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Thread: anemia and poor milk supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default anemia and poor milk supply?

    I'm in the middle of my second round of unexplained milk supply crashing and after doing everything right (frequent nursing & pumping, switching sides often, breast compressions, plenty of hydration) and lots of worry ... I came across the following on www.kellymom.com that sounds like a possible good lead for me:

    http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vi...ake-table.html - Anemia in the nursing mother has been associated with poor milk supply, however.
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/oatmeal.html - Oatmeal is is a good source of iron. It is known that maternal anemia/low iron levels can result in a decreased milk supply, so it makes sense that eating something high in iron might increase milk supply in some women.
    Background - before TTC I'd been slightly anemic for many years and was taking supplements with 65 mg iron. When I started TTC the prenatal vitamins I take have 30 mg iron, so I stopped taking the iron supplements to avoid overdosing on iron. My blood work while pregnant and at postpartum checkup always came back fine, so I figured I was OK at the 30 mg level of iron. My LO is 6.5 mo old and I've continued to take the prenatal vitamins, but my wonderful healthy balanced pregnancy diet is a thing of the past and these days I'm lucky to eat so know I'm not getting enough of those good dark green veggies. I'm also slightly hypothyroid but taking medication and have been checked recently so I know my thyroid level is fine.

    My immediate plan is to stop the prenatal vitamins and start taking the 65 mg iron supplements and see what happens. I'm also going to try and get an appointment this week with my doctor to get some blood work done and talk with her about what amount of iron I do need. My DH also promised to cook healthy meals.

    I'm looking for additional information about anemia and low supply from either references or personal experiences. Can anyone help?

    Thanks so much!
    Lynn
    Last edited by lsksam; February 19th, 2007 at 06:35 AM. Reason: typo
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    63

    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Maybe you should continue the prenatals and just add the iron - prenatals have a lot more stuff in it!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Thanks for the response - unlike some other supplements that if you take alot are "peed out", it is possible to overdose on iron (iron poisoning or iron toxicity) so until I'm able to see my doctor am being cautious to avoid taking too much.

    http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp - There is considerable potential for iron toxicity because very little iron is excreted from the body. Thus, iron can accumulate in body tissues and organs when normal storage sites are full.
    more:
    http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec24/ch297/ch297h.html
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    you might want to look into a liquid form of iron.
    WE used flora dix but there are other brands around
    heres a link to why your body absorbes it well...
    http://www.florahealth.com/flora/hom...ucts/r4771.asp

  5. #5
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Any Leaders who can help me?

    Anyone?

    Thanks!
    Lynn
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    436

    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Very interesting -- is that why milk supply often drops during menstruation? At least it does for me. I also seem to have a drop a few days before ovulation, but then it usually zooms back up again. I thought it might have to do with estrogen cycles, but the iron thing is interesting.

    We've been treating our DS for anemia using the Floradix liquid that Andrea recommended -- it's supposed to be more absorbable at lower levels. My ped approved it as a good supplement. I've been taking a little myself as I think it's possible I might be slightly anemic. I'm also eating the same iron-rich diet I'm trying to feed my son. Tonight I did lentils and millet in the rice cooker -- super-easy and lots of natural iron (for both of us). That may be one way to avoid toxicity while getting the other nutrients you need. Good luck, I hope you figure this out!
    Annie
    Mama to Jeremy Daniel (12/10/2005)


    I'm a late cloth convert...and you? :tumbsup

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Update - I know I need to be patient and give my body time to rebuild milk supply ... but I feel like I'm barely making enough milk to meet my LO's needs. I'm watching his diaper wets carefully to make sure he's staying hydrated. I don't have a freezer supply (long story over on the milk storage area) and depend on being able to pump enough every day to send to day care for LO the next day. Up til now this hasn't been a problem. I'm looking at the very real possibility of needing to supplement for the first time tomorrow. I know that's not the end of the world, but I'm getting pretty stressed out and upset about the situation. HELP!?
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    8,591

    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Lynn...I didn't post here because of the title, and I really don't know much about anemia, but I have dealt with low milk supply on and off for about 6 months. If you think it may be anemia, but are worried about overdose, can you find an iron supplement with, say, 30 mg of iron and continue to take the prenatal? That would put you at close to your prenatal iron consumption, without the worry of going over and overdosing. I also wanted to point out that what is overdosing prebaby may actually just be about right...remember, your lo is taking some iron from you, but I would def. consult your doctor about that.

    As for the low supply, I did notice a lot of difference after about 2.5 weeks on fenugreek...3-4 tablets 3 times a day, and blessed thistle. I also drank the mother's milk tea as if there were no tomorrow, but I really liked the taste of it. I pumped and pumped, but the I really only saw the difference when I was taking the galatagogues. If you want me to find the kellymom link, let me know and I will, or you can find it yourself...I see you know about the site ! I could also wake early in the morning and pump before dd woke up and get enough for her to make it through the day. One thing to remember is that Sam will be starting to take more in in solids soon, and that is very reassuring, even though he needs to get the majority of his nutrition from breastmilk for the first year, good solids are a great way to "supplement" your milk suppy.

    I will also encourage you to take a good look at your diet, and its deficiencies. It is very important to get your supply back up to eat well, and eat a lot. Don't overindulge, but eat until you are full, and make sure your calories are not empty. I know that made a big difference...anytime I tried to lose weight, my supply would plummet, and I had to make the choice...to breastfeed or get my body back, and I chose to breastfeed. I can get my body back in a few years, right ?

    Sorry I don't have any more specific information for you. Supply is a discouraging thing, but remember, your body is made to provide for your baby, and IT WILL! Just take care of yourself, get into see your doctor, and relax. Stress inhibits supply as well.


    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
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    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


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  9. #9
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Thanks Erin - I haven't been trying to diet, but know that I have not been eating enough and not been eating as healthily as I should (or did when I was pregnant ). On top of the busy life of a working mom, I've also been having problems with my jaw that make it hard to chew so eating becomes a task rather than fun which is too bad because I love to cook and eat. I don't own a scale but based on how my clothes are fitting probably have lost more weight than is healthy for me right now. DH is off to get groceries and has promised to do a better job cooking for me and keep healthy enticing food in the house as well as lots of yummy dark green veggies. I haven't yet tried fenugreek / mothers milk tea but will try that as well.

    We've been offering food to Sam for the past couple of weeks and while he's very good at picking up food and putting it in his mouth he really doesn't show any interest in swallowing - I'm not sure if its the taste or texture he doesn't like. He'll transition to solids when he's ready, but it would be a bit less stressful if he was getting at least a little nutrition from solids. We're not going to push him though!

    I'm hoping my doctor calls back today and I can work with her on nutrition and iron levels.

    Thanks for the hugs and support - it helps so much to have the understanding and support from someone who has been through low supply issues!
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: anemia and poor milk supply?

    Quote Originally Posted by epbrown View Post
    find an iron supplement with, say, 30 mg of iron and continue to take the prenatal?
    Funny update - I just got back from a run to Whole Foods to pick up fenugreek, mothers milk tea & a low dose iron supplement. And got back home to discover my wonder DH had just gotten me a multi-vitamin without iron. Basically the same solution from two different directions!
    Lynn
    DS1: bf 7/2006 -> 4/2009; multiple food allergies
    DS2: bf 9/2009 -> ???
    ; multiple food allergies
    Breastmilk Donor - http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk
    Click HERE to learn about baby led solids (BLS) / baby led weaning (BLW)

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