Since starting daycare (and my return to work full-time) six weeks ago, my 5 month-old daughter has started refusing to breastfeed, only accepting the bottle. On the few occassions that she will breastfeed, she only does it for a very short time before she pulls off and cries for a bottle.
I've now been exclusively pumping for about 4 weeks, trying desperately to fill the supply I had been filling prior to returning to work. I've never been able to fully provide breastmilk for her, as I've suffered from a chronic low-supply issues since she was born. When I returned to work, she was getting about 2/3 of her meals from my breastmilk, and about 1/3 from formula. We're now at about 1/4 from breastmilk and 3/4 from formula.
I want nothing more than to provide her with the most breastmilk I can. I'm okay with exclusively pumping if that's what works for us as a family, but I'm struggling with my low supply and how to improve it so that she gets the best benefit. I am committed to continuing to pump so that I can give her every last drop I can get out of me (even if it means just 1/2 oz or whatever a day if it gets that bad - some is better than none!!), it would just be nice if I was back on the 2/3; 1/3 schedule I was on before!!
She's currently eating about 5 oz per feeding. I was getting between 3-4 oz each pump when I started working and am now down to between .75 - 1.25 oz per pump. I am doing the following:
1. I pump 4 times a day at work (8, 10:30, 1:00, and 3:30) and then again at home at 6:00, 8:00, and then 4:30 in the morning. All pumps are 15-20 mintues except the 4:30 one, which takes about 30-35 minutes (I have a VERY slow flow - only a couple of holes work in each breast). I get between .75 - 1.25 oz at each pump except the 4:30 one, which yields about 3 oz. I used to pump at 12:00 am when she was still getting up at night (she now sleeps in 12 hours stretches from 6-6)....should I put that one back into my schedule?
2. I'm taking both Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. I have no idea if they're doing anything, but for all I know, they're the only reason that I'm not down to zero!
3. I'm still trying to breastfeed each and every time she's hungry and I'm with her. Very occasionally (about 1 or 2 times a week), she'll briefly latch on. I figure that's better than nothing at all. FYI - With the help of a lactation consultant, I did try that supplement tube that you attach to your breast that expresses milk when she sucks to try to entice her to breastfeed again, but with no luck. She seems to like it even less!!!
4. I've tried co-sleeping, but after a short time realized that this type of arrangement does not work for our family.
5. I've done a 24 hour feeding/sleeping only schedule, trying to breastfeed her and sleep next to her while she is just diapered to get lots of skin-to-skin contact. I saw no improvement from that little experiment.
6. I drink 8-16 oz of water after each pump, for a total of about ten 8 oz glasses per day.
While getting to 100% breastmilk is unlikely for me (and I'm okay with that), I would like to get back up to about 50/50 if I can, as a realistic short-term goal. Please offer any suggestions for how to get back on track given my situation. For argument's sake, let's assume that she'll not agree to breastfeed again, although I'll keep working at it.
I appreciate your help!