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Thread: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

  1. #1
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    May 2015
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    Default Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    I am not sure what to do and I am feeling very discouraged and upset. I recently went back to work and can only pump before work, at my lunch and when I get home. Before I went back to work I was pumping 4oz at a time, which satisfied my baby. However since returning to work, my supply evaporated completely. I seem to barely get out a tablespoon.

    I started drinking about a gallon of water a day, taking fenugreek, drinking mothers milk tea and made lactation cookies. Nothing seems to help and I think the stress from all of this is making it worse. My baby is now refusing to nurse when I am home, and I think it's due to the low supply. What can I do? Should I start pumping every hour when I am home and on the weekends? I am not sure if this will help, since I won't be able to pump as often at work. Please help.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Are you nursing at all or are you exclusively pumping? More frequent sessions of either will be best for your supply I think, more so than herbs and such.

    Have you checked your pump to make sure all is well? Change membranes and tubing. Is it hospital grade?

  3. #3
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    I have a hygeia enjoy pump which is hospital grade. Everything is brand new on my pump. She refuses to nurse, so I am solely pumping which is sad. I love to nurse so I am hoping to increase my supply soon. I purchased the Medela SNS, and she did not like that either. I am hoping that some other mothers have had luck with gaining supply by pumping.
    Last edited by @llli*marjon.carlo-arce; May 5th, 2015 at 06:42 PM. Reason: forgot to include

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Hi, I am wondering about a few things...

    Was breastfeeding problem free before you went back to work? Baby gaining fine? About how many times a day did baby nurse before you returned to work? Were you pumping regularly then as well? Once a day? More?

    When you were at work, how much and in what manner was/is baby fed? Was baby getting more than 1.5 ounces per hour of separation? Was paced bottle feeding being practiced by your caregiver? I am wondering if over-supplementing might be/have been going on?

    Has baby started sleeping long stretches (more than ~5 hours) on ~ a daily basis? If so, when did that start to happen?

    Is baby given a pacifier much? For sleeping? What about swaddling for sleep?

    How is baby fed by bottle now? How often, how much?

    How long has baby been refusing to nurse? Low milk production is not typically going to cause breast refusal. Babies nurse for many reasons, including comfort.

    How long have you been relying on pumping for some or all milk removal?

    How many times a day do you pump...when you say
    I recently went back to work and can only pump before work, at my lunch and when I get home.
    do you mean you are only pumping 3 times a day- plus no nursing?

    Are you using hormone based birth control?

    What I am wondering is why your milk production reduced, and why baby is refusing to nurse. why would your milk production reduce so dramatically so quickly. This is not typical.

    Milk production depends on frequent, efficient milk removal. If that is not happening, milk production decreases. Sometimes milk production is harmed because of hormone based bc. The only other typical cause of low milk production after normal milk production would be serious dehydration or a very severe illness....

    As far as what to do now...first, Overhydrating is not helpful to milk production. You want to be normally hydrated, not over. Used correctly, galactagogues may help, but only if there is frequent, effective milk removal.

    I would strongly suggest encourage baby to nurse NOW. Don't wait until your milk production increases. If baby will nurse, that will increase your milk production far more simply and effectively than with only pumping.

    Pumping every hour may not be sustainable and is probably not necessary. However, I would suggest, do pump as often as you can. 8 times a 24 hour day is probably what you would want to aim for, even if you cannot do that every single day. It need not be on a specific schedule, and yes, if you can pump more often at home, days off and nights, that will help even if you cannot pump more often at work. However, are you SURE you cannot pump even one more time at work? Have you asked?

    I would also strongly suggest contacting Hygeia. Milk production reduces for a reason. If your pump is the problem, they need to know about it. Several years ago a different pump (Medela) was malfunctioning and causing moms to lose milk production. Finally enough moms complained & to their credit they recalled that pump lot. Also they may have troubleshooting ideas for you.

    The book Making More Milk is an invaluable resource when dealing with low milk production. www.kellymom.com also has excellent info on increasing milk production, I also suggest her article "Help, my baby won't nurse" for many ideas for encouraging baby to nurse. Sorry I can't make it link right now...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Are you using the Hygeia horns? I had a huge drop in supply using the ones they sent and switched to my Medela flanges (in the same size), and everything improved quickly. Another mom on here said it's because the Hygeia horns are shorter than the Medela ones. I use my Medela horns, but Hygeia membrane/valve and tubing. Also, Hygeia on their website claims to be hospital grade, but I'm not sure if that is true -- I don't know how such things are determined or "rated."

    Along with all the suggestions/questions from the other posters, I would try a hospital grade pump (sometimes you can rent them just for a week or so) just to see if that helps. Or contact an LC to come check your pump.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  6. #6
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    May 2015
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    Peoria, AZ
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Thank you so much for helping me. It all started when I went on a paleo diet to lose the baby weight this dropped my supply slightly from about 4.5 oz to 4 oz. However, I saw a real drop once I went back to work. I think it might have been due to dehydration. I wasn't drinking as much water as I normally did at work. That is why I increased my water intake hoping this was the cause. Right now I pump about 6 times a day. Once in the morning, once on my lunch, then every 2 hours once I get home. Before going back to work she preferred to only nurse in the mornings (her favorite time since I was so full), around time for her afternoon nap and before bed. The other times she would nurse for a little bit but would then want a bottle (I would then pump while she drank her bottle for the stimulation). She was drinking about 6 oz. It worked out since I was able to pump a few times after she went to sleep, so I had enough for her the next day.

    She is sleeping about 12-13 hours at night now, but I start pumping as soon as I get up and continue after she goes to bed. I did stop taking fenugreek for about 3 days because I had to go on a trip for business and forgot them at home. I was also thinking that this might have contributed to this as well. I have tried to get her to comfort nurse, but most of the time she will just sit there with my nipple in her mouth and won't latch. Other times she will latch for a few seconds and then pulls off and gets fussy. I thought the SNS would help, but I do not think she liked the tube. It was also difficult since she is in the grabbing stage, and would rip the tubes off my chest.

    I am not taking any type of birth control. She does use a pacifier through out the day once she starts getting fussy or it's close to nap time, she also sleeps with one. I am hoping that it was due to the dehydration and will be fixed soon. It was very alarming to see my supply go from 4oz to literally nothing what seemed like overnight.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Thank you! Yes, I do use the hygeia flanges. I will change them to the medela ones. Hopefully this helps!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    16

    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    Do you nurse her at night? How long does she sleep at a strech? Babies are supposed to wake up several times a night to nurse. Have you tried dream feeding her? (feeding her while she is asleep)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lost my supply for my 5mo old. Desperate, please help!

    my supply slightly from about 4.5 oz to 4 oz. However, I saw a real drop once I went back to work.
    Ok, so you saw pump output drop. Right? This was what you got when you pumped? That is different than a supply drop. Pump output of 4 ounces per session is quite a lot.
    Before going back to work she preferred to only nurse in the mornings (her favorite time since I was so full), around time for her afternoon nap and before bed. The other times she would nurse for a little bit but would then want a bottle (I would then pump while she drank her bottle for the stimulation). She was drinking about 6 oz. It worked out since I was able to pump a few times after she went to sleep, so I had enough for her the next day.
    Why was baby getting so many bottles when you were home to nurse? 6 ounces each bottle, or daily?

    She is sleeping about 12-13 hours at night now,
    Ok. This is exceedingly long for a baby to be going without eating. Do you mean she is not nursing at all during this time? Does she sleep in the same room as you do? Is she swaddled? Or given a pacifier?

    but most of the time she will just sit there with my nipple in her mouth and won't latch. Other times she will latch for a few seconds and then pulls off and gets fussy.
    Did this start after bottles were introduced? I think she has become over-used to bottles. If bottles are not given with extreme care (paced bottle feeding) they lead to baby no longer understanding/willing to do what baby must do to extract milk from a breast.
    I am not taking any type of birth control. She does use a pacifier through out the day once she starts getting fussy or it's close to nap time, she also sleeps with one. I am hoping that it was due to the dehydration and will be fixed soon. It was very alarming to see my supply go from 4oz to literally nothing what seemed like overnight
    .

    Ok. Certainly if you were truly dehydrated, that is bad for milk production. But I do not think that is the main issue here.

    Here is what leads to lowering of milk production in the vast majority of cases:
    1) Supplementing (bottles) when it is not necessary
    2) Over-supplementing (either bottles larger than a normal sized feeding of 2-3 ounces, or too many bottles/too much supplement overall)
    3) Pacifier overuse especially pacifier use for sleeping
    4) Baby going long periods not nursing (for example, overnight. Anything over 5-6 hours at a time is unusually long)
    5) Pumping instead of nursing (Pumps are not as effective at milk removal as baby)

    Milk production depends on frequent, effective milk removal. "Frequent" normally means, at least 10-12 times or more per 24 hour day for the first couple of months, and at least 8 or more times a 24 hour day thereafter assuming normal milk production has been established. (if milk production is not yet normal at that point, or is too low after that point, a mom might need to have milk removed more often than that.) Anything that interferes with that happening (for example, the above mentioned practices/circumstances) will reduce milk production. Effective would mean how a normally nursing baby nurses. Pumps often are not able to replicate this as the way they remove milk from the breasts is completely different than how a baby does it. A way to help increase the effectiveness milk removal when pumping is to add hand expression/massage/ breast compressions to your pump sessions.

    The way to increase milk production is to increase the frequency and effectiveness of milk removal. Galactagogues and being properly nourished and hydrated will help, but this is secondary to the need for frequent, effective milk removal.

    Right now, you are pumping 6 times a day, and how much milk do you get each pump session? And how many times a day does baby nurse now?

    Also, I suggest the book Making More Milk.

    I am not taking any type of birth control.
    any chance you are pregnant? Please note that you do not fit the criteria for LAM- in other words, due to several factors unique to your situation, the fact you are nursing/pumping is not going to reliably protect you from pregnancy.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 7th, 2015 at 09:32 AM.

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