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Thread: Clear milk?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Clear milk?

    As some who have followed our "story" might know, my DD has had weight gain issues (slow, and at times non existant).

    Anyway, I've been reading about the consitancy of EBM, and it does NOT sound at all like what I get! It says that the fat will sepperate. What fat? The EBM I have in the fridge almost looks like water, and what little fat there is, is more like a film on the top (almost nothing).

    I thought this might be the formilk, but even if I pump during a let down right after she feeds, it's still really watery.

    Everyone says that pumping or EBM is no indication of what Baby gets, but this has been the case since the first day I pumped (less then a week PP). Since we've had problems gaining weight I can't help but think that it might be because of the low fat content. Is that even possible?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    I know I have a lot of the clear milk you described also. DS hasn't shown any problems gaining so far, but when he spits up it is often the clear stuff that comes up. I'll be looking forward to reading what others think.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    I am not sure the exact science of foremilk/hindmilk (not even the scientist do! ) but I do know from my experience with 2 kids that at least 90% of what I pumped looked like water when in the refridgerator seperated, and only a thin amount of fat at the top. Neither of my boys have had any issues with weight gain, and to be honest, I think it would be very very rare if not impossible for your milk to not have enough fat. I understand your concerns, but I am sure your milk is GREAT! Better than anything else your daughter will ever eat!

    I hope you find the answers you are looking for!

    Sarah

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    North_of_60 -- I've never heard of a case of inadequate fat content in breast milk. A mother has to be severely malnourished before the nutritional content of her milk is affected, and even then, her body's fat stores -- even if minimal -- will provide a buffer of sorts.

    Low milk supply can and does exist, for various reasons. Also, sometimes other problems (like poor milk transfer by the baby, or a slow letdown by the mother) can "look like" low milk supply. I know that you've been working with a lactation consultant and a breastfeeding-friendly doctor, and it sounds like the issues you are dealing with are still something of a mystery.

    Would you care to update us? How did your 6-week check-up go? Did you discuss the stuff that came up in previous threads, like thyroid levels, the possibility of retained placenta, etc.?

    I'm just thinking out loud now, but I keep wondering if the chronic pain you have from previous injuries is playing a role in inhibiting the letdown of your milk? Are you still in a lot of pain every day? Any luck finding more comfortable positions for breastfeeding?

    --Rebecca

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    117

    Default Re: Clear milk?

    according to dietitian.com, the fat content of your breastmilk is determined by your body mass index.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    I've seen other threads that seem to indicate a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance--where the baby gets mostly the watery foremilk and very little hindmilk. I've never experienced it, but other posts have talked about "block feeding" where you feed exclusively from one side for a while while pumping the other side. That way the baby more quickly gets to the hindmilk and gets more of it. I'll bet if you search the forums or google for "block feeding" or something similar you could find more info. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    Quote Originally Posted by quakerm0mma

    Would you care to update us? How did your 6-week check-up go?
    Better. She gained 5 ounces last week. That is an improvement, but, she has been getting about 8 ounces of formula per day. I asked about the SNS, and he seems to think that if the supplementing is not taking the place of a feeding, and is being given after time at the breast, then SNS wouldn't be needed.

    Did you discuss the stuff that came up in previous threads, like thyroid levels, the possibility of retained placenta, etc.?
    Yeah, and I have an appointment with my OB next week. He highly doubts a retained placenta, since it is accompanied by infection, which I don't have. As for the blood work (thyroid) he's suggested that I get it done at my appointment next week.

    I'm just thinking out loud now, but I keep wondering if the chronic pain you have from previous injuries is playing a role in inhibiting the letdown of your milk?
    That's pretty much what we think too. There seems to be no scientific reasoning behind it. The pediatrician thinks it's a combination of my traumatic labor, the antibiotics (strep B), her gestational age, and my tension. A combination of things, I guess you could say.

    Are you still in a lot of pain every day? Any luck finding more comfortable positions for breastfeeding?
    Yeah, I am pretty sore. But the good thing is that now that she's getting bigger it's getting easier to nurse. I think I have finally gotten the hang of nursing in bed, which is SAVING me!

    Now I just have to figure out how to wean her off the supplement. On days when I think we're doing well breastfeeding, we're back to low diaper output. It's frustrating.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    I have had a weight issue with my ds (but ours did not start until he was 2 mo old.) All I can tell you is to keep it up, your doing a great job and things will get better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Clear milk?

    I know that when I voiced concern about that to my midwife, she recommended that I eat 1/2 an avocado per day to increase my good fat intake. After that my milk really did seem to have more cream at the top, who knows could have been totally coincidental. But i will say that as DS has gotten older, I notice that the fat has decreased some even with my very careful eating.

    Plus, I just loved having an excuse to eat fresh home made guac and chips daily. MMMMM

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    63

    Default Re: Clear milk?

    Quote Originally Posted by North_Of_60
    I asked about the SNS, and he seems to think that if the supplementing is not taking the place of a feeding, and is being given after time at the breast, then SNS wouldn't be needed.

    Now I just have to figure out how to wean her off the supplement. On days when I think we're doing well breastfeeding, we're back to low diaper output. It's frustrating.
    Since you are trying so hard to build up supply, pumping like crazy, and looking to reduce the supplement, I would think that a SNS would be a great way to meet those goals. Your baby could get the extra nutrition while helping stimulate your nipples, and they say that babies provide more effective stimulation than a pump, so it seems like that would be a great addition to your efforts. If any additional milk happened to come out of your nipples while she sucked on the SNS, then she would be able to stop drinking when she gets full, using less of the formula as your production increases, and if milk didn't come out, then her 8oz of formula would still be available, and you'd still be enjoying the extra closeness. I think I would question his judgement on this one--maybe a SNS isn't as crucial here as if you were missing entire feedings, but since you feel strongly about avoiding formula, I'd say it's worth a shot. Was this your OB, and not an IBCLC? Does an SNS need a prescription? Maybe someone with experience on the low supply forum could answer that.

    (Another thought--perhaps you could put ebm in the SNS, if you are getting any from your pumping sessions, like if you had 1 oz ebm to use that first, then add 7oz formula, so that she'd be offered 8oz but get your hard-earned ebm without giving up nipple time.)

    About the clear milk--mine didn't seem to have much of a fat layer, either, and dd topped the scales at 95th%ile. It did separate a little further if left longer...I read a lot of conflicting info on how long bm keeps, so I was always very conservative about giving dd very fresh ebm, so it didn't separate much. Once in a while, when I let a bottle sit longer, for example, if I got homefrom work early enough to leave a bottle unused, and took a few days to get around to discarding it, then the milk would separate more. I just usually only had enough pumped to refrigerate for 24hrs or less, so I rarely saw it do that. However, I was not dealing with low supply (quite the opposite), so you might want to continue looking into it, or mention your concern to the IBCLC, just in case it could help pinpoint what's causing your issues. Hope that helps reassure you a little in the meanwhile, though, that so many of us seem to have clear milk as well. (Just a thought--maybe bring some ebm with you if you see an IBCLC, so that she can see what you mean by clear...that way she would know if it is different, instead of assuming that it is just like the rest of us.)

    Are you underweight yourself, by any chance? Or less than you've weighed before?

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