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Thread: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    It didn't do what you think. And you aren't a rare case that can't make milk. 1.5-2oz per session IS in the realm of normal. You ARE making milk. Now breastfeeding doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. And I am really sorry about the way the doctors and nurses made you feel. And if you are never able to let go of the self doubt as a result of the way they threatened you as a new mother I would understand. But in terms of what you are doing, I can't speak to the way you are feeling. I can only speak to the facts. And factually it is NOT TRUE that your milk dropped dramatically because you breastfed more during your weekend experiment. However, your experiment wasn't really an indicator of ANYTHING. Because you are saying that you usually start at the breast and then bottlefeed her and then pump. So that is a set amount of stimulation. (And truthfully if you ARE wanting to get closer to less formula you are going to need to pump more than 6 times a day.) But really all you did with your experiment is eliminate one of method of stimulation. And since it's all supply and demand, it's reasonable that you would make less. Because during that time you stimulated your breast 6 times less often than a normal 24 period.
    And listen, I am supportive of breastfeeding in whatever way works for you. So if you want to combo feed I can get behind that. But I am going to be honest with you and tell you that your post sounds like you are really trying to hear that you are a special case and that actually breastfeeding makes you make less milk. But it's not true. So now what? Can you talk to us honestly WHERE you'd like to get to? Because we can work with you to get there. Would you be happy making half of your child's food? Because if the name the game IS combo, feed, you DO need to be willing to let go of some of the formula. 4oz is ALOT of food. And if your baby is getting that much, there really is no reason for her to work for other milk. So you need to think about how much farther you are looking to take this. Because if you want to continue to give her breastmilk for any length of time, you HAVE to keep up a demand. It's the reason the slope with formula is always so slippery. Not that combo feeding can't be done successfully. It can. Absolutely. But only if the pumping, feeding part is done diligently and religiously. You admitting you don't even always start at the breast....it doesn't bode well for the long term. Because if your baby does not give your body the continuous signals to make milk, your body doesn't make it. That is how it works. THAT is why supply dries up. And yours could. And it would not surprise me if it did. Because you are simply not allowing your child enough opportunity to demand milk in abundance. And never will with 4oz formula feeds. So you can rail on about how wronged you were. And you were. And it sucks. But you are still making milk. And a surprisingly decent amount all things considered. And you baby is latching on. And eating. So what you do with that information is totally up to you. But if you keep it up the way you are, there is no reason to think that your supply wouldn't drop. Read the link about weaning off supplements. Commit to pumping 2 more times a day. At least. So that you can breastfeed and then supplement with a bottle of your OWN milk. Work to consciously feed your baby less formula. Or look at the fact that realistically wanting this in the abstract before the baby was here and then having it challenged and having your ability to mother challenged because of it was too tramatizing for you and that the actual work to get to a place where you trust your body to adequately feed your child is too much and accept that. And that is OK. It is. But it's NOT because you don't make milk. Or can't. You can. You do. YOU ARE. And there is NOTHING in your story that leads me to believe otherwise. 1.5oz of breastmilk in a feeding is in the realm of normal. And if all your feedings were at that amount, YES you DO still need to supplement. But not with a 3-4oz! With 1. Or 1.5. Or 2oz. At most. Seriously.
    Last edited by @llli*djs.mom; May 29th, 2013 at 12:59 AM.

    Way too lazy for formula

  2. #12

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    This is such a history and so many things going on with breastfeeding for me that I haven't been clear on my needs here I think, lol. In a few weeks I can return and ask for help for exclusive breastfeeding but right now my concern is the massive drop and if her sucking could have anything to do with it. The whole origin of the post is concern about her sucking and that because I allowed sole stimulation from her mouth rather than the pump, that she isn't removing milk effectively. It is very clear that milk went WAY down. I hope that I will in the next few weeks get to a place where the discussion seems to have gone (when my supply is returned to a normal place FOR ME) and we can work on building it to where she is mostly breastfed. Right now, though, I'm more focused on getting it to where it was and figuring out why her suck isn't effective if it isn't. So focusing on that...I never experience any pain with her suck at all. No sore nipples. I have nipple cream that I've never had to use because I don't get sore at all. No cracking...nothing. If anything, this may sound weird, but there is almost a lack or feeling or a numbness? They say her latch is good and she is swallowing though but she always falls asleep while eating. From what I am saying, any thoughts on her latch or sucking? She loves breastfeeding but never breaks away. Is this an indicator of anything? Please, I will welcome advise on building to a full supply in the near future, right now I'm just scared of completely drying up and coming to understand why the drop.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    I think you think we are criticizing you for giving your baby formula. And I'm very sorry if it came out that way, because that is not the case. What we are trying to explain is that the amount of supplement you're giving your baby is what is and has been harming your milk production. Maybe you already had pre-existing low production, it's possible-but the way you have been instructed to supplement your baby would only make this worse. How you were told to supplement your baby was not correct. It was bad medical advice. There is nothing in lactation science that suggests babies must be fed less frequently in order to get enough to eat. This is the exact opposite of what the evidence suggests. If you're topping your baby off it needs to be with age appropriate amounts, not 3 to 4 ounces.

    Were any of your lactation consultants that you saw someone you could trust, someone you felt knew their stuff? I think it would be very helpful for you to do several before and after nursing weight checks. With a lactation consultant if at all possible not you by yourself. with a professional who knows how to do the weight check. And not one weight check-several-as many as you can afford to get in there to do. One weight check can be as misleading as one pump session. You need a bigger picture.

    Then you will have a much better idea how much your baby is able to get when your baby nurses at the breast and then you will have a better idea and how much and if any supplement is needed.

    Babies from birth to about two months of age (and some longer) typically need to nurse at least 10 to 12 times a day. Many nurse more often. That is how much infants need to eat in order to get enough milk in the biologically normal way.
    When mothers are told to delay feedings and supplement in too high, biologically abnormal amounts, it undermines breast-feeding. It destroys milk production and of course it destroys a mother's confidence. it always has and it always will. you're not the first mother to of had this done to them. It's probably one of the most serious issues and breast-feeding today. And many mothers who have experienced this have, once they have gotten good help, been able to nurse their babies, often exclusively.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    I didn't take it as a criticism for giving formula, just maybe that there are thoughts that I am not putting the baby to breast enough or trying hard enough. These are all valid points but right now what I'm trying to say is I have concern about her latch. It seems too lazy, basically.

    I can definitely see the supplement hurting production and am making an attempt to decrease. Today I was going to try as much as possible. She's only had 4 oz of formula all day. I tried just breastfeeding her but she became upset and I couldn't calm her. She said that I needed to feed her less because she wasn't gaining weight because she was just "snacking all day". At the time she was only eating 2 oz and the doctor said that was absolutely not enough. She wasn't gaining weight so I assumed she must be right.

    I have a great lactation consultant. I'm supposed to see her this Friday. She seems very knowledgeable. The last time I saw her she basically said that I have tried incredibly hard but some women just can not produce milk. I had kept track of her when I nursed, pumped, drank water, everything...She said that she could see it was overtaking my life and that I just might not be able to...I think it is good advice to do several. Thank you for giving me hope. I will keep trying. She's meant to be a breastfed baby. She hates the bottle and she hates formula. There is NO nipple confusion right now. She can't stand the bottle and loves the breast. Because of how much she loves being breastfed, I will keep trying,

    So no one thinks there is any problem with how she sucks? It is supposed to be very light?


    A couple nonrelated questions. Though LC thinks I may have insufficient glandular tissue this does not have to do with breast size but the makeup of the breast. I have large breasts. Unless I am holding my breast or I lay on my back while it lays over, I cover her nose. I wanted to be able to breastfeed her in the sling hands free but I cover her nose up. Thoughts? ((My plan was to put her in the sling and just let her feed away all day but it isn't working out because I have to hold my breast off her nostrils for her)). Also I've quite anemic. I was during the pregnancy and after. I've taken iron supplements for months now but the level is still low. I'm also now taking alfalfa tablets. I know this can contribute to low breast milk.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    You had a terrible experience in the hospital. I'm truly sorry for that. Absolutely complain to the hospital. But I'm more focused on the two weeks after that because you say you did start out supplementing only slighty but then followed the ped's awful 3-4 oz advice only after that check up. What EXACTLY were her weights up to (and after) this point? Were they all done naked on the same scale? How was her diaper out put, how many wets and dirtys? How many oz a day was she getting at that point? You said slow weight gain, not non existent? My point is you seemed confident about everything going on that first night in the hospital until nurse intimidated you, can you tell me if the ped had taken a different approach by having you nurse more and re-weigh in a few days, would you have any confidence in yourself? I've seen these other posters give this same advice to women in similar situations and have read their success stories. What we're trying to say is: ANY woman following the advice your doctor have you would lose their supply, ANY. What makes you doubt her sucking strength? You mentioned LCs ok' ing her latch and you can hear swallows and while 1.5 oz during a before and after weigh should PROVE that she can transfer milk. 2 oz for the recommended 12 times a day is 24 oz, within the needed amount. So really, start weaning from the formula slowly like the article suggests. Be diligent about starting every feeding at the breast. Find an LC that you trust and do SEVERAL before and after feeds. One is not enough.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Ok I was writing while you replied. Its helps to have more info but it still seems contrary to breast feeding science. Snacking all day is normal! And is needed to make a full supply. So she had four oz today, that's a drop from what yesterday? Because as little as an oz a day is the recommended amount. She may well have a bad suck, I have zero experience with that if it happens. Also its something that really is best assessed by a trained professional, which you've done and it was good. But I have seen human and scale errors with weight checks.
    Last edited by @llli*zaynethepain; May 29th, 2013 at 05:43 PM.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    It's really hard to say if there's a latch issue based on what you've posted. On the one hand, a very soft-feeling, lazy latch could indicate a milk transfer problem that is contributing to low supply. But on the other, the large formula supplements could be causing baby to be lazy at the breast. That, I think, is why LLLMeg suggested seeing a LC and doing several before and after nursing weight checks. In general, a latch that doesn't cause pain is a latch that can get milk out. But the weight checks would be a more definitive statement on your baby's milk transfer ability.

    IGT is really tough to diagnose. I think that sometimes people fall back on IGT to explain breastfeeding difficulties that have them stumped. If it's not the latch and not the feeding frequency and not the pump... Then it must be IGT, right? Because that's the only option left on the table. But I think that sometimes people reach for that IGT explanation a little too soon. In your case, I wouldn't go with IGT yet. There are still too many breastfeeding management issues that could be to blame here- the large formula supplements, the widely spaced feedings, the potentially lazy latch. Eliminate those variables, and THEN move on to potential organic causes for supply issues.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    I didn't take it as a criticism for giving formula, just maybe that there are thoughts that I am not putting the baby to breast enough or trying hard enough. These are all valid points but right now what I'm trying to say is I have concern about her latch. It seems too lazy, basically.
    We are saying that if you are feeding your baby 4 ounces of formula 9 times a day, that is FULLY feeding your baby on formula only, and it is doing so in overly large, overly infrequent feedings, and that this interrupts normal breastfeeding and thus, harms milk production.

    I can definitely see the supplement hurting production and am making an attempt to decrease. Today I was going to try as much as possible. She's only had 4 oz of formula all day. I tried just breastfeeding her but she became upset and I couldn't calm her. She said that I needed to feed her less because she wasn't gaining weight because she was just "snacking all day". At the time she was only eating 2 oz and the doctor said that was absolutely not enough. She wasn't gaining weight so I assumed she must be right.
    This is incorrect. This was at 2 or 3 weeks, right? 2 ounces absolutely IS enough for a single feed for an exclusively breastfed 2 or 3 week old baby who is eating 10 or more times a day. Also, try instant reward for fussy baby, if you cannot get her to calm down and nurse another way; She is used to bottles, so try a half ounce or so in a bottle to calm her and then bring her to the breast.

    And anyway-how do you know she was eating two ounces? So you were already bottle feeding at that point?

    I have a great lactation consultant. I'm supposed to see her this Friday. She seems very knowledgeable. The last time I saw her she basically said that I have tried incredibly hard but some women just can not produce milk. I had kept track of her when I nursed, pumped, drank water, everything...She said that she could see it was overtaking my life and that I just might not be able to...I think it is good advice to do several.
    It is good advice to let go of breastfeeding when a mother is truly done with the struggle. But are you done? Then why are you here? I think some part of you knows that you could do this. There is some answer. Maybe ther answer is that you will always have to supplement a little. Maybe not. But to say you do not make milk is not true because you DO make milk.

    Thank you for giving me hope. I will keep trying. She's meant to be a breastfed baby. She hates the bottle and she hates formula. There is NO nipple confusion right now. She can't stand the bottle and loves the breast. Because of how much she loves being breastfed, I will keep trying.
    All babies are meant to be breastfed. Some are not, and some cannot be, or cannot be exclusively, and for those cases we have alternatives. But nursing is the way all mammals feed their young.

    So no one thinks there is any problem with how she sucks? It is supposed to be very light?
    When a baby has a good latch, nursing feels like gentle tugging. So how your baby nurses may be fine, this is something for the lactation consultant to observe, when baby is reasonably hungry (is getting normal sized feedings of no more than 3 ounces total each, and has not fed in about two hours.) Because I wonder if suck may be effected by the fact baby is truly “only” comforting at the breast because she is being almost fully fed or fully fed with bottles.

    A couple nonrelated questions. Though LC thinks I may have insufficient glandular tissue this does not have to do with breast size but the makeup of the breast. I have large breasts. Unless I am holding my breast or I lay on my back while it lays over, I cover her nose. I wanted to be able to breastfeed her in the sling hands free but I cover her nose up. Thoughts? ((My plan was to put her in the sling and just let her feed away all day but it isn't working out because I have to hold my breast off her nostrils for her)). Also I've quite anemic. I was during the pregnancy and after. I've taken iron supplements for months now but the level is still low. I'm also now taking alfalfa tablets. I know this can contribute to low breast milk.
    It is my understanding that anemia can affect milk production and you should look into how you can improve that, perhaps with a nutritionist? As far as insufficient glandular tissue, that is possible even with large breasts. It can affect milk production. But does it mean you will not make any mik or enough milk? Not necessarily. Also, you and your LC might want to consider, if you do have insufficient glandular tissue, why that is? Why did your breasts not develop normally? Is there a hormone issue to consider? This gets into stuff that is way over my head, but it is important to look at mother’s history of sexual maturation and fertility as well when considering possible preexisting conditions for low milk production.
    But we still go back to this-the most obvious cause of any current low production is the oversupplementation.We still don’t know which came first. The chicken or the egg?

    As far as nursing in a sling goes, it takes the right sling/carrier for you and lots of practice. In 3 kids I have never mastered it, personally.

    Is your IBCLC aware of how much milk and formula you are feeding your baby at this point?

    You should also be aware that ethically/legally, an IBCLC is in a bind when a doctor has ordered a supplement regimen she might disagree with. Basically, no matter what she really believes, she cannot tell a mother to go against doctors orders, because she herself is not a doctor. Perhaps your IBCLC or a local breastfeeding support group can suggest a breastfeeding friendly and knowledgeable pediatrician who is willing and able to work with IBCLC’s and knows more about suggested supplementation?

    Here is where I think you should go for more info. First, the book Making More Milk. It is written for mothers. Also, the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. (8th edition.) If you have already read them both, read them again.

    You could ask your IBCLC if she is on Lactnet or some other professional message board. IBCLC's can (with moms permission) post tricky situations on Lactnet to get input from other IBCLC's.

    Have you and your IBCLC discussed using a lactation aid? Sorry if you already mentioned this. http://cwgenna.com/smartnothard.html

  9. #19

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Zayne, Yes I have complained. They said I'd receive a written response about the experience within the month. Yes, that is correct. After I left the hospital I still trusted myself and was definitely breastfeeding more than using formula. Once my milk was in I thought everything was fine until the 2 week appointment when the doctor became concerned about her weight. She was born weighing 7 lb 12 oz. She had dropped down to 7 lb 6 oz in the hospital. Two weeks later she still weighed 7 lb 6 oz. I think it was five days later when I brought her back she was up to 7 lb 12 oz. She was weighed naked and on the same scale. Her wet diapers were fine. They were light pees-definitely not soaking diapers. She did not have a bowel movement for several days. At that point I was feeding her at the breast every hour and a half, most generally. I was only giving an oz of formula initially if she seemed to still be hungry. Sometimes 2 oz if she seemed hungry and I didn't feel like anything was coming out. Really, yes, the weight gain was nonexistent I guess. I most definitely was confident that first night, yes. I would have never put her on formula, no, if they hadn't scared me. Yes, she was fussy the first couple of days but only when separated from me. They say it was because she wasn't getting enough to eat. I think it was just being in the bassinet. She wasn't crying when I held her. She's still the same way. She won't sleep in her bassinette but sleeps wonderfully in her cosleeper. If no one had mentioned a problem, I would never have suspected one. I doubt her sucking strength because 1) it does seem like early on there would be some slight discomfort at first and now there is none at all 2)that the production went down so much when I stopped pumping, and 3)when I pump after she has eaten for long periods at the breast I am still able to pump just about the same amount as I would if she hadn't eaten at all. So it is 11:40 tonight. I only gave her 8 oz of formula total for the day . Yesterday she had all formula or pretty much all. I was pumping such a tiny amount I couldn't give her any of that. I did put her at the breast but I couldn't even get hardly any hand expressed out so I don't know that she really was getting any. It is much better today. I've only pumped a couple of times though because put her at the breast a lot. Still in those 2 pumping sessions I went up to 2 oz total for the day-better than I think 10ML for the entire day yesterday.



    It's really hard to say if there's a latch issue based on what you've posted. On the one hand, a very soft-feeling, lazy latch could indicate a milk transfer problem that is contributing to low supply. But on the other, the large formula supplements could be causing baby to be lazy at the breast. That, I think, is why LLLMeg suggested seeing a LC and doing several before and after nursing weight checks. In general, a latch that doesn't cause pain is a latch that can get milk out. But the weight checks would be a more definitive statement on your baby's milk transfer ability.

    Mommal, I think it was thought I might have this because with both pregnancies my breasts did not ever get tender or a bit bigger. I never had any breast changes and no colostrum leakage. I do not experience a "let down" and never have. I have pretty much no clue what it feels like for ones milk to come in. I think that is a big reason why they thought that. I hope it isn't because while a possibility and I'm taking the Metformin to "grow?" gland tissue, I'd love to get to a large amount of breastmilk more easily.

    lllmeg-Yes she was only 2 weeks old. WHY do nurses and doctors seem hellbent on discouraging breastfeeding? Why would she set me on such a wrong path? I will try that (offering 1/2 oz). I need to break both of our poor habits now. The two ounces is a combination of the breast and formula or just breast. What I was doing was feeding the baby breast only unless she became really upset. MOST of the time at that point I was giving only about 1 oz total (per pump output)so I'd give another oz in formula but never more than one oz. Baby girl seemed fine and wasn't a fussy baby at all so I really thought she'd be just fine and the pediatrician would say, "Okay her weight is up now. All is fine. I give you permission to wean off the formula"...but it so did not go that way. Instead I was told I had to force the baby to drink because she was becoming very concerned. No, I am DEFINITELY not done. I keep thinking I will discover something. I will cut back on formula but I'm also going to keep trying different herbs, supplements, techniques, until something works. I would say it feels like gentle tugging. It used to be that the first suck was a little uncomfortable. It isn't that way anymore. It is just gentle tugging the entire time. LC outside of the hospital hasn't observed her REALLY hungry. Last time I had already been feeding her for a while by the time she observed. Interesting about the reasons for IGT. I do know there is a family history of trouble with breastfeeding. My grandmother was basically a midwife (not certified like today but she delivered everyones babies in the area. She was very knowledgeable about anything baby related). She had nine children. She tried to breastfeed all nine. For those days she was ahead of her time and really tried hard to breastfeed, as I understand it. My mother had three children. I was the only one she was able to successfully breastfeed. She said that the way her milk came in and her breasts felt was dramatically different than from her other two times. My sisters tried to breastfeed their children (mother to 5 and mother to 3). The only success was my sister was able to breastfeed one of my nieces for six months but she said that my niece was always very underweight so she had to supplement as well.

    I haven't seen my lactation consultant for about a month. She did know. She is the one who had my OB perform all the hormone tests and convince him to prescribe Metformin for me. I will ask her these questions when I see her next for sure and look at the books.

    I haven't used a lactation aid. We discussed it my last visit but apparently they aren't covered by insurance if it isn't a NICU baby and it seemed rather expensive. My LC said that they are a great pain to clean and can be pretty messy and that many women don't stick with it because of that. I was going to push for it but since I put her to the breast everytime I formula feed for 10 minutes each side I didn't know if it would be that useful and because she is having no nipple confusion.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding Made Supply Go Down

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*theowreys View Post
    Mommal, I think it was thought I might have this because with both pregnancies my breasts did not ever get tender or a bit bigger. I never had any breast changes and no colostrum leakage. I do not experience a "let down" and never have. I have pretty much no clue what it feels like for ones milk to come in. I think that is a big reason why they thought that. I hope it isn't because while a possibility and I'm taking the Metformin to "grow?" gland tissue, I'd love to get to a large amount of breastmilk more easily.
    One of the many reasons it's tough to diagnose IGT is that all the things you mention could be normal. There are moms who experience little or no breast change, never leak, never feel letdowns, never really "feel" their milk come in, and yet have no trouble nursing. All those things together? Suspicious. But not necessarily definitive. I'm not saying you can't have IGT! I just don't want you to feel doomed to low supply because of these suspicious-but-not-definitive issues.

    IDK if Metformin works to grow breast tissue. I thought it was used to treat diabetes or pre-diabetes?
    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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