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Thread: Newborn (1 week) and low milk supply!! Help!!

  1. #1

    Default Newborn (1 week) and low milk supply!! Help!!

    Our daughter was born on 12/28. I tried to nurse with an LC within 2 hours after birth, and she did latch on a little bit, but not for very long. She was relatively alert for just being born, and was trying so hard to "get it". I tried to nurse her again a few hours later, and had the same sort of issues that appeared typical while we're both learning. She was so sleepy we couldn't get her to wake to nurse for more than a few minutes while we were in the hospital on the following 2 days. We found out it was because her bilirubin was too high, which made her very, very sleepy. I asked about pumping at the hospital to help my supply come in, but the nurses sort of ignored that and were too focused on getting her to wake up and nurse. I began to get concerned that she wasn't getting ANY nutrition with her jaundice, so we gave her formula twice before being discharged.

    We were discharged on time despite her nursing and jaundice issues (bilirubin at 10.1 at discharge), and the next day (12/31) her bilirubin skyrocketed to 17.4 and we had to get a photoelectric blanket for her at home to help with the jaundice and to reduce her bilirubin. She was on the blanket until 1/2 and I was pumping since she wouldn't wake to nurse. She was getting formula supplements through an SNS during this time so she could try to nurse a little bit at least. She wouldn't latch, so I was using a shield to aid her. Her latch with the shield is now pretty good in the cradle, football, and sideliner positions.

    On Friday, we met with our LC and nursed her and she got almost 3 ounces total in one session (yea!!) and I nursed her at home (still with the shield). The next time I nursed her, she wouldn't nurse more than 5-7 minutes on each side and was still hungry when we were done, so we supplemented with a bottle of formula. I tried pumping a few hours later to see how much I was getting, and after about 7 minutes, my milk ran out. I went from building my supply to getting not even an ounce combined in 15 minutes of pumping. Yesterday I tried drinking more water and began pumping only to see how much milk I was producing in 15 minutes. The left is between 0.8 and 1 ounce and the right is between 0.3 and 0.5 ounces. So for the last 24 hours, I've been pumping, measuring and recording each side, and then giving this to her through a bottle at the next feeding and supplementing with formula.

    I feel like I'm in an endless cycle now. My colostrum/milk supply is down, so she wants nothing to do with nursing (no incentive - I don't blame her!!) I don't know what to do to increase my supply so I can try to breastfeed normally. I am OK using the shield until we work through those issues, but right now I just want to get my supply back up so I know she's getting enough and can stop relying on pumping for every meal! I have another appointment to work with the LC on her latch this week, but my main concern now is getting my supply up so I can really start to breastfeed her normally.

    Any advice on increasing my supply? How often should I pump and for how long? Right now I'm doing ~ every 3 hours and for 15 minutes (both sides at the same time). I'm afraid the longer it takes to get my milk in and get her back to breastfeeding, the harder it will be. Taking a bottle is pretty effortless for her right now and I'm afraid it's going to be too late if we have to keep supplementing with a bottle. (The SNS system was great at first, but then the tubing stopped working properly and the pressure was building up so much that she wasn't getting any formula to come out when she was sucking. We don't know what happened there, but it stopped working properly so we quit using it!)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Newborn (1 week) and low milk supply!! Help!!

    Were you c-section? If yes, it takes longer for your milk to come in. It took me about a week or so. Pumping did help for me although it seemed like it didn't at first. The lactation nurse at the hospital told me to pump 10 min. each breast even if the milk stop coming before 10 min. is over. Frequency is about every 3 hrs. as well. It's a way to let your body know to make more milk. There's also this tea called Mother's Milk Tea or Nursing Support Tea that helps: http://www.amazon.com/Yogi-Womans-Nu.../dp/B0009F3SFA
    I only had to drink that for the first month and milk production is all good now without it. Be patient, keep up the pumping and keep trying to nurse her.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Newborn (1 week) and low milk supply!! Help!!

    It doesn't sound to me like you have low supply. Your baby is only 9 days old. Her stomach is the size of a grape. 1 oz would fill a grape and then some.

    If she's nursing frequently, your supply will increase as she's able to take in more. However this is why babies nurse frequently. They can only take in small amounts. They quickly digest and absorb breast milk (faster than formula) in order to make space for more!

    Your baby is MUCH more efficient at drawing milk from you than a pump. Your body will also respond better to a baby nursing than a pump. Which is why you'll frequently read that a pump is NOT an accurate evaluation of how much milk you're making.

    Personally, I would just nurse, nurse, nurse. No more pumping, no more formula. Your body needs the stimulation of your baby nursing in order to learn to produce more. Your baby needs your milk (which is better at correcting jaundice than formula). Every time you give her a bottle, you're robbing your baby from getting your superior milk and you're robbing your body of the opportunity to respond to your babies needs and increase your supply.

    Put the pump and the bottles away. For 48 hours, simply nurse, nurse, nurse. Respond to every waking with offering the breast. If she hasn't nursed within 2 hours, 3 hours maximum, offer the breast. Set her up on a nursing pillow or in a wrap so that she can just camp out and nurse. Many babies will "dream nurse". If the breast is there, they'll nurse in their sleep. If in doubt, offer the breast. If she's on the breast, don't pull her off. Allow her to "fall off" the breast on her own. Your body will get the extra stimulation to produce more and she'll have more ample opportunities to nurse.

    I'm sure that at the end of the 48 hours, you'll both feel much better. Trust your body to supply for your baby. You can do this!

    Edit to add: Keep in mind that your breast is constantly producing milk. It is never truly "empty" like a bottle. Sure, if she hasn't nursed in a while, you'll begin to feel full. However as long as she's on the breast, she'll get something.
    Last edited by @llli*amysmom; January 5th, 2014 at 02:50 PM.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Newborn (1 week) and low milk supply!! Help!!

    I agree with amysmom. Have you discussed this new course you are taking with your IBCLC? If your baby was able to transfer 3 ounces at one nursing session, which is nothing short of excellent transfer at this age, why didn't supplements stop at that point? (Was that transfer with or without supplements in the sns?)

    On Friday, we met with our LC and nursed her and she got almost 3 ounces total in one session (yea!!) and I nursed her at home (still with the shield). The next time I nursed her, she wouldn't nurse more than 5-7 minutes on each side and was still hungry when we were done,
    But it is entirely normal for a baby to nurse a short time and want to nurse again right away. Assuming the jaundice is clearing up, baby is normally going to become much more wakeful and basically want to nurse all the time, at least 10-15 times each 24 hours. This is normal.

    If baby needs an incentive to nurse, you can give her one, by dribbling a bit of expressed milk on your nipple when latching, or trying to hand express a drop prior to latching. I used to use a special curved tip syringe to place a little milk under the shield when I needed a shield with my oldest & needed to get him interested. It was kind of messy but worked.

    If you cannot get baby to nurse at all, or nursing is very painful for you, then I suggest see your IBCLC again if that is at all possible, and make sure she helps you get baby to latch and nurse and discuss normal nursing frequency, how to tell baby is getting enough, etc.

    If baby cannot nurse at all, or nurses very poorly, then pumping a minimum of 8 times a day is the suggested target, 10 times is better. Each time you can pump for as long as it feels comfortable/you are able, but I would not suggest longer than 30 minutes or less then 10. Frequency of pumping is more important than duration. And you want a hosp. grade rented (multi-user) pump if possible. And it has to fit you properly. (the flanges.)

    Also some mothers do need to pump 'extra' when using nipple shields- Did your IBCLC go over this with you? This is because over time-weeks-milk production might be impacted.

    If you made plenty of milk for baby on Friday, as that weight check suggests, there is no way you suddenly do not make enough on Saturday, unless maybe you had a depo shot or something. Milk production simply does not work that way.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 5th, 2014 at 03:27 PM.

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