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Thread: Pumping to increase supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Default Pumping to increase supply

    I am almost positive I have a low milk supply. My daughter will latch and sometimes I won't have letdown for over 5 minutes of sucking. At times she will get frustrated and cry because she isn't getting milk. My left breast seems to be a lower supply than my right. When I do have letdown she will actively nurse and suck, swallow for maybe 30 seconds and then stop. I have to do compression to keep her sucking and even then she doesn't actively suck. She falls asleep at the breast within minutes of starting to nurse. I do switch nursing a lot to keep her awake, I tickle her, I use compressions, etc. She doesn't actively suck unless the milk is flowing into her mouth. I will let down several times...sometimes like four or five on my right breast, but my left it is rare to get more than two. After the first letdown she will only suck for a few sucks and swallows before stopping. When I pump after nursing I get only drops and rarely get more than 1/4 ounce total...if that. I've been feeding her every 2 hours...I will start a feed and let her nurse as long as she wants on the one side doing all the 'tricks' to keep her nursing and then burp and change diaper and feed the other side. She rarely seems content and satisfied at the breast. I have to feed on each side multiple times...sometimes 3 each...to get her satisfied. It takes about an hour to feed her. Then she is awake within 30 minutes to feed again...sometimes an hour, but usually less.

    My breasts are always soft. I can hand express milk and she does swallow, so I know she is getting something, but I don't think it is enough. I tried taking Fenugreek and it did increase my supply, but gave me terrible diarrhea and uterine cramping. I'm scared to take it again. I have pumped after a nursing session, but then she wants to eat so frequently that by the time I finish pumping I only have 15 minutes to half hour before she wants to eat and my letdown is slower after pumping and trying to nurse so soon afterward. She gets frustrated a lot at the breast and crys and sometimes refuses to latch.

    I have large montgomery tubercles around my nipples. They are HUGE and cause my nipple to be hard to latch with her small mouth. The LC told me it may take time for her mouth to get bigger for her to get a deeper latch. She does transfer milk, but not sure how well she is transferring it. I'm wondering if I should pump to increase my supply and if so, how would I do it. Do I feed my LO and then pump immediately for 15 minutes. I know my supply is low. I know everyone on this site is all about nursing as much as baby wants to, but honestly with my personality I can't nurse 24/7. I need a break to take a shower and go to the doctor and take care of my other three kids. Right now I don't leave the bedroom hardly at all. It is difficult to even eat enough because I'm constantly nursing. I'm sure this is 'normal', but I need a bit of a break. What can I do to get my supply built up?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    Why are you in the bedroom? Come out and nurse and run your family from the sofa

    Really, if you can nurse as much as possible now, it pays off later.
    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!

  3. #3
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    I would love to nurse as much as possible, but daughter won't latch sometimes because she is frustrated she isn't getting any milk. I just tried to nurse her and she ate on one side and then on the other and still was hungry. I tried latching her again and she refused. I tried latching her on the other side again and she screamed forever. I couldn't calm her down. I finally gave her a 2oz supplement. When she latches she isn't getting a deep latch. I don't feel the tugging pull of a deep latch. It is more like a tickle suck. I have creased nipples and they are flat when she pulls off the breast. There is a white crease along the top and in the beginning I had scabs all along the top crease. It doesn't hurt for her to latch anymore, but the nipples still come out creased and flat. She does NOT have a tongue tie or high palate accdording to LC. She just has a small mouth and my nipples are HUGE. I do not have much aereola around my nipples. They are almost right around the edge of the bottom of the nipple. So she gets almost the entire aereola (top and bottom) in her mouth when she sucks on the nipple.

    I don't mind nursing frequently if she was actually satisfied at some point. It takes HOURS of nursing at a time before she is satisfied and not screaming. She almost immediately goes to sleep after the first letdown and she won't actively suck regardless of me doing compressions, switch nursing, etc. I know breast is best, but if I'm not giving her enough milk to satisfy her then I need to figure out how to give her more milk or decide to throw in the towel.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    Is the LC an IBCLC?

    If you have to supplement, do it first, then nurse. As she grows, she will be better able to nurse and doing this will save her ability and desire to nurse. It is amazing how quickly they grow and outgrow these types of issues.

    And really...don't limit yourself to the bedroom. That's not helping.
    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
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    Yes, the LC is an IBCLC.

    The LC said that my daughter's mouth was tiny and because of the montgomery tubercles surrounding my nipple they make it like one HUGE nipple to latch onto. So, she said that until my daughter's mouth got bigger she wouldn't be able to get a deep latch. She says my daughter is a textbook nurser and knows how to nurse and she feels she is transferring milk. Problem is my daughter isn't satisfied and I don't know if I should pump to increase supply or just keep nursing her for hours on end. It doesn't seem like my supply is increasing from all the nursing. I would think at some point she'd be more content because my milk supply was increasing from the constant nursing. It doesn't matter how long I nurse every day seems to be the same and she doesn't sleep better or nurse shorter periods of time which I would think would signal an increase in supply. I'm literally nursing all the time with only 30 minutes here and there. I can't leave the house because of nursing. I can't cook, clean or take care of my other children because of nursing. It is affecting my family and I don't believe it is good for my daughter either to constantly be hungry and frustrated.

    I'm afraid if I start with a supplement that it will affect my milk supply even further. Just frustrated. Nursing should not be this hard.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    It is normal. This will pass. It will get easier. Pumping will never be easier. Formula isn't easier. It's not going to be like this forever. We have all done this and survived.

    A baby sling will let you nurse or hold baby and get some things done. But your job is to look after baby and recover from birth.

    I have four kids. You can do this
    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!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,735

    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    How old is baby? About 2 weeks? I am going from another thread....

    The reason the people on this site say to nurse nurse nurse is because that is what works, biologically speaking. If a mother could, for example, take a milk making supplement and/or pump with some super powered pump, and that let her have great supply and her newborn get enough only nursing 5 or 6 times a day, then we would tell you that. But it just does not work that way. None of us has control over how breastfeeding works on a biological level. You would have to take that up with Mother Nature.

    Bottom line-behavior aside, is your baby getting enough (gaining, pooping as appropriate) all at the breast? If so, then you produce enough milk., that is not the issue. Trying to increase production beyond what is needed if you make enough is not going to help. Yes, baby being content at the breast is nice & certainly a good sign, but at two weeks in, that often really is not happening. Behavior depends on so many factors. 2 week olds are hungry & often very fussy little folks. Also if the issue is poor milk transfer, that is not going to be helped by increasing supply beyond what is needed either.

    Yes, as long as baby is gaining/pooping as they should, then your baby wanting to nurse constantly, needing to nurse frequently, taking a long time to nurse, being sleepy at the breast, etc. is normal at this age, regardless of how much milk you make, how many times you let down per feeding,etc. It actually sounds like you let down a lot, to me, so that does not sound like a supply or a transfer issue. Likely your breasts are soft because you are nursing your baby a lot and she is getting milk. This is much more healthy than the engorged feeling moms of two week olds who are not nursing well or enough often have. If baby is nursing this often and getting enough, pumping seems superfluous & a cause of extra work and concern.

    Yes some babies are needier than others but really, its hard to say if that is the case here, this is simply normal 2 week old behavior! *All* mommies of newborns are very overwhelmed at this time, however, if you feel that you are TOO overwhelmed, it may be time to talk to your hcp about post partum mood issues. These can be treated safely while nursing and it is vital that you take care of yourself.

    I have to agree with pp, it would help to get out of the bedroom or even out of the house. Who do you have around you who can help you with your other kids and get you OUT somewhere, even for a short time, as much as possible? Your baby is only 2 weeks old-please tell me there is someone who can help you during this intense time!

    Lastly…this is going to be controversial but when I talk to a mom who is ready to pack it all in over the sheer intensity of the early days, I say..If you cannot stand to nurse another second, if you are REALLY at the end of your rope, you could consider leaving baby with someone else and have them give baby a bottle, preferably of pumped breastmilk but formula if needed. No, this will not help baby to need to nurse less, or learn to nurse more efficiently, only time and practice will do that, and it certainly will not help with any supply issues, but sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do. Know the risks, try not to make a habit of it (and watch out, as it can be habit forming for both mom and baby which is why early bottles so often lead to early cessation of breastfeeding) but sometimes it helps to step back and get a breather, it helps us live to fight another day, so to speak. Agaim this is not a good idea from a breastfeeding standpoint, but it may be a good idea for you from a survival standpoint.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    I KNOW I have a supply issue. I started taking fenugreek again and my output increased and baby will finally latch, stay latched, suck the entire time and be content during and after a nursing session. She will sleep and will wake up in regular 2 to 21/2 hour intervals. She is eating more efficiently instead of sucking at the breast for an hour or more and then falling asleep and wanting to eat again in less than 20 minutes. She was pooping regularly, yellow seedy poops, when I was taking the fenugreek before. When I stopped taking it she went back to green mucousy poops and all the fussiness at the breast started again. Now she is again pooping regularly and they are yellow and seedy. I don't have a problem nursing her frequently, I just don't want to spend over an hour with her attached to my boob and have less than 20 minutes of a break before doing it again. That seems unrealistic for a new mommy. I have to sleep and I need to have a little bit of a life too.

    I stay in the bedroom because I can watch TV there and not be stressed out by my other children. If I need to relax for letdown I can't do that with all the chaos outside of the bedroom. My mom is here for a little while, but she will return home in a week. I have to go through this intense period alone after that. It is getting better.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    I thought the fenugreek was making both you and your baby ill and that was why you stopped taking it? If the fenugreek is helping, great. Of course you know your baby and your body best. If being in your room is helping you, great. I only have two boys and I seek refuge in my room all the time. Obviously all moms are different and what works for each of us will vary. I am glad things are going better. Having your mom there for even one more week will be a great help, as things should keep getting better every day.

    But that fact is a mother who is able to nurse her baby exclusively at the breast does not have low milk supply. Because by definition low milk supply means mom cannot make ENOUGH milk to feed her baby. This does not mean there is anything wrong with trying to increase milk production with galactagogues, (unless this leads to oversupply) but it is typically not needed. I am just saying this for general info, ymmv.

    No one is trying to give you unrealistic suggestions. But your 2 weeks old baby wanting to nurse for an hour every hour, while of course exhausting and overwhelming, is not outside the realm of normal behavior for this age, and a baby sleeping and waking at regular 2.5 hour intervals is slightly unusual. Both behaviors are fine, as long as baby is gaining weight as needed.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping to increase supply

    the fenugreek does make me have diarrhea. I haven't gotten sick with it this time around, but I've only been taking it for 2 days now and the intense GI distress started on the third day last time. I'm not sure if the fenugreek was making baby gassy or not. She seemed to fuss more last time when I was taking it, but she seems fine this time.

    Before taking fenugreek I couldn't exclusively breastfeed. My daughter wouldn't continue latching and eating during a nursing session and would scream and fight at the breast and I would end up supplementing. She wouldn't suck consistently and eat and would fall asleep within seconds when she was at the breast. It was a circus trying to get her to eat and be satisfied. There was lots of crying...her and I both...and no sleep and tons of screaming. Her output wasn't great until taking fenugreek either. She does not have yellow poops unless I'm taking fenugreek. Now her output seems to be right on track and 'normal'. I don't know what her weight gain is...I will go tomorrow for the first weight check after her first initial one at 3 days old.

    I really appreciate your help. Curious, at what age does the wanting to eat for an hour every hour start being an abnormal behavior and milk supply should be questioned?

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