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Thread: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

  1. #1

    Default Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Hi All,

    New to this forum. Looking for commiseration or advice or whatever.

    Little background: I had my fourth babe in 5 years almost 3 weeks ago. When my first was born, I just assumed breastfeeding would come naturally. I had textbook pregnancies and deliveries so imagine my surprise when breastfeeding did NOT come naturally at all.

    At first I thought it was something I had done wrong since it was my first baby but when the next three (including current LO) reacted all the same way to breastfeeding, I began to wonder if it was something else.

    First, it seems that I do not have a letdown reflex in my right breast. All my babies have refused to nurse from that side - they latch fine but after a few minutes or so of frustrated suckling (with apparently nothing much coming out) they come off and fuss. The last consultant I saw watched LO nurse for an hour and then finally agreed that there is something wrong with that breast. Not that it means much, but I cannot pump off of that side at all - MAYBE a few drops if I am lucky.

    So now I am down to one breast to nurse off of which I have read can be done but it seems as though on top of the issues with the right breast, I may have low supply (which I have also read is very rare) as well.

    I think the biggest problem now is I have 3 other pre-schooled aged children that I have to be mommy to all day and an infant who should be at the breast every hour to build up my supply. I JUST CAN'T DO IT. Plus, she comes off the one breast unsatisfied every time which is incredibly disheartening. Pumping has never been my friend and I know you are not supposed to gauge supply by the pump but it must say something that every time after she nurses, I cannot pump even a drop off the "good" breast and she is still hungry. That indicates to me that she has drained everything she can (and is still hungry) but every article I read makes me feel that I am doing something wrong and that it cannot really be low supply.

    Baby's latch is good (saw an LC last week that confirmed this). I do have letdown off of the one side. I have taken fenugreek, blessed thistle, domperidone and I drink TONS of water all day long. I nurse every time she seems hungry but I also have had to start supplementing with formula (am now trying the bottle then breast method).

    What gives?!!

    I've read other accounts of women basically just staying in bed all day to breastfeed but I simply cannot do this. I kind of feel that if I can't give it everything, then it's probably pointless to try at all. The thing is, I wouldn't mind nursing on demand if she was even just a little satisfied after a feed but it's pretty disheartening to be nursing every 45 minutes and still have a fussy, hungry infant in between.

    I'm not quite ready to give up b/c I DO have a letdown when she nurses so I can't help but feel that if I could just get my supply up; then I could possibly breastfeed exclusively eventually.

    Oh, and we are moving in a few months to a developing country; I DO NOT want to use the water to mix formula which is why this time it's so much more important to me to be successful at breastfeeding.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Welcome! I'm really sorry that you are struggling. I have a few questions for you. What is your baby's diaper output? Is she receiving anything other than breastmilk? When you saw the LC was it a board certified lactation consultant? Sadly, a lot of people tout themselves as breastfeeding professionals, but they do not always have the credentials that you may need to help you get through this. Did she make any suggestions on trouble shooting this?

    When you say that baby is unsatisfied and unhappy, what does that look like? Babies will want to nurse a lot to up your supply. I do have friends that nursed 45 minutes out of every hour of the day for the first couple months. Exhausting right? But not abnormal.

    I would encourage you to find a way to really take that time with baby to up your supply and establish the nursing relationship. Do you have any support from family or friends with your other kids? My son watched a ton of TV when my second child was born. We all sat on the couch and snuggled and watch blues clues non stop. It was survival.

    Hang in there, you can do this.
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum. Sorry you have been having a difficult time of it!

    How much are you supplementing right now? What led you to start supplementing? Was it baby being fussy, or was there any problem with weight gain or diaper output? Fussiness isn't a reliable indicator of supply - baby may be fussy for other reasons. Pump output is also not a reliable indicator of supply. Weight gain and diaper output are what count. Were there any problems with weight gain or diapers before starting to supplement?

    With regards to the idea that if you can't give it everything, it's pointless to continue - well, I don't think that's true. Some breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding, you know? And it sounds like you would like to get to the point of exclusively breastfeeding. As you point out, there are the rare mothers out there who simply do not have adequate supply. But usually it's a breastfeeding management issue. If latch is good, that is already a great start. But it sounds like for you, the biggest issue is the time it takes to breastfeed. Because it does take time and it's not easy to manage three additional kids under five! So I wholeheartedly agree with danlynclark about seeing whether you can rustle up some more help, at least for these early weeks when you are trying to get breastfeeding established. Also agree with the idea that breastfeeding does not mean you can't be doing other things at the same time. Especially newborns who are not distractible - nothing to prevent you from breastfeeding and reading to the older kids, snuggling, disciplining, playing, watching TV or a movie. No, it's not easy and yes, it's exhausting and yes you should try to get help if you can. But it's also not the case that everything needs to be absolutely ideal in order for breastfeeding to work. Hang in there!

    ETA: Also think it would be helpful to make sure that right breast really isn't producing anything before giving up on it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Thanks for the replies

    I've seen a number of consultants over the years and went to a really great breastfeeding clinic with my last babe (which is too far away now that we've moved). The LC I saw this time works at the hospital and is the LC for our county so I think she was legit - she took the longest time anyway evaluating our issues. It was she who confirmed my suspicion that I have something wrong with my right breast. Both breasts become engorged the exact same but as my milk comes in, the right one will not let down regardless of how much I put Baby to it. It dries up pretty quickly.

    The first week I breastfed only and did not supplement and Baby was losing weight and had no poopy diapers at all. My other babies lost weight as well with exclusive breastfeeding.

    At first, I only had to supplement one ounce and not every feed. As Baby is getting bigger and hungrier, I've had to up that to two ounces almost every feed. In a 24 hour period, I can maybe get away without having to "top up" twice. I've been trying the bottle then breast method as I was suspecting that she was anticipating the bottle and hurrying through breastfeeding without draining the breast.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind breastfeeding every hour IF she came off and was somewhat satisfied even for 15 minutes. But she will come off and almost immediately go to her hands and do that really sad, high-pitched cry. I put her back on usually a few times but there's nothing left so she fiddles around a bit but no swallowing.

    We'll have a good BF session with an obvious letdown and obvious swallowing and I LOVE that but it usually only lasts about 6 minutes no matter how long she stays there and after that 6 minutes, she'll suck, but not swallow. Afterwards I will pump and NOTHING. I did pump once before she ate and I got almost an ounce & a half so I am guessing she maybe gets about that much when she BF's.

    I just don't get why my supply is not increasing b/c I put her on every time she wants to eat even if she doesn't get much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Have you read the book The Breastfeeding Mothers Guide to Making More Milk?

    if a mother has repeated low production issues, that suggests the possibility a pre existing condition is contributing to the production issues. Depending on what these might be, there are some 'targeted' galactagogue options, possibly. If the condition itself is treatable, then treating the condition may help production.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Breastfeeding Issues - Super Frustrated

    Thanks; I will look that book up.

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