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Thread: Letdown and supply problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default Letdown and supply problems

    I dont know what else to do to increase my supply. I'm trying oatmeal and fenugreek and nursing at least every 2 hours, though it usually ends up being every hour. I pump but am not able to get more than 1/2 an ounce.

    I think my letdown is non-existent. Is there anything to do about that?

    I had breast enhancement and a lift. My doctor told me that it would not affect my breastfeeding in the future. My baby is 3 months and prior to the last few weeks I had no problems.

    I've had to start supplementing with a bottle of formula to get her fed. I nurse beforehand, have DH or DD feed her, then nurse her again. But she's not getting milk through most of it. There seems to be only once or twice a day when she is getting milk. Now that she has had the bottle she wants it more, b/c the milk comes out easier.

    Any suggestions or ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    Here's some info on figuring out if you have a low supply, and how to try to help fix it:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html

    It could be you are just going thru a growth spurt; I believe most babies have one at 3 months. What kind of a bottle are you using? That might just be making things worse, by introducing nipple confusion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    It's low milk supply. (And my milk doesnt seem to let down.) I've read everything I could find both on this website, kellysmom and the Dr she refers to on her site. She went through her growth spurt a few weeks ago and I managed to keep up but cant now.

    She absolutely has nipple confusion. Today she wont even latch on. I guess I'm through. I'm so unbelieveably sad and dismayed.

    I've talked to a lactation consultant. Two in fact. No one seems to be able to help me.

    Breastfeeding if more than milk, but at this point I would be happy with being able to bottlefeed her breastmilk, but I cant pump enough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    Quote Originally Posted by intime0
    I dont know what else to do to increase my supply. I'm trying oatmeal and fenugreek and nursing at least every 2 hours, though it usually ends up being every hour. I pump but am not able to get more than 1/2 an ounce.

    I think my letdown is non-existent. Is there anything to do about that?

    I had breast enhancement and a lift. My doctor told me that it would not affect my breastfeeding in the future. My baby is 3 months and prior to the last few weeks I had no problems.

    I've had to start supplementing with a bottle of formula to get her fed. I nurse beforehand, have DH or DD feed her, then nurse her again. But she's not getting milk through most of it. There seems to be only once or twice a day when she is getting milk. Now that she has had the bottle she wants it more, b/c the milk comes out easier.

    Any suggestions or ideas?
    I am so sorry you are feeling this way. Let's see if we can help you get back on track.

    You said prior to the last few weeks you had no problems. Could you tell me what exactly happened to lead you to believe you had a problem with supply? This is the most important thing for me to understand as it will help trace things back to the root of what is going on. I would like to clarify when and why you started supplementing with formula. What were the indications that she needed this?

    Are you with dd full-time or do experience some separation due to work, school, etc? I ask this as I would suggest you nurse her *all* of the time and avoid supplements and bottles. This is easier done if you are home with her.

    How do you know dd is not getting any milk during feeds? Some moms never feel let-down and some feel it diminish with time. Do you notice dd suck vigorously at first and then suck/swallow in a slower more rhythmic pattern after that? This would indicate let-down.

    Pumps are not good indicators of milk supply. Many moms nurse babies with plenty of milk but don't let-down well to a breast pump. Your dd is much more efficient than a pump. (Although I realize that right now she is preferring the bottle to your breast.)

    Please don't feel that you are "done". Many moms can re-estabish a full milk supply with lots of nursing, skin-to-skin and staging a nurse-in. Would it be possible to stay in for the next couple of days and just nurse, nurse, nurse? I would suggest doing this in addition to trying to get rid of the bottles, as you are probably right in thinking she is preferring them. If you must supplement you can feed her in other ways: many moms have found using a cup helpful during this time. I can give you more info if you need.

    Hang in there! You should have no trouble bringing your supply back up once we establish why it went down in the first place. If you were not having problems before, than most likely it is not due to your prior surgery.

    I look forward to your reply.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    Kate, thank you so much for taking the time to help me.

    My baby grew just fine after the birth and never lost any weight. But at about 2 months she stopped gaining. That didnt concern us immediately. We know every baby is different. I'm small and so are her sisters, so we figured it had as much to do with that as anything. After 2 weeks she still had not gained and I became a little more concerned. Then about 2 weeks ago, she started crying all day long and just being fussy. She was sleeping 6-8 hours at night and a really long morning nap...she was up every hour and not napping very long.

    Then my DH commented on her baggy skin. I started thinking and realized that she wasnt progressing at all. No cooing, or smiling in a couple days. She's generally a pretty happy and outgoing baby. Then I noticed that she wasnt wetting diapers like she used to. Still pooping a ton, but not wetting.
    So a week ago I gave her 2 oz. (I sat and cried while I fed her.) Then it was easy to see that she was doing better once she was getting more milk.

    I kept giving her more formula b/c she would eat it. Whereas at the breast she would pull off and on and not nurse.

    I'm home all day but have 3 other children. The other day I was the only one here all day, so I tried nursing as often as she would allow but she would cry and want the bottle. I gave her a cup for a little while, but honestly I dont think she got much and she made a huge mess.

    I dont feel the letdown anymore but I know when I do b/c of her sucking pattern. She is not swallowing when she nurses. Now I'm lucky if she will even latch. Today I was spraying milk into her mouth and she would swallow and lick it off. Then suck for a few seconds to a minute, but stop. If she would suck for just a little longer and let my milk come out, she'd be fine I think.

    Please suggest what I do about nursing and supplementing. I feel like if I dont supplement she isnt getting enough.

    Could my period returning cause my milk to decrease?

    Thank you so much for your time!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,900

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    The return in your period could cause a *temporary* dip in supply. It usually only lasts the first couple of days of the period. Frequent nursing/pumping is the key to bringing the production back up.

    It sounds like your baby might be confused by the flow of the bottle. Could you try using a slow flow nipple? Also, maybe try feeding the bottle so it's more like feeding at the breast? Here's a good description:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

    Here's some info on how to get baby back to the breast:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleade...tNov99p99.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html (not LLL resource)

    Here's some info on inhibited let-down and "flow preference" (both from non-LLL resources):
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/letdown.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...flowpreference

    You mention that your baby has not gained weight, her skin became baggy, and she stopped cooing. Things are back to normal since you supplemented. Has your baby been to see her doctor? And what did the doctor suggest?

    You should know that if your production has dipped below your baby's needs that it might be possible to bring it back up to meet her needs. You could also consider combination feeding (both breast and formula). What are your nursing goals?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Letdown and supply problems

    Thank you! I read all that and got some good ideas that I hadnt heard before.

    I've been giving her the slow flow nipple all day and that has helped a tiny bit. I think it will eventually help more as time goes on. I feel like I have more milk than I have had probably due to the supplements I've been taking.

    My goal initially was to nurse until she self weaned, hopefully 2ish years. But no real timeline. I just wanted to enjoy our nursing relationship until I got pregnant again or until she stopped. I still very much want that.

    What do you mean by combination feeding? Isnt that what I'm doing already? Offering breast while supplementing with the bottle.

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