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Thread: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

  1. #1

    Default Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    Hi there! This is my very first post. I'm really hoping for some help. I am currently exclusively breastfeeding my 3rd child, a 4 month old baby girl. I gave up on nursing VERY early on with my two oldest children and always regretted not trying harder. Supply was always an issue. This baby is the first baby I've been able to ebf and have her actually gain weight. However her weight gain has been very slow. Birth weight was 8 lb 1 oz. She only lost a couple of ounces but it took 2 weeks to get back up to her birth weight. For the following 12 weeks or so she averaged about 4 oz per week of weight gain. I was happy with that even though I knew it was slow. However, for the last 6 weeks or so I have really struggled to have her gain at all. Unfortunately a family member introduced me to peppermint tea made with essential oils and I was drinking a TON of it not knowing that it was horrible for milk production. So after drinking it daily for about a month, I finally discovered that the peppermint was the reason for my drastic drop in supply, and of course I stopped right away. But since then I cannot seem to get my supply back. She was stuck at 10 lb 11 oz for a whole month and she has managed to pick up a few ounces more, so that she's now 11 lbs even at 4 months old. I know that's small, but truly she seems happy and healthy. I do know that my supply isn't what it ought to be though, as some days I nurse practically around the clock to keep her satisfied. I've weighed her throughout the day before and after feedings and there have been some days when she's only gotten 15-16 oz for the entire day. My morning supply is amazing. She always gets 5-6 oz in the first feeding, but it tapers off drastically throughout the day. I'm doing the usual stuff to help with supply...oatmeal, water, pumping occasionally, avoiding caffeine. I am unable to take fenugreek because of previous adverse reaction. Since essential oils are what took my supply away I'm wondering about using different ones to get my supply back. Does anyone have experience with using fennel oil orally? Basil and/clary sage? I took a couple drops of fennel orally when she was born and it did help my supply, but the information online seems to be conflicting. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!! Thanks so much

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    Hi, have you read the book Making More Milk? That will give you lots of good information about increasing low milk production including a good discussion about various galactagogues. There are many other herbal galactagogues aside from fenugreek. Fennel is one, but I am not sure about ingesting fennel oil? Fennel should be available in an easily taken supplement form. Sage, like peppermint, is considered an anti-galactagogue. See: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/herbs_to_avoid/ Here is more info on galactagogues: http://www.canadianbreastfeedingfoun...ed/herbs.shtml

    Galactagogues, herbal, foods, or prescription medication, can only work if milk is being removed from the breast regularly and effectively. Here is my favorite online article on increasing milk production: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply/

    It is also very important mom is normally hydrated. And since nursing makes moms thirsty, a lactating mom may well need more water. Over hydration - pounding down water beyond drinking to thirst- will not help low milk production, but being dehydrated even slightly can make it much harder to make enough milk.

    This is probably the best online article on increasing milk production: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply/

    Have you tried adding in pumping sessions to increase milk production?

    Have you ever seen a lactation consultant?

    It strikes me as odd that your baby ingests a large amount of milk at a single nursing session in the morning, but is not getting enough milk overall. How often does baby nurse overnight? It is normal for a baby to have to nurse "around the clock" to get enough milk, but maybe I am not understanding what you mean- it would help to know how many times in 24 hours your baby typically nurses, about how long each session is (typically) and, after that morning nursing session, how much is baby getting each session? have you tried switching sides a few times each session? Breast compressions?

    Also, some babies gain fine on 15 ounces a day, although that is of course the low end of normal intake. Every baby is different in exactly how much they need to gain well.

    If your baby is really not getting enough milk to gain normally, you may need to consider supplementing. Is your baby's pediatrician at all concerned?

    It is very typical for weight gain to slow down after age 3 or 4 months. Since your baby always gained slowly, and you apparently had trouble making enough milk for your first two children as well, am not sure that peppermint tea was as much as the problem as you think. I do agree that it is of course a good idea to stop drinking it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    Thank you so much for all the great info. My morning supply is just very plentiful because my daughter typically sleeps 8 hours so I guess it has time to build up. The feedings after that are very frequent and long. I nurse for probably an hour at a time with maybe half an hour on average in between feedings. The biggest difference I've noticed between the am feedings and the other daytime feedings is that letdown is far less frequent and when I do have letdown just a small amount of milk come out. So I will usually alternate sides till I I have letdown on each side. After about an hour of this she typically gets 1-1 1/2 ounces. Breast compressions do help some.

    Right now I don't have a pediatrician. We lost ours due to insurance change, so now I have to find a new one. But I am a nurse, so I've been watching for signs of dehydration and so far she seems well hydrated. I haven't done a ton of pumping simply because I am nursing her most of the day. Should I do it after I put her to bed at night? Should I be waking her for a nighttime feeding? She normally doesn't wake up to eat at night.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    Hi, I had sort of the same problem as you but my supply went down due to milk transfer. Although baby was latching fine, she wasnt latching on deep enough to get ALL the fatty milk at the end of a feed so weight gain was painfully slow (she is 16wks & only weighs 9lb). We found out the poor milk transferrance due to her latch not being deep enough was because of a posterior tongue tie & high palate. I was feeding for long periods of time with little break inbetween & she was sleeping from 8 pm to 5am. I was told to wake her for night feeds which was impossible no matter what we did as she was used to us dressing/picking her up etc while asleep. I was then told I MUST supplement with formula to get her weight up & express after feeds to get my supply built up again. I now take domperidone 3 times a day & after a feed, as dad gives her the top up of formula, I go express. This makes my body think that baby is still wanting more milk & as there isn't any there then it will boost my supply. I do 10mins of double pumping after each feed & a power pump at 9 pm. The other thing, apart from the mouth issues that were not helping the weight gain was because she was feeding so often, she was actually using more calories to feed than she was getting per feed because it took so long to satisfy her. Since doing the top ups, she has gained more weight at a faster rate.
    Its not been easy but we are getting there & now express enough for a couple of feeds per day.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    OK so baby is gaining slowly, based on your measurements you think baby is not getting enough milk per day and baby is sleeping eight hours every night - a time period when most babies of four months are probably eating at least once or twice?

    I would suggest nursing baby more over night. Yes even if that means waking baby although you could also try dream feeds.
    There are a few ways to help a baby nurse more overnight. The first thing to do if applicable, would be to stop any practices that are methods to lengthen sleep. Ie, swaddling, pacifiers, or baby sleeping in a separate room from mom.

    If you are already sleeping with baby and baby is not swaddled or given a pacifier at night, then you may have to be more proactive in encouraging baby to nurse overnight.

    This will do two things. First of course it will probably mean more milk overall into baby right away. Milk production typically goes up overnight. This is why many mothers have very full breasts in the early morning. Your supply is probably normal but it has built up for a long time overnight.
    The other reason to nurse overnight is to protect and if necessary increase your milk production. Milk production increases based on how often milk is removed from the breasts. The flipside of this is that long periods of time with no milk removal will act to reduce milk production.

    If baby is transferring one or 2 ounces at later in the day feedings there is nothing unusual about that, specially if baby is nursing frequently. I do you think it is possibly a problem that is taking so long for baby to get that much milk. It is possible baby has some difficulty transferring milk? For help with that the professional to see would be a board-certified lactation consultant if that is possible. But I do wonder how much it would help to encourage baby to nurse a couple times overnight.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; October 12th, 2015 at 05:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    8 hours of sleep sounds great- my kid had me up 3 times in the last 2 nights, and she's 5! But when you suspect supply problems or intake problems, you definitely want to get some calories into the baby overnight.

    It's really important to know that supplements- oatmeal, fenugreek, essential oils, etc.- can provide a small supply increase for some moms, but they are not even half as effective as more nursing or more pumping.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Accidentally destroyed my milk supply...help!

    Thank you all so much for your thoughtful tips and suggestions. I am blown away by your encouraging words and support. I am thinking I am going to do some power pumping in addition to the other supplements to try to build up supply. Also, I am definitely seeing the value of nighttime feeds! I have been swaddling her so I am going to try not swaddling - that's a great idea!

    I do think it's possible that she is having some difficulty transferring the milk or at least tires out as the day goes on so I'm considering having her evaluated for tongue-tie as well.

    Again, thank you ladies! It's easy to feel like you're failing miserably at motherhood when you can't seem to help your baby gain weight on your own milk! Y'all have been very kind!

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