Re: Low Supply...when do you throw in the towel???
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry you've had a tough time nursing him thus far. But if you can hang in there, it's going to get much better. I know lots of moms go into breastfeeding expecting an ideal, natural bonding experience, and feel totally crushed when they don't get it. But don't feel like you're alone or like you're doing something wrong: many, many women struggle during the early weeks of breastfeeding and it doesn't affect their ability to bond with their children any more than having a c-section affects your ability to love and bond with your baby.
The PP is very correct that the absolute best way to increase supply is to increase stimulation to the breast. If the baby won't do it, you need to use the pump to do it. What sort of pump are you using? In your shoes, I would want to use a hospital-grade rental with correctly sized shields to ensure maximum stimulation. I'd also want to be taking fenugreek and blessed thistle, and eating oatmeal (all herbal remedies which can increase supply), and I would talk to my midwife or doctor about taking one of the prescription drugs which can increase milk supply (Reglan or Domperidone, depending on where you live).
The finish at the breast technique referenced by the PP is an excellent suggestion. I'd give an oz of formula, and then nurse, and then offer another oz (if your ink the baby needs it), and then conclude with more nursing, followed by some pumping with that hospital-grade pump. An exhausting regime, to be sure, but NOW is the time to put in the hard work, because NOW is the time when you have the most chance of success.
I'd also suggest going to see another LC, preferably an IBCLC, for more hands-on help. In particular, I'd want to see your baby checked for tongue tie, and for you to have assistance with a rental pump (if yo don't have one already), and also rental scale. When I had difficulties with supply, I used a rental scale to do weigh-feed-weigh records after every feeding. This was really useful, because one weigh-feed-weigh test tells you very little: a baby may have a much better or much worse than average feed at the LC's office. The more data you have, the better chance you have of knowing when and how much to supplement. If your baby takes in 2 oz at the breast, no supplement necessary! If he takes in 1/2 an oz, then it's time to make a bottle.
I also recommend going to see your doc and seeing if there is any organic explanation for your difficulties. Thyroid problems, retained placenta, PCOS, previous breast surgeries or injuries- those can explain low supply and some of those issues are treatable!
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