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Thread: How can I tell if LO is transferring milk well?

  1. #1

    Default How can I tell if LO is transferring milk well?

    My LO is 7 weeks old. He was born with a lip tie and tongue tie. Tongue tie was clipped at birth, and then tongue (again) and lip were both clipped at 4 weeks. I was supplementing from day 7 because LO had lost too much weight. He weighed 7.11 at birth, and last week when weighed was at 9.03, and seems to be gaining still. Doc has given the green light to wean from supplements.

    I have supplemented with pumped bm when able, but also formula, in a bottle. I have read the Kellymom site on weaning from supplements...but what do I do when he refuses to nurse, or falls asleep at the breast? Will doing this also increase my supply if it is low (another reason we started supplemented...he wasn't transferring milk well)? What is the average length of time it takes to wean?

    I really want to ebf, but I am not sure if I can since I am past the milk-regulating days.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How can I tell if LO is transferring milk well?

    Probably the most accurate way to tell how a baby is transferring milk is by doing before and after nursing weight checks. BUt these are quite tricky to do and require a very accurate digital infant scale. Also, you need several to get a good understanding as a baby will transfer milk a bit differently at each feeding, typically.

    I think the kellymom protocol lays out a very cautious and conservative approach to weaning off supplements. In other words, I do not see a lot of room for error in her suggestions. I assume weight gain is in good shape if doctor has given you the green light. Maybe talk to your doctor about doing periodic (maybe every 2 weeks? You do not want to weigh too frequently) weight checks as you go just to be sure baby continues to gain normally?

    ...but what do I do when he refuses to nurse, or falls asleep at the breast?
    Offer to nurse very frequently and help keep baby more wakeful (if needed) by switching sides, talking to baby, breast compressions, gently rousing baby just enough to keep baby nursing even if baby is falling asleep (babies can and will transfer milk even when asleep.)
    Will doing this also increase my supply if it is low (another reason we started supplemented...he wasn't transferring milk well)?
    Milk production is increased by milk being removed from the breast frequently. If weaning off supplements leads to baby nursing more often and/or longer, or with more enthusiasm and purpose, as it certainly may, then yes that is good for milk production. But you probably want to keep pumping as well until you are sure baby is getting all he needs at the breast. How OFTEN you need to pump may be able to decrease, however. If baby is nursing more, it is likely you can pump less. Probably, until you are able to supplement with only your breastmilk, best to keep up as frequent as possible pumping until totally off formula. Of course you can also consider using galactagogues but the frequent effective milk removal is the key component for increasing milk production.
    What is the average length of time it takes to wean?
    How long it takes depends on too many factors to predict reliably. However, if you wanted to work out a very rough estimate, you would look at the amount your baby is supplemented each day when you start, and then count down using the protocol you are choosing. So, it baby is supplemented 10 ounces per day, and the suggestion by kellymom is to reduce supplements by two ounces per week (I forget what it actually is) then your very rough estimate would be 5weeks. However, it is quite likely it will take longer or shorter than your estimate depending on many factors.

    it is also very easy and commonplace to oversupplement, and if you are already oversupplementing you may be able to reduce supplements more quickly. Without knowing more I have no idea if that has possibly been happening in your case, but it is something to think about.
    Are you under the care of an IBCLC?
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; October 9th, 2014 at 05:21 PM.

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