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.