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Thread: Illness-related milk-supply drop and afraid to pump

  1. #11

    Default Re: Illness-related milk-supply drop and afraid to pump

    It's me again. Yes, the supply is severely low. I can tell from his decreased diapers (still 4-6 wet ones per day, but they used to be 8-9 sopping huge ones, plus huge poops every other day). He has only pooped one day in the past 9 days. The big proof is his weight loss. The lost 9 oz from last Thursday to this Monday. Dr. wants me to wean to formula, which I would actually love to do, but he will have none of it. He seems to have a bottle aversion. Doc says he will take the bottle eventually if I stop offering the breast, but I think he would starve and dehydrate himself first. So I keep nursing. I saw an LC yesterday and she gave me a plan--6 lactation cookies per day (ugh, it's hard to get them all in), More Milk tincture and power pumping. It's been a day and there is no increase in my supply, but at least I am now able to see I am having let-downs. I'm still a bit too nervous to let-down with him nursing, so I've been pumping till let-down and then nursing. Which I know is dangerous because he will want to work for the milk even less. But I've got to get calories into him. Nighttime is awful because he is hungry and I am exhausted (I have had 3-4 hours sleep per night for the last 2 weeks) and I can't let-down with him and last night the pump wouldn't get me to let-down because I was stressed and sleepy so he just had to go hungry. But I think he is getting used to being hungry, because on the whole he still acts like himself. Just a bit less energy, tires more easily and has gone back to 3 naps per day, like a young baby. I really hope I can get my supply up. Otherwise, what? My healthy fat baby stops developing normally, keeps dropping weight like crazy, I keep eeking out a small amount of breastmilk, etc. Until he starts eating more. It is making me severely depressed.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Illness-related milk-supply drop and afraid to pump

    Oh mama, these have been a tough few weeks for you. I wouldn't necessarily expect to see a big increase in supply after just a day, but if you keep up the nursing and pumping your supply WILL increase. Can you get some help so you can get some more sleep? DH? Or someone to help during the day so you can take a nap? Because being this severely sleep-deprived is not going to help when you're trying to get your supply back up, and when you're feeling stressed out and anxious. Who wouldn't feel that way under these conditions? But do try to take it one nursing session at a time. You're getting milk into him. So that's great.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: Illness-related milk-supply drop and afraid to pump

    Your LO has been sick too, right? That's reason enough for him to be more sleepy and nap more. My LO has had a cold for the past week, and she's definitely napping more often and longer. Don't worry that you're starving him. He's still making enough wet diapers, so he's not getting dehydrated. I'm sure his weight will pick back up once you're both feeling well.

    As someone with a history of depression myself, your posts have some red flags. It could just be the sleep deprivation, but the way that your mind jumps from a small stressful thing to assuming it will go on forever and get worse and worse is classic depressive thinking. You need more sleep! It might not seem like it now, but I think it will help a lot with the anxiety and sadness and the catastrophizing. Everything seems more dire when you're exhausted. But if you continue to feel this level of anxiety and depression once things are back to normal and you're getting sleep, I'd consider seeing someone about it.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Illness-related milk-supply drop and afraid to pump

    Hi, I thought I would re-post a reply I wrote to a recent PM checking in with me about what happened with us. Since this was a super weird situation, maybe it will be helpful for posterity.

    We are all doing really well, but I am no longer nursing. I know it's probably anti-LLLI ideals, but weaning to the bottle was the absolute best outcome given the realities of the situation. For whatever insane psycho-somatic issues I seem to have had, I just was never going to be able to calm down enough to have a let-down when nursing him. Continuing to nurse him was starving him. I know it sounds counter to breast feeding wisdom (my lactation consultant had a hard time believing that my mind could actually short-circuit my body's innate drives the way it did), but I was at such an absolutely bleak, adrenaline-fueled horrible place, that I quite effectively prevented my milk from letting down. For more than a week. The breaking point came when I had manged to get a few let-downs with the pump, immediately then going in to nurse him, and then all the sudden, under pressure to put him to bed that night, I could no longer get a let-down for the pump for 8 hours because I was so anxious. That night he was finally so hungry and worn down that he took a bottle from my husband (of breast milk). After he took it I decided that I was not going to nurse him any more for his own good. I needed him to keep being willing to take bottles. We used donated breastmilk, plus what I pumped to get him hooked on the bottle, and now he has been transfered to formula because I simply do not want to pump for him for the next 4 plus months. He is really happy, loves his bottles, and I don't feel guilty at all, just a bit embarassed that I am apparently so messed up psychologically that I was able to prevent my body from working through sheer anxiety. We are all happy now. We were falling apart before. I know many women, once they had gotten the bottle established, would have then tried to do combination nursing-bottle feeding, but I was too scared that he would reject the bottle again and I wouldn't be able to keep up my end of the bargain with the nursing. I do feel kind of regretful that I didn't try that, but then i think back to the sheer terror and desperation I felt for over a week when I could not nurse him effectively, and the regret goes away. It;s funny, with my DD, who weaned herself at 7 months because she never could tolerate what, in hindsight, was my oversupply and fast let-down, I never even thougt about my let-down except to wish it wouldn't come out so quickly. With Rory, I started having let-down issues in the middle of the night around 5 months. My mistake was going online and searching for answers as to why. What I found out--that adrenaline and anxiety could delay or prevent let-down--became a self-fulfilling prophecy over the next few months. My let-down issues happened more and more, even before our illness and my milk supply drop. Once I knew that my mind had the power to subvert my body's functioning, it continued to do so. The mind is scary powerful for some of us. And the poster who noted depressive thinking in my posts, fatalism etc. Absolutely. I think it was totally situational depression and sleep deprivation, but I know I absolutely have that capacity and those tendencies. More anxiety than depression, but yeah, totally. But now that it's over, I'm back to normal. Optimistic, realistic, happy. But that fatalism of mine is really helpful to keep in mind for future crises, and I appreciate having it pointed out to remind me to stay grounded. Anyway, sorry for the novel. This is kind of like a last purge of all that awfulness. Thanks for indulging me and for your earlier help!

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