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Thread: So confused! Help!

  1. #1

    Unhappy So confused! Help!

    My daughter is 10 weeks. She was a preemie - 5 weeks early. We were doing pretty well with the breastfeeding, but I was also pumping to give her the bottle when she tired out. (The nurses told me not to let her BF for too long because it was too tiring for her) so I would give her the bottle after she breastfed. I had an oversupply, but didn't worry about it because I just froze the extra. At about 6 weeks, my supply went down drastically, and I had no idea why. I contacted a breastfeeding resource and she suggested I rent a pump to get my supply back up. I had to pump every two hours, like I did in the hospital, but my supply came back. I had an oversupply again, but was happy that at least I had milk. I started trying to cut back on the pumping and bottle feeding, and it was working - I was only pumping 1-3 times a day and my daughter was getting what she needed. My breasts were huge, though, and I leaked a lot. Again, I didn't worry because at least my daughter was getting what she needed. 2 days ago, my supply suddenly vanished again. I could tell my LO wasn't drinking like she had been - not so many gulps, etc. So, I decided to try increase my supply again using the rental instill have. When I pump, I hardly get anything at all. I am so confused!!! Why is my supply so up and down?? I am so frustrated and have considered throwing in the towel. I don't want to have to pump every 2-3 hours to reestablish my milk supply if it keeps going down. I feel like we were making progress and I wouldn't have to pump so much. Now, though, how often should I pump- every 2-3 hours again to get my supply back up? When can I solely breastfeeding my LO??? Will my supply ever be normal?

  2. #2

    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    Also, it almost seems like she knows there's nothing in the breast. Is that possible?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    There is never nothing in your breasts. You are always making milk. It sounds like your body is trying to adjust based on what your DAUGHTER actually is removing annd you are messing with that. If your supply is regulated you are never engorged and don't leak. You just make enough for your baby.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4

    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    So maybe it seems like she's not getting much (by watching her gulps, etc) because the milk isn't coming out as fast? Is she strong enough now to get what she needs solely from the breast? Since she was a preemie, the nurses made me think that she wasn't strong enough to get what she needed from me so I don't know whether she is yet.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    At this point, her corrected age is 5 weeks. By the time your baby was term, she was probably strong, alert, and proficient at nursing to get all her needs met from breastfeeding alone. Think about it this way: there are plenty of babies who are born early term or late preterm (say 36, 37 weeks) who do just fine with nursing, no supplements required.

    I'm really sorry that the nurses made you doubt yourself. Pumping and supplementing with bottles is a medical intervention that should be undertaken only after consultation with a pediatrician and a lactation consultant, not something nurses should simply suggest because "everyone knows" that preterm babies aren't strong enough to nurse.

    At this point, I would simply nurse, avoid the bottles, watch diaper output, and most of all stop expecting to be bursting with milk all the time. As Djs.mom said, once supply and demand match well, you're not going to feel engorged or even full unless baby skips a feeding, perhaps several feedings, in a row. And you're unlikely to leak more than sporadically.

    How does nursing feel, and how often does the baby nurse?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    Thanks for your reply! I was constantly worried about her not getting enough from the breast because she was so little and "not strong enough". So when my supply suddenly dropped, really it dropped one morning after being abundant that night - is that normal?, I wasn't able to tell if she was getting enough because she wasn't swallowing like she used to. Nursing feels good, but sometimes it's like she's fighting the nipple. She also gets sleepy on the breast now more quickly than she did when I had an abundant supply. When she comes off the breast, she's sleeping, but if I try to put her down, she wakes up and is still hungry. When I'd give her the bottle she would be able to sleep when I put her down. It seems she isn't getting enough nursing to take a nap.

  7. #7

    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    When she's on the breast, she eats a little bit and sucks and falls asleep. When I give her the bottle then she eats like she's really hungry, so that's why I don't think she's getting enough from my breasts.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*gmads.mom View Post
    So when my supply suddenly dropped, really it dropped one morning after being abundant that night - is that normal?
    Yes, for many moms supply will adjust in a very short time. One night of fullness/engorgement can be all it takes for your body to get the message that it is producing more milk than the baby is taking. Now, this isn't true for all moms- there are moms who have persistent oversupply problems; they may need to put up with fullness/engorgement for weeks before their bodies get the message.

    I wasn't able to tell if she was getting enough because she wasn't swallowing like she used to. Nursing feels good, but sometimes it's like she's fighting the nipple.
    Can you describe more in depth? Is it just a couple of swallows and then nothing, or is she swallowing for several seconds, maybe much as several minutes? And what do you mean when you say she's "fighting" the nipple? Is she clamping down, tugging, turning away?

    She also gets sleepy on the breast now more quickly than she did when I had an abundant supply. When she comes off the breast, she's sleeping, but if I try to put her down, she wakes up and is still hungry. When I'd give her the bottle she would be able to sleep when I put her down. It seems she isn't getting enough nursing to take a nap.
    That's normal for a young baby. A lot of newborns are pretty much permanently latched on, and their moms can't really ever put them down. If they do, the babies wake up and cry- which causes mom to put them back on the breast, stimulating mom to produce plenty of milk.

    Babies who eat from a bottle have a different pattern. They tend to take larger feedings than when they nurse, and that stuffed-full feeling can cause them to take deep naps. This is not what you want when you have a question about your milk supply! The more often the baby feeds, the better. Bottles just short-circuit the supply = demand equation that governs milk production.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*gmads.mom View Post
    When she's on the breast, she eats a little bit and sucks and falls asleep. When I give her the bottle then she eats like she's really hungry, so that's why I don't think she's getting enough from my breasts.
    This sounds like nipple confusion, which is the big reason why you're not supposed to give bottles to very young babies unless you absolutely have to! (This is why I'm ticked at the nurses at the hospital where your baby was born.) When a baby gets a lot of bottles, she rapidly learns that she will get fed whether she works hard at nursing, or not. So, of course, many babies rapidly turn into super-lazy nursers, using the breast primarily for comfort, getting most of their nutrition from bottles.

    Here's what I suggest doing:
    - Contact a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for some hands-on help. A good LC should evaluate your baby's latch, watch you nurse, give you tips on positioning, and do an in-office weigh-feed-weigh test to help determine whether or not the baby is nursing effectively.
    - Limit or eliminate the bottles. If you NEED to supplement, there are other ways to do it: finger feeds, cup feeding, or, best of all, supplemental nursers (Medela supplemental nursing system or Lact-Aid) which allow you to do all of baby's feeding at the breast.
    - Use the following tips for keeping baby alert and active at the breast:
    * Keep her cool; a cool baby is more alert. When it's time to nurse, strip her down to a diaper or onesie and keep a fan blowing in the room where you nurse.
    * Annoy her; annoyed babies are more alert. Tickle the soles of her feet or rub against the grain of her hair using your hand or a cool, damp washcloth.
    * Do breast compressions to speed milk to the baby, particularly when she seems to be dozing off.
    * Try switch nursing. Whenever baby seems to be dozing off, transitioning to light, fluttery sucks, remove her form the breast, change her diaper or burp her, and put her on the other breast. Repeat this process until the baby will no longer wake. Switch nursing is great for supply, helps baby get more milk per feeding, and teaches baby that laziness/sleepiness is not really an option, because you're going to annoy the poop out of her every time she tries to drift off to dreamland.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9

    Default Re: So confused! Help!

    Thank you so much for your help. I took my LO into a lactation clinic and they found that she has tongue tie. I wish she had been diagnosed when she was in the hospital at birth! It would have saved us a lot of headaches - too bad we found out 11 weeks late. I have been going crazy with breastfeeding and trying to keep my milk supply up with pumping. I kept thinking it would get better when she got older and stronger. At least now I know there is a reason for the difficulties. Thanks again for your help! I hope things get easier for us! I hate being attached to a pump. :/

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