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Can I still double my supply at 7 months postpartum?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I exclusively breastfed my first two chubby babies, but my third was born 2 months prematurely, and I've struggled with supply issues since she was 5 weeks old when I [mistake #1] ignorantly stopped pumping for supplementing and tried to only nurse (she wasn't really interested in the cup-fed pumped milk anymore so I proudly assumed she was getting enough by nursing)--although she was skinny and jaundiced until I started giving her supplementary formula anyhow, so maybe I had supply issues all along, I'm not sure. Could have been a fluke thyroid malfunction causing the premature birth and then could have affected my supply, maybe, I don't know, total guess. No one could tell me why she came early -- no infection, nothing.

Under the guidance of our very breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician, I have been taking a galactogogue called Sulpiride since my baby was 5-6 weeks old; it is commonly used in South America and is stronger than Domperidone, which I had also tried. With Sulpiride, my baby was still able to nurse about 80% of the time, taking only two small bottles of formula per day, at which time her jaundice cleared-up and she became much happier. But when my milk supply never increased in spite of constant nursing, I suspected the Sulpiride wasn't working and at around 4 mos [mistake #2] stopped taking it. After a week or two off of it, my supply suddenly tanked, and my baby started needing up to SIX small bottles of formula per day, though we were still nursing nearly non-stop, day and night. I went back on the Sulpiride, but my baby still takes 4-7 bottles of formula per day now at age 7 months. She is strong and healthy and chubby and big and lovely now, and we still nurse as often as she wants (although by now she has figured out that bottles are faster), but my supply still is not increasing. My postpartum hormones have finally settled, and if there was any thyroid malfunction, I feel that has even swung back into place, so I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to force my body into ramping up the milk production. This is my last baby, and I REALLY want to nurse her to at least age two, and I know that won't happen with a wonky milk supply.

So, after all that background info, here is my QUESTION! Since SO much time has passed already--my baby is 7 mos old--can I still reasonably expect to be able to substantially increase my supply? Anyone ever done this so late in the game? And if it is possible, how long could it take to see results? If I stay on the Sulpiride and pump every hour or two during the day, how much could it help? And any ideas on techniques? I'm slightly allergic to fenugreek and alfalfa but also don't think any extra herbs are going to help more than the Sulpiride which already gives me leaky breasts and a powerful let-down. I'm thinking pumping and starting to use an SNS. But will it make a difference at age 7 months?

Thanks so much for reading!!
post #2 of 7
I more than doubled my supply when I exclusively pumped for my baby who had reflux and a feeding aversion and would not nurse nor take a bottle. I pumped and spoon fed him.

Anyway, here's how I did it.

I pumped minimally 10-12 times per day. (I was not nursing though)

I "cluster pumped". This means you pump every hour for a few hours twice a day.

I always, always pumped in the wee hours of the morning when supply is at it's highest, and I never let more than 5 hours go by without pumping. So, I'd pump one last time at 11 pm, or midnight and then start up again at 4 am, and then start my cluster pumping in the early morning. I always got the most milk in those wee hours.

And a very important trick I learned; pump for at least 2 - 5 minutes after the flow has stopped. Often times you will tap into a reserve supply of milk that you had no idea was in there. Many times I'd get an additional 1-2 ounces each time which really adds up if you're pumping 10 times per day.

This "cluster" pumping and pumping after the flow stops tells your body that the baby is not getting enough and it will boost your supply.

Using these techniques I increased my supply from about 20-25 ounces a day to a whopping 50 ounces per day! I froze half of it so I could stop pumping when it got to be too much.

Good luck. You are a wonderful mommy!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for sharing your experience; what a great motivator!
post #4 of 7
Have you had your thyroid tested?
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by aramat View Post
Thanks so much for sharing your experience; what a great motivator!
You're welcome, and good luck. I know how hard pumping is.
post #6 of 7
"This is my last baby, and I REALLY want to nurse her to at least age two, and I know that won't happen with a wonky milk supply."

I'm afraid I don't have much insight into or experience about your actual question, but on this point I wanted to give you a bit of hope even if you have problems upping your supply. I had big problems with low supply with DD, and eventually was supplementing approx. 20oz of formula a day through an SNS. I supplemented with SNS until 16 months, then weaned her off SNS and we are still breastfeeding at 25 months. (Although she still call nursing 'having SNS'!).
I know every situation is different, but if all else fails, don't despair of extended nursing!
Good luck in your campaign to double your supply...your DD is lucky to have such a determined mom!
post #7 of 7
Instead of supplementing with a bottle, use a lactaid. http://www.lact-aid.com/ Nurse her until she indicates she needs more milk, then slip the tube into her mouth and let her get the formula (or donated breastmilk www.milkshare.com) until she is full. This way you always get her stimulation which can only help.
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