I am truly at my wits end and am grasping at straws for anything else I might be able to do to increase my milk supply. My baby is now 5 weeks old and I am only able to pump 1-10mL (yes, mL...not ounces!) total. Here is my story, sorry its a long one!
In the beginning, while still in the hospital (was there for 5 days due to c-section) I had a terrible time getting LO to latch and was told to do skin-to-skin, attempt breastfeeding, then have husband give bottle while I pump. I did this while in the hospital but by the time I got home my nipples were so bruised and tender that I could not put baby to the breast but pumping was tolerable so I had husband give a bottle while I pumped. After doing this for a few days, my nipples healed and I attempted to put baby to the breast but after having a bottle he wanted nothing to do with the breast. I was pumping around 10-20mL total (including hand expressing afterwards) and had a couple of times that I got 40-50mL total but was still not able to get LO to stay at the breast for more than a few seconds to a minute without becoming completely inconsolable. I really tried keeping him at the breast, but it would get to the point where we would be minutes in and he just would not calm down or even attempt to latch.
At that point I got with a lactation consultant who gave me a supplemental nursing system and fenugreek (3 pills, 3x/day). I had all the hope in the world when I left that consultation. I went and got the fenugreek that day and began using the sytem right away. With the help of my husband during feedings, I was able to get LO to latch and taking a feeding at the breast. During this time I was also pumping about 30min after a feeding a couple times a day and was only getting a few drops, but just assumed this was due to baby drinking all my milk. However, I was not told this was only a starter system and within about a week LO once again became inconsolable at the breast, even with increasing the amount of formula given with the supplemental system. I made another appointment with a lactation consultant and in the mean time had to give LO bottles again while pumping and getting only a few drops to a few mL's at a time. At the second consultation I was told the supplemental nursing system I was using was just a starter kit and that LO was probably not happy at the breast because the tubing was too small and he was not getting milk fast enough. I was instructed to increase my fenugreek to 4 pills 3x/day and to add goats rue. The lactation consultant had no ideas as to why I was not producing much milk and suggested I buy a different supplemental nursing system with a larger tubing to satisfy the flow my LO was looking for.
I have ordered the new system online but have not received it yet (I ordered it 4 days ago) and have increased the herbal supplements as instructed (so I have been on the goats rue for 4 days). In the mean time I am giving a bottle (LO would still refuse the breast, even with starter kit supplemental system...I was even bolusing the system throughout the feeding) and pumping about every 3 hours during the day and every 4 at night. I am currently getting anywhere from 1-10mL total, with the exception of getting 20-22mL total twice within the past two days (random, didn't do anything different that I can think of).
During all my times pumping I have tried pumping every 2 hours religiously for 2 days straight with no change in supply and left exhausted (I was also having to mix formula and feed LO a bottle so by the time I did that, cleaned the bottles, pumped, cleaned by pump parts...I literally did not sleep). I have tried warm compresses, pumping after the shower, skin-to-skin (although I will admit I did not do this much), and hand expressed after every pumping session to ensure I was emptying the breast thoroughly (my right breast sometimes only gives milk by hand expressing).
At this point I need to mention that I have had a breast augmentation, 6 years ago. Under the muscle silicone implants with incision underneath the breast. I was told by my surgeon and 4 separate lactation consultants that this should not be affecting my milk supply.
At my second lactation consultation I was basically told I could continue to use a supplemental nursing system to get the experience of breastfeeding but if I truly cannot produce enough milk to actually feed my LO I plan to quit altogether because it actually hurts my heart more to "fake" breastfeed than to just give him formula, not to mention it is extremely time consuming to use the supplemental nursing system (a price I was willing to pay when I thought it would increase my milk supply). The only thing I have not tried is the new supplemental nursing system with the faster flow, but I have low hopes that this will increase my milk supply since I used the other system for a week and saw no changes while pumping (I know pumping isn't a good indication of milk supply but I saw a decrease from what I was pumping before so it clearly wasn't increasing).
My questions are:
1. Are there any suggestions as to why I am not producing much (if any) milk?
2. Has anyone heard of low prolactin or oxytocin levels and if there are medications to make up for this?
3. What, if anything, can I do at this point to increase my milk supply? Or is it too late being that LO is 5 weeks old and used to the bottle?
Since I was (although just once) able to pump 50mL total, I don't see why I am unable to do that again?
Any suggestions or even just some reassurance would be nice at this point. I have cried and cried over this since I so desperately wanted to breastfeed. Sorry for the incredibly long post.
P.S. I am also worried that once I go back to work my milk will dry up completely. I work in an emergency room and would only have an opportunity to pump maybe twice in a 12hr shift. I work three 12hr shifts in a row and am thinking by the third day my milk supply will be done for, considering I am already getting so little.