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Thread: struggling

  1. #1

    Unhappy struggling

    Hello ladies,

    I'm new to the board and in need of some guidance. Here's a little history so you know where I'm at. I just gave birth to my second child, a little girl, on July 3rd this year. I did start off formula feeding with Similac Organic, (please don't judge me I had my reasons), but upon seeing my daughter get constipated a few days after birth I felt compelled to give breastfeeding a try for her. I have a son who is a few weeks shy of turning 2 years old, I formula fed him exclusively. I was a formula fed baby, my mom has issue with breastfeeding, I think in part because she was looked down upon for formula feeding, and in part for some very private reasons. I don't judge her for this and I hope nobody else will either. My mom is a wonderful mom and her choices are her own. However, her uncomfortable stance on breastfeeding made formula feeding seem like the obvious choice for me once I had children. I had my son while living in another country away from my family and his birth was traumatic. I was in the hospital for a week with him as he had an infection at birth and a few days after he was born I had an enormous drive to try and breastfeed him. I called my husband at the time (now ex-husband) in tears from the hospital one night and asked him if I was doing the right thing formula feeding our son and should I maybe give breastfeeding a try, he told me not to do it and to continue with the formula. I was so stressed and worried I just took his advice and let my milk dry up. My son is a beautiful healthy boy and is thriving, I thought I would take the same feeding path with my daughter when she was born.

    My daughter was born healthy a few weeks ago but she was a bit small, and as newborns do, she lost a little weight a few days after birth. I didn't get any lactation guidance in the hospital because I decided to formula feed. Once I got home and noticed she was becoming constipated I had a change of heart. I have a new partner now (my daughter's father) and he was incredibly encouraging and supportive of me giving breast feeding a try. I worried it was too late (5 days pp) but I started massaging my breasts in the warm shower to try and encourage the milk to keep leaking. I bought a small manual pump and started trying to express the next day, and I was able to get a tiny bit out of each breast (about 1/4 ounce in total between both breasts). I've been trying to pump 3-4 times a day (I can't seem to get any more chance than this between looking after both kids) and I'm only getting just over 1/2 ounce max between both breasts. I've tried hot compresses and massage, I even bought Mother's Milk tea to drink but I just can't produce even an ounce. I would think my milk would be in by now and there would be more but I can't seem to get any more out, it's so frustrating and disheartening. I keep thinking if my daughter had to rely on me to nourish her she would starve to death and that makes me feel so sad. Still I'm not giving up and while I have to give her formula to sustain her, I'm adding whatever breastmilk I can to her bottles. Right now she takes around 3oz every 2-3 hours, so the measly 1/2 ounce I pump is just not cutting it, but at least her constipation is not as bad. I have tried to put her directly onto my breast but since not a lot of milk comes out she gets bored very quickly and stops trying, we both end up very frustrated and desperate so I go right back to the bottle. I had surgery on my breasts 15 years ago and I'm starting to think I am one of those women with a genuinely low supply. I'm just wondering if the little bit I can produce is worth it? Is she still getting any benefit from the pitiful amount I can produce? Is there any way for me to increase my supply? This is supposed to be such a natural thing and a feel like less of a woman for not being able to do it. I'm trying so hard, watching every tutorial I can find online, literally bruising myself trying to get as much out as possible, but I can't even make an ounce, I feel like a failure. Please, if anyone can offer any helpful advice I would greatly appreciate it, I want to do what's best for my baby and I'm struggling. Please don't judge my past decisions and please don't judge my mom, who I might add is actually supportive of my expressing. I just need help, I feel like every time I pump it's getting less and less and pretty soon there's going to be none less. Thank you for your time reading this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,865

    Default Re: struggling

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! It's awesome that you want to give nursing a try, and it's definitely not too late for success. Even if you continue to produce a very small amount of milk, it's totally worth it. Producing milk is good for you, and consuming even a tiny bit of breastmilk is good for the baby.

    Since your baby is reluctant to stay latched on, check out this link on getting a baby back to the breast: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/. The skin-to-skin and instant reward techniques are said to be especially helpful.

    The key to making milk is frequent stimulation (using baby or pump) and complete emptying of the breast. The more often and more completely you drain your breasts, the more milk you'll make. When the baby is reluctant or unable to nurse, the best way to do this is to get a great pump (think good double electric or, preferably, a hospital-grade rental) and use it frequently. A typical newborn nurses about 10-12 times a day, so ideally you'd pump at least that many times. But I know that finding that much time can be really challenging, so don't feel like pumping isn't worth it if you can't pump 12 times a day. Do what you can, and see where you get!

    What sort of surgery did you have? A full description might help us advise you whether or not you're likely to be able to nurse without supplementing.
    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: struggling

    Thank you so much for your kind reply. I had breast implants 15 years ago, placed under the muscle, I was told it would not effect me breastfeeding later in life. I have read however that any surgery on the breast can have some effect on milk production, I'm wondering if it has something to do with it. I've tried hand expressing in the shower but I'm not having too much luck with that and I've hurt myself a couple times. I'm not going to give up though, if any little bit will help her I'm going to keep going, I just wish I could do more for her, I'm willing just don't seem to be able. I wondered if maybe the pump wasn't good enough, I'd be willing to invest in a better one if I thought maybe it would help, right now I'm using a Lansinoh Comfort Express manual pump. Sometimes when I first start pumping a do get a little spray come out which gets my hopes up, but then it quickly dwindles. I have the best luck if I pump for a few minutes on each breast and move frequently back and forth, but still only a grand total of around 1/2 an ounce. Thank you so uch for your help and support, I will check out that link & I'm going to keep trying.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,865

    Default Re: struggling

    Okay, breast implants under the muscle, 15 years ago- that is unlikely to cause a significant issue with nursing. It's the surgeries that reduce breast tissue and sever or partially sever the nipple that tend to cause the worst problems. So that's good news!

    Those little manual pumps are literally the bottom of the barrel when it comes to extracting milk. They're good for a mom with an established supply, who responds well to pumping and who doesn't need to pump that much- maybe an occasional bottle for a sitter or something. They're not designed for a mom who is relying on them to bring her milk in. I would love to see you use a hospital-grade rental, if that's in your budget. They are generally relatively inexpensive to rent- mine was around $3/day, which is less than my husband will sometimes drop on a latte from Starbucks! But I know that's not in everyone's budget. If a hospital-grade pump isn't in yours, a really good double electric is what you want. Think Medela Pump in Style or Hygeia Enjoye. These will run you around $250-300, but as you know that is way cheaper than a year's supply of formula!

    Keep putting the baby to your breast as often as you can. The more she nurses, and the more she associates the breast with comfort and satiation, the more likely it is that you'll be able to phase out the bottles. One thing to try is to offer a small supplement via bottle- say a single oz- and then latch her on when her hunger is no longer raging, but also not completely assuaged. You could also try latching her onto the breast at the conclusion of every bottle, so that she will get the picture that the breast delivers comfort and happy feelings, whereas the bottle is just a food delivery tool.
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,334

    Default Re: struggling

    Hi ms.wlt, congratulations on your new baby!

    I agree with mommals suggestions.

    Please know that a little bit of milk WILL help. Studies are very clear that some breastmilk is better than NONE.

    But it is very premature to write off your ability to make enough milk for your baby. Results are not going to be immediate. For the first several days, because you were formula feeding, I assume you did not put baby to the breast or pump at all? Biologically speaking, that 'told' your body there was no baby and to stop making milk, even before milk making really got started. In order to make more milk for baby now, you want to convince your body that yes, there IS a hungry, growing baby, and milk must be made. You do that by extracting milk FREQUENTLY-either baby nursing or pump. Extracting milk 8-10 times a day would be great, but do what you can.

    Re: Surgery - When mothers have low milk production issues after breast augmentation, the issue usually has to do, not with the surgery itself, but WHY the mom wanted surgery in the first place. Some women do have hormonal issues –often lifelong, or manifesting in puberty, that cause the breasts to not develop properly. (This is not about breast size, some small breasted women have plenty of breast tissue and some large breasted women do not.) Women with these types of hormonal and/or breast development issues are at a higher risk of low production, but even many of them ARE able to make enough or at least some milk for thier babies with appropriate interventions.

    Besides mommals suggestions about a better pump, I would suggest, Consider seeing an IBCLC so she can take a full history and see if you possibly DO have an underlying condition harming milk production, so you can pinpoint approaching any such issues as needed. (Some areas have low cost or even free lactation assistance-contact local LLL they may know what is available in your area.)

    Our bodies are made to make milk, just as they are made to get conceive a baby, grow a baby inside us, and give birth. Women do not just "not make enough milk"- when there is low production, there is a reason, and in many cases, low production can be improved or even totally reversed.

    I strongly suggest the book Making More Milk. This would be the cheapest way to get very well informed about the causes of low production and increasing milk production.

  6. #6

    Default Re: struggling

    Thank you so much for all the helpful advice! I'm going to go out today and buy the Medela Pump In Style, hopefully that will be the start of helping to get more milk out. I've also talked to my mom and my partner and asked if they could help support me so I can get more opportunities in the day to pump, they both agreed to help. I didn't really have any budget for a new pump but I explained my frustration and sadness to my parents over not being able to provide for my little girl and they're going to buy it to help us out, I'm feeling so happy at this unexpected support from they, not just from the financial angle but it feels nice that they support me doing this. I'm going to get in touch and see if someone can help me figure out how to produce more, and I'm absolutely not going to give up. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to help me, I appreciate it so much.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,334

    Default Re: struggling

    wow how great of your parents. It really is all about support. Please let us know if there is any way we can help further.

  8. #8

    Default Re: struggling

    Just an update: I'm still struggling but I'm still trying anyway. Every session on the pump I get no more than a teaspoon full of milk, it even seems like it's getting less and less. My LO wants nothing to do with my breast and will suck for a couple of seconds then spit it out. I don't blame her, there's probably no reward in it for her, 3 drops of milk is hardly worth her trying for. I'm going to keep going until it dries up though, looks like that won't be long but at least I can say I tried my hardest for her. I never knew breastfeeding was so hard, I have a lot of respect for those who can do it and wish I was one of them. I feel so angry at my body for failing my child, but all I can do is keep trying. I just wanted to thank everyone again for trying to help me, your kindness has been so very appreciated through this total frustration.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,865

    Default Re: struggling

    I'm so sorry your investment of hard work hasn't had a a big payoff in terms of milk production. That's so frustrating!

    Keep on going, mama. You never know...

    Have you seen an IBCLC? It's possible that hands-on help from a professional could help you spot the right point of attack.
    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!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    17,425

    Default Re: struggling

    How old is your baby now? How many times a day are you pumping? Are you taking any aids to make milk?

    Way too lazy for formula

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