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Thread: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

  1. #1

    Default Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    PLEASE help me. I am desperate. For the past three days I have been breastfeeding my baby more than normal. We basically went on a breastfeeding vacation that I read about to increase supply. I breastfed rather than pumped. I didn't pump at all for three days but again was breastfeeding like crazy. This last feeding, I DID NOT breastfeed and supplemented with formula. Afterwards I tried to pump. Nothing came out hardly at all. This means my supply has dropped considerably from breastfeeding. I hadn't fed in about 2 hours, maybe closer to 3. Can breastfeeding instead of pumping lower supply? There is WAY more to my story. I hope it is okay but instead of going into all of it-can I put the posts where I wrote about it on my blog-and then check back here for advice on what to do? I am so desperate for help. I worked so hard these past 7 weeks for now my supply to disappear...

    Here's background about my struggle-
    http://superfunmama.com/uneducated-p...really-do-harm

    This post lists all the things I've tried-
    http://superfunmama.com/comprehensiv...ow-milk-supply

    Most recent attempts to help supply-
    http://superfunmama.com/822

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    20,632

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on the new baby! I am so sorry your breastfeeding journey has been so difficult so far, but hopefully everything is fixable.

    Some questions for you:
    - What sort of pump do you have and how often have you been using it?
    - How much milk have you been able to pump, on average?
    - While you were exclusively breastfeeding, how was baby's diaper output?
    - Are you using any form of hormonal contraception?
    - How does nursing feel?
    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

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    OK I read your blog and posts. I had a similar issues in the hospital with my second baby. But that was 6 years ago and, in part due to me and others being ferocious, the entire culture in that hospital has changed for the better as I experienced first hand with baby number 3.

    PLEASE contact the hospital ombudsman and file a complaint about the nurse who 'forced' you to pump to 'prove' you had milk, plunked a paci in newborn baby's mouth, etc. That is all beyond outrageous. However, what happens in the first 24 hours or so after birth, while it can certainly set the stage for all kinds of issues, it is unlikely to cause such a long duration of breastfeeding issues in a mom who is as motivated and informed as you are. Something else must be going on. thus mommal's questions. I also wonder if you have you had your thyroid function tested?

    Mommal asks the same questions I still have. I see you have tried lots of supplements but I am not seeing the info on basic breastfeeding management-how often milk is extracted, how it is extracted, how much baby is fed and how often etc. Also, have you been under the care of an IBCLC?

    Basically, the only way nursing more frequently (as long as more means enough-at least 10 times a day or more at this age) would make your supply go down to LESS THAN BABY NEEDS is if baby is unable to extract milk well from the breast. In cases where it is known or suspected that baby cannot latch or nurse effectively, the suggestion to take a 'nursing vacation' may not be appropriate.

    Is it possible you were pumping more than baby needs, and when baby took over the regulation of production, it leveled off to what is actually needed? I see you have been supplementing 3 ounces of formula per feeding. That is a large individual feeding for a 6 week old and would have been too large for a younger baby. Baby may have taken that amount, but that does not mean baby needed that amount. Too much supplementation will continue to harm milk production. But how often is baby fed?

    In any case, How much you pump overall is a terrible indicator of milk production, unless you are exclusively pumping and have been for some time, and have proof pumping works well for you. Even then, a drop in output could mean normal leveling off of production, a 'bad' session (it happens) or pump malfunction.

    And how much or little milk expressed during one session means nothing, ever.

    Why did you give your baby formula after nursing for three days... was baby showing signs of dehydration?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 27th, 2013 at 10:55 AM. Reason: forgot some stuff

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Sorry for the late reply. I could not get logged in and tried several times. I'm happy to see that I'm able to log in today. I'm very anxious for help. My little one does not like a bottle or formula so I feel it is important to keep trying. She cries for the breast and the bottle doesn't satisfy her. People basically tell me to give up...but I so do not want to. To answer the questions...

    My pump is rented . It is Medela Lactina Select.

    I haven't been able to produce a nice quantity at all but until now could at least give her half the feeding by breast milk. I was able to do about 1.5-2oz if I HAD NOT breastfed. I should have been more clear. It was late. I wouldn't say I was exclusively breastfeeding. During this nursing vacation she was still getting bottles, I just wasn't pumping. I thought since what I have read says the babies are more effective at removing milk, that I'd experiment and see if it helped with breast milk production increasing.

    So, baby's diaper output stayed the same.

    I am not using any type of contraception.

    Nursing feels fine. I'm not in any pain at all. Maybe she doesn't suck hard enough? Lactation consultants have said from the start that she has an excellent latch...

    I have had my thyroid tested. When the breastfeeding problems started my OB did tests on hormones (I believe prolactin and progesterone levels) and my thyroid.They were fine, which is why I haven't tried domperiodone.

    As far as the basic breastfeeding management. I try to remove milk every 3 hours. I tried two hours but never had any to remove. I had been doing the pump until lately where I went to try breastfeeding. Baby girl eats every 3 hours unless she wants to before then. She is eating 4 oz.

    I have seen lactation consultants and I don't know if they have any more advice for me...They say she latches fine...She does almost ALWAYS fall asleep when breastfeeding. It is not a hard suck-not uncomfortable at all. I suspect she sucks like a pacifier suck but I'm not sure how to tell the difference.


    I definitely know I'm not pumping more than she needs because never more than 2 oz at a time.

    I was told by her pediatrician to give her 3-4 oz of formula every 3 hours when she was slow to gain weight at her 2 week appointment. If I give her less I think she would be quite hungry?? So she should have less?

    I know a pump isn't the best indicator but I've fallen from being able to pump 2 oz at a time to 1/2 an ounce (which is up from yesterday where I was only pumping 10 ML).

    Again, she had been getting formula the whole three days, just not pumping. That last time I just didn't breastfeed first because I felt like I was producing less milk and wanted to see. All leakage had stopped, you see.


    Sorry for the choppy reply. Actually was pumping as I wrote this.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    So here's the thing. We still need to know how many times in a 24hour period you are feeding the baby. Because it should be 8-10. But I can NOT imagine you are getting that much stimulation because formula takes SO long to digest and you are giving your baby MORE than an entire feeding in formula alone. 1-3oz of breastmilk per feeding IS NORMAL. And if you are feeding the baby around the clock as you are supposed to, 2oz at the breast would INDEED be ENOUGH. So at this point I imagine that you child is being overfed and that as a result your supply has taken a huge hit. Becauise of all the formula. Because your baby is probably eating closer to ever 3-4hour than every 1-3 like they are supposed to. You need to cut back the supplement for sure. Just to give you a reference point, EBF babies drink between 24 and 32oz of milk day. With 32 being on the high end of things. So if you are giving your baby 3-4oz a formula at every feed, even if you are only feeding your baby 6-7times in a 24hour period, that is between 18 and 28oz a of formula a day. That doesn't really leave a lot of room for breastmilk. Here is the link from Kellymom to weaning off supplement. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/ But you HAVE to let go of the idea that you need to give your baby 3-4oz ON TOP of breastmilk. The goal is to have formula makes up the difference between what you produce and what the baby needs. At 2oz a feeding if done often enough that is in fact MOST of what your child needs. But your child isn't being given a chance to maximize breastmilk or your productions. Because she is STUFFED! And a nursing vacation won't work until you are in fact ready to make a leap. Because the whole point is to get your body to actually be stimulated as much as it would be if you were exclusively breastfeeding. With the idea that AFTER the vacation your supply will be ready. You have to pull your supplements WAY back before you attempt this. And you do it at that point without the bottles. Because breastfeeding is NOT making your supply go down. The supplements are. I am glad you came here. Your Pedi's recommendation quite frankly sounds like he didn't really think you were going to breastfeed. Because 3-4oz is a meal for a formula fed kid. It's not the amount you top off if someone is trying to make it breastfeeding. I am sorry you got bad advice. The good news is as long as you are making milk, you can get it all the way back. But you have to trust the process and it your case it's going to mean really upping the times a day you nurse AND probably dealing with a fussy baby. Because at this point she is USED to be overfed. Good look and Keep us posted!

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Djsmom pretty much said it all, Can you clarify-how many times does baby nurse, how many times do you pump, each day. Generally, and also, during the 3 day experiement.

    Baby girl eats every 3 hours unless she wants to before then. She is eating 4 oz.
    4 ounce bottles every three hours would equal 9 feedings of 4 ounces- 36 ounces of breastmillk/formula per day. Is that how much your baby is being "supplemented"?????????

    Yes, this is a problem. I am amazed your baby nurses at all, ever, as she is being completely fed and then some, via the bottle! Why would she nurse?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 28th, 2013 at 06:49 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    4 ounce bottles every three hours would equal 9 feedings of 4 ounces- 36 ounces of breastmillk/formula per day. Is that how much your baby is being "supplemented"?????????

    Yes, this is a problem. I am amazed your baby nurses at all, ever, as she is being completely fed and then some, via the bottle! Why would she nurse?
    Yeah exactly. These numbers are alarming. I am sure they have caused dramatic weight gain but at what cost?

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    So here's the thing. We still need to know how many times in a 24hour period you are feeding the baby. Because it should be 8-10. But I can NOT imagine you are getting that much stimulation because formula takes SO long to digest and you are giving your baby MORE than an entire feeding in formula alone. 1-3oz of breastmilk per feeding IS NORMAL. And if you are feeding the baby around the clock as you are supposed to, 2oz at the breast would INDEED be ENOUGH. So at this point I imagine that you child is being overfed and that as a result your supply has taken a huge hit. Becauise of all the formula. Because your baby is probably eating closer to ever 3-4hour than every 1-3 like they are supposed to. You need to cut back the supplement for sure. Just to give you a reference point, EBF babies drink between 24 and 32oz of milk day. With 32 being on the high end of things. So if you are giving your baby 3-4oz a formula at every feed, even if you are only feeding your baby 6-7times in a 24hour period, that is between 18 and 28oz a of formula a day. That doesn't really leave a lot of room for breastmilk. Here is the link from Kellymom to weaning off supplement. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/ But you HAVE to let go of the idea that you need to give your baby 3-4oz ON TOP of breastmilk. The goal is to have formula makes up the difference between what you produce and what the baby needs. At 2oz a feeding if done often enough that is in fact MOST of what your child needs. But your child isn't being given a chance to maximize breastmilk or your productions. Because she is STUFFED! And a nursing vacation won't work until you are in fact ready to make a leap. Because the whole point is to get your body to actually be stimulated as much as it would be if you were exclusively breastfeeding. With the idea that AFTER the vacation your supply will be ready. You have to pull your supplements WAY back before you attempt this. And you do it at that point without the bottles. Because breastfeeding is NOT making your supply go down. The supplements are. I am glad you came here. Your Pedi's recommendation quite frankly sounds like he didn't really think you were going to breastfeed. Because 3-4oz is a meal for a formula fed kid. It's not the amount you top off if someone is trying to make it breastfeeding. I am sorry you got bad advice. The good news is as long as you are making milk, you can get it all the way back. But you have to trust the process and it your case it's going to mean really upping the times a day you nurse AND probably dealing with a fussy baby. Because at this point she is USED to be overfed. Good look and Keep us posted!
    I guess I need to change phrasing. Really supplementing with formula really isn't the proper term. Rather, she is supplemented with breastmilk, and primarily fed formula. I of course do not want her on formula at all. However, when I was only breastfeeding, was told that I was "starving my child". If you read my story, you know that the hospital nurse threatened to call social services if I did not give her formula. Two weeks after the hospital discharge I was primarily giving her breastmilk and truly only supplementing with formula. However, at the two week appointment the peditrician said that she had not gained any weight and was very concerned. She was eating every hour and a half to two hours. She said that I needed to go on a very strict schedule of making sure she had 3-4 oz of formula and I could top off or give breastmilk before but that I MUST give her the 3-4 oz of formula because she wasn't gaining enough. She said that I wasn't allowing her to get hungry enough so she wanted me to give her the 3-4 oz not before 3-4 hours. I had to come back twice for weight checks. Anyway, they made me feel like I was starving her and that they wanted to make sure I was giving her enough formula. So, PLEASE, understand that I definitely did start by trying breast only. I was letting her eat very frequently was was told not to and to put formula as primary.
    So how many times in a 24 hour period. Well, I'm not completely sure. At night she almost exclusively breastfeeds. For some reason she seems completely satisfied at night by just breast. I do not wake her to feed. I let her wake me up and go by that. I think I feed her at least 10 times in a 24 hour period. When I was originally and when I did this most recent experiment at the breast, I know I was feeding more than 10 times a day. Most USUALLY I let her eat at the breast first (now always but usually). However, I do still give her the 4 oz of formula because I do not know that she is really removing enough. Oh goodness-this would be important and I should have pointed this out-when I went in to see a lactation consultant most recently she weighed the baby before and after and said that the baby was only getting an ounce and a half and said she most definitely still needed formula.
    I am so scared to cut back the formula. I am afraid that I am one of those rare women who just can not produce breastmilk no matter how hard I try. I've had two babies and didn't produce with either one. The first time it caught me by surprise. For 3 months I supplemented, pumped, and nursed on a strict schedule. At 3 months I could only produce 1 oz over an ENTIRE day. This time has been much better. I was able to pump 1.5-2 oz per session so the increase was dramatic compared to the first time. This time I read as much as I could about breastfeeding, met with lactation consultations beforehand, and felt prepared. However...no milk. With both pregnancies I've experienced absolutely no breast change. They have never gotten a single bit bigger. I've never experienced a full feeling at all. I wonder if I have PCOS because of the lack of breast change and my OB does have me on Metformin, which is why I keep trying, thinking in a month from now I will have build glandular tissue and might be able to exclusively breastfeed. Anyhow, long story short, what if I am one of those rare women who really CANT produce milk and she suffers because I do not produce the milk? OR do the doctors have me scared and my experience is common and I really will be able to have a normal amount? It has been low since she has been born but it was when I went back to focusing on increasing breastfeeding and less pumping that my supply took a massive hit, it seems. The pediatrician knew I was trying. In fact, she is the only who prescribed Reglan for me. However,seeing little success...I think she lost hope. I think almost everyone has lost hope in my being able to breastfeed. I did feel a sense of hope when you said she is overfed and that I might be able to get it back up. I need that.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    When the doctor was concerned about her weight I was feeding her every 3-4 hours. Now that she is doing well weight wise, I go by her demand. When she is hungry I feed her. There isn't really a schedule. It does come about every 3 hours. I would say I was pumping probably 6 times. Maybe 7. I didn't pump but one time during the experiment. I was nursing her ALOT during the experiment. Whenever she wanted. Generally, I still breastfeed her about every time before I give her the bottle.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Well...again...very much wanting to do only breastfeeding and will happily stop the formula. However, finding that the most recent experiment, resulted in a dramatic decrease in milk production, I worry that her suck isn't hard enough or something. I am concerned with the formula feeding but right now am most concerned that I'm going to completely dry up because of the experiment where my milk dropped so significantly. Has anyone heard of this? Has anyone heard of a similar story of someone who was able to breastfeed exclusively?

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