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BF issue support

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Didn't want to clog up the pp recovery thread with these issues.  Figure for those of us who are having issues, it might be nice to have our own thread.  There's all sorts of emotional baggage (at least for me there is) that goes along with the BF problems. 


So, when DD hadn't peed by 36 hours pp, we knew there was a problem.  I frantically called Maryam and asked her to feed my baby, and she was kind enough to try, and then to pump off a bottle for us (and then another bottle the next day).   We got pee a few hours later, and started on this lovely roller coaster ride.  Took her into the ped first thing Tuesday morning, and the ped immediately asked me to wait until the IBCLC on staff could see me... love having a BF friendly ped.  Wound up having to come back a few hours later to see the IBCLC.  So now I'm on a regimen of herbs, finger-feeding DD (formula and donated BM) and pumping round the clock as we try to establish some kind of supply.  Still no milk, and she's 5 days old in just a few hours.  I am now getting some response when I pump, which is an improvement (first day I didn't even get a droplet), but it's not even enough to collect on one side, and just the barest trickle on the other (after 2 pumpings it's not even a tsp).  And to top if all off, the side that's barely producing anything is all clogged, I'm feeling lumps in the tissue that I can't get to work out - I tried to borrow a friend's toddler, but she wasn't interested in working for it, and I have a call into another friend with a 9 mo to see if I can borrow her to try to get some movement going. 


I'm optimistic because I am seeing some change, but at the same time I'm really depressed because I was SOOO hoping to avoid these problems this time.  DD doesn't have any physical reason to cause the issues like DS did.  This time it's a combo of sleepy baby from the epidural and my body being stubborn.  I know at this point I'm going to be able to have SOMETHING to give her, but I can't be sure that it's ever going to be a full supply, and that really makes me sad.  And DH keeps trying to fix things, and tell me it's not my fault, but that does nothing to mitigate the feeling that my body is failing me again.  And the disappointment that what should be a lovely time of bonding between me and my little girl is again marred by these problems (like it was with DS), and having to finger feed and pump instead of just doing things the old-fashioned way.  And sometimes I wish I was the type of person who could just throw in the towel and say that formula is good enough, but I just can't do it.  So I'm really struggling emotionally with this, and everyone else's response is that I shouldn't be.  Like that's helpful in any way. 


Ok, I'm going to go take a shower - I haven't had one since we got home from the hospital.  Maybe that will help me feel better. 

post #2 of 23
First, yes. Take a shower. :-) It will help you feel better.
Second, I wish people would not try to minimize a would-be breastfeeding mothers' grief when things go wrong. Sometimes "they" act like it's something so trivial that it's silly to mourn a bit (or a lot!) when there are problems and that sucks. Maybe others wouldn't share your drive to make breastfeeding (and breastmilk) work for their babies, but this is your choice and you're doing it because you believe it's the best for your baby.

I'm so sorry you're going through it...I don't really have any advice other than to not feel guilty for being sad about it, but also not to give in too much to the idea that your body is broken. BELIEVE ME I know that feeling so well, but it's not true. Sometimes we need to help our bodies along a bit, but your body is not broken. At the risk of sounding a bit asinine (not trying to fix everything, I swear ;-)), I wonder if maybe some hypnosis style meditation would help. I have a yoga nidra podcast from UCLA (downloaded for free from iTunesU) and part of the routine involves making a resolve for yourself..."I will breastfeed my baby" might be useful. ;-)

Good luck. I hope you get things working the way you want them too.
post #3 of 23

Cristeen, this is going to sound batty, but I just want to say that I love you. Really. Your post brought me to tears. I want nothing more than to wrap my arms around you.


Just that.


I love you.

post #4 of 23

We all love you! And I just want to second LHM's suggestion about hypnosis or some form of meditation/relaxation because you've so much wrapped up emotionally re:bf because of DS, and that certainly can impact your supply/let down?
Also, its still super early so you should definitely be optimistic.
Sending hugs your way! Good luck, you are doing great mama.
post #5 of 23

My first thought is - whyat you can pump is not indicative of what you have for supply. I can be so engorged I think I'm going to explode and if I pump I get the barest trickle, nowhere near even an ounce. It's enough that i have to wash the pump and bottle but that's it.


If you're getting clogs, then there is SOMETHING in there- maybe the milk ducts just need to be opened up by continued pumping and nursing. I have a friend whose... erm, outlet? Like on her nipple, I mean, would skin over and she'd need to poke open the layer of skin with a sterilized safety pin every couple of weeks. Boobs are weird, weird things. I think the idea of borrowing babies is a good one if your daughter is too sleepy to nurse properly.


Have you tried a SNS? Maybe she'd be more inclined to suck and stay at the breast if she was stimulated by a flow of milk. Are you in touch with a lactation consultant? Is there anything they suggest to help your baby wake up a bit?


My friend had, with both children, a very long wait for her milk to come in. With her second her doula and doctor both told her to take her newborn and go to bed. Don't worry about getting food for other people, don't clean- just go to bed with a baby, and a supply of diapers. In your case maybe a couple of bottles, too. Just keep the baby skin to skin, rest and sleep and doze and bond. My friend said her milk came in much sooner the second time and she made a real point of not stressing about it.


There are also drugs for increasing supply, right? I can't remember the name of the one a lot of people go on. For one of my friends it's the only way she can create enough milk- herbs, skin to skin, constant nursing just aren't enough.


It isn't your fault, and it isn't your body failing you. Maybe your system is just learning how it all works, or maybe it's a combination a stressful birth and a sleepy baby and a letdown that doesn't respond to a pump. My "identity" as a first time mother with my daughter was all tied into breastfeeding, and when my milk dried up at 5 months post-partum due to a new pregnancy- well, I just about lost it. Breastfeeding is a deeply emotional thing, and for some people it's what they look forward to the most with a new baby. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling badly about this, either, and you don't need to feel guilty about feeling badly.


Love you, Cristeen- I hope you can find some peace in this situation!

post #6 of 23

I don't really have any advice, but I think that's pretty awesome that you have friends willing to help you in such a way.  love.gif  That's pretty special. 


Try to stay positive!

post #7 of 23

I just want to apologize for being so sappy, lol. Hormones! Also, I just hate to see women struggle with anything related to pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting, their bodies, etc. It breaks my heart. I was really moved by how hard you're trying to make it work. Sorry I don't have any advice. Oversupply has always been my problem. Why is the universe so effed up?

post #8 of 23
It is so aggravating that people aren't more sensitive to how important breast feeding can be to a mother and how it can make a mother feel when there are problems. I am sorry you are going through this Cristeen!

My supply started decreasing with DS2 at 3-4 weeks pp. I called my midwife and she suggested I eat oatmeal daily & also spend as much time as possible skin to skin w/ baby.

We all love you. Hang in there!
post #9 of 23

Cristeen - have you tried any natural milk production boosters? Oatmeal is a good one, even in cookie form. I have a recipe for milk boosting cookies that are both easy as sin to make, and good for you. I will post the recipe as soon as I pull it back up.

Fenugreek is good as a tea, but tastes weird and can lower blood sugars if you drink too much. There's also different herbal teas that help boost supply if that's the issue.

***hugs*** Please please please be gentle on yourself. I know it gets overwhelming, we were there not long ago, but hopefully it will work out for you really soon!!

post #10 of 23

I'm sorry, Cristeen.


I don't have anything to add, but I agree with Sandy...I'm really impressed at how hard you are working at this.  And, with BubbleMa...those are some special friends. 


I had a friend once who really really struggled. She was working SO hard, and it was SO painful.  BF is important, but while encouraging and helping her as best I could, I gently told her that breastfeeding is not the measure of a mom.  It's all the things we do for our kids that count, and how much we love them and sacrifice for them.  You are a great, Mama, Cristeen.  I really, truly hope and pray this all gets worked out, and I'm not telling you to not be upset at all.  This is SO upsetting.  I just want to enoucrage you to remember that the REALLY important thing is all that you are doing for your sweet baby. 

Edited by Just1More - 6/1/12 at 9:07pm
post #11 of 23

Cristeen, sending you hugs... I second the de-stressing & possibly looking at the stress from BFing your son initially. Get some rest and take care of yourself, mama!

post #12 of 23

Cristeen, do you happen to suffer from PCOS? I ask because I do, and when my supply basically tanked over the course of a few days 3.5 months pp with DS1, that was ultimately figured by my IBCLC and midwife to be the cause. I started out taking fenugreek, brewer's yeast, oatmeal, RRL teas/cookies/supplements, pumping, nonstop nursing and all of the regular things that a determined mama would do, but it didn't make much of a difference. The LC and midwife seemed to think that the PCOS was causing some issues on an endocrine level that was too tough for galactagogue herbs to solve. My midwife ended up putting me on domperidone, which immediately made a significant difference. I did have to supplement with a little formula each day, but I made it like a year and half thanks to the domperidone. 


Best of luck to you in this! I know how devastating it is to feel helpless and stressed about something that you want to do so desperately.

post #13 of 23

Housepoet's Famous Lactation Boosting Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip & Flaxseed cookies �
Ingredients :

* 1 cup butter or marg
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal*
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups oats, thick cut if you can get them
* 1 cup or more chocolate chips
* 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast* (be generous)


Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream (beat well) margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment or silpat. The dough is a little crumbly, so it helps to use a scoop.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Serves: 6 dozen cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

*can be found at any local health food store.


These are great tasting and helpful! Good luck keeping your kids and partners out of them. :)

post #14 of 23
Yum Jynx! I'm gonna make those!
post #15 of 23



I just wanted to say hugs and with DD and DS my milk came in 5 days later... for those five days I was on a babymoon just all day and night feeding. I tried pumping to see what was in there but even after my milk came in I could not pump much.  With Sång my milk came in 4 days later and then  I was getting 2-3 oz at each pumping BUT that was only when she was in the NICU so I was pumping full time and only feeding her like 2x a day from me.  After we got home and she was EBF when I do pump I get maybe 1oz (I just pumped and only got 1/.2 oz!) But I know she is getting the milk from me. So sometimes for sure what you can pump is way less than what your baby can get from you.

post #16 of 23

Cristeen - It is so frustrating. Let us know how you are doing, and if you find something that works for you, because I am in a similar boat if it helps to know.


I had my baby last Sunday via an unexpected c-section because he wasn't tolerating labor. In the hospital he was feeding though not latching very well and hurting me. My milk didn't start to come in until Thurs morning and by then he was hungry and angry, and feedings became a huge struggle. He would block me with his hands, cry and scream at me, get the breast in his mouth and not latch, or if he finally did latch it seemed to usually be wrong, or he would fall asleep and not suck. Mostly he would just lay there and cry and cry. I tried calming him, starting him early, getting him naked, swaddling him tight, different positions and breasts, but we would "fight" over it often for an hour before he would really get on. When we took him to his Dr appt on Friday they confirmed he had lost too much weight and I had to supplement him. With the c-section and now this I was feeling very abnormal and like I was failing him, and I was a mess. Thank goodness my husband is very reassuring and the doctor said other than that he looked great.


So now I am feeding him with these breastflow bottles, mostly formula, and at least he is gaining weight and much happier. I offer him the breast at every feeding and sometimes he latches on for a second but mostly rejects it. I switch him to the bottle before or as he starts to get frustrated so he doesn't continue to associate breastfeeding as exhausting and unpleasant.  I started pumping and was again disappointed in myself when almost nothing came out. It took me about 5 pumpings to get to 1 oz. Yesterday I got about 5 ml per pumping, which I added to his bottles. Just now I got 10 ml, so am feeling very slightly hopeful but still mostly discouraged. My breasts are soft and squishy, not hard, and I am not liking them right now. I read online and everything says to increase supply feed more (ha ha!), but what if you can't get the baby to feed without torturing him? I think I was pretty dehydrated, so I am trying to drink more, try more sleep, plan to get oatmeal. Really it is not very important to me that he feeds from the breast - we have been bonding and enjoying each other MUCH more over the bottle than the breast - but I at least want to make breast milk for him and am worried that I may be "failing" yet again. I may try some of the other suggestions posted here, and if I can find the motivation to go to the store will have to try out those cookies.

post #17 of 23

Ozzy - Did you pediatrician examine your son for tongue tie or signs of thrush? My first had a small tongue tie (and thrush, it turned out), and the first several weeks of nursing were absolute misery and torture for both of us (I ended up pumping most of the time and supplementing). Is there an IBCLC or Lactation Counselor that you can see soon to get some help with the latch? Or even a LLL meeting nearby? I wouldn't have been able to make any progress with nursing or pumping if I hadn't seen a lactation consultant the first time around.


I hope that both you and Cristeen are doing better today, production-wise. I've been there, and I know how extremely frustrating it is. Hang in there, mamas!

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you ladies, so much, for the support. It really does mean a lot to have people who understand. 


I took some time off from stress as much as possible, and that included trying to find BM, or stressing over it.  Right now I'm getting about 3 mL from one side when pumping, which is a huge improvement, but in the grand scheme of things really nothing  (for those of you not familiar with the metric system, there are 30 mL in an ounce, so 20 minutes of pumping gets me 1/10th of an oz from one side only, nothing from the other side). 


Cookie - I do have PCOS, unfortunately.  Which is a known issue with BFing.  But since i know I had milk with both DS and DS1, I had hoped that having a baby that could suck correctly would be the difference between the problems with DS (which were because of not being able to suck effectively) and making it work.  But we're at day 10 now, and I still have almost nothing.  


Ozzy - Sounds very similar.  Luckily I had a Lact-Aid from feeding DS, so I was able to keep DD on the breast and not have to switch to bottles.  If you want to BF, even part time, I highly suggest finding an IBCLC or even a LLL leader to help you get him back on the breast.  You'll probably need to use a Lact-Aid or an SNS to supplement at the breast, which is what I'm doing right now, along with finger feeding (instead of bottle feeding).  Sounds like you're dealing with nipple "confusion", like Jynx was - the bottle is so much easier to get milk from, so they have no incentive to go back to the breast. It's a bit of a battle, but it can be done.  But the longer you wait, the less milk you will have, since the pump just isn't as effective as the baby.


I've upped my herbs, added some new ones and have committed to 1 more week of this schedule before I call it.  I see the IBCLC again tomorrow morning to assess how we're doing and make plans for moving foward.  Thankfully she's finally put on some weight, but she still doesn't have the stamina to be 100% on the breast, even with the supplementer.  And I'm still having to keep track of how much she's eating, because if she's not getting enough, I basically have to wake her up and force feed her so she doesn't lose more weight.  DH has committed to taking DD every evening between the time DS goes to bed and the time he goes to bed so that I can get at least a few hours of sleep.  Some nights she spends the whole time cluster feeding and some nights she sleeps 3 or 4 hours at a stretch, so I really need to take advantage of what sleep I can get.  The other night she finally went to sleep at 4 and DS was up at 5:30 - that was just a WONDERFUL day.  eyesroll.gif


I'm doing my damnedest to make peace with this situation, but it's really hard.  I know now I will never have a full supply for her, but I do have SOME milk, which is more than DS got.  I'm just not sure how long I can deal with the extra work this requires (DS made it to 9 mos).  I am not committing to EBF for her, which is what I did with DS.  That put so much extra pressure on me to find BM, and I spent so much time driving around to pick it up.  I'm having to make peace with the fact that she's getting mostly formula right now, even though I don't like it.  And thankfully I have people out searching for milk for me, picking it up and delivering it for me, so I'm not having to do all of that myself.  That is a huge blessing I didn't have with DS.  I'm really trying to find the blessings here, but it's hard.  And I'm trying hard to be realistic in my expectations for myself, which is an area I always struggle in.  I feel like so much of my PPD with DS was because of these issues and expecting too much of myself. 


And to top it all off now I'm having to clean out my freezers I so lovingly packed with food to get us through the pp period so that I have somewhere to store the BM she needs.  Thankfully I have a friend who has offered us freezer space.  DH offered to buy another freezer (making #3), which we may wind up having to do, but I'm trying to avoid that right now. 


Anyway, just wanted to give a quick update, and DD is waking up, so I have to run. 



post #19 of 23

Cristeen & Ozzy, I'm there too.  It is hard to expect and hope for breastfeeding to work and then not have it happen.  I was really hoping this time would be better for me as I tried a new (to me) medication for Raynaud's which was supposed to minimize the painful vasospasms and make bfing doable, but after 10 days the pain was getting worse, not better. I was curling my toes and nearly screaming in pain.  So I started pumping instead like with my last two babies.  For some reason my supply is much less than with my others, maybe due to thyroid issues or being 8 yrs older.  I don't know.  So I've had to feed him mostly formula.  He is using the gentle formula since he seemed too gassy.  Still pumping enough for about 2 bottles a day.  I don't know how long I will keep this up.  He is a month old tomorrow.  It seems much harder this time and is discouraging & exhausting.

post #20 of 23

Who knew breastfeeding was so tricky. FeIix has actually been nursing at most feedings now, and his latch has improved! I am fairly impressed with those breastflow bottles, if anyone is looking for bottles. The main problem seems to be my supply, which is still only about 5ml per pumping despite nursing and pumping. Even when the baby does nurse he gets bored quickly, and I guess I can't blame him. I got mother's milk tea, and started taking More Milk Plus supplements, so maybe that will make a difference. I am worried maybe I will just not make enough no matter what I do, but like you Cristeen plan to give at least another week or two. I am planning to order a supplemental nursing system and hoping it is worth the money. Anyone else used one?

Edited by ozzy - 6/7/12 at 8:17pm
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