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Thread: Help, I'm drying up.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    204

    Unhappy Help, I'm drying up.

    Hi, my son is 9 months old and has been breastfeeding very well. he was born prematurely at 5 lbs 4oz, and had open heart surgery when he was 4 months old. now, he is so strong and healthy and weighs almost 22lbs. since the surgery was done and he recovered so well, i decided to go back to work. (i'm a single parent). i was living in PA and got a job in MD. so here's the problem... being a single parent, i can't really pick up and go. so i had to leave my two children in PA with my parents until i find a place for us to live and childcare. (i pick up my key to our new place today, but no luck on the childcare yet.) i started this job on March 20th. they have flex time and allow me to work 4 10-hour days which gives me a longer weekend to go home and see my children. i've been pumping while i'm away from the baby, but lately i'm not getting as much. my breasts have gone back to their small size and i'm worried that i'm "running out of milk." i don't want to have to give up breastfeeding. i didn't breastfeed my first child because i didn't know what i was doing. i've come so far with this one and i don't want it to end. i've been taking some alfalfa supplements to increase my milk supply, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything. can anyone help?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    What kind of pump are you using? How often/long are you pumping? Since you are away from dc for extended periods you may want to look into renting a hospital grade pump. Do you have WIC? They are a great resource for low income families. If you are on WIC they can let you borrow a hospital grade pump at no charge and will even give you an Ameda Purely Yours (same quality as the Medela PIS) to keep at no charge. They also have LCs you can work with. Have you tried fenugreek? They didn't work for me, but my sister tried them and they helped her. She had to take 3 610mg capsule 3xday. Stress can also lower milk supply. I know it is hard (I am a single mom of 2 who just moved myself) but when you pump try to relax and make sure you are getting enough rest, that can make a big difference too. Drink plently of fluids and eat oatmeal too.

    Have you looked into Child Care Assistance? In Texas it is called CCMS (Child Care Management Services), but I believe it is a nation assistance program, they help by paying part of child care costs and lots of day care facilities accept them. For a family of 3 I believe the cut off income is $34,000.00/yr, and the parent fee (part you pay) is 13% of your income.

    Hope this helps! Hang in there you are doing a great job!
    Amanda Mom to James (2/25/04) and nursling Alice (8/24/05)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    i'm using the Medela Pump in Style. i was pumping manually for a couple weeks, but then i bought that. (it was very expensive) i figured it'll be worth it though. i pump about 5 or 6 times a day. i get up at 5am and pump about every 4 to 5 hours until 11pm or 12am. i don't really time it, but i pump until almost nothing comes out. i've never been able to get more than 6 ounces but lately i'm barely getting 4. i figured since i got the new pump, that i could get more out with less effort, but it's not working out like that. he's very good about going right back to the breast as soon as i get home, but i'm afraid my supply is getting less and less. i just started double pumping in hope that it will help, and i'm tryin to fit in another pumping session at work. they don't have a special room or anything so i'm standing up in the bathroom. (not very relaxing, but i try to relax) it doesn't bother me when others come into the bathroom while i'm pumping. i think they're more uncomfortable with it than i am.

    i was reading in another forum about toddlers weaning themselves and the mothers feeling a little sad that that part of their life is ending, and i almost started to cry. maybe my stress is a big part of my lack of milk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,368

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    Wow! It sounds like you have a lot on your plate! I can understand your wanting this to work and you have done so well so far!

    Could I ask you a few more questions to clarify?

    Does ds appear to be needing more milk than you are leaving for him?
    Are you feeling like you are not keeping up with him?
    How much and how often does he take EBM?
    Is he eating any solids yet?
    Is there anyway your parents or mom could come and stay with you for a while with the children. Even for one of the days, so that you could get a bit more time with ds?

    These are just a few things that I thought about when I read your post. I will wait for your reply. Hang in there, you have done wonderfully so far!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    204

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    last weekend when i went home, he finished the last of the milk right before i got there. i'm hoping i brought enough milk to last him for this week. but last week when i was pumping (for this week) was when i was most worried that i'm losing my supply. i feel a little better this week because i got that full feeling when i got back to MD last night. maybe i'm over reacting a little. but my family will be quick to make a bottle of formula and forget about my breastfeeding. i guess that's why i want there to be an endless supply for him. i'd rather have too much milk than just enough.

    he does eat solids and he has about 4, 6 to 8 oz bottles a day, and maybe one at night. when i'm there he nurses about 4 or 5 times and twice or more at night. my aunt is actually the one with him during most of the day. both my parents work. she is going to be coming to MD with me, but we can't do that until my daughter is out of school in June. i don't want to have her start a new school when it'll be ending so soon.

    thanks for all the help. it's great to find a place where i can find some answers and especially the support. not that my family doesn't support me, it's just that they don't feel as strongly about as i do, and they wouldn't care if the baby was breast or formula fed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    204

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    this might be a silly question, but does it make a difference if my breasts went back to their smaller size? is my body going back to it's pre-baby state? will they get bigger if i build my supply back up? this is actually what caused my alarm of "drying up." i hope i can continue to BF.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,368

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    No, that does not make a difference. Breast size does not indicate ability to make milk. Now, storing milk is another issue. Some moms are able to store more milk for longer periods of time. But I know plenty of lactating women whose breasts have gone back to prepregnancy size as their babies have gotten older. This is very normal and common and not an indication of what you can or do produce.

    At this point, you can also consider whether you would wish for him to be given solids or formula if you ran a little short on EBM. LLL does not encourage moms to replace BM with solids at such a young age as your ds, but this may be something to consider. You can suggest certain things to your aunt. Play around with his schedule, amounts of EBM in bottle, amounts of solids, times given, etc. That way you can avoid the risk of them giving formula, if you think this might happen and would worry you.

    BTW, does ds take a pacifier?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    204

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    my aunt is actually pretty good at making the milk last. so far it was just one week that there definitely was not enough milk and they gave him formula. my aunt said "I think he likes it more than your milk!" that kinda hurt. they said he downed it "like a man" but i also found out that shortly after that he threw up "like a man!" he's 9 months, and he eats solids about twice a day. cereal in the morning and some kind of vegatables or fruit for dinner (sometimes both). i think that since he's getting bigger, he likes to eat and drink more. so he has the same supply of milk but he wants more at one time.

    yes he takes a pacifier. i was against it at first, because i wanted him to BF with no problems, but with his heart condition at birth he wasn't supposed to cry or get too upset. so i had to give in to the pacifier. i was determined to BF though, so even though he had bottles and a pacifier he still wanted to BF.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,368

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mama2two
    my aunt is actually pretty good at making the milk last. so far it was just one week that there definitely was not enough milk and they gave him formula. my aunt said "I think he likes it more than your milk!" that kinda hurt. they said he downed it "like a man" but i also found out that shortly after that he threw up "like a man!" he's 9 months, and he eats solids about twice a day. cereal in the morning and some kind of vegatables or fruit for dinner (sometimes both). i think that since he's getting bigger, he likes to eat and drink more. so he has the same supply of milk but he wants more at one time.

    yes he takes a pacifier. i was against it at first, because i wanted him to BF with no problems, but with his heart condition at birth he wasn't supposed to cry or get too upset. so i had to give in to the pacifier. i was determined to BF though, so even though he had bottles and a pacifier he still wanted to BF.
    Ouch! That must have hurt to hear that from your aunt! I am so sorry that you felt badly about that. Never fear-I'm sure he loves and *prefers* you! And obviously it did not agree with him! Poor little guy!

    I guess I was just asking about substitutes for the BM and *you*, that is why I asked about solids and the pacifier. Although LLL would not typically suggest this, your situation is different, and if you prefer he not be given formula, you might find adding just a little extra solids might help. But, if you don't mind about the formula, then that's not an issue.

    The pacifier just might tide him over and give her another way to comfort him while you are not there. Some BF moms who experience separation for work find that caregivers will misinterpret other needs and assume baby needs the bottle. And as you know BF babies can nurse for comfort as well as food. So that is where the pacifier, since he already uses one, could be helpful. Just to get you over those spots where it seems like he might not have enough milk.

    Hopefully this was a one-time occurance where your milk seemed to run a little short and you won't have to deal with it again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Help, I'm drying up.

    I just thought I would mention, too, if you find that you want some more ideas from working moms, and how they handle similar situations, you many wish to post on the Working forum. Lots of moms have had similar experiences and could probably give you some ideas that have worked for them!

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