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Thread: Am I empty?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    9

    Default Am I empty?

    I know that technically the breast is never empty, but can it run really low if baby nurses a lot in a short period?

    DD is bfing after almost 2 weeks of exclusive pumping. She's one month old now. For the last three days she's been feeding every 2-2.5 hours until around 11 am. Then she wants to nurse nonstop - which by itself is okay with me. But the longer she's on, the fussier she gets. She starts to unlatch and cry until I relatch her, and we keep up this routine until she gets a letdown. While she's swallowing and for a few minutes after, she stops fussing. After a while, the letdowns get farther and farther apart until she just cries nonstop, even while trying to latch and the nipple is in her mouth. She pushes away from me and arches her neck and back while wailing - tis breaks my heart to see! She cries without latching until she vomits, then cries some more. For the last three days I've given in and given her a bottle of EBM after she throws up. This seems to satisfy her because she quits crying completely. (I know it satisfies me to see her content ) Yesterday and the day before she went back to being satisfied bfing after 3 pm and for the rest of the day.

    I had supply issues early on, but my LC got me to switch my prenatal vitamins and pump after every feeding (10 bfings, 10 pumpings daily). I also tried fenugreek. Everything cleared up and I thought I had a good supply until now. Any thoughts?

    She has been getting one formula bottle, usually the first feeding after midnight. The pedi wants it due to poor weight gain. Maybe I should switch the formula feeding to her fussy period? At least for now? I'm hoping to get her off formula at her weight check next week.

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

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    I am not really sure what to say? I am sorry that you are still having problems. Breastfeeding especially during the neonate stage, the first three months can be really challenging. I think that you have to do what you feel is right for your dc. Your breast should never be "empty" they are constantly making more milk. It sounds like your dc is going through the 3 week growth spurt now at 4 weeks. If she continues to do this for the next couple of days you will probably have a pretty good supply. During this fussy time is she settled any other way? A walk outside? Another set of arms, baby swing, bouncy seat, sling, bath? Will she suck on her fingers etc? Some babies just have a very high need to suck and they are not really hungry. As far as the formula I think that you should taper off 1 ounce a day until you are able to go with out the formula at all. Watch those diapers for good output etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    Wow, you have come so far in just a few weeks -- do you realize what an accomplishment it is to get your baby back on the breast after exclusively pumping? To build your supply to the point that she is getting only 1 supplemental feed each day? You are doing an awesome job! Don't lose sight of that now.

    It sounds to me like a couple things are going on. First, maybe baby has learned to prefer the faster flow of the bottle, and when things slow down at the breast, she's getting frustrated. Second, she's cluster feeding and fussy in the middle of the day. Many women find that their milk supply is a bit higher in the mornings and a bit lower in the late afternoon or evening -- perhaps your own body's pattern just has this happening at midday instead.

    It is terribly stressful and frustrating to see your baby cry so hard. Crying until she vomits makes mom feel even worse, I know. But stop and think about that for a minute. If she's vomiting that much milk -- hey, all that milk came from YOU! She's not starving. She's frustrated.

    The best way to continue bringing your supply back up to meet her demand is to have her do all her sucking at the breast, and to limit supplemental feeds to only what is necessary to meet her caloric needs, not her sucking needs or fast-flow preferences. When she gets so frustrated that she refuses to nurse, try another few tools in your comforting repertoire for a few minutes. Don't keep battling with her nonstop to get her to latch and nurse. Just try something else for 15 or 20 minutes. Then if she is still cuing to nurse, try offering the breast again, but first see if you can hand express for a minute or so to make the letdown come a little faster. If she gets quicker gratification at the breast, she may be willing to nurse longer, which will stimulate your supply further, and so on.

    Hang in there! As for when to offer that formula feeding -- actually, moving it to the daytime might be a good idea, if you replace the nighttime feed with all nursing, not EBM. Nursing during the middle of the night does more to boost your milk supply than daytime nursing does (it's something to do with when your brain is the most sensitive to prolactin or something like that).

    You're definitely making progress -- don't get discouraged!

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    i've had supply issues too so i'm feeling you! i'm having them right now...i agree with a pp ..are you giving her fast flow nipples on the bottles? our baby doc also wanted me to supplement but my son has bad reactions to formula so i've had my back against the wall. he is going through his 3 month growth spurt and has been extra fussy...remember that they have to nurse a lot to build up your supply..also are you burping her a lot?? they can get fussy on the nipple if they have to burp or if they're getting air in ..could her nose be stuffed up? are you taking any kind of meds? if i take anything at all it drys me up. i was wondering what prenatal your LC got you to switch to. are you drinking any barley tea? that helps me..you can buy decaf at japanese markets...i also drink drinks with electrolytes in them like Smart Water...Recharge..are great..if you can't find them..try gatorade..but you should be able to find them at a healthfood market..ALSO do you have an easy expression bra? the kind that holds the breast shield cups so that you can pump 2 at a time?? and are you using a hospital grade pump?? that would help you way more.. check out www.easyexpressionproducts.com for the bra. i had lost my supply almost and then got it back up and now i'm down again and have to start to build it up again...i hate it! i was so happy when i was making a full bottle..whah!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    189

    Smile Re: Am I empty?

    Keep up the good work. You're doing so great.

    I remember those days when I wondered if he was going to be permenantly attached to my breast. I too wondered how I could possibly have enough milk, but by nursing more he really established my supply.

    Things will get better, I promise you.

    I agree that it sounds as if your little one got used to the steady flow of a bottle, which is so different from the flow from our breasts. She'll in time adjust to that too.

    One other suggestion, forget about everything else for awhile. Let the dishes pile up, don't worry about the laundry, order out for supper. Ask for help if you can't stand seeing the house that way. Sit in your rocker and nurse, nurse, nurse. If she seems cranky, go for a little walk and try again after.

    Good luck, we all feel for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    Thank you all... I wish I could reach out and hug each of you!

    Brittan, nothing I've tried calms her. I haven't tried a bath, but walking, swinging, rocking, sitting in her sling, singing, different positions... I went through the typical suggestions for colicky babies, wondering if that was it. No response to anything but food But at least it isn't colic.

    Today she started much earlier in the day, so I tried some syringe EBM and finger sucking. That worked, then I gave her the formula bottle (I nursed last night). Worked! I pumped after; hope that keeps that milk up.

    Also, when you say taper off one oz per day, would you recommend that I nurse after to make up for the calories? Right now she gets 3 oz once a day, so say 2 oz then nurse, next day 1 oz and nurse, etc?

    Mommason, so many good suggestions! Yes, she is a bit congested. I got out the humidifier and saline drops. I hadn't made the connection, though. My LC had me stop Duet DHA prenatals because of the high B6 level. She said that too much B6 can decrease milk. I switched to the Walgreens brand that I was taking prior to getting the Duet and it did seem to help some.

    One day at a time... today's pretty good so far! Plus, she smiled at me for the first time Thank you all again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
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    2,601

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    Yeah! A smile can be so rewarding! SHe knows how hard you are working for her. Yes def nurse more, really nurse whenever you think that she needs it. SHe will def let you know if she is still hungry. Only 3 oz a day really is not that much I can not foresee why you would not be able to cut that out, gradually that it. Keep up the good work!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    One step forward, two steps back...

    I guess we are still having latching problems because I thought my nipples were starting to look bad again, and nursing was getting painful again. I started bleeding again during our last session. I wasn't sure, I guess since I look at my breasts so much every day. DH hasn't seen them in a while so he looked and confirmed it... so I guess it's back to the pump & bottle until I can get help. I called the LLL on Friday but haven't heard back. I'll try again this afternoon.

    I was pumping every 2 hours through the day, and every time dd woke me up to feed. I was able to get just enough to feed her all EBM, plus a few extra ounces each day. I hope I can still do that.

    Despite another setback, I'm not the "total wreck" I was when I logged on the first time. I'm still disappointed but I haven't cried in a few days. It's calming to know there is a supportive community here. Maybe we can work through this, and one day it will be me helping the new mommies?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Am I empty?

    Stay the course! I PROMISE that if you stick with it you will get through this and you will def be helping other moms very soon! You never know someone could be reading this thread, thinking that they want to give up and you sticking with it is their encouragement to keep bfing also. Call the LLL again or try another leader. They could be out of town, sick kids you never know? Keep us posted.

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