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Thread: Help-my milk is disappearing!

  1. #1

    Default Help-my milk is disappearing!

    Hello all, I'm praying someone can offer some advice.
    My LO is 15 weeks old. I have been BF and supplementing since she was born (supplementing bc I was not producing enough milk). Luckily my LO never had a problem going back and forth from breast to bottle.
    In Friday I got my period for the first time. Monday I was out of town for a funeral-I pumped while I was away-but seemed to produce less than normal.
    Then Tuesday, my milk was basically gone. I pumped and only got about 1/4 oz from both breasts combined! My LO also won't really nurse bc nothing is coming out so she gets frustrated and stops.
    I'm freaking out. I was not ready to stop nursing!
    So I have been drinking a ton of water, drinking a Ton of mothers milk tea, taking fenugreek, pumping about every 2 hours (the most I've gotten out of a pump was 1/2 oz) and having my LO nurse as often as possible. I called the lactation consultant at my pediatricians office and she said that's about all I can do. Is that true!? Is there anything else I can do!? How long would it take for me to see if any of this is working? Please help. So sad-Not ready to give up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help-my milk is disappearing!

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the baby! I'm sorry that nursing has been so difficult recently. But there's every reason to think that with patience, persistence, and the right tools you can ultimately transition to exclusive breastfeeding.

    Some questions for you:
    - How often are you nursing in a 24 hour period, on average?
    - How much supplemental formula are you using?
    - What sort of pump are you using and how long are you pumping for?
    - How does pumping feel?
    - Are you using any hormonal contraception?
    - Do you have any health conditions that might be relevant to milk production (PCOS, thyroid conditions, retained placenta fragments, breast surgeries)?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help-my milk is disappearing!

    Thanks for your quick response...
    To answer your questions...

    - I usually nurse about every 3/4 hours, along with formula. Sometimes I only nurse when feeding-other times, just give formula
    - I give her about 4 bottles of formula a day, 4 oz each
    - medela advanced pump. About 10 mins
    - feels fine, but today started to get a bi sore ( just from pumping so often)
    -taking low dose of synthroid for hypothyroidism. And yes, breast augmentation in 2003.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help-my milk is disappearing!

    Thanks for answering those questions!

    Okay, so the equation that governs milk production is supply = demand. When you have a supply problem, the best thing to do is to increase demand by nursing more and pumping more. The average baby needs at least 8 nursing sessions per day to maintain a good milk supply, and many babies require more like 10-12 nursing sessions per day, or more, particularly during growth spurts. If you want to increase supply, I would do the following:
    1. Nurse a lot more often. 10-12 times a day would be great.
    2. Never skip an opportunity to nurse. Offering formula in place of a nursing session can quickly kill your supply.
    3. If you decide to use a bottle at a feeding, make sure you pump while the bottle is being given.
    4. Consider using a better pump. The Medela PIS is a good pump, but many moms find that hospital-grade rental pumps offer improved yield with less effort.
    5. Make sure your shields are properly sized. Pumping shouldn't make you sore, and that fact that it has makes me wonder if your shields don't fit right.
    6. See your doctor about your Synthroid dose. Many moms require increased replacement thyroid hormone after pregnancy, and large swings in thryoid function are common in the first year postpartum.
    7. Check out this link on weaning from formula supplements: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/ One thing I note is that you are offering very large supplemental bottles. A breastfed baby typically takes about 2-4 oz of milk when nursing at the breast, so 4 oz of formula represents a very large feeding. Using smaller supplements might encourage baby to nurse more often, and that would be great for your supply.

    Were your implants placed through the areola, or under the muscle? And can you tell us more about how you determined that low supply was a problem for you?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help-my milk is disappearing!

    My implants are under the muscle and the incision was made in my aereola.

    First week baby was home, she was losing a lot of weight and her billy rubin score was dangerously high. When I pumped, I barely got 2 oz.
    pediatrician told me to supplement.

    In the past few days, I noticed that I was not leaking (I usually need to wear nursing pads 24/7)and my breasts weren't hurting or hard like normal when too much time went between feedings. That's when I pumpEd and noticed My supply was low.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help-my milk is disappearing!

    Interesting. 2 oz is pretty normal pump output in the first week after childbirth, so that doesn't really indicate that you had a supply problem. And losing up to 10% of birthweight is normal, and you can expect weight loss to be a little more severe in a baby who is jaundiced and probably not nursing all that well. Basically, I am not 100% convinced, based on the data you have, that you really had a supply problem.

    I would love for you to see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for some hands-on help. The fact that you could pump around 2 oz in the first week after your baby was born, and the fact that you have felt "hurting or hard" between feedings suggests that you may have the potential to produce enough milk that you wouldn't need to supplement.

    When the implant was placed, was the nipple severed and reattached, or was this a simple incision in the areola? Surgeries where the nipples are detached and then reattached tend to be the ones that are most problematic for breastfeeding. Surgeries where the implant is placed under the uncle through the crease under the breast tend to be the least problematic. You're maybe in the middle- there was probably some damage to the areola but after 10 years it may be that all the necessary connections and sensitivities are reestablished. Again, an in-person consultation with a LC might really help you figure out what is possible for you!

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