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Thread: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

  1. #1

    Default Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    I really really need help...I am so desperate and I feel like I've tried it all and nothing is working. I suppose I'll start from the beginning-
    I had my son 4 months ago. In the hospital, the nurses threw the nipple shield on me because they said he "wasn't latching". Well I never really got a chance to even try to get him to latch without it... So all was going well while we were in the hospital- baby was breastfeeding just fine but only using the nipple shield.
    I take him home two days later, still breastfeeding and the next day home he hasn't pooped and barely has peed so of course I freaked out. Long story short we took him to the dr right away and he had lost almost 2 freaking pounds since being born. I wasn't making enough milk for him and I had no idea! So we went to the lactation consultant that same day and she said I have to supplement with formula. I used the hazelbaker for a while but it was very hard to do without help, so I switched to bottles. I would breastfeed both breasts for 20 min each, then supplement with formula. After that I would pump for 15 min. At one point I was getting 3-5 oz pumped after each time!
    When he was about 2 months, he started refusing to breastfeed. He would thrash around and knock the nipple shield off, causing him to get angry and cry. Milk would spill all over and he would get so frustrated I couldn't get him to latch back on. So, I started only pumping and also supplementing with formula. Since then my supply has dropped from producing several ounces, to just 1 oz first thing in the morning, and half an oz each pump the rest of the day, AT BEST. I pump roughly 5-6 times a day.

    Here is a list of all the things I've tried:
    -taking 6+ fenugreek capsules per day for over a month straight.
    -ordering and eating Ayurvedic lactation bars every day for a month
    -eating oatmeal every breakfast
    -majorly increasing my water intake
    -power pumping
    -self expressing milk
    -heat pads on breasts before pumping
    -massaging breasts
    -not wearing a bra or tight shirts
    -not sleeping on my stomach
    -increasing skin to skin time
    -pumping well after the last drop
    -I'm sure there are many more I just can't think of them right now...

    NOTHING HAS WORKED!!!! What is wrong with me? I feel so incompetent as a mother that I can't even provide breastmilk to my son. I still give him the pathetic drops I pump. He's a healthy guy and hasn't gotten sick yet. His dr says its most likely because I still feed him as much BM as possible. But really, it's a pathetic amount and I even get embarrassed around my husband and try to hide the little amount I've pumped because it's shameful.... I am really at a loss right now and I need some help. I still offer my breast to my son ever so often. Yesterday he latched (with the nipple shield) but the milk wouldn't come out fast enough so he got upset.
    Does anyone have any tips for me?? I recently increased my pumping sessions per day and I feel like I'm getting even less now. I increased because I read it would give a signal to my brain to produce more... Not working so far.
    When I was pregnant I was planning on BFing til he was at least 2 yrs old. And I am so crushed... Can anyone relate and/or help with some advice?
    Thank you!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    I'm so sorry you're struggling and you're an amazing mum to be putting in such a huge effort to breastfeed your baby. He drops you give him are NOT pathetic!

    Have you tried medication such as domperidome?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    Breastfeeding is good whether you are able to provide your baby's entire diet or giving him just a single drop per day. It's not all or nothing. And I hope it will be helpful to remember that there are a lot of moms out there who would LOVE to be able to produce as much milk as you are able to make? Because there really are!

    The thing that really jumps out at me from your post is that you have been pumping 5-6 times per day. That is great! Any mom who has ever pumped exclusively knows how much work that represents. But (you knew there was a "but" coming, right?) for most moms, 5-6 pump sessions per day probably is not enough pumping to create or maintain a large milk supply. Think about it this way: on average, babies who are exclusively nursing need to feed a minimum of 8 times per day in order to maintain mom's milk supply at the right level. Most of them will feed quite a bit more often than that- my kids are a good example. At 4 months, they probably nursed at least 10 times during the day and 3-8 times at night. So if you want more milk, the first place to start is probably with pump frequency. I know you increased your number of pump sessions and did not see a big boost in output, but most likely this is due to the time factor. It takes time for your body to read the increase in demand and respond with increased supply. Most women cannot increase pump sessions one day and see a big increase the next day. It may take several days or weeks of increased work with the pump before you really see measurable increases in output, and you should expect to see output creep up rather than skyrocket.

    Some questions for you:
    - What sort of pump are you using?
    - Do you feel like your shields are correctly fitted?
    - Are you pumping at least 1x overnight?
    - What sort of contraception are you using, and did you recently switch to any sort of hormonal method?

    Hang in there! You are doing a fantastic job. Believe me, any mom who has ever pumped exclusively for even one day knows how hard you have been working for the last couple of months. It's something to be incredibly proud of.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    foods are believed to increase breastmilk production
    Fenugreek seeds (methi)
    Fennel Seeds (saunf)
    Fennel water (saunf ka pani) and fennel tea (saunf ki chai) are traditional post-delivery confinement drinks.
    Garlic (lehsun)
    Green leafy vegetables
    Cumin seeds (jeera)
    Sesame seeds (til)
    Holy basil (tulsi)
    Dill seeds (suwa)
    Gourd vegetables
    Pulses or lentils (dals)
    Nuts and dried fruits (meva)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    Hi! Thanks for the reply. I have not tried any medication because I do have a history of depression, and that is a side effect of the drug. (Or so I've been told).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    Hi!
    I am using the Ameda Purely Yours. I do feel like the shields fit just fine. Although, how do I know if they're not? Sometimes I get a shooting pain in my breasts when I pump.
    I am actually not pumping over night because my son sleeps all night. I try to pump after every feeding (although usually this is impossible unless I have help). I think I will start to pump at least once during the night to help. My son hates when he's not in my arms, so pumping in general is tough for me.
    I am not on any birth control. We are just using condoms. I am a bit weird about taking pills or anything that chemically messes with my body.
    Thank tou all for your kind words. I will keep increasing the pumping sessions and hopefully see an increase in a few weeks. I am just deathly afraid of losing my supply since no matter what I've done, it just keeps decreasing.

    As for the foods- I have honestly tried it all and my body just doesn't respond like most moms do.
    I just feel very defeated, especially since I have friends who have recently given birth and they are breastfeeding like champs. I guess I'm a bit jealous of their success! I just got my period and my supply has dropped even more. I hope it comes back up once my period is gone. Ugh!

    Thanks for all the advice, it means a lot!

    Jess

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    The Ameda website has flange fit information. It should not hurt to pump, it may indicate poor sizing or pumping too long/too high a setting. http://www.ameda.com/breast-pumping/...ted/flange-fit and http://www.ameda.com/docs/default-so...p.pdf?sfvrsn=8 You also may want to look for other tips on troubleshooting your pump. For example, have you changed the membranes lately.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    You know, I think the flanges might be a little too big. I'm going to see if target carries any other sizes, otherwise I'll order a small. Hopefully that'll help a bit. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    I am using the Ameda Purely Yours.
    Would it be possible for you to upgrade to something more powerful? The APY is a decent pump, don't get me wrong. But it's best for a mom who has a good supply, a baby who is nursing well, and who only has to rely on the pump part of the time. It's not the best machine for someone who is exclusively pumping- for that, you would ideally use a hospital-grade pump like a Medela Lactina.

    I do feel like the shields fit just fine. Although, how do I know if they're not? Sometimes I get a shooting pain in my breasts when I pump.
    Pain suggests something not quite right. Other signs of a poor fit would be seeing your nipples chafe against the sides of the collection tubes, or seeing a loss of suction while you pump.

    I am actually not pumping over night because my son sleeps all night.
    So that's something you can change which might really pay off! Pumping overnight not only yields milk which you can use during the day, but helps keep your prolactin (the milk-making hormone) levels high which usually increases over-all supply.

    I am not on any birth control. We are just using condoms. I am a bit weird about taking pills or anything that chemically messes with my body.
    Right?! I took the pill for a while in my 20s. Never again! It made me feel so weird, messed with my libido, made my skin really sun-sensitive... Anyway, it's great that you are going with a barrier method for now, since hormonal methods often decrease supply. You probably know this, but just be cautious about using the condoms- once your period is back, breastfeeding is not protecting you against pregnancy.

    As for the foods- I have honestly tried it all and my body just doesn't respond like most moms do.
    Don't blame yourself for this! People talk a lot about herbs and food which boost milk supply, but the truth is that they are nowhere near as effective as more nursing or more pumping.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Milk supply almost non-existent. NEED HELP!!!!!

    Do you know how I would upgrade my pump? I got mine through my insurance when I was pregnant, but I've since changed insurance companies and I wonder if they would cover it. I definitely can't afford to pay out of pocket for a new one.
    I do think the flanges are too big because I notice a small amount of my areola being sucked in. I also lose suction easily if I move just a little bit. I checked target and they didn't have a smaller size, so I'm going to check Walmart later.
    I will be setting an alarm tonight to get up probably around 2-3am to pump
    I sure hope it helps because man is this hard work!!

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