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Thread: Low Milk Supply

  1. #1
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    May 2008
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    Post Low Milk Supply

    I am a first time mother to a little girl born on 5/5/08. She's now 10 days old, and from the beginning we've been having breastfeeding problems, because she likes to suck on her tongue.

    My breasts are so sore that I hate putting her to the breast because it causes me so much pain, but I've been pushing through that because I know that breast is best.

    And now I'm told I have a low milk supply. They have me supplementing with formula and pumping. I'm so afraid that I won't make enough to feed her or that once I do make enough she won't want the breast.

    I need words of advice and encouragement, or maybe some simple suggestions if you have any. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    May 2008
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    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    Congratulations on your daughter! The beginning with b/f can be tough, so I applaud your efforts so far. You are not alone in this.

    A few questions...

    How were you diagnosed with low milk supply?
    How many wet/poopie diapers per day?
    How often are you pumping?

    Sore breasts can be from several different causes. Is it breast pain or nipple pain? Pain at the nipple can be due to a poor latch.

    Do you have access to a lactation consultant (LC), maybe through the local hospital? Or, have you considered contacting your local La Leche League? They have a leader who can help. There's also a toll free number to call for help and to ask questions: 24 hour toll free helpline service 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324).

    I also used the help forum with success early on. Although it does take a few days sometimes to get a response, the info is very good and the support very encouraging.

    Another good resource is website www.kellymom.com/. There is a lot of information there for breastfeeding moms including this link for poor latch: http://www.kellymom.com/newman/01starting_out_right.html

    Keep in touch and be encouraged that you are doing the best you can for your LO. And, from one low-milk mom to another, even if you have to supplement with formula, every drop of breast milk that you can provide is a benefit to your daughter.
    Fran
    Mom to Anna, March 28, 2008

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    Quote Originally Posted by fabmomma View Post
    Congratulations on your daughter! The beginning with b/f can be tough, so I applaud your efforts so far. You are not alone in this.

    A few questions...

    How were you diagnosed with low milk supply?
    How many wet/poopie diapers per day?
    How often are you pumping?

    Sore breasts can be from several different causes. Is it breast pain or nipple pain? Pain at the nipple can be due to a poor latch.

    Do you have access to a lactation consultant (LC), maybe through the local hospital? Or, have you considered contacting your local La Leche League? They have a leader who can help. There's also a toll free number to call for help and to ask questions: 24 hour toll free helpline service 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324).

    I also used the help forum with success early on. Although it does take a few days sometimes to get a response, the info is very good and the support very encouraging.

    Another good resource is website www.kellymom.com/. There is a lot of information there for breastfeeding moms including this link for poor latch: http://www.kellymom.com/newman/01starting_out_right.html

    Keep in touch and be encouraged that you are doing the best you can for your LO. And, from one low-milk mom to another, even if you have to supplement with formula, every drop of breast milk that you can provide is a benefit to your daughter.
    I am seeing a lactation consultant through the hospital where I delivered. She is the one who diagnosed me with low supply. I took my daughter in and had her weighed at 9 days, and she had lost a pound, and when we put her to the breast to feed, she only got .3 oz of my milk.

    She was having several wet diapers a day, but we just finally got a poopy diaper today after almost 5 days without one. Her doctor's office kept telling me she was fine, but I knew that something was wrong.

    So, currently I am supplementing formula with pumped milk.

    But, when I pump, which is after every feeding, or at least every 3 hours. I'm not even getting .5 an oz with both sides combined...it's kind of a let down, because I have my heart set on breastfeeding my baby.

    Thanks for all the help! I really appreciate it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    213

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    It's good to know that you're working with an LC. What does she say about your pumping output?

    I'll share with you what I've read here and what was shared with me from the LLL Help Forum:
    1- The first few weeks are about establishing your supply, not about how much you can pump. Especially during this time you may not be able to pump much, maybe just a few drops each breast.
    2- B/f is about supply and demand. The more you pump - and it sounds like you're doing plenty - the more your body will think it needs to produce. Keep pumping, but be sure to get your rest, too.
    3- Pumping is a poor way to know if you're producing enough milk. Some women can b/f a fat and happy baby and not be successful at pumping.

    Being proactive about your daughter's weight is good. I know how discouraging it is to work so hard at b/f and at increasing your milk supply only to have to break out the bottle of formula. My husband likes to remind me that it's not a defeat. I'm providing 90% of what my LO needs. And, it's not a competition for a grade here - we have to do what's best for our babies, even if it means using formula to get over the hump. You may very well find that as the weeks progress, you'll be able to produce more milk and not only reduce your pumping but be able to wean your LO off of formula entirely. Keep us posted, and keep following your maternal instinct!
    Fran
    Mom to Anna, March 28, 2008

  5. #5
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    May 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    Thanks again for the advice. I just get so discouraged when I hear a bunch of other women talking about how much they produce, and I just don't feel like I'm producing enough. I hope to wean her off of formula as well, because I know that she needs my milk...

    I'm trying hard not to get discouraged it's just hard somedays, so thank you for the advice!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    8

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    I am there with you. My 5 week old and I have already been through low weight gain, several lactation consults, 2 dr. visits, pumping, using a SNS, supplementing with formula, and generally spending what feels like 24/7 trying to find the magic key to exclusively nursing. Now I have been prescribed a drug to increase supply, but I'm not sure if I'll take it. And I agree, it is a bummer to read all the posts of people who have abundant milk, easy nursing, etc. I have relied on these folks for encouragement though.

    I wish you were having an easier time, but it is nice to have someone to relate to about the anxiety and sadness this produces. I am trying to find the balance between staying positive and allowing myself to experience my legitimate feelings.

    I'd love to stay in touch and hear how it's going for you. Best of luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    Quote Originally Posted by Beth Rosch View Post
    I am there with you. My 5 week old and I have already been through low weight gain, several lactation consults, 2 dr. visits, pumping, using a SNS, supplementing with formula, and generally spending what feels like 24/7 trying to find the magic key to exclusively nursing. Now I have been prescribed a drug to increase supply, but I'm not sure if I'll take it. And I agree, it is a bummer to read all the posts of people who have abundant milk, easy nursing, etc. I have relied on these folks for encouragement though.

    I wish you were having an easier time, but it is nice to have someone to relate to about the anxiety and sadness this produces. I am trying to find the balance between staying positive and allowing myself to experience my legitimate feelings.

    I'd love to stay in touch and hear how it's going for you. Best of luck.
    Yeah it's definitely tough. I'm about to give up, but starting today I'm just going to try to stay positive. I've been told to try oatmeal. And fenugreek. Maybe you could give those a shot. Hey, at least we're trying!! Good luck. If you wanna talk, you could email me at bswinford2807@yahoo.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    27

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    I've been drinking the Organic's Mother's Milk tea. It hasn't increased my milk supply drastically, but it has definitely boost it up. I was in the same boat, barely getting an ounce after nursing, so I never had any stored up. Now I'm at least gettin about 4oz (both breast combined)! Still not as much as some moms, but an improvement for me! The tea taste pretty good too. You may want to try that. If you find anything else that works for you please let me know!

    Keep hangin in there though! It's all worth it!!
    Mommy of 3, newest DD, Jordyn, born 3-19-08

    Birth weight 9.4lbs
    Left hosp 8.13lbs
    2wk 9.3lbs
    6wk 10.13lbs

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,813

    Default Re: Low Milk Supply

    I'm sorry you're struggling! The early days/weeks of breastfeeding can be really rough. (I know- I had cracked nipples, low supply, a baby who wasn't gaining weight- the whole nine yards! )

    You mentioned that you are pumping. What sort of pump are you using? When I needed to increase my supply, I started out using an Ameda Purely-Yours and had little success. When I switched to a hospital-grade rental pump (a Medela Lactina) I did a lot better.

    Are you pumping exclusively, or nursing and pumping? If you're getting .5 oz after nursing, it's not as worrisome as .5 oz total without nursing.

    How are you supplementing your baby? Are you using a supplemental nursing system (SNS), or a bottle? If you're using a bottle, you might want to consider switching to the SNS. It can keep your baby from rejecting the breast due to nipple confusion, something which I would think would be especially worrisome if your baby has some problems with her sucking skills.

    If your baby sleepy at the breast? If so, breast compressions may help keep her awake, as can undressing her, or rubbing a cool damp washrag on her feet or against the grain of her hair.

    How is your baby's latch? Pain-free or painful? And what do your nipples look like when she comes of the breast- are they symmetrical like pencil erasers (good), or asymmetrical like lipsticks (bad)?

    Has your baby been checked for tongue-tie? Tongue-tie can affect her ability to nurse effectively, and can be corrected with a simple snip of the frenulum.

    How was your birth? Did you have a c-section or excessive blood loss? Some moms who have either of these things happen notice that their milk takes longer to fully "come in."

    There are some physical conditions that can cause low supply. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one. Thyroid problems (either hypo- or hyper- thyroid) can also cause supply problems, and postpartum thyroid issues are quite common. A fragment of retained placenta can also delay/inhibit milk production.

    Be confident that most nursing issues can be resolved if you are patient and persistent! Just because nursing is natural doesn't mean it's easy. Hang in there!

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