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Thread: Salty breastmilk - week 5 now

  1. #1

    Default Salty breastmilk - week 5 now

    Hi, I've been having salty breastmilk, ever since it was week 2 coming in week 3. I have heard that this is a signal of low supply?
    I've actually supplemented LO with formula since day 5 (because some say my baby wasnt drinking anything out of my breasts and afraid that he'd loose more weight/get jaundice). Been a tough 5 week.. Week 2 I met an LC about trying to bf exclusively and she suggested i cut out formula completely. I tried and basically didn't slee for 24 hours and baby only peed twice - didn't think it was healthy so I continued again with the formula while trying to breastfeed as well.

    In week 4 I still see no supply improvement and baby started to reject breast (most probably nipple confusion). So after all the frustrations, i met an LC at my hospital a week ago and she suggested relactation (due to the seldom breastfeeding) with a Medela supplemental nursing system to boost my supply. A week on, I could still only get 2.5 teaspoons of milk after pumping and milk is still salty.. Is there something wrong?

    Btw, I have always been flatchested and during/after pregnancy size of breasts remain unchanged, with the left breast slightly more full/round than the right.. Help anyone?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Salty breastmilk - week 5 now

    Welcome to the forum!

    Salty milk is not necessarily an indication of low supply. It's more generally an indication of milk not being removed from the breast; the longer the milk sits in the breast, the saltier it gets. So a mom with an abundant supply and a plugged duct or mastitis might have salty milk, because there's a duct or group of ducts which isn't being drained for a long period of time. And a mom who is weaning will have salty milk because she is going a long time wihout removing milk from the breast.

    I think what is happening is that because your baby isn't nursing well and because you aren't removing milk that often, your body is acting like it is weaning, and that is causing the salt buildup. But this is a very fixable problem. The best thing to do is to nurse the baby as often as possible IF the baby is able to remove milk well. If he isn't, then the next best thing is to pump frequently using a very high-quality pump (hospital-grade rental is ideal) with correctly sized shields. And by frequently, I mean 8-12 times a day, which usually means pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3-4 at night.

    Being small-chested doesn't really mean anything for breastfeeding; there are large-breasted women with low supply and small-breasted women with abundant supply.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Salty breastmilk - week 5 now

    Thank you so so much. Was wondering what kind of high grade pump you are talking about? I'm in Jakarta so even borrowing from hospitals to pump may not come easy. However I do own a Medela Freestyle, is that enough? Or should I hand-express?
    How long should one pumping session go for?
    Am currently using medela's supplemental nursing system to keep him off bottles and try get his sucking up again. I am currently at 5x/day hand-expressing (using the pump was hurtful so will try that again soon).
    Is salty breastmilk safe for a newborn to consume?

    Thanks so much for the advice, hard to come by a good one here, even from an LC.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Salty breastmilk - week 5 now

    The Freestyle is a good pump. However, a hospital-grade pump is usually a step up from anything available to the general consumer. If you can get one, I think you'd be glad you did. No matter what sort of pump you have, pumping should not be painful, and definitely should not be so painful that you avoid using the pump. Pain while pumping is often caused by either turning the pump up too high or to poorly fitting shields. Was your nipple rubbing against the side of the collection tube as you pumped? If so, getting properly fitted shields is a must, and in the meantime lubing the nipple with some sort of oil may help. In the US we usually recommend using olive oil but in Jakarta I'm guessing coconut oil might be more readily available.

    Hand-expression is generally much less effective than pumping, but some moms find they get more milk with hand expression or a hand pump- so it's worth a try. You can also combine hand expression with pumping.

    Salty milk is completely safe for a baby to consume, as long as you mix the supplemental formula correctly. Don't be tempted to water the formula down to compensate for the salty milk- your baby's kidneys will handle the small amount of extra salt with ease. And if you can pump more and nurse more, the salty milk should vanish as your supply increases.

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