Re: beginning relactation and would love some advice/guidanc
Awesome! I know it too a lot of hard work to get to this point.
I am continuing on my journey and it is painfully slow progress but I am making progress. I went from being able to pump 1-2 drops and getting nothing from hand expression to today pumping about 2 ml and being able to hand express a few drops.
I think that if you can keep on nursing and pumping, you will get to your goal. And even if you don't, I think you are going to be so glad to have given this project your all. You're not going to wonder "What if I had tried?"
I am still determined and committed and I am grateful that my supply seems to be increasing, but I am not going to lie; it is extremely discouraging to see the tiny little bottle that I used to be able to fill in about 10 minutes have only the bottom barely covered after a day of hard work.
It seems impossible that I will ever be at a point where I'm producing enough milk to feed my daughter and/or pump bottles for her for when I'm away.
My guess is that the pumping and nursing is responsible for the increase in supply. You could eat fenugreek all day but if you weren't pumping/nursing, you wouldn't make a drop of milk.
I have started taking 2 fenugreek pills 3 times a day in addition to the original supplement that I was taking. I'm not sure if that is what has caused the increase in supply or if it would have increased anyway as time passed.
This is awesome! Truly a huge advantage. If she will nurse, you are getting a lot of the benefits of nursing even if there is little or no milk present. You both get the closeness and bonding time, she gets some milk and the jaw development benefits of nursing.
My daughter will still latch and I try to do so each time before or after she has her bottle.
Think that's a good decision.
Though some times I do skip it if she seems cranky as I don't want her to associate my breast with anything negative
If hand expression and pumping is only yielding drops, I think you have to assume that her milk intake at the breast is still pretty low. But once you find that hand expression/pumping is yielding more milk, you can start to really listen for swallowing, and you can start looking for evidence of breastmilk in her poop. Breastmilk poops tend to be yellowish, whereas formula poops are kind of olive. So the more yellow her poop becomes, the more milk she's getting.
The part I am still struggling with is how I will know when/if she is getting any milk.
Again, I think you need to wait until pumping is yielding more milk. You want to decrease the amount of formula your baby is getting as you start filling your baby's bottles with your milk. If you produce 1 oz of milk per day, bring the formula down by 1 oz. If you produce 2 oz, reduce the formula by 2 oz. Etc.
She has always been a very eager eater so I don't think I could ever count on her turning away a bottle even if she was full from my breastmilk. I think she would always accept more food to be honest. So I guess my question is how will I ever know if/when I can replace a formula feed with a breastfeed? Or how to I know when to lower the amount of formula I'm giving her after each attempt at breastfeeding?
Now, when your supply is getting close to what your baby needs over the course of the day (19-30 oz), you start experimenting with reducing the size of the bottles. Instead of giving a 3 oz bottle, you give a 2.5 oz bottle and then put the baby back to the breast if she still seems hungry after finishing the bottle. Then you watch her diaper output. If it continues to be normal, you reduce the bottle size by another .5 oz and watch diaper output again. You repeat the process until all the supplements are gone.
Yes, when you have more milk you will see trickles, sprays and streams.
Another question I had was, I should eventually see sprays/streams from my breast correct?
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