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Thread: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    My daughter is a little over 2 months old now and I have a little more than one month left before I go back to work. I want to keep breastfeeding her for as long as possible (up to a year). But, I've been having difficulty with my milk supply. I've seen a lactation consultant and tried just about everything that has been recommended to me. Last week, my supply seemed to be improving and and I stopped supplementing. Five days later, my daughter only gained an 1 oz. Its confusing to me because when I fed her on one breast during the weigh in, she took 1.5 oz (she needs 2.5 oz per feed/ 8 times a day).

    I'm so tired of being stressed about my daughter's weight gain. At 2 mos., she was only 8 lbs 4 oz (her birthweight was 7 lbs 3 oz). So, I'm thinking about permanently supplementing with formula while continuing breastfeeding for as long as I can. I 'm also thinking that if I keep trying to breasteed exclusively, maybe I'll succeed. But, I'm afraid that my daughter will suffer and it will take all of the joy out of my last month at home with her.

    Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    Sorry you're having some issues! Kudos to you for putting in so much effort to work towards sorting it all out.

    Quote Originally Posted by wimier View Post
    My daughter is a little over 2 months old now and I have a little more than one month left before I go back to work. I want to keep breastfeeding her for as long as possible (up to a year). But, I've been having difficulty with my milk supply. I've seen a lactation consultant and tried just about everything that has been recommended to me.
    What did she recommend, if you don't mind me asking? Was it a lot like the information here:

    Increasing Low Milk Supply

    Last week, my supply seemed to be improving and and I stopped supplementing. Five days later, my daughter only gained an 1 oz. Its confusing to me because when I fed her on one breast during the weigh in, she took 1.5 oz (she needs 2.5 oz per feed/ 8 times a day).
    Did you stop the supplements suddenly, or did you do it gradually like this:

    Weaning from formula supplements

    Did anyone mention to you that breastfed babies don't always take the same amount of milk at each feeding, that it usually varies throughout the day and from day to day? Bottle-fed babies are different and usually drink set amounts of expressed milk or formula at set intervals of time throughout the day, so they are different. Also, has your baby always been weighed on the same scale? Sometimes that can make a big difference.

    I'm so tired of being stressed about my daughter's weight gain. At 2 mos., she was only 8 lbs 4 oz (her birthweight was 7 lbs 3 oz). So, I'm thinking about permanently supplementing with formula while continuing breastfeeding for as long as I can. I 'm also thinking that if I keep trying to breasteed exclusively, maybe I'll succeed. But, I'm afraid that my daughter will suffer and it will take all of the joy out of my last month at home with her.

    Is it worthwhile to keep trying?
    Here are some other links that may contain useful information for you.

    How might I increase baby's weight gain?
    Protocol to Increase Breastmilk Intake by the Baby

    I can certainly understand why you'd be stressed. Can you possibly call the LC back? Does your pediatrician seem to have any insight?
    Erin (32), breastfeeding CLW, knitting cloth-diapering crocheting, heirloom tomato-growing philosophizing poker-playing feminist artist mama to my 19 month old daughter! Baby #2 due January 2009.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    To answer your question, YES. It is worthwhile to keep trying. Like you, I fought with many supply issues when my lo was young. Now she is 16 months old and still my little nursling. Nothing has ever compared to our nursing bond/relationship.

    As for your supply issues, this is what worked for us. Mind you I started with when she was 3 days old. I supplemented after every feed (feed = nursing on both breast) for 2-3 days, then supp after every other feed for a week, then 3 times a day for a week, 2 times a day for a week, then once a day for 5 weeks. It took a while to drop that last supp because it seemed like she always needed it in the afternoons- when your supply is usually at it's lowest. So as you can see, it took me 8 weeks to get my lo off supp. Even after that, I occasionally had to supp here and there, but not often. So don't rush the exclusive breast fed part, it will come. Also, if you have a supp plan, it takes some stress off you, gives you time to relax and know that things are heading the right way. So, maybe make your own schedule like I did, depending on your lo's needs.

    Main thing, ALWAYS supp AFTER you nurse on both breast. The more stimulation your breast gets, the more milk you will make. I am sure you have been told that.

    Good luck

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    Quote Originally Posted by wimier View Post
    So, I'm thinking about permanently supplementing with formula while continuing breastfeeding for as long as I can. I 'm also thinking that if I keep trying to breasteed exclusively, maybe I'll succeed. But, I'm afraid that my daughter will suffer and it will take all of the joy out of my last month at home with her.

    Is it worthwhile to keep trying?
    It's worthwhile to keep trying, especially if you have a good pump. If you want to increase your supply, I'd try pumping for 5-10 minutes after the feeding you are supplementing.

    I was having the same issues as you, so I pretty much decided that, when I went back to work I would have lo give supplemented formula during the time I was at work and then I would nurse the whole time I was at home. However, when you do this, you end up having to supplement on the weekends, too. So, I started pumping a little bit (just once a day). Then it was twice a day. Then 5 times a day. Then, lo and behold, I was pumping enough to feed dd and provide enough for the bottles.

    I would keep trying. You have another month. I would use it to try and wean off the supplements. Know that, if you can't, you don't have to wean totally. But it is worth is to try.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    You are doing great! I too had a hard time early on but it is worth sticking with it. I had supply issues off and on but now i have tons of milk and I;m donating extras. However, with that said, if you do not keep it up do not feel guilty. Do what is best for you and your LO.
    Samantha: born 3 1/2 weeks early on Sept 2006 6lbs 4 oz 18 inches long with situs inversus totalis. Now a strong healthy little girl that wants to be a NICU doctor, loves her little sister and breastfeeds her dolls!
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 2,200 oz
    Alexandra: born 3 weeks early on July 2010 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches long.
    Milk donated with while nursing first LO: 1,200


    For information on becoming a Breastmilk Donor http://hmbana.org/index/donatemilk

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    Thank you all very much for your encouragement, information and experience. I was totally discouraged by my daughter's weigh-in because the breastfeeding had been steadily improving.

    My daughter arrived at 37 weeks and has been a sleepy baby on the breast. I use compressions, switch sides when she falls asleep, and take fenugreek and Reglan. Using the football hold has helped enormously. Pumping has been difficult because of the amount of time she likes to spend on the breast. She loves to comfort nurse and she wails when I put her down.

    My son (now almost 4) had latching problems early on, but he didn't behave like this at all. It took a little while to build my supply back up for him. After that, everything went smoothly.

    My daughter is so small. But, she never had jaundice and she's alert and otherwise healthy. I think I'll be going back to supplementing and try to wean her when she gets back to a normal weight gaining pattern. I like the idea of a setting up a supplementing plan. I think that will help.

    Thanks again! You've given me support that I really needed.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is it worthwhile to keep trying?

    I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. I know it is a difficult decision between trying to do what you know is healthy for her (BFing exclusively), with no promise for success, vs. spending more time just being with her. I am thinking from what you have said that you will not be able to enjoy you're time off with her if you stop BFing, since it sounds very important to you. You might just be agonizing over your decision the entire time.

    The fact that she likes to "hang out" at the breast is good. I would bet it means that she is getting teeny tiny amounts at any one "feeding", but since she's there pretty much all day, she's actually getting a lot more "feedings" than you think. (I'm using quotes around feedings because it's kind of a misnomer in your DD's case. She's more of a grazer.)

    You've gotten some very good advice here. Follow as much of it as you possibly can.

    The only thing I would add is - are you sleeping with her? Prolactin levels are highest at night and babies can really drink a lot overnight. In fact, if you encouraged a lot of night nursing (while co-sleeping to maximize rest for yourself), that could be a major advantage when you go back to work. Many babies reverse-cycle naturally when moms go back to work, but you can also coax them along. I personally love having this opportunity to re-connect with my daughter at night after I've been away from her all day. It's been really helpful in taking the stress off of having to pump a lot while at work.

    Which leads me to another thought - what kind of bottle are you using to supplement? Make sure you read and follow the bottlefeeding guidelines on www.kellymom.com. Among other things she recommends, you will want to make sure to use a super-low flow nipple to make sure she's not getting more formula than she really needs. The action of sucking on the bottle creates a suction every time the baby swallows, so it draws more milk into the baby's mouth whether they want it or not. I have had success with the Breastflow bottle from the First Years.

    Keep her on the breast! You will do great. Oh! Have you checked out the different growth charts on www.kellymom.com? If your ped is going by a standard FF baby chart, then you may run into growth curve issues when in fact your baby is doing just fine. They grow at their own pace, so keep in mind that there is actually a wide range of normal. They grow in spurts anyway, so you can't expect a standard gain every day or even every week.

    To make a short answer longer, there is a baby in my LLL group (I'm not a leader, just a member) who was TINY up until about 9 months. She was born by C/S at 8+ lbs and then basically shrunk (it was excess fluids from the birth that she didn't get to squeeze out going through the birth canal that made inflated her birth weight). I don't know the exact numbers, but she really looked miniature (seriously, like a dwarf or something) up until 9 months old. Every ped kept telling the mom to supplement but she finally came to the conclusion that her baby was just small (although happy & developmentally normal) and kept on nursing.

    Then she suddenly gained 3 pounds in 1 month! I saw her when she was almost a year old and she was all of a sudden on the same curve as my DD, who has always been a real chunkster, until she leveled off when she started walking. It was really shocking to see! But totally made the point that the mom and baby knew what they were doing, despite the peds' opinions to the contrary! (Meanwhile, the ped was using her as an example of "why you should supplement" to other patients behind her back - that's another story entirely.)

    Anyway, good luck to you!!

  8. #8
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    Default 8 ounces in 9 days!

    I took my daughter back for a weigh in yesterday and she was back on track! During the afternoon each day, I only gave her 2 ounces (1 ounce per feeding), using a nipple feeder. And, I made sure that she fed well over night. I think I can live with the two ounces in the middle of the day. It's likely that she'll be taking more than that when I go back to work, depending on how much I can pump. Thanks again for your support!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 8 ounces in 9 days!

    Yay! Way to go! Keep up the great work!

    L e i l a, married to hubby, loving our "bock-ee" kinda girl, 6.23.06
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