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Thread: Formula at Night

  1. #1
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Formula at Night

    I have been exclusively breastfeeding my almost 6 month old but have over the past few months had issues with supply in the evening. Up until about month 4 I would pump after morning feed to have a little supply and have not been able to get more than a few drops any more. I'm thankful for what I was able to store because I've been having to give a bottle in the evenings with it. I have been on fenugreek for a little bit now and have not seen any increase. Oatmeal the same. It's an awful feeling having him cry and scream after he's not getting enough milk so I don't know once stored supply is gone if I need to do formal at night and is that really so bad? Also one breast is hardly producing any milk any more even though I try to keep him on it and pump it. I just hate feeling guilty about formula and how should that matter if my poor baby is hungry.

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    Can you answer some questions for us? The answers will help us figure out if this is likely a real supply problem or more a problem of perception.

    - Can you post a complete weight history, including the baby's birth weight, lowest weight and weight at each checkup? It helps if you can post it in the following form: baby's age in months/baby's weight.
    - Are you home with your baby, or back in the office a lot of the time? If you're back at work, how long is your workday?
    - Is baby being nursed on schedule, or when he gives hunger cues?
    - How often does the baby nurse over the course of the day (# of nursing sessions per 24 hour period)?
    - Is baby nursing overnight or sleeping through the night?
    - What sort of pump are you using, and how does pumping feel?
    - What happens if you do not offer the evening bottle, and just power through with nursing?
    - Are you using hormonal contraception, and if so, what kind?
    - Any chance that you are pregnant?

  3. #3
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Can you answer some questions for us? The answers will help us figure out if this is likely a real supply problem or more a problem of perception.

    - Can you post a complete weight history, including the baby's birth weight, lowest weight and weight at each checkup? It helps if you can post it in the following form: baby's age in months/baby's weight.
    - Are you home with your baby, or back in the office a lot of the time? If you're back at work, how long is your workday?
    - Is baby being nursed on schedule, or when he gives hunger cues?
    - How often does the baby nurse over the course of the day (# of nursing sessions per 24 hour period)?
    - Is baby nursing overnight or sleeping through the night?
    - What sort of pump are you using, and how does pumping feel?
    - What happens if you do not offer the evening bottle, and just power through with nursing?
    - Are you using hormonal contraception, and if so, what kind?
    - Any chance that you are pregnant?
    He was born 6lb 12 down to 6lb 5 and increased since. he was almost 13 lbs in August. I am home with him and feed him on demand. he feeds at least every 2 hours or sooner during the day and never sleeps through the night- longest stretch has maybe been 3 hours and we co-sleep. I am not pregnant and use iud. I will keep switching breasts and he sits at the breast and then get frustrated he cries and screams- pulls on breast hits breast- I can tell he's waiting and I think it's terrible to make him power through wanting milk because I don't have enough for him.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    Thank you for answering those questions! I'm going to ask for a little more data.

    He was born 6lb 12 down to 6lb 5 and increased since. he was almost 13 lbs in August
    This isn't enough data to tell us if the baby is gaining adequately. It would help to know the following:
    1. Baby's birth month.
    2. Baby's weight at each checkup.
    3. Baby's weight at his most recent checkup- what he weighed in August tells us nothing about what he weighs now, in October.

    I am home with him and feed him on demand. he feeds at least every 2 hours or sooner during the day and never sleeps through the night- longest stretch has maybe been 3 hours and we co-sleep.
    Terrific! Feeding on demand is the gold standard for nursing. The baby's nursing frequency is normal for a 6 month old, and should ensure good supply.

    I am not pregnant and use iud.
    Is it the Mirena IUD, that is, the one with hormones? If so, you might want to consider a different birth control method. Some moms find that hormonal contraception- even supposedly "safe for breastfeeding" versions like Mirena- can have negative impacts on supply.

    I will keep switching breasts and he sits at the breast and then get frustrated he cries and screams- pulls on breast hits breast- I can tell he's waiting and I think it's terrible to make him power through wanting milk because I don't have enough for him.
    Nope, it's not terrible to make him wait. The breast is never actually empty, and a baby who is nursing well will get his needs met as long as he is patient and continues to nurse. Think of this as a learning experience. Your baby needs to learn how to be persistent and nurse well even when the flow speed may not be to his liking. I think that what has happened is that instead of learning, he's trained you to go running for a bottle and give him an easy meal before he has to work for his meal.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    so some women don't have low supply in the evenings? so a baby who perhaps is hungry should have to sit for hours getting his needs met? I have done that- but it just does not feel right. when he is crying and screaming and doing all the things to show his needing/wanting milk I'm finding it hard to feel ok making him go through that and making myself go through that. he goes to the doctor next week and has been gaining well all along but it seems like my supply is not great in the evenings and I'm just trying to find a solution for that. it's not the birth control because that would affect my daytime supply as well. the fenugreek has not seemed to make any difference aside from having us smell like maple syrup?

  6. #6
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    also when I have given him expressed milk in bottle, I have still used a preemie nipple so he's not getting the milk super easy

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    so some women don't have low supply in the evenings?
    No. Supply fluctuates over the course of the day, and many women feel that their supply is lowest in the evening. So for a mom with low supply, evening might be the time of day when her supply really is inadequate. However, this is extremely unlikely to happen in a mom whose supply is adequate for the rest of the day, who is nursing on demand, and whose baby is gaining well from nursing alone. For that mom, the issue is more likely to be one of (mis)perception.

    I'm not saying that low evening supply is impossible for you- I'm just a stranger on the internet, I don't live in your body, I can't see your baby's behavior! I just think that you have to accept that the odds are very good that having enough milk at all other times of day means that you also have plenty in the evening.

    so a baby who perhaps is hungry should have to sit for hours getting his needs met? I have done that- but it just does not feel right. when he is crying and screaming and doing all the things to show his needing/wanting milk I'm finding it hard to feel ok making him go through that and making myself go through that
    The question is, is the baby actually hungry and unable to get food? If he is truly hungry, and truly unable to extract sufficient milk from the breast, then this is some sort of supply problem and you may need to supplement while you work on boosting your milk supply back up where it needs to be.

    But if what you are seeing is simply extremely fussy behavior because the baby would like an easy meal delivered via bottle, then there's no need for supplements. If this is just "I want an easy meal" fussing, then the solution really is to power through and let the baby learn that perseverance at the breast is the cure for his frustration. I know that may seem like too-tough love, but this is one of the MANY parenting situations in which it may be best to let your child struggle through on his own, rather than smoothing the path for him.

    he goes to the doctor next week and has been gaining well all along but it seems like my supply is not great in the evenings and I'm just trying to find a solution for that.
    Let us know how things go at the doctor's. If there is evidence of a problem with weight gain, we're definitely here to help!

    There's no one right solution for low evening supply, if that is the case for you. You would want to try some or all of the following:
    1. Nurse more often during both day and night, and eliminate supplemental bottles. More nursing = more milk removal from the breast = better supply.
    2. Pump in addition to nursing, preferably using a high-quality double electric pump.
    3. Change your birth control method. One hypothetical situation for you is that Mirena puts a damper on your supply throughout the day, but only in the evening- the naturally slow-flow time of day for many moms- does it become enough of a problem to be noticeable.
    4. Make sure you are in generally good health. It might be a good idea to see your doctor and make sure all is as it should be. I'm especially an advocate of moms making sure that they get a test for thyroid function during the postpartum year, as thyroid disjunction is common, often overlooked, and a potential source of supply problems.

    . the fenugreek has not seemed to make any difference aside from having us smell like maple syrup?
    Normal. Fenugreek can provide a supply boost for some moms, but in general does not do anywhere near as much good as more nursing and/or more pumping.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    Hi I just want to say I think mommal has given you some great guidance. Here are a couple articles that may help as well.

    http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply/ (read the top part first) and http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/perc...fficient-milk/

    If you do decide to give/continue to give your baby supplemental expressed breastmilk or formula, it is important to do so in a breastfeeding supportive way. Here is some info on that: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    I get it, thanks, it's just really hard to keep baby crying (and screaming) and pulling at breast if he is in fact hungry and not getting milk the same. It seems wrong. It's hard to know. Maybe it's a growth spurt.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Formula at Night

    Find me, when I 1st came to this website it was because I was sure I had stopped producing enough in the evening and was asking about how to safely start to combo feed. It's a common misconception around the 6 month point because they begin to teethe and the physical milestones of rolling over and beginning to get up on all 4s also makes them more wakeful. I would actually try dosing your son with Tylenol or Motrin to see if that helps with the crying. He could actually be in pain. Also,if it's spurt (which there is usually one around the 6 month point) the best thing to do IS power through. Because you don't want your body to get the idea that you are making enough mil when you really aren't you know? You want to continue to give your body the ques so the supply catches up to the demand. But try tylenol or motrin. If you get a stretch of sleep 3 hours or longer? And LESS fussiness? Probably teeth.

    Way too lazy for formula

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