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Thread: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Unhappy Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    My LO was hospitalized only a few short days after he was born in October. He was running a fever and was slightly dehydrated. (It was also an unusually hot October and my apartment didn't have A/C! So horrible!) The hospital immediately had me supplementing as my milk still hadn't come in. I was breastfeeding and pumping, but experiencing latch problems and extremely sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. I was fortunate to spend time with a lactation consultant to correct my issues, but nevertheless my breast feeding adventure got off to a horrible rocky start!

    After we were discharged, I weaned him off formula and happily breastfed him all day long. I felt so accomplished and happy that I was following in the footsteps that my mother had paved for me -- nursing myself and my siblings until we were toddlers. However, shortly thereafter, my LO's pediatrician expressed concern about my LO's slow weight gain and asked me to start supplementing again. And so began my exhausting nursing -- supplementing -- pumping routine every day.

    Now... if I didn't have to throw a 40 hour work week into the mix that routine would have been perfect, and I'd feel like less of a complete failure.

    I've accepted that in order for my LO to be healthy I need to supplement. Initially that was extremely hard for me to accept. As all I dreamed of was breastfeeding my baby without any supplementation. I breastfeed before and after work, all day on my days off and I pump for what feels like every hour in-between. I've never been able to pump more than 2oz per sitting. I've tried literally everything short of a seance and a witch doctor. Fenugreek, blessed thistle, lactation cookies, high calorie meals, gallons of water, lactation tea, lactation tincture, drinking the occasional (but not too keen on the idea) dark ale in the evening.... you name it, everything.

    I feel like I'm losing my battle. And to make matters worse, over the last few days my pumping supply has been cut in half. I don't understand why I'm having so many problems doing something that I imagined would be so natural and easy for me. I want to nurse my LO for as long as I can, but I feel like that choice isn't for me to decide.

    Do any of you have any advice on how I can keep my (little but determined) supply up? Have any of you experienced this struggle before? Lately I've been feeling completely alone and hopeless.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    6

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    Have any of you tried Reglan? I asked my LO's pediatrician about it and he wasn't familiar with the drug, but thought it was a little extreme for me to take just for the sake of increasing my supply. Any thoughts?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    I'm so sorry that you're feeling so hopeless. I'm new to motherhood, breastfeeding and la leche league, but I just went back to work this week and I can share some things that have helped me get my let-down while pumping - that's what signals to your body to move your milk to the front of your breasts so the pump can get it out.

    Definitely relaxing is important. I take a few deep breaths once I get set up in our pumping room. But even more than relaxing for me I need to see and hear my baby. So, when I'm nursing at home I take videos with my cell phone and I have lots and lots of photos of my LO and his sounds on my phone. I play those as I start pumping while taking deep breaths and actually smiling (even if you don't feel like smiling it still seems to make a difference for me).

    Another thing I do that I think helps is I try to maximize skin on skin contact with my baby when I'm home. So as soon as I get home I strip him down to his diaper and I take my shirt off and I hold him and nurse him and sometimes we take a bath.

    Hopefully someone else can chime in on trying to keep supply up with supplementation. I know many women who are encouraged to supplement and who experience the same outcome as you - a decreased supply - so you aren't alone. I don't know enough though to offer any advice but I hope someone will!

    Hang in there and remember that any amount of breast milk you can give your baby is great. I know you want it to be more and hopefully it can be, but the fact that your LO is still getting some breast milk is great. And you are a great mama for being so dedicated. Hang in there and maybe try attending a LLL Meeting in your area for some more direct, specific advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    What sort of pump are you using?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    Hi momma! You mention pumping before and after work - are you night nursing? Night nursing single-handedly preserved my supply when I returned to work. We bed shared so it was always convienent for me and baby - she ate when hungry and often I'd sleep right thru!

    What's your nighttime situation like? Can you nurse more overnight, even if it's a dreamfeed?

  6. #6
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    Jan 2016
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    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    I do bed share! My LO only wakes me up once during the night. Our last feeding is usually around 10pm-11pm and then he was me up usually at 3AM-4AM for his next feeding. He typically falls right back to sleep after that and then wakes up around 6AM-7AM to eat and get up for the day. Lately, I've been making myself get up and pump during the night. I have noticed an increase again!

  7. #7
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    Jan 2016
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    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    I have the Medela Pump In Style. I've wondered if maybe I would do better with a different pump?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    NOVA
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    317

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    Hey there! I feel your pain. I've never had great pump output. Some moms never do, and that's just how it is. Kelly mom says most moms have to pump three times for one feeding. Crazy, right? Moms who can pump more are not the norm. I have struggled for months with this, and finally came to the realization that pumping is just not a talent of mine. If I didn't have to work, my child could gain on bm alone. But that's not in the cards, so I've learned to let it go and move on.

    That being said, what helped me the most were a few things:
    Using breast compressions while pumping
    Pumping as much as i could-in the car on my way to and from work, on breaks, whatever. Kudos to you for pumping in the middle of the night. Every little bit helps!
    Combining blessed thistle and fenugreek when I need a boost.
    Nursing as much as possible with baby. She gets out more than my pump ever does, and if she nurses more, I see a boost I pump output later.
    Changing out valves and membranes regularly.
    Trying a hospital grade pump. I've been renting one, and it helps. I get more with it than when I use my pisa. It's gentler, which also helps when I pump a lot.

    If you are interested in various techniques, I think workandpump.com has some good ideas, I use Dr. Jack Newman's protocol with fenugreek and blessed thistle when I need a boost, and there is a guideline on pumping while driving that an exclusive pumper posted. If you Google it you should be able to find it.

    Good luck, and it really is true that some breastmilk is better than none. Although I despise pumping, I've kept at it bc it's allowed baby and I to keep nursing, and she will be a year old this week. It's tough, but you can get there. You are definitely not alone, I promise!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
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    16,077

    Default Re: Tried everything -- feeling hopeless.

    2oz per session is actually decent output. If your baby was drinking 12times a day that would be 24oz of breastmilk and while that is on the low side it's within the realm of normal. I would make sure that you are stimulating your breasts at least 12 times a day. Whether it be by nursing or pumping, make sure you are getting that much breast stimulation. That will MAINTAIN your supply. So that would look like 1-3 dream feeds, nursing the baby right when you wake in the morning or right before you leave the house. Pump 3 times a day at work, feed the baby right when you see each other in the evening. Which can mean when you pick up from daycare OR right when you get home and then once to sleep. That's 9. Do you co-sleep? Co-sleeper who have full nighttime access often nurse more at night. Another thing to consider is a car pump. Pumping on the way to pick the baby up or on the way home from daycare. Stimulate your breasts!
    Also let go of the idea that you are failing. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. But TBH? I feel like if you worked to make sure you were nursing or pumping 12 times in a 24hour period? You could be producing MOST of your babies milk. Like the average is 24-32oz a day. With 36oz coming in on the heavy side of things. But of you were making 24oz a day? You'd be talking about a 6-10 oz supplement. That's not bad and you aren't failing. You can do it. You ARE doing it.

    Way too lazy for formula

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