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Thread: Have I lost my supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Question Have I lost my supply?

    HI-

    I am very upset that I am having problems bf my baby. She is now 2 1/2 months old. Here is my story/problems...
    My husband is active duty and we had to move two months before our (first) baby was born. And I was taking 12 hours of college classes online trying to finish my degree. And we had to move yet again when she was 6 weeks old. Up until she was about 6 weeks she seemed to be feeding ok and was having regular bowl movements. By the way, my baby was jaundice and the nurses said that because of that I needed to supplement with a little formula after each feeding, so I did, not knowing it was a mistake. Right around the time of the move I got a breast infection. It went untreated for 2 weeks because I had no doctor due to the move and simply because I thought it was a bad clogged duct. I kept trying to feed as it said to online and didn't do much for it because I had no fever. It got to where it was hurting so bad that I had to feed sometimes with a bottle. Before I finally was able to get it treated I had been feeding more formula than breastmilk.

    Now it has healed but I am afraid that I have permenantly diminished my milk supply. My breasts never feel full, I rarely have a let-down, and she doesn't appear to be doing anything but shallow sucking. She used to make a cute pucker with her lips when she was full and now I never see that...she just sucks and sucks and sucks, almost always falling asleep during.
    I have been pumping a lot trying to help build my supply, and I have stopped supplementing formula, and reduced the amount of breastmilk supplementation I give. But sometimes when I don't she is so fussy. She seems to be always sucking her hand and my shirt and arm when she's near the breast.

    I am afraid that with all the stress of classes and moving so much I have hurt my milk supply and kept her from establishing any routine.

    On top of this, at the same time as my infection (when she was 6 weeks) she stopped having bowl movements regularly. The last two bowl movements have been 6 days apart. She passes soft dark brown stool but she appears to be in so much pain for approximately two days prior, pushing a lot, squirming, and screaming.
    I have not been able to see the same doctor for any of her appointments due to the move and the military, but per the first doctors orders, I have been giving her baby prune juice and Karo w/ water regulary. The doc had told me to give her a little prune juice after each feeding and Karo 3 times a day. After a week or two I stopped giving so much because I think that is way to much sugar for a baby, but I still give two ounces prune juice a day and 1 bottle of Karo water every few days.

    My questions:
    ****1. How can I build up my supply to where my breasts feel full again and I get a good let down at each feeding?
    2. Could my infection have passed anything on to my baby to cause her to not be pooping regularly?
    3. What can I do to help my baby pass her bowls easier?
    4. Will Fenugreek help?


    Thank you for any help you all can give!!!!!

    Jen

  2. #2

    Default Re: Have I lost my supply?

    Hi There!

    What an ordeal you've been through! It's so great that you are so committed to breastfeeding your baby.

    I have a few questions for you
    1. What was her birthweight?
    2. What does she weigh now?
    3. How many wet diapers is she having per day?
    4. When you do supplement (with formula or pumped milk) how are you supplementing.

    Here is an article that can help you determine whether or not your baby is getting enough to eat:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/enough.html

    Now for YOUR questions

    1. How can I build up my supply to where my breasts feel full again and I get a good let down at each feeding?
    It definitely sounds like you're on the right track. Let the baby nurse as often and as long as she wishes. You may feel like you're tied to the couch for a while, but this is crucial to get the milk supply back up. Using skin-to-skin contact will help. Taking the baby to bed with you will help a lot--prolactin levels are higher at night, so allowing the baby unrestricted access to the breast through the night can really help get a supply back up. Here are some articles that may help you with increasing supply:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/relactation.html
    and with cosleeping:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/cosleep.html

    I strongly suggest you find a LLL Leader in your area who can walk you through the process.
    When you MUST supplement, consider using something besides a bottle. Babies have to suckle differently at a bottle, and this can cause them to become less efficient at the breast. A Lact-Aid or SNS might work well--these use a tube, taped to the breast so that the baby sucks on your breast and the tube at the same time. This ensures that she takes all her meals at the breast, and you can gradually cut back on the supplementation and wean her off the tube. You'll need to find a LLL Leader or a lactation consultant to help you set something like this up.

    2. Could my infection have passed anything on to my baby to cause her to not be pooping regularly?
    No. The kind of infection you get with mastitis is not passed through the breastmilk to the baby. In fact, it's better for both of you if you continue to nurse through the infection. Moving milk regularly through the ducts helps the infection to clear.

    I want to reassure you that it's VERY normal for a breastfed baby to start going a few or even several days between bowel movements, starting right around 6 weeks. As long as your baby is having at least 6-8 wet diapers per day, it's okay if she's going several days between dirty diapers.

    You say that when your baby does have a bowel movement that it is soft. Constipation is defined by the texture of the poop (hard, dry, pellet-like), not by how often the baby goes. Based on your post, I would say your baby is NOT constipated and doesn't need the prune juice or the Karo syrup anymore.

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/bm.html

    3. What can I do to help my baby pass her bowls easier?
    Again, I want to reassure you that her bowel habits don't seem abnormal UNLESS she is showing other signs of not getting enough milk, like not having enough wet diapers.

    Some of this just happens with time as the baby's bowels mature. Some babies do better with certain positions. Try putting her in a position where she can brace and push her feet against something, or try putting her on her tummy. Some of the discomfort may be due to gas. Laying baby on her back and gently moving her legs in a "bicycling" motion may help her expel that gas. If she's very gassy all the time, you may consider your diet and see if something you're eating may be bothering her.

    4. Will Fenugreek help?
    It might. It works well for some mothers. See the link on relactation above for info on how to use Fenugreek. Make sure YOU are eating enough, drinking to thirst, and getting plenty of rest. Some mothers also have success with oatmeal.

    Okay, I know I've just thrown a truckload of information at you here Please, please, please feel free to post back with any questions or clarifications that you might need. And keep us updated!

    Hang in there! You're doing a great job!
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Talking Re: Have I lost my supply?

    HI--

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Her birthweight was 6 lbs 12.5 ounces.
    Two weeks ago (at two month well baby) she was 12 lbs even.
    I'm worried I gave too much sugar with the Karo and prune juice and not enough nutrients because of how much weight she has gained.
    I'll count how many wet diapers she has during the next few days but she can go a few hours without a change. And sometimes the diaper is soaked and sometimes just damp. The last few nights she has slept through the night and when I change her diaper in the morning it is not completely soaked.

    I supplement mainly breastmilk on cue after feedings. If she is still fussy or sucking her hands I will give her more by bottle, which is roughly every other feeding. I will give four ounces of formula maybe every couple of days. It used to be more like 4 ounces per day but I recently bought a Medela double pump so I've been able to express more milk.

    I have tried to contact an LC in the league where we just moved. The only one is some 30 miles away and her telephone number on the website is missing a digit. I am visiting my parents for two weeks in another state while my husband is in a training school for a month. The closest LLL LC in their area is 1 1/2 hours away. Any suggestions? If I could get the number to the LC in my area I will definitely contact her when I get home next week!!

    Thanks for all the info! And for the quick reply.

    Jen

  4. #4

    Default Re: Have I lost my supply?

    Wow, her weight gain looks great! It sounds like she's definitely getting enough to eat, and the good news is that most of that is now coming from breastmilk!

    When are you pumping the milk that you use to supplement? I'd suggest putting her to the breast during those times that you usually pump. You can try using breast compressions to get more into her during the feedings(I sound like a broken record tonight--I'm recommending these all over the place!):

    1. Make a "C" with your hand and use it to support the breast with the thumb on the underside of the breast.

    2. Any time she stops suckling, gently squeeze the breast. This will usually result in herstarting to suckle again.

    3. When she starts to suckle again, let go. When she stops, gently squeeze again. Repeat, rotating your hand around your breast.

    4. When the compression fails to stimulate suckling, burp her and offer the other side. If she's still not interested or stays asleep, then she's probably full enough.

    You should be gradually cutting back on the amount of formula you use as well. Truthfully, if you're going a full 24 hours without using at all, then you probably don't need it any more. Just keep working on getting her to eat more during nursing sessions. Any time she acts like she's hungry, put her on the breast first. You may need to keep pumping some for several more days, but really work on just getting her take ALL of her nutrition at the breast and only use the bottle as a very last resort.

    With regards to the LC, I'm not sure what website you're looking at, but try looking her up on www.ilca.org. You might also try calling some of the local hospitals to see if they have her number on file somewhere (and be sure to let her know that her phone number is wrong where you're looking at).

    It really sounds like you're headed in the right direction. Just keep offering, keep encouraging her to nurse, use those breast compressions. It may take several days of just tons of nursing, but that supply will come back up!

    You can do it!
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Have I lost my supply?

    Jen-

    I just wanted to share that around 2 mo. my DD went from pooping every day to every 7-10 days. Once she went 15 days without a dirty diaper. I love sharing that story because it surprises people so much. The doctor said as long as the poop is soft there's no problem. He said there's so little waste with breastfeeding because it's such a perfect food. If you think your baby is trying to poop, I noticed holding my DD upright and letting her squat on my lap seemed to help. And, watch out when it's been a while since a dirty diaper- it'll be a massive blowout! Of course that's the trade off for only having to do it every week or so!

    Hope things start going more smotthly for you!

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