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Thread: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

  1. #1
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    Default drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    How do you bf a baby not on a schedule? I feed him every 2&1/2 to 3 hours and he always seems fine...not demanding to be fed sooner.... do i need to feed him more often than that? Do i need to make it more sporatic and keep my breasts guessing? Ugh...my supply is dropping so fast....

    I have been close to a nervousness breakdown over my inability to Ebf. Thanks to an awful start, bad advice, tongue tie, and hypoplasia I have never been able to Ebf. I did get up to around 15oz a day at my high point with constant pumping, a ton of galactagogues and at the breast supplementing. I have been feeding my 4 month old every 2&1/2 to 3 hours without pumping during the day and supplementing him at the breast during those feedings. I would always pump a few times at night too.. About 3 weeks ago he began waking up at night after a whole month of sleeping through nights and he wanted to nurse....he would wake up again later and nurse. I stopped being able to pump at night and figured he was doing it for me. However...I don't think he was staying awake and feeding completely. I kept thinking he was leaving some milk behind. Could this be what is lowering the supply? He isn't a very good sucker anymore either...he dozes soon into feedings, even with the sns. His weight gain and diaper output seems fine...in fact he is very large for four months...15&1/2 lbs...

    I am so so so tired of having to fight for the ability others come by so easily. I swear ive never been so depressed so often. I was feeling so much better with this more manageable routine and now I am going to go back to pumping every hour and a half.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Why? He nurses, he want to nurse, you got your supply to go up to 15oz a day from 2.5 oz a day so you got him back to the breast so you could pump less and you more than tripled your production when you focused and stimulated your breasts around the clock (the way he would if he was EBF) so what exactly are you unhappy about? If your new routine is working for you and your baby is gaining, what is the problem? You knew early on your weren't going to be able to EBF but at 15oz a day you were providing 50% or better....so what is making you doubt yourself now?

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    hi mama, i wonder what makes you think your supply is dropping? it's very common for people to think this right around they point you're at - 3-4 months. things that are NOT signs of dropping supply: no longer feeling engorged, no longer leaking, no longer feeling a letdown. 4 month olds often start waking more at night when they used to "sleep through"; this is very common (teething, milestones).

    nursing LESS often IS something that will lower your supply. if you're nursing every 2.5-3 hours, that's probably at the low end of how much babies this age nurse. more frequent nursing (including nighttime) will generally increase supply, even if as you say it's not a full nursing. remember boobs aren't bags; they don't really "get empty" or "fill up".

    i can see why you're tired and frustrated; nursing + pumping + sns is exhausting!!! but like djsmom says, it sounds like you're actually doing an amazing job with it.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    I know my production has dropped due to my pumping output which has always been extremely reliable. My breasts do respond well to pumping and drain well. That is how i was able to reliably measure my initial increase. Also, the length of time my baby spends swallowing in response to letdowns is suddenly very short. Since I have hypoplasia, my breasts are very ...squishy when empty...they used to firm up much more in between feeds. Now they feel empty before a feed. My son also continues to trigger letdowns by relatching and fussing without results...all these things alone may be poor signs, but when taken together I know my production has dropped off.

    So EBF babies feed more often than every 2&1/2 to 3 hours? Geeze, as it is he takes 45 min to an hour to feed. I have to wake him up for half his feedings already...sometimes he'll just play at a feeding I think he stays fuller with formula....

    I 'll feed him less formula and try to space feedings closer... but will a shorter schedule still essentially be a schedule and thus work against BFing?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*diymom View Post
    I know my production has dropped due to my pumping output which has always been extremely reliable. My breasts do respond well to pumping and drain well. That is how i was able to reliably measure my initial increase. Also, the length of time my baby spends swallowing in response to letdowns is suddenly very short. Since I have hypoplasia, my breasts are very ...squishy when empty...they used to firm up much more in between feeds. Now they feel empty before a feed. My son also continues to trigger letdowns by relatching and fussing without results...all these things alone may be poor signs, but when taken together I know my production has dropped off.
    Right around 4 months I noticed all of these changes too. Pumping output decreased, breasts less firm between feedings, and baby would seem to nurse with swallowing for just a few minutes and then do a lot of non nutritive sucking with some fussing. Anyway a month later we are still fine, she is gaining and pooping and peeing and eating plenty. I think at around that age your supply regulates and your baby becomes more efficient at nursing. I am not saying that you shouldn't be diligent and nurse nurse nurse and keep with the pumping and making sure he keeps producing diapers and gaining, but I think what you are experiencing is more normal than you think. I know that with a history of breastfeeding difficulties it is impossible to know if these changes are normal or just another result of the same difficulties. I've been there!!! But if he is growing and making diapers, he is getting milk.

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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Exactly. The only way you really know if your supply is tanking if you are at the breast is if you get wet less diapers than you are supposed to. If the baby doesn't gain enough. And formula absolutely makes for longer intervals. Because it's harder on their system. It's not as quickly or as completely absorbed as breast milk. So it takes longer to digest. These are not really good things. But in your situation you should know them. I think this is the reason you were getting a better out put with pumping AND nursing. Because your breast WERE getting the same amount of stimulation as they would if you were EBF even though you were supplementing. All those day feeds? The reason he doesn't ask more often IS absolutely because of the formula. So let's pinpoint what your real issue is. Babies nightwake. That's normal. It's unreasonable to think that because he was STTN that he will continue to. The only thing you can expect in the way of sleep in a child under one is for it to CHANGE every 4-6 weeks. So is your real issue that you don't want him to night wake? Because I think a baby comfort nursing and falling asleep at the breast repeatedly shows that he is getting enough milk to be content and satisfied. Which says to me that there is no reason to panic of assume anything about your milk production. I wouldn't pump at night unless your baby starts sleeping through again. In the mean time I would up the pumping sessions during the day and not panic.

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*diymom View Post
    I know my production has dropped due to my pumping output which has always been extremely reliable. My breasts do respond well to pumping and drain well. That is how i was able to reliably measure my initial increase. Also, the length of time my baby spends swallowing in response to letdowns is suddenly very short. Since I have hypoplasia, my breasts are very ...squishy when empty...they used to firm up much more in between feeds. Now they feel empty before a feed. My son also continues to trigger letdowns by relatching and fussing without results...all these things alone may be poor signs, but when taken together I know my production has dropped off.
    maybe, maybe not. like i said, LOTS of moms believe these signals mean they have less milk, and ALMOST ALL of them are wrong.

    So EBF babies feed more often than every 2&1/2 to 3 hours? Geeze, as it is he takes 45 min to an hour to feed. I have to wake him up for half his feedings already
    um, YES. maybe not so much at 4 months, but for sure, many newborns will nurse for 45-60 mins, on a 2 hour pattern or even more frequently. it is absolutely normal to sit back down to nurse 5 minutes after you've just spent an hour nursing. most 4 month olds are more efficient, but not necessarily able to go longer between yet.


    I 'll feed him less formula and try to space feedings closer... but will a shorter schedule still essentially be a schedule and thus work against BFing?
    well, the IDEAL way to stimulate appropriate supply is to feed on cue - your cue or your baby's cue. if by schedule you mean you're watching for the cue of hte clock instead of the cue of the baby, then yes, that will work against BFing.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*diymom View Post
    How do you bf a baby not on a schedule? I feed him every 2&1/2 to 3 hours and he always seems fine...not demanding to be fed sooner....
    i also wanted to respond to this. it sounds like you have an easygoing baby, and that in combination with your low supply means that your breasts aren't being stimulated to produce as much as they perhaps need. so remember that feeding "on cue" can mean on YOUR cue as well as baby's cue. and early cues from the baby are mouthing, sticking out tongue, etc - things that might not look like "demands". crying is a VERY LATE hunger signal.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    My baby sucks his hands all day...right after nursing and getting a large supplement of formula, during playtime, before nursing. Is he constantly hungry or does he just like his hands. As things are I barely get an hour of non nursing or prep for feeding time inbetween feeds. He never cries from hunger... I feed him before he gets to that out of fear from production failure. Now I'll be back to pumping and feeding...looks like I wont get anything done around the house again.

    Speaking of housework :

    Does anybody EBFing a baby get anything done around the house? I am getting more and more on edge about the constant state of dirtyness...dust, unswept floors, dirty windows etc in my house...is it just normal? How does anyone have more babies in that case?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: drying up....have low supply to begin with...stopping bf

    Are you a single parent? Is the no one to help you so that you can do this stuff one day a week when someone else is home?

    Way too lazy for formula

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