted on this a bunch of times, it's like my mission to keep mamas from EPing.

    When Emily couldn't get the milk out of my breasts at 4 days old (and still hadn't reached her birth weight) I turned to bottles and researched all I could to get my supply up and keep it there. What I really should have been doing is everything in the world to keep her at the breast until my nipples got used to expressing milk and not started bottles until I absolutely had to for work. None of the LCs recommended a supplementer or larger feeding tubes when my milk came in and I was just trying to make Emily happy and feed her. We were really lucky and hardly had to supplement at all the first year apart from growth spurts (no natural ramp-up in production with a pump), but Susan is absolutely right - I would have nursed Emily until she was 4 or even later if she still wanted to, but with EPing I'm going to stop at about 20 months and there were times I wasn't sure I'd make it this long.

    Even as you drop pumps (8x/day seems like complete madness now), you feel a bit of freedom at first, but soon realize that you're still tethered and still have to plan your entire day around getting somewhere you can pump. I was lucky with when she was born because we started this in the winter when there was less to do. Part of the reason we're stopping is that it's going to be summer soon and lugging a pump around to the zoo and the pool and pumping in the car and interrupting everything to pump is just too much. Plus the safe handling when it's warm outside means dragging the pump and a cooler everywhere we would want to go. Pumping only twice a day my supply has dropped to only about 4-8 ounces a day - 1.5 hours of time a day to get just that much. And I was taking all manner of herbs and drugs and everything to keep my supply up until just a month ago when I was making 16-20 ounces at 3-4 pumps a day. In a few weeks I will be out of freezer milk and I'll pump one last time, put the milk in a bottle, cuddle up and give it to her. I'll mourn everything we missed out on all over again and know that that's the last time she'll be connected to me in that way. And it will all be far too soon because I didn't know how to fix it in time.

    I truly wish that I had found this board sooner and that someone had encouraged us to get back to the breast while there was still time. At 12 weeks she still had the instinct to latch and suck and could actually get the milk out, but I was about to head back to work and didn't have enough time left to get her on the breast exclusively before switching back and forth. You have the time and I'm sure your little guy will take to it given the chance. Have you tried babywearing at all? Emily used to sleep so soundly in a sling with me. I could get piles done in the evening after work and still have time with her. Maybe the closeness will help with his fussiness? Feeling you right there might be the key and help with his breastfeeding instincts, too...

    You can do this, mama! You're already so much farther ahead because you've been latching every day!
    This is 100% true.
    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!

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •