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Thread: Chronic low milk supply

  1. #1

    Default Chronic low milk supply

    I'm really getting frustrated that my son is now seven months and we're STILL having low milk supply issues. It seems to happen right around his birthday each month. Sometimes it's accompanied by my period, but other times my supply just gets low for no reason whatsoever. Fenugreek doesn't work... I eat oatmeal by default every morning, and I drink a hell of a lot of water. Not only is my supply low, but when my son latches on, my let-down reflux doesn't happen until at least 5-10 mins later, which results in him constantly pulling off and screaming, tears rolling down his face, tears rolling down MY face...it's just rediculously frustrating. I keep telling myself "I can't give up, I've come so far!" and I don't want to stop breastfeeding, but I don't want my son to starve either. Twice today I couldn't get the let-down to happen, so I gave him formula and pumped the little bit of milk that I had in there (about three oz). A friend of mine mentioned something about asking my OB about some kind of drug that increases my supply, so I sent her an email, I haven't heard back. Prior to my low supply, I had major issues with yeast overgrowth on my nipples for no apparent reason whatsoever. After two rounds of diflucan and probiotics, I managed to get rid of that, and now this. I'm seriously going to loose my mind pumping every three hours. I also want to mention that about a week and a half ago I decided not to wake my son for a 5am feeding anymore. He's been sleeping about 12hrs from 8pm to 8am give or take, and as a result he nurses only about five times a day. I would pump at 11pm and mix the milk that I've pumped into his food during the day. Now, I'm wondering if dropping that feeding has affected my supply. I keep blaming myself, but am I really to blame, or are my hormones screwed up in some way? Any advice?
    Sharon
    http://sharonchristiansen.wordpress.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    I don't know what to say about advice, but I think the medicine you are talking about is domperidone, which you can't get in the US. You can get it but not sure how. I'd google it. Or Reglan.

    HTH
    Married to my soul mate "Dr. Al" 8-22-09
    DD Noah Rae 8-10-98 and for 16 months! who is now a pre-teen girl and I want to
    DS Kael Mathew-Ryan 10-27-09 8 months and counting!
    Loving and happily at work and after each feeding

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    OK, did I read that right? You pumped 3oz? That is not bad at all. That is all I get per sitting (no idea how much DD gets could be the same or more given that babies tend to be much more efficient). I hate to ask this as I am sure you have mentioned it somewhere else on the board, but how do you know your supply dips?
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    Breast milk volume does not grow as the baby ages. It gets more "concentrated" meaning the baby gets all they need in the same number of ounces. And that magic number for most babies is about 25 oz a day. If your DS is only nursing five times a day that would mean he needs around five oz at a time, but it's not easy for some mamas to pump and get the same amount as nursing.

    Frequent nursing is the best way to maintain supply. There is nothing wrong with offering the breast often. It also helps to minimize distractions.

    I would always diaper output and try not to supplement thinking my supply was low when there were adequate wet diapers.

    For cyclical dips many mamas have success taking a calcium/magnesium supplement daily with a 2:1 ratio (1000mg cal/500mg mag).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    It amazes me that every time I talk about low milk supply on this board, no one believes me. I've been nursing my son for seven months. I know by how much milk he's swallowing when he nurses and I know that my supply gets low around the 25th every month. When I notice that he's not getting as much during his feedings (again because I'm watching his swallows) it's usually in the afternoon. I start offering the breast more often, but then the let-down doesn't happen and he gets frustrated and pulls off. He's a great sleeper and also takes two 1.5-2hr naps during the day. I typically nurse him when he wakes, but when my supply decreases, I make a point to offer the breast before he goes down for his nap too. The let-down issue has been the biggest problem. It doesn't matter how frequently I offer it, he's not latching on long enough for the let-down, and then I have to end up pumping and giving a bottle, which he chugs down.
    Sharon
    http://sharonchristiansen.wordpress.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    btdt with a baby who isn't getting enough.

    Well, if it is a let down issue, you could try fennel supplements, or rescue remedy, many people find that helps. Also, I have issues with let down when I am really stressed. Is there anything that also happens on the 25th that could be effecting you emotionally? - Just something to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sharonchristiansen View Post
    It amazes me that every time I talk about low milk supply on this board, no one believes me. I've been nursing my son for seven months. I know by how much milk he's swallowing when he nurses and I know that my supply gets low around the 25th every month. When I notice that he's not getting as much during his feedings (again because I'm watching his swallows) it's usually in the afternoon. I start offering the breast more often, but then the let-down doesn't happen and he gets frustrated and pulls off. He's a great sleeper and also takes two 1.5-2hr naps during the day. I typically nurse him when he wakes, but when my supply decreases, I make a point to offer the breast before he goes down for his nap too. The let-down issue has been the biggest problem. It doesn't matter how frequently I offer it, he's not latching on long enough for the let-down, and then I have to end up pumping and giving a bottle, which he chugs down.
    It is not that we don't believe you, it is just a) we see hundreds of women who feel like I do now, my baby is constantly sucking and never seems full so I know I have supply issues (pretty sure mine is growth spurting and teething together, she also has a cold ) and b) the details are often where one of the experts here (I'm not one but there are a lot here) find the thread that makes it all make sense and help them find the thing that can help.

    I just want to say kudos to you for going that extra mile and pumping for your baby.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    5,883

    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    I had a whole post typed out on my phone and lost it....so here goes again.

    I post a lot, but I don't see every post and sometimes I have a hard time remembering which post belongs to which person, particularly if there has been a lapse in posting.

    Please understand that we post here because it has been a site that has been most helpful to us and we are paying it forward. It's not a job, it's a passion. And no one is trying to insult your intelligence. In pp's case there was low supply and in mine I had a small baby and doctors telling me that I had low supply. So a post about low supply is of interest to us. Yes, there is a script that goes along with low supply posts. And the script is there for good reason.

    It's really common for women to think that their supply is in jeopardy. It's common for women to think that they need to produce increasing amounts of milk as their baby gets bigger/older. It's normal for supply to dip with less frequent nursing and with hormonal cycles.

    Ask me how I know this. Because I never knew at all how much milk I produced with my first two children. And when I pumped three ounces for my two month old I was really disappointed that I had such little milk. But I didn't - I had a baby with milk transfer issues. And I got online and some wise women had posted articles and forum posts about how much milk output is normal and I thought that was really good information. And about watching wet diapers as a way to tell that baby is getting enough. And I thought that was really good information.

    That kind of information is what helped me through the hardest hours of my daughter's infancy. And a lot of other people lurk these threads and if it's not all out there, maybe they will miss it.

    Again, for cyclical hormonal dips in supply, many mamas have had success with cal/mag supplement.

    Here is kellymom's info on it:
    The recommended calcium supplement dosage is between 500 mg calcium/250 mg magnesium and 1500 mg calcium/750 mg magnesium (the higher dosage is generally more effective). Calcium dosages this high should not be taken alone, but as a calcium/magnesium (or calcium/magnesium/zinc) combination. Otherwise the calcium will not be adequately absorbed into your body. The amount of supplement depends on the composition of your diet -- the more animal protein, the more calcium/magnesium needed. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, the lower dosage may work fine for you.

    Start the supplement when you ovulate, and continue through the first few days of your menstrual period. If periods are irregular, then begin calcium/magnesium at 14 days after the beginning of your last menstrual cycle, or simply take the supplement every day.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    I've tried the cal/mag supplement. I take them along with my multi-vitimin. I didn't mean to get snappy, it's just frustrating when I know that my son isn't getting what he needs. He's seven months, and we've been through this quite a few times. At first, I thought it was because I was taking a more structured approach to feeding instead of listening to cues, but even after many months of demand type feeding, the problem is still there each month. There's nothing else that happens each month that would be a stress enducer to cause this. I'm a stay at home Mama and my major focus is my son.

    I've read about hormone levels changing during your period that can cause low supply and also that the milk taste different to the baby. Supply is one thing, but the let-down issue is another. I don't know why (even with mantra-like relaxation techniques) I can't seem to get the let-down to happen quicker OR that there will be enough foremilk to keep him interested in continuing to suck and wait for the let-down.

    This morning he woke up at 6am (he normally sleeps until 8) and I fed him, then he went back to sleep and I tried nursing him again when he got up at 8 and after a few tries, he nursed, but only very few swallows.

    I think I just need to pump every two hours today to get my supply up and just give bottles. I hate doing that because I love nursing my boy, but I've tried and he just gets frustrated that my let-down isn't happening fast enough to the point that it drives him to tears.

    Does anyone know about the DOM medicine that another poster mentioned on this forum? I've emailed my OB, but I haven't heard back.

    Thanks for your help
    Sharon
    http://sharonchristiansen.wordpress.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    First, congrats on keeping up and doing your best to give your baby the best!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sharonchristiansen View Post
    It doesn't matter how frequently I offer it, he's not latching on long enough for the let-down, and then I have to end up pumping and giving a bottle, which he chugs down.
    I wonder, is he using a fast-flow nipple? Perhaps a slower flowing one that makes his jaw work more, to replicate the breast better, would help him be more patient on the breast and/or suck more efficiently, if that is a factor. However, I think you mentioned in the thread you're considering dropping bottles altogether, which is def the best idea!

    My LC trained me to purposefully relax my neck and shoulders to help with let-down, perhaps that might help too.
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Chronic low milk supply

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sharonchristiansen View Post
    It doesn't matter how frequently I offer it, he's not latching on long enough for the let-down, and then I have to end up pumping and giving a bottle, which he chugs down.
    Hi Sharon, I just read this on Kelly Mom: "It's important to note that the feel of the breast, the behavior of your baby, the frequency of nursing, the sensation of let-down, or the amount you pump are not valid ways to determine if you have enough milk for your baby."
    and, on the same page:
    "Your baby guzzles down a bottle of formula or expressed milk after nursing. Many babies will willingly take a bottle even after they have a full feeding at the breast. Read more here from board-certified lactation consultant Kathy Kuhn about why baby may do this and how this can affect milk supply. Of course, if you regularly supplement baby after nursing, your milk supply will drop (see below)." (The hyperlink to the article shows up on the page.)
    Hope this helps! Tell us how things are going for you. Sending you good vibes.
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

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