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Thread: Help!? I've tried almost everything

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3

    Default Help!? Supply issues

    As a first time mom I've been having a very very hard time with breastfeeding. We had issues latching at the beginning and I could only get him to nurse while using a nipple shield because I had very little to no help while I was in the hospital. We started having to supplement with a bottle at night and that one bottle turned into more as the weeks passed. My son is now 13 weeks and I'm not making nearly enough milk to keep him fed. I started taking fenugreek, drinking mothers milk tea, drinking as much water and Gatorade as I can stand, eating oatmeal and making lactation cookies and nothing is helping. I've talked with my family doctor and my ob and they are saying to do what I've already been doing for weeks. There has got to be a way for me to get back my supply so I can continue to breastfeed. I have been pumping every 3 hours and each time I seem to get less and less. The most I am pumping is 2 ounces from both breast combined. I don't want to give up but I'm almost to the point of just giving up and going 100% formula. any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by @llli*j323cole; May 4th, 2016 at 05:30 PM. Reason: Title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,162

    Default Re: Help!? I've tried almost everything

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    There is definitely plenty of reason to think that you can get your supply back up, but before we get into all that, can you tell us some basic stuff about breastfeeding and pumping that will help us tailor our suggestions to your situation? It would be helpful to know the following:
    - What sort of pump you are using. Is it a manual, a double electric, or a hospital-grade rental pump?
    - How many times do you pump per 24 hour period? I know you said you pump every 3 hours- does that include during the night?
    - What is your typical daily pump output- what are you generally getting per pump session, and what are you generally getting as your total for a 24 hour period?
    - How many oz of formula are you using in a 24 hour period?
    - How often does the baby get a bottle, and how much is in each bottle?
    - How many times are you nursing in a 24 hour period?
    - How does nursing feel?
    - Are you still using the shield when you nurse?
    - How does the baby act when you nurse- does he settle in for a nice long nursing session, or is there some resistance there? Does he cut the nursing session short- that is, does he pull off the breast and fuss until he gets a bottle?
    - What is your current method of contraception? (Believe me, it's relevant!)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Help!? I've tried almost everything

    Thank you for your response, I have a medela double electric pump I think it's the in style model. I also have a Ameda manual pump, I mostly use the electric as the manual is too time consuming and I don't get half as much from it. I pump every 3 hours starting at 9am throughout the day my last pump is at midnight and I don't typically pump throughout the night I would usually nurse him if he would wake up but the past few nights he has refused my breast and I end up making 4ounces for him usually around 5am. My son eats every 3-4 hours taking anywhere between 4-6 ounces. I'm lucky if I pump 4-6 ounces in 24 hours. I've been taking fenugreek 3 capsules 4x a day I drink a ton of water and Gatorade, i just stopped taking my birth control almost 24 hours ago now hoping that will make a difference. I always offer my son breast before I will mix a bottle but lately that just makes him angry and I end up giving him formula or any pumped milk I have. We no longer use the nipple shield and he has a good latch. I have no pain when I do nurse him, but he hasn't been getting what he needs from me so he usually will fight me when I try nursing. It's been very frustrating. We were doing so well and now I've hit a huge road block I don't want to stop nursing. I'd love to get back to being able to supplement occasionally if needed and mostly breastfeed. I've talked to my family doctor and on about getting a rx to help my supply but neither were willing any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,162

    Default Re: Help!? I've tried almost everything

    Thanks for providing that additional information! Based on your answers, it seems like you are already doing a lot of stuff right- which is awesome!- and that you also have some areas which could be improved.

    The first thing to know about milk supply is that supply = demand. The more frequently and more thoroughly you remove milk from the breast, the more you will make. This is why more frequent nursing and pumping will do more for your supply than any herb, tea, cookie, or bottle of Gatorade. (Most of those things have a very modest effect in supply, if they do anything at all. Gatorade is particularly useless, IMHO, so don't drink it if you don't like it!)

    Since the best way to increase supply is by removing more milk more often, the first area in which improvement is possible is pumping. It's great that you have a good double electric pump. The Medela PISA is a good machine. But you might be able to increase your output by going up to the next level of pump and using a hospital-grade rental- no guarantees, but it's definitely worth a try. Another good way to increase supply and pump output is to pump more often. Pumping every 3 hours is great, and maybe that's all you can manage. But if you can squeeze in some more pump sessions, you will be rewarded. This includes pumping overnight, which I know is very difficult. But squeezing in pump sessions during the wee hours is especially important if the baby is refusing to nurse.

    Another area in which improvements could be made is feeding frequency. Your baby is eating really infrequently for a baby his age, which is probably due to the big bottles he's getting. A more typical feeding frequency for a breastfed baby would be to eat every 1-3 hours, and to take smaller amounts (generally 2-4 oz). Put less milk or formula in the baby's bottle, and he should be hungry more often. Hungry more often = more opportunities to get him to take milk out of the breast = better supply. I would start by knocking the bottles down to no more than 4 oz, putting baby to the breast if he still fusses after 4 oz. If you find that decreasing bottle size results in baby eating more often, and nursing more often, let us know- we'll help you will the next step, which is to start slowly decreasing the amount in the bottles as you nurse more.

    Since baby is becoming a fussy nurser, it may help to offer the bottle first and then give him the breast once the bottle has taken the edge off his hunger. I would also try to conclude every feeding at the breast, so that baby associates being at the breast with comfort and satiation, instead of getting those feelings from the bottle. Even if you had no milk at all, being able to use the breast a a source of comfort is a great asset, when it comes to mothering.

    If your family doctor is unwilling to prescribe the Rx drugs used for increasing supply, I would talk to your obstetrician, midwife, or pediatrician. They may be more willing to work with you.

    Since you are using quite a lot of formula at this point, I think you need to prepare yourself for a slow transition away from formula and towards exclusive breastfeeding. A lot of moms want immediate results, but our bodies generally don't deliver them. You're likely to be working on this for several weeks, at a minimum. But we are here for you, every step of the way! So don't get discouraged. You're already doing a great job, and you can totally achieve your goals!

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