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Thread: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    Hi,

    I met with a lactation consultant about a week ago because my 2 week old baby was having poor weight gain and was not gaining back his birth weight. She determined that the baby had a great latch and was interested in breast feeding. He tends to be sleepy at the breast which the LC thought was caused by him not getting enough milk. She thought I must have decreased glandular breast tissue that was interfering with my ability to produce enough milk for my son. She recommended pumping after each feeding and supplementing with expressed breast milk and formula as needed through a tube. My son is now gaining weight appropriately with the supplementation. I'm only able to pump 1/2 to 1 ounce (combined) after each feeding and am very saddened that I might not be able to exclusively breastfeed my baby. I've tried to just breastfeed him during a feeding, but he doesn't seem satisfied and is quickly hungry again. I wake him up every 2 or so hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. I am also concered that he is going to become a "lazy" nurser since he can easier get milk through the tube. Anybody have any success stories of others in a similar situation or anymore advice about what I can do? I am just about ready to give up.

    Thanks,
    Michelle
    Last edited by Michelle1; April 27th, 2006 at 09:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    Oh, hon, I'm sorry you're having these struggles. It must have been disheartening to have an LC confirm that there is a problem and that your baby needs some supplemental feeds right now.

    I'm curious why she thinks there is a problem with insufficient glandular breast tissue? That is really an extremely rare situation. Did she make some observation about the shape of your breasts, etc.? Low milk supply can be easily explained by the much more common patterns of sleepy baby -- that becomes a vicious cycle very quickly, and it's not easy to say whether it was more caused by, or resulting in, low milk supply.

    It sounds to me like her breastfeeding management advice, however, was right on -- pump after each feeding and supplement with EBM and formula as needed using the SNS tube. The supplementing gives your son extra calories that he needs to grow and to be stronger and more active while nursing. The pumping after each feeding probably will NOT produce a great deal of EBM, but it is providing extra stimulation to tell your breasts to make more milk at the next feeding.

    So don't be discouraged by getting only an ounce or less with each pumping session -- that's irrelevant, really. And try to look at the formula as a temporary aide, something that you and your son need and that you will use judiciously just until this problem is resolved and your milk supply catches up with his demand.

    If I'm counting the weeks right, he is about 3 weeks old now, so due for a major growth spurt. Don't let his constant desire to nurse ("quickly hungry again") make you give up in despair. Just keep on with what you are doing, and over time you should see gradual progress -- more EBM perhaps, or fewer ounces of formula going into him. And as he gets stronger and more efficient/coordinated at nursing, you can then work on losing the SNS tube.

    You might want to visit the low milk supply forum here as well, for encouragement from BTDT mothers. Hang in there and let us know how you're doing, and feel free to ask any questions or share any worries here.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    19

    Default Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    Do not give up! It will get easier! I had the same problem with my baby/breasts, it took her almost three weeks to regain her birth weight. I only gave her formula a couple of times though. I took fenugreek, blessed thistle and later even domperidone to increase my milk supply. I'm not sure which one of those actually worked (if any), because I also nursed all the time. I mean she nursed for 2 hours every 2.5 hours and constantly in the evening! (I have an indent in the couch seat to prove it). In our case that lasted for about 9 weeks, eventually she settled into less rigid schedule. It was so worth it though, right now the feedings are a breeze!

    I would suggest you slowly decrease the amount of formula and increase the time on the breast. If he's still hungry after a nursing, put him back on in 10-15 minutes. Your breasts will eventually learn to make enough milk, but they will only make as much as he will drink, so every amount of formula you give him will interfere with your desired production. Just put everything else on hold for a while and nurse, nurse, nurse!

    As for pumping, it is no indication of how much milk your boy is getting from you. I can never (my baby's seven mos now) pump more than 1/2 oz from either breast! Your baby's ability to get the milk out is so much better than any, even hospital grade, pump.

    In those difficult early days a lot of people kept pressuring me to spend more time pumping and supplementing expressed milk (which I did several times), but eventually I'd rather spend that time nursing the baby instead. It really dosn't make much sense to express and then feed (unless you want someone else to feed the baby), considering that the baby will suck more milk out than I could express.

    This is quite helpful information on how to increase milk supply:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html

    Keep it up, it is really worth it! All the best!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    61

    Default Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    If you need to order Domperidone a good place to do it is:

    http://www.globaldrug.tv/category.asp?CtgID=1003

    Motherlove makes a good tincture that contains fenugreek, blessed thistle and other herbs in an alcohol base:

    http://www.motherlove.com/product_more_milk_plus.php


    {{{{ Hugs }}}} Having a low supply is SO HARD, especially when you think about other moms who have plenty of milk but don't WANT to feed their children! : Keep up the good work, it will get easier.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2006
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    Red face Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    awe, I too know who you feel. it is frustrating. but it gets better. i have a 6 month old baby girl who i feed on demand. i wanted to put her on bottle part time with my expressed milk, but i could only get 1 ounce of milk each time. at this time

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    2

    Default Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the advice. I'm hanging in there still pumping and trying to supplement less. I switched to supplementing with the bottle, after a long nursing session, since he was very aware of that tube in his mouth. Suprisingly, he is still a sleepy baby with the bottle so I'm hoping that is contributing somewhat.

    The LC based her thought about my insufficient glandular tissue due to feeling my breasts and feeling more fat than gland tissue, and from my report that I only had minimal breast growth during pregnancy and I didn't feel engorgement after my milk came in. However, since my milk came in my breasts have grown significantly. My sister also had little growth during pregnancy and was able to breastfeed both her kids without problem. I am going to go see my OB soon to see what her thoughts are and we have another weigh in tomorrow, so hopeful ds has grown.

    I didn't notice the low supply board- thanks for pointing it out!

    Lolab- Thanks for letting me know it took 9 weeks for it to work out for you- it keeps me motivated to keep trying.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1

    Default Re: Devastated. . . poor milk supply

    hi Michelle,

    Breastfeeding was and has been a challenge for me too - I have a 7 week old infant. She took a full three weeks to gain enough to reach her birth rate, and the first few weeks were really difficult - she wanted to nurse every hour and a half, and she'd stay on the breast for a good hour each nursing, so I literally had her attached to my breast at least 9 hours a day... sometimes more often than that. Now, she nurses every 2 to 3 hours, and sleeps good streches through the night. Thank goodness, because I was about to lose my mind!

    What worked for me were the Fenugreek tablets. I took three tablets (not the tincture or tea) three times a day, and continue to take them now. Also, I was told many many times that the most important thing is weight gain, is she gaining at least 1 ounce a day.

    You might also want to be tested for hypothyroidism, as that can affect milk supply. I was tested, and had very elevated levels. Apparently it can affect a lot of post-partum women, and people wouldn't necessarily notice, because a lot of the symptoms are the same as those for post-partum recovery (tired, weight gain, dry skin, cold a lot)

    Good luck!

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