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Thread: Have I messed everything up???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    Exclamation Have I messed everything up???

    Please Help! I want to know if I have any hope of my milk supply increasing I have been told so many things. I really want this to work!

    I am a new mom and so new to BFing. My little man is 15 days old he was born 8lbs. We got off to a slow start because his blood sugar upon birth was too low to BF, according to the hospital (below 30), and for the first 24 hrs he was in a special care nursury where they would not allow me to BF for fear of lowering his sugar more and he recieved and IV as well as a bottle of 2oz of formula every two hours - so i pumped 6 times with the hospital pump never getting more than a couple drops of colustrum. then I got him and tried BF every time he was hungry the hospital was still monitoring his sugar and so I had to continue to supplement his bfing sessions with formula. It was difficult to learn to position him and we got home on the third day which is when I committed to feeding him around the clock only BM when ever he wanted - there where times he was eating for 4 hours with a few breaks 15 -20 min.

    He went to the pediatrician on the 5th day after birth when he was weighed he had lost weight and weighed 7lbs 5 oz. the doctors wanted to see him again on monday and he lost even more weight 7lbs 3oz and so they encouraged me to supplement until my milk came in - so I did for fear of hurting my son who was not having the appropriate poop diapers (some days zero) then his weight returned to 7lbs 5 oz so the doc said cut back on formula now so I did and he lost weight again in the mean time my son was getting very frustrated at the nipple and his nursing sessions would always take a long time - slow eater I guess. So now that his weight had been fluctuating and it was obvious he was not going to be anywhere close to returning to his birthweight by 2 wks or possibly 3 wks. I started exclusively pumping on Sunday 5/27 to get more sessions (10-12) instead of BFing (7-8) naturally. I tried to do both and that didn't work I was feeding all day long without any help around I barely had enough time to use the restroom or eat. Now that I am pumping I am getting about 8oz total from my double electric pump (works great still not enough milk) and I am supplementing until his little hearts content - I've stopped keeping track of how much formula because it was depressing he seems to have gotten hungrier over the past couple days. We go for another weight check tomorrow I know his is gaining so I am not worried about that I can see it in his face and body.

    so here we are Chris last weight check slightly up - good
    my milk supply - still too low

    and we are wondering if we have permanently ruined our chances for increasing my milk supply to have him 100% BF.

    Please help - I really want to do this for my son.

    thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    I'm sorry to hear you and your little guy have had such a rough start. It's definitely possible for you to increase your milk supply and get him 100% back to breastfeeding. Many women have come back from tougher places to have a long and happy breastfeeding experience -- you can do it too.

    It's wonderful that you are meeting his need for food; I know it's easy to feel bad about giving formula, but it will keep him nourished and growing while you sort out these getting-started problems.

    I'm going to encourage you to begin by getting him back to the breast immediately. Don't wait for pumping alone to bring up your supply first -- no pump can equal a baby's efficiency at milking the breast and stimulating your supply.

    I know it's hard to both nurse and pump, but to the extent you can manage it, try to pump for 10-15 minutes AFTER feeding him, as often as you can manage it through the day, and at least once at night. Don't expect those pumping sessions to produce any EBM -- it's more about stimulating the breasts, so they get the message to crank up their output at the next feeding.

    Your son's frustration at the breast is probably because he's gotten used to the artificial nipple -- the milk flows a lot faster and he doesn't have to wait for letdown. He's going to need some patient encouragement to get back to the breast and start "working" again for his food.

    Can you call a lactation consultant and get hooked up with a supplemental nursing system? You tape a little tube to your breast and put formula or EBM through it, so when baby nurses at the breast he is also receiving the supplement through the tube. This can be a big help in a) coaxing a nipple-confused baby back to the breast; b) avoiding artificial nipples so he doesn't continue to prefer them; and c) saving time so you're not nursing and then giving a bottle.

    Another thing that will help boost your milk-making hormones and help baby back to the breast is keeping him skin-to-skin against your chest as much as possible. Nap with him in a diaper nestled between your breasts. Maybe you can keep him skin-to-skin in a baby carrier or sling. It's sort of nature's way of getting mom and baby in sync with each other. This is also wonderful in a warm bath (with another adult nearby to help for safety).

    I will caution you not to expect an overnight "cure" for the low milk supply. He's a couple weeks old already; it will probably take a couple more weeks to get your supply up to meet his needs. And there's a growth spurt around 3 weeks in age, so that may feel like two steps forward, one step back for a while. Don't give up, and don't doubt yourself.

    Do post with any questions or concerns, and let us know how you are doing.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    Hi, I'm sorry you are going through this tough time. Are you getting 8 oz. a day or per pumping session? Pumps aren't as efficient at emptying the breast as babies. Nursing Chris is better at increasing your supply than the pump. Have you tried Fenugreek suppliments? Another thing that may help you is a Supplimental Nursing System, http://www.medela.com/NewFiles/specialtyfdg.html#sns. It will allow you to suppliment at the breast instead of with a bottle. Have you contacted a local LLL leader or a IBCLC (lactation consultant)? They would be much better at helping you than a doctor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,813

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    I second Rebecca on everything, try to get a SNS that will help you a lot. If you are not already doing so try to sleep with the baby, the more and more you nurse the better. Build yourself a support system and read a lot, it will help you through the hard times.

    I will caution you not to expect an overnight "cure" for the low milk supply. He's a couple weeks old already; it will probably take a couple more weeks to get your supply up to meet his needs. And there's a growth spurt around 3 weeks in age, so that may feel like two steps forward, one step back for a while. Don't give up, and don't doubt yourself
    Super agree!
    Patience and perseverance!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,960

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    Hi! So sorry to hear about your struggles. I also battled with supply issues. Here's what I learned:

    1. Every time you feed your baby, be it bottle or breast, you are nursing. So don't do what I did and cry every time you give your baby a bottle!

    2. If you are bottle-feeding, make sure the experience for the baby is as much like breastfeeding as possible. Pull out your breasts and nestle your baby next to them and you do the feeding, and make sure your baby opens his/her mouth as wide as possible when s/he latches on to the nipple. That way the baby stays trained for eventual breastfeeding. You can get the baby to open his/her mouth wide by tickling his/her upper lip with the bottle nipple.

    3. See a lactation consultant (LC)! I went for 5 sessions, and each one produced a marginal gain in breastfeeding expertise until I was confident and could do it by myself.

    4. If you're pumping, get yourself the best pump out there. That means a hospital-grade pump. You can rent them, usually for about $3 per day. A LC would probably have one, or know where to get one. Hospital-grade pumps are much more stimulating to the breast.

    5. Make sure you have the right size flange (The "mouth" that fits over your nipple and aureola). Some women need bigger flanges to get the most stimulation.

    6. Get a scale. (Again, the LC would have one or know where to get one.) That way you can measure exactly how much your baby is getting per feeding.

    7. If your supply issues continue, consider a prescription for Reglan or (preferably, because it is not associated with a risk for depression) Domperidone. They are anti-reflux drugs that raise serum prolactin levels, and thereby raise milk output. Your midwife or doctor should be able to talk you through any questions you have about them.

    Good luck,
    Momma1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,960

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    Hi! I forgot to mention 3 things that you may want to have checked. All can be checked with simple blood tests, and all can cause low milk supply, though all three are rare.

    1. A thyroid hormone level, since postpartum thyroid problems are fairly common. Make sure your doc/midwife knows the appropriate levels for breastfeeding women: my understanding is that the levels are different from those of the population at large.

    2. Get your midwife/doc to make sure you don't have a fragment of retained placenta.

    3. Check for other hormone problems, specifically for PCOS (Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome).

    Good luck!
    Momma1

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    thank you all for the replies! It is great to have support - this is definately one of the most difficult things I've done but I also feel it may be one of the most rewarding too.

    so I went to the doctor today and Chris is back up to birthweight 8lbs I was so happy about that! I also spoke to their lactation consultant and she gave some great tips in getting him back to the breast so far we have had 3 successful BFing sessions today We struggle a little but I think we can make it work. I am not sure how much formula he is on I am going to spend the next day just keeping a real close eye on how much he is really taking, but I still wonder how will he ever not need formula? how long will this take to ween and more important how do I take it away successfully? (success= no weight loss and continues to grow) also I bought some fenugreek - it has guaranteed potency 350mg it says to take two capsuls twice a day...does anyone have experience I weigh about 135 lbs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    That is great news. I always suggest to take away 1 ounce of formula a day at each feed until you wean off of it. Keep watching your weight and out put and you should be OK.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    The fact that you are still trying proves that NO you have not messed anything up. You and your baby had a tough start, like many other new moms. Getting in contact with an LC or LLL leader will help clear up any problems you might be having with latch on and pumping technique. They will also provide a lot more emotional support than a doctor or nurse would. In the meantime, I highly suggest removing any extraneous sources of stress in your life. Dishes need done? Leave them for someone else. Can't stand your mother in law or any other family members for that matter? Just tell people you have a lot going on and aren't up for company. Focus on your milk and your baby. Everything will fall into place

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Have I messed everything up???

    I can totally relate to all of your thoughts and feelings. With DS I had to really struggle with my supply by pumping and dealing with a sleepy, lazy baby who did not nurse well for four weeks. He lost a lot and I was told to supplement (which I don't regret because it was needed for his health). I constantly cried and felt guilty for not being able to nurse him like I had planned. In the end he got BM for four months and was healthy, happy and fat!!!
    With DD (14 weeks) I was so determined not to have the same problems. I rented a hospital pump and started pumping at the hospital. This time she had a bad case of jaundice and I was made to feel guilty about taking her off the bilibed to nurse a lot. She had to be supplemented because my milk took almost a week to come in and jaundice gets worse without hydration. When she finally got off the bilibed, my supply had already suffered because a jaundiced baby doesn't nurse well (they didn't tell me that at the time) and she had to learn how to nurse all over again....like your LO. Long story short...she did eventually get the hang of nursing and I nursed almost exclusively for three months but still had to use the pump alot to keep things up. When I took back the hospital pump and switched to PIStyle my supply dropped again. So my advice would be to keep the good pump as long as possible until your supply is established really well.
    I can remember crying on the phone with my LC and thinking that it would never get better. It did!!! I am now nursing a few times aday and have a freezer full to keep giving her BM when my milk supply drops more. I just can't keep pumping so much with a two year old to care for as well. Hang in there and rely on a good LC for support. HTH

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