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needing some support

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm so ready to quit. I've always had borderline low supply (just enough to get by), but for the past 2 weeks my output pumping during work hours (work 4 days/week) has been terrible. I thought it was my pump maybe beginning to give out (Ameda) then borrowed a friend's (Medela) and got even less using it today. Maybe I just need an adjustment period when switching brands.

I'm so tired of worrying if babe is getting enough. I'm so tired of working so hard to get 6 measly ounces. I'm tired of watching my freezer supply slip away, and wondering how much longer I can make this last. I'm just plain tired.

I want so badly to make it to a year (almost 8 months now), and it seems silly to quit now, but I'm having a hard time mentally. My heart is crushed when I pump for 20 minutes and get barely over an ounce - TOTAL. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter, I have frozen milk (dwindling, but it's there for now). Or that one bottle of formula won't matter (since I'm supplementing with frozen anyway).

But honestly it's so hard. I've struggled with this for 8 months. Not a day has gone by that I wonder if she's getting enough, that I don't count wet dipes, that I don't beat myself up for not staying up late to pump at night for the extra milk.

I am so envious of the mamas who can pump so much, who don't have to worry about this every single day.

If it was my pump, and I decide to hang in there, I'm guessing my supply has suffered for at least 2 weeks. How can I go about getting it back up? Can I even do it with a PIS? I used to be able to get 8-9 oz total/day, now I'm down to 6 if I'm lucky. Pumping three times a day for 6 oz total...man, it's emotionally draining.
post #2 of 9
Oatmeal & Guinness always worked to up my supply. You might want to try that.

How much milk do you have in your stash? How much solid food does your daughter eat? What I'm really asking is, if you continue to pump 6 - 8 oz a day, which is about one bottle, how long are you going to be able to go on breastmilk alone?

You are in a place where I don't think there are any very good answers. What I would do is consider supplementing with formula now to make sure I can stretch that breastmilk until a year old. That said, I don't think that it would be "wrong" to go on breastmilk alone for another couple of months until you exhaust your freezer stash, and only switch to formula if/when you absolutely have to.

Whatever way you go, don't beat yourself up about it. You've come a very long way for having a low supply. You are absolutely doing everything you can, and that's all anyone can be asked for.
post #3 of 9
oh mama.

You sound just like me with DS1, and I NEVER made it that far! You have gone twice as long, and if Im correct, your only supplimenting with expressed BM? Thats fantastic!!!!!! (even if you are supplimenting with Formula, your child HAS to eat, and shes still getting lots of mama milk) I have suffered and struggled with low supply and pumping issues as well. I use a Medela Double In Style, and it works beautifully for me. Maybe it will for you as well. Are the horns your using the right size? Can you feel them really drawn down your breast? What is your let down like? I found that REAL OATS, lots of water, and a well balanced diet helps my supply. I work 8-430, and pump four times, getting around 14-16 ounces a day. SOmetimes more, but not very often, sometimes less, and thats more often. Do you nurse lots when you get home? When i get home, my #1 prority is feeding my two boys. (so I tell husband, you want to eat or need launddry done, do it yourself) DS1 is 18 months, so I whip something up for him and try to nurse DS2 ALL NIGHT LONG until he goes down. And then twice through the night and once again in the morning. This helps keep my supply up, because if I was pumping more then nursing, I would be in TROUBLE!!!

I know how hard it must be for you, and stressful. But remember, stress will hurt your supply even more. What other suppliments have you tried? Fenugruek? Mother MIlk Tea? Beer?
post #4 of 9
I recently had some trouble as well and was directed to the low milk supply sticky in the breastfeeding challenges section. Have you looked at that info? WHat ended up helping me was extra water and i took some lactation support pills that seemed to work. Mostly the stress over it all was making the situation worse so try and not worry about it)easier said than done i know). Good luck
post #5 of 9
I dont really have any suggestions, just wanted to say that you've done so wonderfully for whole 8 months! a lot of people give up on bfeeding as soon as even a little bit of a challenge comes up, so for you to stick it out for 8 months is truly awesome. you have a healthy happy baby and that's what matters and if you have to supplement with formula, dont beat yourself up because there are so many other ways to ensure your baby is healthy and well. you are doing all you can and this is the part that your child appreciates most.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I'm starting Fenugreek today, though I've tried it in the past (along with every other thing under the sun) and it hasn't made much of a difference.

I'm okay with supplementing if need be, but my question then is what do I do when I nurse her full-time for 3 days a week? Still supplement? I'm okay with her getting a bottle of formula once a day with my parents, but not so okay when we're together.

She has started solids, and eats like a champ. She still breastfeeds 8-9x/day, including at least 2x at night. I'm hoping I can get my supply back up by using a different pump, we'll see. I just worry about her. She's in the 10th percentile for weight, but gains consistently. Her cousin is 2 1/2 weeks younger and is almost the exact same weight, also breastfed. So I think we're doing okay, my main concern is blowing through my frozen stash because of this issue with pumping during the day.

I don't have enough frozen to make it to a year. I'll use it as long as it lasts though.
post #7 of 9
Originally Posted by NormaJean13 View Post
I'm okay with supplementing if need be, but my question then is what do I do when I nurse her full-time for 3 days a week? Still supplement? I'm okay with her getting a bottle of formula once a day with my parents, but not so okay when we're together.
First, kudos to you for EBF for eight months! You're doing great.
I'm so sorry you're stressing about your supply – it IS stressful and is probably a vicious circle.
Have you considered domperidone? Fenugreek didn't help me - even following the advice to take enough so you can smell it on yourself - but it may work for you. If money is no object, renting a hospital-grade pump may help.
Luckily, there's an easy answer as to how to supplement on the three days you're together: an at-the-breast supplementer. I prefer the Lact-Aid but Medela also makes the SNS.
I understand how you feel – I need to supplement with formula, unfortunately (I get much less than you do pumping) but I'm proud that my LO will never get a bottle when I'm around.
post #8 of 9
Here's Dr. Newman's info on domperidone



Can you nurse her ALL DAY when you're together? Give her that opportunity to bring your supply up?
post #9 of 9
When you are able to nurse her, does she get enough? Is this really an issue of low supply, or of simply not being able to pump enough? If she's getting enough from you, then don't supplement on those days. Only do it when you absolutely have to! Once you get to a year, if you still want to nurse her, she will probably be OK with just nursing when you're together. I worked for a while when my youngest was around a year old, & I was only ever able to pump enough for her to have one bottle of EBM when I was at work (that was her bedtime drink), and she nursed as much as she could when I wasn't at work, and cow milk & solids made up for the milk she wasn't getting. You're only four months away from the one year mark, so you're doing great, and I'll bet if you have to supplement it will only be short term.

(By the way, my youngest is still nursing at over three years old.)
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