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Thread: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Unhappy Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help!

    My son was born a few weeks early due to me having pre-e. He had a high level of magnesium in his system when born from me, and he had some eating issues early on. While in the NICU I began breastfeeding when he was about 1 1/2 weeks. I was running just shy of what he needed for his feeds so they started me supplimenting similac sensitive formula and he was released to go home.

    Upon coming home I was producing about half of what he needed. I was pumping about 20 ml when he didn't breast feed.

    about a week and a half ago I researched what I could do to increase my supply so i may get him on just breast milk. So i started trying supplements-fenugreek, blessed thistle. I also added mother's milk tea and the lactation cookies. Not only did my supply not go up it steadily decreased. I am now lucky to get a total of 5 ml if I pump, and my son is clearly not satisfied after feeding and cries until I have to give him a bottle. I am pumping every 2 hours to no avail. He is starting to resist latching as well.

    I don't know what to do. I tried everything I could find online. I really don't want to have to resort to prescription meds. HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    If your milk production is decreasing despite frequent nursing and pumping, that could mean there is an issue with your pump. Other ways milk production is harmed is if baby is being over- supplemented or supplemented the appropriate amount but without adequate milk removal via pumping or hand expression, baby has a poor latch, there is some medical issue such as retained placenta, use of hormonal birth control, some pre-existing condition that causes low milk production. So when there are these issues it can be helpful to try to pinpoint what may be your specific problem. Herbal supplements are going to work for some mothers but are not going to work well for others it depends on why there is the issue and also they just don't work in some cases. But that does not mean there is not something you can do. If it is possible to see a board certified lactation consultant I would suggest that but we may be able to offer you more suggestions if you can give us a little more information.
    At this point,
    How old is baby?
    How is weight gain?
    How many times each day does baby nurse?
    How many times each day is baby given supplements?
    How much is baby supplemented each time?
    Have bottles been given via paced bottlefeeding positioning and technique?
    How many times each day to you pump and how much do you get each time approximately?
    What kind of pump is it and what is its condition?
    Is it comfortable to pump?
    Is it comfortable to breast-feed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    The baby is 1 month old.

    When I was still getting milk and able to get him to latch he gained 11 oz in one week(the previous weeks he was in the nicu).

    Before the low milk half of his required oz were from breast milk, half formula. Now he'll nurse for maybe 5-10 minutes for 2 of his feedings, the rest he latches and lets go and won't latch back on. he is getting 2 1/2 oz of formula at each feeding.

    I'm not sure what bottlefeeding positioning and technique are, but I'm using the special nipples that mimic breastfeeding by medela.

    I'm pumping every 2 hours, barely getting anything now, not even 5 ml combined. I was getting 20-30 before.

    It's a new medela pump-the smaller portable one. It seems to be working just the same as it was last week.

    it's comfortable to pump, and comfortable to breast feed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    This link talks about bottle feeding the breastfed baby. It also has a section for supplementing at the breast using a feeding tube taped to the nipple. If baby is showing signs of bottle preference, then I would definitely look into this. That way baby gets all his feeds at the breast, giving you the stimulation you need to maintain supply and minimizing the impact of nipple confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    Okay I must be missing something because I do not understand if your baby was able to gain 11 ounces in a week which is much faster than normal weight gain why you had to start supplementing?
    If this is how fast baby is gaining while being supplemented, then I would suggest it indicates baby maybe over supplemented.
    Normal waking from about two weeks on is about 6 ounces a week or more.
    2 1/2 ounces would feel like a complete feeding or very close to it to most breast-fed one-month-olds Consequently if baby is been supplemented that much every time and they are being fed with normal frequency they're not going to be very interested in breast-feeding. Because they are not hungry.
    The if you want to feed the baby with a bottle you want to look up paced bottlefeeding there is a YouTube video also if you go on our website to that tearsheet toolkit there is a written explanation of how to bottlefeed the breast-fed baby.

    There are many portable Medela pump. Do you mean the pump in style or pump in style advanced which is a double-sided electric pump? In a situation where a baby is being supplemented and mom is trying to build milk production the pump that is recommended is a hospital grade rental pump. This would be the Medela lactina or symphony or other there are other brands.

    If this is the only pump you have a suggest you get the pump troubleshoot -change the membranes checked the connections you can even have the motor tested. It seems to me that something is wrong I don't understand why your milk production would plummet for no reason.
    But I don't have all the answers to my questions yet so it's hard to say. I don't understand if you are nursing your baby at all and how often. If your baby is nursing frequently your pump output is probably not going to be very much. Also you cannot use pump output as the only gauge for milk production. Because it's not very accurate. Pump output does not necessarily equal milk production in other words. It shows you the minimum but possibly not the maximum possible. And of course is baby is nursing as well then what you pump is what baby has not taken when they nursed.
    Hope that makes sense I probably won't be able to respond again for a while but there are lots of other moms here with good suggestions.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 11th, 2014 at 08:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    The baby gained the 11 oz, being mostly breast fed, but eventually i didn't produce enough to keep up with his needs. I was told to feed him on demand by the nicu doctors. So as his needs increased I had to supplement with formula what I could not produce myself. as of last week I could only produce half of what he needs, the rest was supplemented. I always offer breast first. I have the medela advanced pump. I cannot afford to rent a pump and my insurance only covered the one I have.

    I did talk to a lactation consultant at my hospital today and she seemed to think my milk supply will not come back solely because I started pumping later after he was born. At any rate I feel extremely disheartened and confused. I can't help but feel like i'm failing somehow. I've never breast fed before, and hadn't even intended on it initially so I didn't read about it before I had my son-I only had what the nurses told me to go by...I have no idea what to do
    Last edited by @llli*vw; July 11th, 2014 at 11:55 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    Okay I would really like to help you get less confused so let's take a breath and go back to basics. Basic number one is that if a infant is gaining appropriately while exclusively breast-fed then the mother is making enough to meet the child's needs. Because the criteria to ascertain if a mother is making enough is if the baby is gaining normally.
    So if you could explain why, given what you are reporting your baby's weight gain was, you believe that you're you were not making enough that would help. Because going by weight gain of 11 ounces in one week that is certainly an indication you baby was getting plenty of milk. Again I am unclear what week that was if that was exclusively breast-feeding or if that was uwth supplementing. Maybe it would help to give a complete wait history with weight and day of life if that is possible, and also when you begin supplementing again I'm guessing baby was supplemented in the hospital.

    So that would be my first question what was happening that you thought you were not meeting your baby's needs.
    My second question would be how many ounces a day is baby being supplemented what is the total.
    And lastly how many times is baby nursing each day. Total .

    I would also suggest the article on Kelly mom.com that is called what's normal in the early weeks or something like that it describes what is normal in the early weeks with a breast-fed baby very clearly.

    You are not failing anyone. there is some reason what is happening is happening. That reason is not your fault-either there is a real problem that can be solved, that would not be your fault, or you have gotten some poor breast-feeding advice and that has made you believe you don't meet your child's needs when you do. And that would not be your fault either.

    In any case it is very early days and there is much that can be done to improve the situation. There is lots to be hopeful about. Nursing is comfortable for you this is good. From what you have written there was at least some point you were making enough milk for your baby. That is good news so again I would suggest it's a matter of figuring out what, if anything, is wrong, and fixing it.
    As far as what you're lactation consultant said I am not sure how not nursing initially or not pumping initially would result in normal milk production and then suddenly not normal nonproduction this is why I think I just don't understand what the timeline is and you're going to have to explain it more carefully because it just doesn't make sense. Also I am not of the opinion that milk production is static and can never be increased beyond a certain point research tells us differently.

    You are pumping after your baby has nursed. Correct? Yet you are still trying to gauge your milk production by how you pump. If the baby has nursed adequately of course there is not going to be a ton of milk in the breasts after you're just nursed right? This is one of the many reasons why gauging your milk production by how much you pump it doesn't work. You're talking as if you know for a fact that at a certain point you could only produce half what your baby needs and my question is how in the world you know that? What evidence are you using to come to that conclusion?

    At this point I'm not even convinced that you do not make enough milk for your baby. But let's say you do not. And let's say that you never will be able to. It's possible. It happens. But if you want, you can continue to breast-feed your baby and you and your baby can get the many benefits of breast-feeding while also supplementing. It does not have to be all or nothing.
    When I had my first child I also was not sure that I would breast-feed. And I knew absolutely nothing about it. We had lots of problems early on. He was not gaining well, he had jaundice, Took him about an hour just to get latched, it was very painful to nurse I had to use nipple shields I had to pump -after a few weeks I wondered what the world I was doing this for and I have to say I don't know what kept me going I really don't. Probably sheer stubbornness.
    But I have never regretted making that effort. And I've talked to many many mothers who have had trouble breast-feeding their babies in the early weeks and not one has ever told me they regretted the efforts they put in to try. Sometimes they ended up not able to breast-feed sometimes they did. sometimes they were they went on the combo feed. But no matter what the result they never have regrets trying. And when they are ready to stop trying they know in their hearts they have done what they can.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 11th, 2014 at 12:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. I really want to breast feed my son because he has reflux problems . When he's on formula he spits up a lot, on breast milk he hardly spits at all.
    The reason I think my supply is not adequate is based on how they had me do feeds in the NICU. I apologize I don't have the logs from those, I never thought to ask for them. The nurses recorded everything.
    Because I started late, he was on formula first, so when I was pumping they'd give me a number of ML i needed to feed him. I got to the point where I was making enough for all his feeds, and then they decided to double the amount each day so he could gain enough weight to go home. I pumped every 2 hours even overnight, but I still came up just shy of his needed ML's so they began supplementing. It ended up being 1/3rd of his ML's supplemented with similac sensitive. After I got home I was up to half of his needed ML's.
    Upon coming home I was still pumping 20ML, and got up to 30. I always offer him the breast first. The way I was advised to know if he got enough was based on time. for instance, if he fed for 20 min that was enough, and most likely equivelent to what I pumped in one session. If he only fed for 10 min. i'd need to supplement half of his needed amount. Reading what I have, now I think that may be wrong?
    Since my supply diminished he barely latches. When he does latch, he'll feed for 5-10 minutes and then cry like he's hungry and refuse to re-latch. I believe there isn't enough milk in my breasts to satisfy him based on his behaviors.
    Yesterday he latched and fed for nearly 20 min, but still cried like he was hungry. Since then he has only latched once or twice for a few min. It seems like my milk decreases more and more, and this evening I'm sore.
    I've tried to think of what may have changed ... I am on blood pressure meds, and as my blood pressure has gotten better, I've reduced my dosage. But my doctor told me this drug doesn't affect breast feeding, so I didn't think that could be the problem...
    The lactation consultant also told me i shouldn't bother breastfeeding if I'm not producing milk, to just pump. Despite that my son was hungry last night so I let him latch-he latched on one side for 10 min, 6 on the other, then he acted hungry. I made a bottle and he wouldn't finish it.
    at about 1 am this morning he latched on again for 15 min., but was still hungry so got a bottle of formula.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Tried everything to get supply back, nothing works! help

    Okay so based on what you have told me here is what I think may have happened. I can't be sure this is just a guess. I think you are right you got some not so great breast-feeding advice early on. It's not that timing feeds is necessarily totally incorrect, we do know that it is important for any young newborn to stay at the breast for a reasonable length of time in many cases. however it is not typically a good way to figure out how much baby has gotten. Some babies nurse more efficiently than others. Some mothers have a more forceful that down than others. Consequently some babies need to nurse longer and some babies need to nurse shorter to get enough. Also frequency is important. A brand-new born baby who is full-term will typically nurse a minimum of 10 times today that's the minimum. The frequent feedings are not only what allow baby to get enough milk but also allow milk production to be normal.

    As to what is happening at this point I cannot say. It is possible that due to this not so great breast-feeding advice your milk production is not as good as it should be at this point. Because baby is only nursed occasionally and is otherwise supplemented it is very hard to tell.

    Because of this this is probably too complicated an issue to be dealt with adequately via online communication. I think this form is a great source for support and for ideas but what you need now is a plan. An individualized plan for you and your baby.

    I understand cost is a concern. However I would ask you to think about how much it will cost to feed your baby formula for a year or very expensive especially as your baby appears to require a hyper allergenic formula. So any costs that go towards increasing the chances you can breast-feed must be measured against that cost.

    Ideally I would recommend that you see a different board certified lactation consultant. An IBCLC. Someone who is experienced with helping mothers with low production, going by what you have said the lactation consultant you are seeing is not supportive of your goals this is not acceptable.
    I recommend you look into the cost of renting a hospital grade pump. Remember this is something you rent by the week or month it is not usually a terribly unaffordable option.
    There are some lower-cost ideas that you can try. But again I would suggest the two I just mentioned very strongly.

    Here is what else you can do. LLL is free. So Contact your local la Leche league. Talk to a LLL leader on the phone and attend meetings. If there is no leader close by call the closest one or call the US helpline. Those ladies are great but sometimes it takes a couple days to get a return call. I think that it would really help to talk your situation out slowly and carefully from beginning to end. Also your local LLL may have references for you for an IBC LC. For references you could also try any local breast-feeding coalition, wic office, or other public health office. Or visit the website www.ILCA.org

    Get the book Making More Milk. This book is written for mothers and covers low milk production why it happens and what to do about it in very good detail. This is an inexpensive trade paperback it probably runs about 12 or $15 on Amazon.

    Keep encouraging your baby to nurse. It is possible that all the pumping is what is causing the soreness. It is also possible your baby has become so acclimated to bottles that they are trying to do on the breast what they do with the bottle. This can definitely hurt sometimes.

    Consider a at the breast supplement her. &/Or make sure every bottle is being given in a breast-feeding supportive way. That means small amount at a time given the way it should be described in the links I talked about about.

    When a baby is fussy after nursing it does not necessarily mean baby did not get enough. This is not a good way to tell whether or not you have low milk production. It is very normal for a baby this age to wish to nurse and then wish to nurse again very shortly afterwards. No matter how much baby is getting with supplements it never hurts to encourage baby to nurse baby can nurse when they wish to comfort to sleep for example. Nursing for comfort is normal and healthy and also when a baby nurses for comfort they also get milk. So while it has for some reason gotten a bad name comfort nursing is entirely appropriate and healthy for normal breast-feeding. When supplements are needed they can be given in a variety of ways in order to encourage more nursing. baby can nurse and then get a little bit of supplement, or you can offer a small amount of supplement and then nurse. The latter allows baby to associate the breast with the feeling of satiety. This is called finishing at the breast. I am not saying it has to be this way every time I am saying you can change it up. if baby is given a bottle after every time baby nurses, baby grows to expect the bottle and will not feel finished until they get a bottle even if they've gotten enough milk at the breast.

    I hope these suggestions make sense and help.

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