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Thread: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    I started breastfeeding well when my ds was able to gain 100g in 3 days. However, due to his jaundice, he was hospitalised and after that, everything went downhill.

    My boy did not regain his birth weight after 1mth although he was getting 6-8 wet & dirty diapers a day then. I was advised by his PD to supplement with FM while expressing my milk at the same time.

    I haven't got much luck in increasing my supply. I'm only able to pump out abt 1oz or sometimes lesser every 3hrs. And that's after squeezing my breasts to get them out. My hubby said I was like squeezing blood out from rocks.

    I went to a lactation consultant, and she put my ms to the test. My boy, underweight and not gaining well, was merely sucking 5ml in 10mins. He's now going 3mths. She advised me to give him full FM and express whatever I've got to give to him until I totally dry up in probably about 2months time. She also said that the hospital grade pumps and drugs/medication will not help me much. I've taken 6 fenugreek pills a day, but it didn't seem to help.

    Anyone can give me alternative advice? I really want to keep on breastfeeding

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    Hmmm....I'm not sure what the LC's recommendation is based on. Milk supply is all about supply and demand. The more demand you put on your breasts, the more milk they'll make. It seems that the LC could've offered some other suggestions before resolving that nothing else will help you! It is hard to know whether you truly suffer from low milk supply because of biological/physical issues or whether your supply is low simply due to breastfeeding mismanagement. Supplementing baby with formula lessens the time that baby spends at the breast. And the less time baby spends at the breast, the less milk you'll make.

    First thing that comes to my mind is that fenugreek is often taken as 3 pills 3 times a day -- that's 9 pills. It's possible that you simply weren't taking enough and/or nursing or pumping often enough. There are other prescription drugs available such as domperidone. Keep in mind though that no herbal or prescription remedy for increasing milk supply is going to be effective unless you couple it with lots of breast stimulation. You mentioned that you pumped every 3 hours -- that's probably not enough.

    You could supplement baby with formula or expressed breast milk through the use of a supplemental nursing system. This will stimulate your breasts (telling them to make more milk) as well as get the much needed nutrition into your baby.

    What type of pump are you using? If it's not a good quality pump then I'd suggest buying a double-electric pump made by Medela or Ameda or renting a hospital grade double electric pump. I'd also suggest talking to your doctor about a prescription for domperidone, getting in touch w/ a different lactation consultant and finding one of your local LLL Leaders to help you through this.

    Finally, here is a bit of literature on increasing your milk supply --

    How Can I Increase My Milk Supply?
    I would like to resume breastfeeding after an interruption (this one has good info on the use of fenugreek & other herbs for increasing milk supply)

    I hope this helps! Please keep us updated on your progress
    Last edited by LLLCarol; March 15th, 2006 at 11:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    133

    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    Your post makes me so angry!!! A LC told me the same thing when my baby was 3 weeks old. I pumped every hour around the clock to increase my supply. My baby then got nipple confusion.

    The LC was wrong. Supply and demand................ If I kept my baby at the breast, she would have increased my supply more than the pump would have.

    Anyway, when my daughter was about 2 months, I went to 2 more LCs and 3 LLL leaders. They helped me clear up nipple confusion and get the baby back to bf. By close to 3 months, we were done with bottles. Now at one year, my daughter is still happily bf and we have absolutely no issues. she has not had a single bottle ever since.

    I am not giving you medical advise, and I do not know if you truly have supply issues. For me, once I made the committment to ignore bad advice and solely bf, all my issues went away.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    The LC said that my ds's suck is weak, which is true, coz previously, his suck was stronger, and I had to wrestle with him to get my nipple out. But now, i don't even need to insert my pinkie deep enough to get him out.

    Will lact-aid help? Or a hospital grade pump will work better for me? I'm using Medela Mini Electric and Avent Isis due to budget constraints. His latch is alright, just that his suck has become weak. How can I improve on that? Before I went to see the LC, my ds will always be on marathon feeds from afternoon onwards. He seems alright in the morning. I tried once to put him fully on the breasts, but end up he got a little dehydrated. According to the LC, my ds seems mild tempered cause he had conditioned himself to conserve his energy due to not enough food.

    The LC is rather reputable in my area, so her words were really disheartening. Perhaps I'll take more fenugreek pills.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    G-d, your story sounds so much like mine. My LC was a former LLL leader and every LLL leader and doctor in the area recommended her. But, she was so wrong. At that age, babies due marathon feed. It's how they stimulate your supply and get the nutrients they need. When I finally got my baby back to the breast, I wore a sling and let her stay latched on basically all day for the first several weeks.

    One more thing to add............... I was still a nervous mother. So, I went to the post office every day at the exact same time. I weighed her there, since they have a callorborated (sp?) scale. That way, I knew she wasn't losing any weight.

    Ignoring the advice of the LC was the hardest decision I had to make. I felt like I was going to starve my child. In the end, it worked for us.

    Good luck! But, any LC who tells you to quit bf isn't really on your side. I think you need a second, third, or even fourth opinion before you make that decision.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    One more thing to add............ I later found out from a LLL leader that the LC wanted me to quit. She felt that I was suffering from post partum depression, and I was to stressed out to bf.

    Remember, LC have motives that may or may not be in our best interest.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    Well, it's quite possible that your son's suck is weak because he's been getting bottles. It's much more difficult to get milk out of a breast than it is to get it out of a bottle. Also, there are some babies who are weak because they aren't getting enough calories. This doesn't sound like your baby though because you have been supplementing him adequately from the sounds of things.

    I do think that it's at least worth a shot in using a SNS or the Lact-Aid, using a better pump, increasing the fenugreek and/or getting a RX for domperidone. I'd exhaust all of your resources before you quit altogether. I do agree with the above sentiment in getting a 2nd opinion. It certainly cannot hurt.

    You'll need to work with an IBCLC (I always suggest that when someone sees a lactation consultant that they ensure that the person is board-certified) closely while you retrain your baby to nurse and the IBCLC can help you keep a close eye on his growth and weight gain. I wouldn't suggest cutting out the supplements all at once because as you saw, your baby got dehydrated. You need to increase your supply while simultaneously decreasing the supplements. It's a delicate balance. BUT if you're motivated then you can do it.

    Marathon feeds are an expected part of breastfeeding. Try to remember that nursing meets more than just nutritional needs. It also meets emotional needs and physical needs in the baby. If your baby wants to nurse the very best thing you can do is allow it. As the above poster mentioned, using a sling is a great way to allow baby free access to the breast while you have some mobility.

    Also, when baby is nursing, try some breast compressions in an effort to get more milk into him and to encourage him to suck actively.

    I hope this helps some more! Try to remain optimistic and get some more opinions on the situation before committing to stopping altogether.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    350

    Default Re: Low low milk supply, LC advised me to quit

    DON'T GIVE UP! I gave up feeding my first at two months of age after thinking I had tried everything. I researched A LOT before giving birth to my second and am happy to report I have been breastfeeding for 6 months now with the help of a great breastpump, domperidone and fenugreek. It's worth it. Rent a hospital grade pump. Take 3 fenugreek 3 times a day. And get your doctor to prescribe domperidone ASAP. I have to take 3 tabs (30mg) 4 times a day (my doctors max dose) and if I try to taper the dose at all, my supply drops. Nurse your baby often. Like every two hours or more often if your baby wants. After nursing, then supplement with formula but use a nipple like naturalatch to prevent nipple confusion OR get one of those supplemental nursing systems where the baby is taking in formula through a tiny tube taped to your breast while nursing on you. After you nurse, then pump with your hospital grade pump. Don't worry if nothing comes out, it is still providing extra breast stimulation. I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it is, I won't lie to you but I swear to you it is worth it. I am so happy I have been able to nuse my second for 6 months and plan to continue as long as I can. This website is great!
    P.S. If you were/are suffering from post partum depression I think breastfeeding helps! Or it did for me anyway. I got more depressed when I gave up nursing my first but this time, even though it was hard and stressful initially, I felt that at least I was trying my best and that made me feel a lot better and then once the nursing started going smoothly, I felt wonderful and so happy to be able to nurse - it really did help ease my depression.
    Last edited by Logan's mom; July 8th, 2006 at 10:07 PM.

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