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Thread: Being told to supplement :(

  1. #1

    Default Being told to supplement :(

    Sorry I have a looong story, but I want to share everything just in case.

    I had my first DD in 2009 and just kind of assumed I would be able to breast feed. She was born at 8lbs and nursed constantly. I took her to a LC because I had cracked and bleeding nipples and felt like I was stuck to the bed with her 24/7. She just told me that she was probably born in her 2 week growth spurt because she was overdue(?) and gave me some latch suggestions. I kept it up okay until one night when she was 4 weeks old. She fell asleep, I set her in her bassinette and we woke up 6 hours later with mastitis. I hadn't thought to set an alarm because I hadn't ever needed one. I nursed through it but my supply never really came back. After a few days of listening to her fuss and scream we started to supplement and the bottles started to snowball. I took her to a Craniosacral therapist who decided that her palate was rotated from birth trauma but I think it was too late. I did Fenugreek, Brewers yeast, tea, Reglan nursing, supplementing and pumping while only getting her 5-6 oz per day. I finally decided it was all too much and gave up on nursing completely.

    This time I prepared myself. I went to classes, I read the books, I had piles of soothies and a nice pump on hand. My nipples were slightly damaged but not nearly as bad. I have been drinking water by the gallon and decided not to cave to supplementing. The first 2 weeks were amazing. I had milk spilling out of my bra when I bent over, could nurse then pump out 7 oz, my LO was actually choking on it and we were having to do the gravity tricks for oversupply. Around 3 weeks it quickly tapered off and we started sitting up all night while she cried and fussed at the breast. I went to the LC again and was told that her weight gain, although pathetic at 1-2 oz per week, was still gain and that that's all that really counted. Our nursing sessions were, and still are about 1 hour on each side, 15-20 minutes off, baby screaming, while I tend to my older child and grab a snack, then back to it. I just kept putting her back on hoping that my body would eventually get it and start to meet the demand like its supposed to.

    I kept at it until my 6 week PP visit when my OB decided to go ahead and insert a nuvaring for me and my sleep deprived brain didn't think to google it. 2 days later LO was screaming all day and night with dry lips and refusing the breast. I thought it was a growth spurt and kept putting her on until day 3 she started having bloody urine. Her pediatrician told me it was dehydration so I finally googled the darn nuvaring, quickly threw it away and caved to the first formula bottles . I've been playing catch up ever since- I'm on Fenugreek, Brewers yeast, teas mixed by 2 different local herbalists, the cookies and oatmeal whenever I can choke it down as well as pumping whenever I get the chance. I wont do reglan again because it made me very depressed last time and I don't feel right about buying mail order meds from Canada. At our peak I was up to 8 oz of supplemental formula per day but had been gradually decreasing then phased it out completely a few days ago. I was SO excited thinking that I had gotten my supply back up but then the bloody diapers started again. A lactation consultant came to my house yesterday and helped tweak my latch a tiny bit because LO wants to curl her lips in. She asked me to break the latch and make her stop after 20 minutes on each side because she said LO shouldnt nursee that long anymore for any reason. She then told me to quit taking Fenugreek, brewers yeast and the cookies because we are also dealing with a persistent case of Thrush (Just my boobs, her mouth doesn't seem to be affected) and she thought that they were probably perpetuating the problem. She recommended Blessed Thistle but I haven't had a chance to get to the store. I was feeling okay about the visit until today when she called me to follow up and I told her that LO screamed all evening and so I supplemented 2 oz to calm her down. She said that she had been thinking about my baby all night, that her chin was too pronounced and that she really thinks I need to nurse, top her off with as much formula as she wants every time and then pump because she just isn't being nourished by my milk. I'm so upset, I know where that heads, I feel like there's no way I can keep that regimen up and after nursing 18-20 hours a day for 9 weeks what is a 5-10 minutes with a pump going to really do anyway? I'm going to fail at breastfeeding AGAIN! What am I missing???

    Btw weights-
    Birth 7lb 3oz
    8 weeks 8lb 10 oz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,005

    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! How awesome that you decided to give nursing another go, and put so much effort into researching things before you got started. I'd like to your doc for putting you on Nuvaring- how hard is it to not prescribe the wrong contraceptive to a breastfeeding mom?!

    I think the good news is that you clearly have the capacity to produce plenty of milk. More than enough, even- you were leaking everywhere and pumping an astonishing 7 oz at a time. So you don't have to wonder about whether or not it is possible for you to make enough! All you have to wonder about is how to get where you need to be.

    It does sound like your baby may have some sort of latch issue. Those extremely long feedings, the damaged nipples, the curled-in lips, the prominent chin... A latch issue could explain a) why your baby had such trouble dealing with your supply when it was high, and b) why she hasn't been able to boost it back up where she needs it to be. Has anyone suggested the possibility of a tongue tie? And at this point, when baby latches, what are you experiencing? Is it painful at all, when she unlatches are your nipples symmetrical or asymmetrical/wedged/creased/ridged/shaped like new lipsticks?

    While you are getting baby's latch sorted, it's important for you to pump. What sort of pump do you have and how often are you able to use it? And how much milk are you getting when you use it?

    Pease don't give up, mama. I know that it's rough to not have made it to the turnaround point yet, at 7 weeks. But it really can take longer for some moms and some babies. It took my 4-5 months to get nursing down with my first baby, and while those were hard months they were also an investment in a nursing relationship that ultimately lasted 3 years.
    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!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    I agree with mommal. I'd also like to add, your LC doesn't sound like she knows what she's talking about. There is absolutely no reason to limit the duration of nursing sessions unless you're in a lot of pain and just can't stand it. If nursing longer is your baby's way of dealing with what may or may not be a slow milk transfer issue, then let her nurse longer. And supplements aren't going to contribute to thrush unless they're loaded with sugar. This is the best overview of how to treat thrush I've found. And it doesn't matter if baby isn't showing symptoms, you need to treat both of you at the same time so you aren't passing it back and forth.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4

    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Thank you for the replies! About the Nuvaring- I know, right? I even told her I didn't want hormonal birth control because I had been hypersensitive to it in the past and that we were fine using condoms but she insisted that I try it out. She was the absolute best OB I've ever met for the pregnancy, got me through a first trimester kidney stone surgery and when I went into labor at 32 weeks she took care of me and got me to 39 before I delivered. I'm shocked that the after care has been lacking so badly. The LC I'm using is also supposed to be the best in town.

    I have a flash of slight pain right at the moment of latch on, sometimes until the second or third suck, but then it just feels like a soft tug. If shes been on for a while and is no longer getting good milk flow she does get really fussy and start pulling in different directions then sucking back on. I'm sure that's not great for my nipple health but if it feels painful I take her off and switch to the other side for a while. When she came off there was a slight crease horizontal from where she was latched that the LC said was due to the lip curling in. I've been working with her every feeding since that appointment though and I think we've managed to clear that up.

    How would I tell if she has a tongue tie? The nurses at the hospital, my pediatrician, OB and the LC all LOOKED under her tongue but I don't think any of them stuck their finger in her mouth to feel her suck. When she sucks on my finger it kind of feels like her tongue is pushing it out at the end of each suck and she has a really hard time keeping binkies or bottle nipples in her mouth. I've wondered on and off if she has tongue thrust but wouldn't I be more battered and bruised if that were the case? Rarely it feels like she is rolling my nipple somehow and that when that happens it hurts but if we take a 30 second break then try again she doesn't have a problem.

    Right now I'm using a pump in style advanced (thank you obamacare) 2-3 times a day during her long stretch of sleep at night and her long afternoon nap, but because of the thrush I'm trying to make sure that I sterilize the pump parts between sessions so its a pain. I have 2 hard flanges and they seem to fit- there ends up being a tiny bit of space in the tube around each nipple but not a ton. Those feel ok but the setting I have to use to get good milk flow feels A LOT stronger than my baby ever sucks so it hurts a little more. The soft flange I have from my hand pump is excruciating for some reason, possibly from the thrush? I tend to get anywhere from 1.5-2.5 oz each session total. Once recently I got 3 and was ecstatic but it hasn't happened since. If I pump after a nursing session its just a few drops that don't even cover the bottom of the bottles. I have noticed that the breast that had mastitis 3 years ago only produces half of what the other side will, even when I was producing too much. I assume some of the tissue there really is irrevocably damaged.

    I'm wondering if her schedule is hurting us a little. She is up from about 7-11am, then down from 11-3 ish then up and down with little 5-10 minute cat naps until 10-11 at night, down until 3 when she starts to stir and I bring her to bed with me and switch her from side to side from about 3-7. Is she sleeping too much? Should I wake her every 2 hours to nurse instead of pumping in those holes?

    Another one of my problems is that she is a REALLY fussy baby. We have her on Zantac for Colic but even when she's well fed and we've checked all the normal things she will scream unless she's latched on. Its caused me to start using my boobs as a comfort object because I simply don't know what else to do. I don't think I really know how much or often shes drawing milk and life has become one endless nursing session. The LC, I think, was trying to have me break them into discernible "feedings" but I don't know if that's the right answer either.

    We did do that full thrush protocol , except I repeated treatments with the gentian violet x4 before moving to fluconazole and then my OB (genius) wanted me to try a 2 day course before we did the 2 week. That didn't work, so I'm on the full course now and they're just now starting to go back to the right color (They've been a pinkish straw color so long I almost don't recognize them.) I'm treating the baby with Gentian Violet again, making my husband go get oral treatment for the tiny spot of athletes foot he's been fighting for years, washing all of our clothes, towels, sheets in vinegar, bleached the tub, mopped the whole house and sprayed the furniture with vinegar and am boiling all bottles, pacifiers and pump pieces for 20 minutes after each use...so HOPEFULLY we can get rid of this crap. I also stopped using apno because I realized I felt better when I forgot. My LC told me that after a while (its been 4 weeks) the steroid can start to break down the skin and be a little counterproductive so I switched to coconut oil.

    Do you ladies think fenugreek promotes yeast? She was thinking it could because it can mess with a mother's blood sugar and thought it best not to risk it, but if its going to help me I'd rather take it.

    I also decided that I'm not going back to work so I have extra motivation to fix this. For whatever reason I would feel even more like a bum sitting around feeding my baby formula without even having the challenges of a working mother.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Here's a really great site on tongue tie and how lasering can help http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles.html and there's also some info on upper lip ties. Take a look at the pictures - they're really helpful. Posterior tongue ties can impact breastfeeding, and can be particularly tricky to spot, so I think they get missed a lot.

    Have you tried swabbing your LOs mouth with grapefruit seed extract for the thrush? I found it helped. And I found that plain old over the counter canesten cream on my nipples was good too. As for boiling your pump parts, is there any way that you can get the Medela steamer bags for your microwave (if you have one)? I reinfected myself with my part parts, even though I had boiled them, and my LLL leader told me that thrush can sometimes survive boiling, that steaming is more effective. Plus, it takes only a few minutes compared to the 20 you're spending now. It sounds like you could use whatever shortcuts you can get!

    For what it's worth, I think you're doing a fantastic job sticking it out through all this. Way to go mama!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Oh man, you are working SO HARD! Kudos to you for being persistent and determined to make nursing work. You can do this.

    Are you using the milk you pump to supplement? How long do you typically go between pumping and feeding the milk you've pumped? You don't want to reinfect baby with milk that may have candida in it. I wouldn't save it past a day.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  7. #7

    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    I use the breastmilk after the next feed. So far today she's taken the 2 oz I got last night and 4 oz of formula. I called the LC to ask and she said that she did check and found no evidence of a tongue tie and thought it was "excellent" that I've given her 4 oz of formula already today (I think maybe her definition of excellent is different from mine.) Her theory is that if I can get into 8-10 shorter nursing sessions that my milk will start to fill in, flow, then have a break to fill in again and that it will increase that way. I'm so confused.

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Honestly, I am confused, too! Is there another LC you can see? Hands-on help is always best, and even though your LC is supposed to be good you never know what fresh eyes may see. I saw 2 different LCs and got excellent tips from both of them.

    I'm thinking that it might make sense for you to invest in a second set of pump parts. I know you're probably not all that eager to spend MORE money on breastfeeding, but if you had 2 sets of parts you could sterilize them a little less often and maybe that would encourage you to pump a little more often. If there's a supply issue, then ideally you want to pump a lot more than 2-3 times a ay. More like 8-10 would be ideal. And if you could pump up your volume, maybe it would enable baby to get all of her calories from nursing, or at least more of them- if milk is really abundant then even babies with not-so-great latch or sucking skills can get their needs met.

    You're working so hard mama! I am loathe to suggest that you work even harder, so forgive me if I sound like I'm pushing you to do the impossible.
    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: Being told to supplement :(

    Ok, so last night I noticed that my nail beds were white and started to wonder if the anemia I had during pregnancy had come back. Took an extra iron pill and voila- Milk! I'm still a little skeptical thinking that maybe shes just not as hungry today but Its 7pm and I haven't needed to supplement a drop, where she took about 8 ounces of formula yesterday. Crazy!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Being told to supplement :(

    Can you stop by the doc and get your levels and the baby's levels checked? I haven't heard of anemia affecting milk supply but I think it can affect the baby's growth if the baby is herself anemic.
    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!"

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