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Thread: no/low supply

  1. #11
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    May 2006
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    20,603

    Default Re: no/low supply

    The amazing thing about beating your head against the wall is that sometimes, against all odds, your head manages to break through the wall. I know this must be incredibly frustrating and discouraging for you, but you just don't know what is possible unless you keep on trying. It may be that you're not going to get an increase in supply. But 4 weeks is still early days and it's impossible to say what might happen if you keep at it a little longer. We can't make any promises. But we can say that the 10 ml you are producing is an amazing gift that you are giving to your child and we are all so proud of and amazed by the work you have done to make it happen.

    One thing that could be in the mix here is that you had so much bleeding associated with your baby's birth. I have read that when there's a large volume of blood loss, it can prevent the body from circulating hormonal messages simply because there is so much less blood available to carry those hormones. Maybe give yourself time to make some new blood and get that going before you call it a day with the pump?
    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!"

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,207

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    But we can say that the 10 ml you are producing is an amazing gift that you are giving to your child and we are all so proud of and amazed by the work you have done to make it happen.
    You've been through SO much, I think it's great that you've been doing this. I know it must be very frustrating not to see more milk after how hard you've worked. It does take a long time to build supply though, even for mothers whose starting supply is more than yours is. I think you have to ask yourself, when you look back on this time, are you at the point now where you feel like you have given it your best shot? As mommal says, no one can predict for certain where your milk supply will end up if you continue pumping, but for sure if you stop now, then your milk supply won't increase. But if you keep going, there's a chance it will.

    I haven't been in your situation with regards to milk supply, but in general when I'm frustrated and fed up with my progress in something, I tell myself, okay, I'm going to give it x amount of time - maybe a few more months, or a year, or whatever. Giving myself a target lets me relax about what's going on right now, and by the time I get to that point I've usually gotten over whatever it is that was frustrating me and I can keep going.

  3. #13
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    May 2014
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    28

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*beelzebubble View Post
    just an update. i'm not seeing any increase in supply. i'm still only getting trickles most of the time-often not even enough to make it into the bottle. i think the total daily amount that i can pump from both breasts combined is less than 10 ml's. i'm not even in the same category as most of these other low supply mothers. it's so frustrating. i'm trying everything i can think of and getting nothing. i don't want to give up, but man...this is depressing, along with everything else. i'm spending so much time trying to address it and getting absolutely nowhere. i'm really just beating my head against a wall here aren't i? does anyone know of anyone who had as horrible a supply as mine at 4 weeks that went on to produce any milk? i don't want to waste hours of my life every day if there's no chance.
    Hang in there mama. I had an extremely low supply in the beginning, I was literally producing drops. Just keep pumping every two hours and don't look at the output, distract yourself with something else. Keep pumping for 5 minutes after the last drop and use breast compressions.

    If you are getting ready to run a marathon you have to dedicate a good chunk of your life to training your body to run. Think of the pumping as training your body for the breastfeeding marathon ahead. Our bodies don't show results overnight. It took me a whole month to get to the point where I was able to give my LO breast milk at every feed in addition to formula. Slowly but surely I replaced the formula with more breast milk.

    Don't give up now!! Good luck!!

  4. #14
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    May 2014
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    12

    Default Re: no/low supply

    So, as of right now, I'm taking a new approach to all of this. I was really having a hard time with not producing milk. It just seemed like another in a long line of things that were emotionally painful or difficult: being on bedrest in the hospital for 3 weeks, the early end of my cherished pregnancy, being unable to take my baby home, having her be a preemie with all of the associated dangers, dealing with a complicated healing process (packing wounds, vacuums, drainage, massive bruising), continuing to be in danger and feel unwell because of the preeclampsia, etc... I was finding myself heading down this spiral of anger at my body and the universe. I had to stop following that path. At this point, I'm breaking the whole thing down and trying to look at it in a different way...

    I no longer want to focus on whether or not I'm producing milk, yet I'd still like to try to move forward with it. So, I'm focusing on trying to figure out why I can't produce. I've contacted my endocrinologist to have him make sure my hormones are in the right range. If my thyroid or sex hormones are off, those can be fixed. If my prolactin is deficient, there's my answer and nothing can be done. If this isn't the problem, I will ask my OB to allow me to have an ultrasound of my breasts. I'd like to see if I have IGT. I am also stepping up my consumption of water, iron, healthy fats, proteins and greens. I am shifting the focus to my overall health.

    Another way I'm shifting focus is by looking at the problem from a different angle. One of the reasons that I am so focused on this is because my wee one is very premature. Breast milk is the best for her. So, if I can't provide it for her, I need to find someone who will. I am now searching for donors and have so far found a few healthy women who want to help. If I can't produce breast milk for her, I'll get it for her some other way.

    I am also going to try to use a supplemental feeder. I would like the connection with her and maybe she'll get a tiny bit of milk from me and also provide stimulation. If I can't have the kind of breast feeding relationship I want, I need to find a way to have something as a substitute.

    At this point, I'm approaching each pumping session as an entirely voluntary affair. I might decide to just stop at any time. I can't keep myself in this prison of rigidity in relation to pumping and milk production. It was driving me crazy. So far I've decided to continue. I can't really see myself stopping at this point. Not until after I am able to try having her at the breast all day for a significant period of time, but this gives me the ability to walk away if it gets to be too much. I know I don't have to do it. I'm doing it because I want to. This actually makes a bit of a difference.

    I'm still having a rough time dealing with it, but it seems a little more bearable with this shift in focus.

    I figured I'd post this because I'm sure there are others who are struggling with the emotional ramifications of lactation failure. Maybe this will help them.

    Also, found out today that fenugreek is a no no for me. You should not take it if you have thyroid problems. It can affect your levels.

  5. #15
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: no/low supply

    Mama, I think you are taking just the right approach! And while I know it is very hard to forgive your body for seemingly letting you down, please try to remember that you are more than just a body, both as a person and as a mom. You're still you- wonderful, motherly you!- even if nursing falls through.
    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!"

  6. #16
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: no/low supply

    with mommal that this sounds like just the right approach! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experience.

  7. #17
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    May 2014
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    12

    Default Re: no/low supply

    Here's another update. I just got the blood tests back from my endo. Thyroid is good, iron is on the low side of normal, everything looks good, except... My prolactin is within range (smack in the middle of the range), but only for a non-breastfeeding woman. It looks like that might be my problem. I haven't spoken with the endo yet, but I find this encouraging. I'm only guessing, but it would seem to me that if my pituitary had lost the ability to produce prolactin, my levels would be lower. It could be...and like I said, I'm only guessing...that this is purely a preemie/not ready to breastfeed problem. Now, if I could only figure out how to get my body to produce more prolactin...

  8. #18
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    May 2014
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    Default Re: no/low supply

    I spoke with my endo. He basically said what I described above. I was concerned that my pituitary hormone deficiencies had progressed to include prolactin (currently includes tsh, fsh, lh and consequently estrogen and testosterone), but he does not believe that's the case. He believes that my body never registered that I was breastfeeding because I was only able to pump and that my prolactin just went back to baseline. He suggested that I meet with a midwife who specializes in lactation. Is there such a thing? If there is, how would I find one?

    I'm actually feeling a little bit hopeful. Maybe that's stupid, we'll see...

  9. #19
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    Default Re: no/low supply

    Not sure I understand your endo's thinking. Considering the amount and intensity of pumping you've been doing, I would think that your body would be pretty aware of the fact that it's supposed to be producing some amount of milk. The fact that your prolactin is just baseline at this point would- IMO- point to there being some additional puzzle piece, something which is inhibiting your prolactin levels from being up where they should be. Since you have hypopituitarism, that seems the most obvious suspect. And a very quick google does suggest that difficulty with milk production is an effect of the condition. IDK, that's just a guess!

    I think your endo wants you to see a lactation consultant- some of whom are midwives or nurses. IBCLCs are generally the top of the lactation consultant heap.
    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. #20
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    12

    Default Re: no/low supply

    He said that usually with hypopituitarism, if prolactin is affected, the levels are undetectable. He said that based on these results, he'd guess that her premature birth was the culprit. He said that studies show that some mother's of preemies that have trouble producing, do so because their prolactin drops after birth. Usually this is because the baby can't nurse. (I found one study looking at using domperidone under these circumstances, which showed a baseline of 12.9 ng/dl for the mothers of preemies who couldn't nurse vs a baseline of 119 for mothers who could. My prolactin was at 13.)

    He suggested domperidone or reglan but was not willing to prescribe because it's out of his area of expertise. He thought I would need more help than just the drug to stimulate production.

    I've mostly come to terms with not being able to breastfeed. I think the window has passed on that. But, I'm not giving up yet. If he's right, this is encouraging.

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