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Thread: Supplementing

  1. #1

    Default Supplementing

    Hi all,

    My son is now 8 weeks old. We've been having problems breastfeeding from day 1. LO was in the NICU for 10 days immediately after birth and I barely got to touch him let alone feed him. A few compounding problems: milk supply not coming in until 9 days, stress and difficult recovery from birth, and also an innocent bout of mastitis which snowballed into an abscess that needed draining. LO has always been a champ eater - at 2.5 weeks, he was already taking in 3-4 oz per feeding. Today he needs atleast 25oz a day. On a good day, I can produce 10-15. As such, I need to supplement. I feed him as much as possible I can from me, and the rest is formula until he's sated.

    My question is really this. In almost all the fora and resources I've read online, the recommendation is to give up supplementation when you have low milk supply. Gradually decreasing the amount of supplementation maybe makes sense, but what I'm reading implies cutting it out cold turkey. In my case, given the tremendous deficit I have in production vs his need, I'm not sure how I can remove supplementation overnight without harming my child. The few times I've tried not to supplement at all, LO does not feed (falls asleep, fusses), does not sleep deeply and cries incessantly. I feel like the stress this creates for him and the disrupted sleeping pattern (and longer term, weight loss), are worse for his development than the formula he's supplemented with.

    I've been working as much as possible to increase supply - pumping with a rented hospital grade pump, the herbs, seen probably 6+ lactation consultants, nursing first at every feed etc, though at 8 weeks I'm quickly losing hope of ever having more. I've vowed to keep trying until I return to work in 2 months - next things to try are Domperidone and an SNS system.

    I also want to share how difficult it's been for me emotionally for the past 8 weeks. I feel like I have spent more time worrying about supply and feeling like a failure than actually holding and playing with my son. I wonder if he would ultimately benefit more from me giving him more of my time than from a few more ounces of breastmilk for his intellectual and personal development (my pediatrician and OB both agree with me here..). Finally, I just wanted to say that if you're one of those people who judges formula feeders, just a reminder that it's not easy for everyone and to be gentle - everyone just wants what's best for their child.
    Last edited by @llli*ssw; October 24th, 2014 at 03:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: Supplementing

    hi mama,
    There are other posters that will be probably better than I, far more knowledgeable, that will chime in for help regarding how to deal with the supplementing, what I wanted to say that the first three to four months were the biggest personal challenge that I have gone through. 8 week in is still very early in the breastfeeding journey. You are not alone. You are not a failure by any means, your love and devotion for your son is admirable. Formula is not the devil. DO what you can for your supply but cease the obsession. Have you spent any time doing anything for yourself, even for an hour or two since the baby was born? A Pedicure, a book, a coffee out n about, exercise? Emotionally if you can give your mind a break you will feel better, even if you are still fatigued, just concentrating on something else can help.

    New moms have this pressure to be a perfect mom. Just because you have supplemented doesn't make you a flawed mom, not one bit. Let go of the beginning, it drags you down. Look toward the future and stay positive You can do it! And when you are feeding your son, take the moments to enjoy it rather than fret. Fret after the feeding during nap time

    A couple of questions-- are you feeding baby mainly only from pumped milk? A baby removes milk more efficiently from the breast than a pump so your baby is likely to be getting more from your breast than you realize. If he is being bottle fed, are you doing paced bottle feeding? Babies don't overeat at the breast, but us adults can influence them to overeat if not correctly bottle feeding them. http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

    your son eats the guideline ave, 25oz is the average babies typically eat at this age per 24hrs

    I encourage you to read this http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/
    she suggests GRADUAL process rather than to suddenly drop supplements.

    about production--How often are you breastfeeding per day, and is it on demand? Do you breastfeed at night? Milk production is at it's peak in the wee hour of the morning so if you feed at night it help boosts overall production. Regarding pumping, how often are you pumping in a 24hr period, for how long at each pump etc.?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Central FL

    Default Re: Supplementing

    Yes, get the SNS and Domperidone.
    I struggled For months trying to bring up my supply with pumping and oatmeal and fenugreek and I didn't respond well enough to the pump. I'd been using the SNS basically from the beginning to supplement.
    The bottom link in my signature has more links with help for low milk supply and stuff.
    My LO had tongue/lip ties which didn't even get corrected till 8 weeks and I didn't get any physical therapy for it till 3 months. We were still struggling with weight gain at 4 months.
    I finally managed to get the Domperidone around 4 1/2 months but we were not pump/supplement free till almost 6 months.

    Weaning off supplements has to be a gradual process and if you decide the pumping is just not working for you and if Domperidone doesn't work I would say supplement with whatever you have to but you can still breastfeed and supplement at the same time using the SNS. Breastfeeding need not be all or nothing.

    Just so you know, it has worked for us to nurse basically every hour during the day and then as much as he wants overnight (co-sleeping) and his weight gain since turning 6 months has him climbing back up the growth charts. I wish I had tried the Domperidone sooner. And I do sometimes feel robbed that the Drs didn't diagnose the Tongue/lip tie right in the beginning when we had to supplement because he wasn't gaining weight but that Dr didn't believe tongue ties have any effect on breastfeeding.

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