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Thread: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

  1. #1

    Default Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    My boy is almost 6 weeks old. He was born 6.1 oz and has been gaining well. His 1 month follow up he weighed in at 8.4 oz.

    I have been really struggling with not supplementing. I began supplementing my milk mostly around 2 weeks of age as my pediatrician was really concerned I was not getting enough rest. However when I supplement baby with my milk I make sure to pump again if it wasnt a "fresh of breast" supply. I seem to have to supplement 2-4x/day.

    I have had lactation consultants tell me that I do not have a problem with supply. However often times baby is frustrated (many of our feedings last 1 hour or more) and gets off the breast crying or screaming. There is no latch issue as I can hear him swallowing when I have good supply. Left breast is very small with low glandular tissue and baby favors right. I always make sure to start feedings on left side.

    I do have PCOS and thyroid issues and wonder if this may be contributing as well. So far I have only been taking 6 Fenugreek daily but today started MothersLove More Milk Special Blend and am hopeful this will help.

    I pump approximately 3-4 times per day (10-15 minutes) with hospital grade pump. Another issue I am having is that after I pump and baby for example wakes up 30-45 minutes later and I do not have a sufficient amount of milk at that time and baby lets me know this... Am I wrong in supplementing him with the milk I just pumped? I am almost hesitant in pumping as I feel bc of this often baby is unable to get enough and I reach for the bottle.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    Trust me... I have been "there" with the pumping. My first child wouldn't nurse and I pumped for eight months straight and bottle fed. Now with my second child (8 wks old), we have some breastfeeding struggles and have been pumping again. I hope she will soon exclusively nurse, but until then.... I have to pump / bottle feed when she will not nurse.

    So... with saying that... I have more milk on my left breast than right breast... and my lactation consultant also told me to do what you are doing... start on the less favored side. She did also tell me though... that if you start on the less favored side and the baby shows frustration, it could be a let down issue? She said a good thing to try was start on the favored side, and then when you feel a let down... switch to the less favored side and the milk will have come down and might help the baby not get so frustrated.

    As far as feedings taking an hour or more.... I was totally there a few weeks ago with my daughter. I called my LC about this and she quickly told me feedings shouldn't take that long. I too could hear my daughter swallowing, but my LC said she thought the baby might not be transferring milk from my breast well... if feedings were taking that long. This might not be your situation... but you might want to ask your lactation consultant?

    I have definitely heard the Mother Love More Milk Special Blend really helps.....

    I most certainly can relate to pumping and then the baby wanting to feed not too long after you pump. I was constantly in that position with my first child (which was exhausting) and now with my second... it happens often... which again can be exhausting because I'm trying to pump to keep my supply up, relieve myself of any "fullness", but then I need to get her to breastfeed... and how can I do that with a drained breast?!?! I would say try to work your schedule out with the baby's schedule... but a six week old doesn't have a schedule... and might NOT for quite some time. And even if he did have a schedule.... it can be difficult to work that way. I personally do not think you are wrong to use the milk you just pumped. But, if you don't mind me asking... why are you pumping? Is it ONLY for the lack of rest? I can certainly understand lack of rest and therefore wanting to make things easier... but they really say the first 40 days with a baby and nursing can be very exhausting.... and then when those first six weeks are over... the "reward" period begins and breastfeeding saves time, energy, etc. Maybe you would want to try exclusively breastfeeding now.... unless you really need to pump for other reasons.

    Trust me... I would LOVE to be in your position if you could only breastfeed and not have to pump. Hopefully I will be there one day with my daughter... she wouldn't nurse at the beginning.... but I'm working with her and have made leaps and bounds so far. A GREAT book to read that was recommended to me was, "Breastfeeding Made Simple"... I found it on Amazon and read it three times already. It is very informative and gives many ideas and options for breastfeeding, pumping, supply, scheduling, etc.

    Hope this helps!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    So if I understand correctly-1) you began supplementing due to your doctor being concerned about you not getting enough sleep-NOT because there was a weight gain issue. 2) Baby is gaining well on the breastmilk you provide alone (I understand you are supplementing but that is all with your own milk-correct? 3) More than one Lactation Consultant has told you that you do not have an issue with supply.

    On the other hand 1) you have PCOS and thyroid issues, and those may indeed cause an issue with ,milk supply-but also may not...
    2) Baby takes long feedings, which may indicate low supply or poor milk transfer but also can be entirely normal.
    3) If baby wants to nurse shortly after you have pumped, you think baby is upset there is not 'enough' milk.

    Based on this, I think it may be time to consider weaning off the pump & to stop supplementing, ie, move toward nursing exclusively, and see what happens. I would not suggest dropping all pumping sessions immediately, as it could cause engorgement, also it may make you too nervous. Maybe drop one session a day or every couple of days.

    Here is why: 1) I agree that it does not sound like you have a low supply issue, certainly not a severe one. And even if you did, as long as baby nurses well, nursing with appropriate frequency is almost always better for increasing supply than pumping instead of nursing. If you stop pumping and find that baby really is not getting enough at the breast, based on weight gain or output, then you can always start pumping again.

    2) The fussiness or frustration at the breast may well be being caused by the switching between breast and bottle feeding, not by low supply. Or it can just be normal baby fussiness.
    3) The long feed times could be normal. Some babies just like to hang out, breastfeeding is pleasurable & comforting to them, after all. Feedings will usually shorten quite a bit as baby gets older. Have you tried breast compressions for the long sessions? (see link below.) Also, feeding frequently on cue, which is now possibly being interfered with somewhat by the pumping & supplementing may help with making sessions generally shorter. If baby knows that if he cues again in 30 minutes he will be picked up and nursed, he may not be so desperate to hang on.

    4) As far as your sleep concerns-that is the one actual issue I see. Of course all new mothers, no matter how baby is fed, are more tired than they have ever been in their lives and not getting the same amount of sleep they once did. But I assume you have some particular health issues that made your doctor concerned about something that is actually normal. OK, so of course it is important that you stay healthy. So my question would be, is all this extra work you are doing with pumping and supplementing helping you get more sleep, overall? Studies have shown that (generally) exclusively breastfeeding mommas get more sleep, overall, not less. It may not be a certain number of hours of consecutive sleep, but over time the body adjusts to this. Mommas who get more sleep learn to nap, and/or sleep in and/or go to bed earlier or some combo. They may consider if bedsharing is safe and right for them, which often increases sleep (for both momma and baby.)

    If a supplementary bottle is indeed needed to help you get more sleep, maybe you can reduce that to once a day, at night, which would also presumably reduce the amount of time you need to pump.
    Breast compressions: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

  4. #4

    Default Re: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    Canne- thank you for your response. Actually I began pumping 3-4x/day only about 10 days ago when I felt my supply was low. I felt like my breasts were really "empty" (I do understand that breasts can never be empty) and baby would latch on for a few minutes, drain breasts well and then he would be screaming as he wanted more. Therefore I felt like what I should do is increase my pumping (from 1 x/day) t0 3-4x/day. I feel that since I have done this my breasts seem to feel fuller but more importantly baby seems to be in taking more and is more satisfied after feedings. But again what I have been running into is pumping and then baby waking up shortly after to feed. I am not pumping at all for "lack of rest" more so to make sure baby has sufficient supply. Maybe you are right and I should stop pumping and just see what happens... thanks

  5. #5

    Default Re: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    Meg - Thanks you for the reply!! To clarify:
    a) I began supplementing mostly because for the first several weeks we were having issues with latching and I was paranoid baby was not getting enough and would often seem very irritable after feedings.
    b) Correct, baby has been gaining weight on breast milk alone, never formula.
    c) I utilize breast compressions during every feeding to get more milk out.

    Sleep deprivation has never been my reason for pumping but the doctor did advise that baby be supplemented a bit at least at night for me to get more rest. Like I replied to Canne above I really increased my pumping approximately 10 days ago in hopes of getting supply up as I felt my breasts really felt drained and baby was very fussy after feedings. I am not sure if this was the correct approach. I hate pumping and supplementing but I just feel so anxious not trying to do everything possible to keep supply up. I am hopeful the new supplement I began 2 days ago (more milk special blend) will help with supply also.

    I do agree with you that it will be wise to wean off pumping now and I will do this and see what happens. Like you said I can always add pumping back into the equation. I think a big part of my issues have been anxiety related. I want to breastfeed exclusively more than anything but have been nervous and (even though baby has been gaining well) feeling that I must help keep supply up by pumping.

    Thanks so much for the feedback.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: Please advise...Supply issues/pumping

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*annaheider View Post
    Maybe you are right and I should stop pumping and just see what happens... thanks
    It's worth a try - pumping is a giant pain! You can always add a pumping session back in if you think you need to do so.

    As for the long nursing sessions you mentioned in your original post - that can be totally normal. Have you tried nursing in a sling or carrier? It totally frees you up to do whatever you need/want to do while your baby nurses. Then your baby can nurse for long periods of time which will stimulate milk production (usually better than the pump) and you can get things done! Plus the motion while you walk can have a calming effect and cut down the fussiness. It's win-win-win!
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

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