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Thread: Losing my milk?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Losing my milk?

    Hi~
    My baby girl is 7 days old and breastfeeding has been going okay. My question is my breasts no longer feel full they feel soft and I cannot manually express much milk. I do get the pins and needles feeling. Am I losing my milk? She has plenty of wet/poopy diapers.


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    hello and congrats on the baby!!
    if she has plently of wet/poopy diapers AND is gaining weight i would think you are making plently of milk for her. one reason that you dont feel full/engorged is bc you are feeding every 2hrs or less so you dont have a long enough time to build up to that "full" feeling. the only time i feel full/engorged is when ds sleeps longer then 6/7hrs at night. during the day i too cant manually express anything BUT he's gainning about 6oz a wk and has plently of wets/poopy diapers. babies are much more efficent at getting milk then us doing it maually or with a pump. my ds is 10.5wks and i remember i had the same type of feeling where i thought for sure that i wasnt making enough milk. if i remember right you dont ever truly empty your breasts at a feeding, your body is constantly making milk. an LLL leader can prob explain it much better then i can.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    Sounds normal. Your breasts will lose the "full" feeling as engorgement subsides. As long as you hear your baby swallowing when she eats, and you're finding plenty of wet and poopy diapers, you can rest assured that your milk is still there!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    Thank you all!! My baby slept a little longer over night and went 3 hours between feedings and my breast became full. Thats when I releized everything was all right. She also had her first 40 minute feeding when morning came. Usually the longest she feeds is 20-25 minutes! Thanks again!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    I have a 5 wk old and am having similar concerns as to my milk supply, but in addition, the last couple of feedings rose other concerns. I feel let downs during the day, at most nursings, and sometimes during pumping (but I only see about 2 oz during pumping). But, the last couple of nursings, I didn't feel a let down and didn't hear much swallowing despite my db's efforts to suck. Does that mean I don't have much milk or is it a latch problem? My db definitely doesn't open his mouth wide enough so I have to kind of squeeze and shove my breast in his mouth. Any tricks to get him to open his mouth wider? Should I experience a let down at each nursing?

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    babycrazy --

    Not all women feel their milk letting down. It would be perfectly normal for you to feel it sometimes, never or all the time. However, your milk should let down at every feeding (several times, in fact). A good way to tell whether your milk is letting down is if your baby goes from shorter suck-suck-suck's to something like a suck-suck-long drawn out suck. Baby will usually swallow after that long drawn out suck. This doesn't last the entire feeding though. Your baby will go back to the shorter sucks and then at some point, your milk will let down again, depending on how long baby stays at the breast. Your let down could've just been inhibited during those few nursing sessions you mentioned. Let-down is a conditioned reflex that can be inhibited by stress or tiredness.

    Don't guage your milk supply on pumping output (although 2 oz. is about the average that women get when they pump).

    The only indication of low milk supply in mom is if baby stops gaining weight (or begins losing weight). A good way to tell if baby is getting enough is to simply count wet diapers. Baby should be having 6-8 wet diapers per day and at 5 weeks old, still having a few bowel movements each day. Can you tell us if your baby is having this amount?

    Now, sometimes latch problems can cause low milk supply because baby isn't sucking effectively. How do your nipples feel? Are they sore? Have you met with a IBCLC or a LLL Leader? If so, what did they say? Not all latches are textbook -- a good latch is indicated by absence of pain in mom and adequate weight gain in the baby.

    Looking forward to your answers

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    Unhappy Re: Losing my milk?

    Hi Carol -

    Thank you for your detailed information. I have contacted a local LLL Leader but we keep playing phone tag. She said she would try to come out to visit me, but it's been almost a week now since our initial contact. My baby only has about one or two large bowels per day and several wet diapers, but the diapers are not always "full" with wetness. The urine is still clear, and skin is tight, but the lack of big bowels concerns me from what you said. Also, I do not feel several let-downs during the nursings. Usually I feel one, maybe two, but as I mentioned, the past two, now three, I can't feel the let downs and unfortunately, my baby gets too sleepy after maybe 5 minutes per breast to get another let down going. I sometimes feel let downs before nursings -- like when it's not time to nurse yet. I think my lack of let downs during feeding is due to stress. Stress from wondering if we'll get a good latch, if he's gassy, if he'll stay awake long enough to eat enough, will he latch-off crying again because of milk isn't coming fast enough, etc... I try to relax, but the stress is compounding every feeding. How can I get him to open his mouth bigger? I think that's one of the big problems. My nipples are a little sore (mostly on the bottom portion), but also, my breasts sometimes get sore, maybe from too much massaging during nursing? I do this to get as much milk as possible into my baby before he falls asleep. I do everything to get him to wake up, but after much effort, if I can't get him to wake up, I'll put him down and of course, he'll wake up about 1/2 hour later cranky, wanting to nurse again. I feel it's a vicious cycle. BTW, my friend mentioned something called "More Milk Plus." to get my milk supply up. Do you recommend that? Thanks for your concerns and advice.
    Last edited by babycrazy2; March 25th, 2006 at 11:15 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    My baby only has about one or two large bowels per day and several wet diapers, but the diapers are not always "full" with wetness. The urine is still clear
    What we're looking for is 3-4 QUARTER-SIZED bowel movements per day. If your baby is having 1-2 LARGE bowel movements per day and 5-6 sopping wet diapers per day then things are probably fine. In order to tell what a sopping wet diaper feels like, pour 3 tablespoons of water into a clean diaper. If baby is wetting more than about 5-6 times/day then there may be less urine in those diapers. Urine should be pale and mild smelling. Also, remember -- at about the 6 week mark (I'd consider you to be at this point), some babies will begin to poop less frequently. Some go several days between bowel movements -- as in, like 10-12+ days.

    I do not feel several let-downs during the nursings. Usually I feel one, maybe two,
    I would not expect you to feel every single let-down during a feeding. Most women only feel the very first one. And it's okay if baby only nurses long enough for one let-down so long as in those few minutes he's getting what he needs. Again, that would be indicated by weight gain and a good way to know whether he's gaining weight is to watch his diaper output. Many babies get everything they need in 5 minutes or less at the breast which is why you might often hear the phrase, "Watch the baby, not the clock."

    Breast compressions are good but if your breasts are becoming sore then perhaps you are over-doing it a bit. What are you doing to wake baby? Again, it may not even be that important to wake him if he does actively nurse for 5 minutes or so. He may very well be getting all that he needs during those few minutes.

    he'll wake up about 1/2 hour later cranky, wanting to nurse again
    This is completely normal newborn behavior. Breastfed babies sometimes nurse like this. Remember, you and your breasts are not only a source of nutrition but also a source of comfort. These first 6-8 weeks are the toughest but it probably won't be too long before baby starts to space his feedings out a bit more. Some babies absolutely need the physical closeness of mom. You may also want to read some books on infant sleep patterns -- they aren't like an adults so babies wake very frequently.

    How can I get him to open his mouth bigger?
    Are you stroking his mouth with your nipple? Try a nose-to-chin stroke to see if that helps.

    my friend mentioned something called "More Milk Plus." to get my milk supply up. Do you recommend that?
    The thing with herbal supplements that promote an increase in milk supply is that they're only effective if they're coupled with increased nursing or pumping. From what you've told us, it doesn't sound like you've got a supply problem. It does sound like you've got a latching problem though. There's no reason to increase your milk if your baby isn't going to consume it, kwim? Also, those types of supplements are rarely needed. Milk supply depends almost entirely on breastmilk removal, or breast stimulation. So if you wanted to increase your milk supply the only thing you'd really need to do is nurse or pump more frequently.

    Instead of increasing your milk, at this point my recommendation to you is to find someone that can help you get your baby latched on properly. LLL Leaders can do this for free but it sounds like the Leader in your area is very busy and may not have the time to make a home visit. You may want to find a IBCLC in your area. It may cost you some money but I promise you, it will be well worth it! You might also try contacting a different leader in your area if there is one.

    With that, I'm going to leave you with some latching/positioning resources -- they aren't from approved LLL sources though.

    Latching and Positioning Resources

    Hang in there, you'll get through this!
    Last edited by LLLCarol; March 25th, 2006 at 12:01 PM.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    Thank you, Carol, for your detailed input. By your description of bowels and wet diapers, I feel confident my baby is outputting fine. My only real question now is my lack of let-down during some nursing sessions. Besides stress, could it be an indicator that I'm not producing enough milk, too? I feel terrible when I don't let down when my baby is hungry... I've resorted to giving pumped breast milk through a bottle (using a special nipple that only releases when the baby sucks hard) once in awhile if I have continuous poor feedings. Should I be pumping after a poor session to keep my milk up? If I do pump, won't my breasts be "empty" so if my baby cries for food an hour later after a poor feeding, he may get even more upset because milk is not coming out? I have already met with a Lactation Consultant, but she did not help much because he had perfect latch while she was observing. The link for the latch was helpful, too. I'm SO frustrated and almost ready to give up bf if I continue to have poor nursings and my baby is crying desperately for food. I REALLY don't want to give up bf, though. Any additional thoughts?
    Last edited by babycrazy2; March 26th, 2006 at 06:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Losing my milk?

    Besides stress, could it be an indicator that I'm not producing enough milk, too?
    No -- the only indication that you aren't producing enough would be the absence of weight gain in baby. And as I mentioned above, a good indication that baby is gaining is his wet and poopy diaper output.

    Stress can affect your let down. It's a conditioned reflex. Here's some information on that for you: Let-down Reflex: Too slow? (not from an approved LLL resource)

    It very well could be that your milk is letting down and you simply aren't feeling it though.

    Should I be pumping after a poor session to keep my milk up?
    If you give a bottle of expressed breastmilk then yes, you need to pump as soon after you give the bottle as possible in order to stimulate your breasts.

    If I do pump, won't my breasts be "empty" so if my baby cries for food an hour later after a poor feeding, he may get even more upset because milk is not coming out?
    Don't worry about that -- your breasts are truly never empty. You always have milk for your baby because your body is continuously making it.

    Try to stay away from bottles and work on relaxing during feedings. When I once had trouble getting my milk to let down for a pumping session I took a few drops under my tongue of Bach's Rescue Remedy (you can Google it) and that really seemed to help me. But take a look at the link I gave you above - it may help.

    Don't worry so much! You're doing a fantastic job. Try not to think of it as your baby crying desperately for food -- babies cry! For lots of reasons and not usually because they're hungry. Your breasts offer more than just food so if baby seems to want to nurse, nurse him but it may not always be because he's hungry. He may just want the comfort

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