should I be concerned about milk supply? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-06-2010, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
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The background: I am exclusively bf'ing and the boys are gaining well, 'output' is good I think (although it all blurs together in my mind and I'm never sure who has peed when). They nurse quite frequently while awake, lots of cluster feeding. Definately more than Mason did at this age from what i remember. I introduced soothers last week and we use them to help them sleep sometimes and after they are done nursing sometimes if they still want to suck and I need to do something else. We also use them in the car sometimes.

I do not get engorged although I feel a bit more full if they are having a long nap at the same time (say, 3 hours). I don't leak much either, not even using breastpads these days (with Mason I used them until 9 months and was engorged quickly). They get the letdowns they are looking for, although they have to really work at it after the first or second one in a session or if they have been cluster feeding for a little while. By working at it I mean that they are bobbing on and off, pressing on the breast, latching and relatching, getting frustrated, until they can get one out. This has been going on for at least three weeks.

I feel confident that right now they are getting enough milk and they seem to be thriving. They are so big already at only 7 weeks. I haven't weighed them, but I would guess they are 11 or 12 lbs already. So, I know I shouldn't be too concerned.

The question: I am wondering if as they grow bigger my supply will no longer be able to keep up? Right now I have just enough it seems and it takes them a fair bit of effort to get what they need for the day. Should I be taking steps to increase supply such as herbal suppliments or the like? Dunno, perhaps I'm just being paranoid but it just feels like a whole different ballgame with two babies. With Mason I never worried since I had oversupply for a long while. I didn't really regulate until well into the first year and my steady supply didn't dwindle until he was 3.5 years old. Such a different situation!

I guess I'm worried that someday soon I won't be able to keep up to their needs. I can't believe I'm even typing that . . . I know that nursing is a supply and demand game and they will work to increase my supply. That said, what if they work at it and my supply doesn't increase enough?

TIA for any thoughts or advice!!

mama to big brother Mason (Jan '05) and the littles, Adam and Holden (May '10)
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#2 of 10 Old 07-06-2010, 11:00 AM
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Don't panic - our bodies are truly amazing things! I estimated at one point that I was producing well over a gallon a day!

Remember to drink plenty of water, and eat well. I remember during those first few months, I seemed to eat every time the babies dd (which seemed like it was constant!). Not whole meals, of course, but some fruit, or crackers, or something to nibble on.

It sounds like you and your babies are doing great, and your supply WILL keep up. The only time I had any trouble was when they had growth spurts at the same time, during which they would seem to nurse continuously for a couple of days, then we'd all be caught up again.

If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#3 of 10 Old 07-06-2010, 11:10 AM
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You're doing fine! The "struggle with extra nursing for a few days until the boobs respone with the extra milk" is perfectly normal, and what a whole lot of moms do with singletons.

IIRC, 7-8 weeks is about how old DD2 was when my oversupply started to calm down ( was tandem nursing then.) It didn't calm down with DD1 until she was about 4mo and AF came back, and then I somehow managed to avoid oversupply issues with DS.

Just nurse the babies when they need to nurse, and make sure you get enough food and water into your own body, and try your hardest to get enough sleep. That's all you need to do to make enough milk for both of them!

It certainly can't hurt to avoid the herbs that limit supply (such as mint, parsley, and sage) and maybe eat oatmeal frequently (assuming no gluten sensitivity in you or oat allergies in you or either nursling), but IMO there's no need for supply-boosting herbs.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#4 of 10 Old 07-06-2010, 11:15 AM
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I nursed my boys exclusively until they weaned themselves at 2 and 2.5. We never did baby food--they did not eat any solids until they were around 14 months and went straight to (properly prepared of course!) table food.

Never had a problem with supply, and this included a separation from one who was in the PICU for a severe infection that he picked up in the hospital (that we didn't discover until after he crashed when he was 5 days old).

I never was engorged with the twins (or my daughter really). As you said, you experienced *oversupply* with your singleton, which is why you probably experienced discomfort. I would stay away from nursing supplements for you. Be *sure* that you have adequate water and nutrition. It won't effect your supply necessarily, but when I did not get enough calories and water with two demanding nurselings--frankly I felt like poop run over a truck and left in the rain.

Engorgement isn't an indication that you are making enough milk, it means either you've gone too long without nursing or you've got oversupply. So be careful about thinking everthing having to be like round one. Think about it--if you had the same experience this time, you'd have to be TWICE as engorged as you were with your first child--OUCH! And that would set you up for mastitis and other discomforts.

Your body is doing fine. It's normal to worry. But, if you MUST do something to tweak things, focus on getting yummy and nutritious stuff into *you* and making sure you have lots of delicious cool (or however you like it) water available to yourself; not on specialized pills or teas for supply. I doubt they would hurt things, but if your supply is adequate now, why risk messing with the balance?
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#5 of 10 Old 07-06-2010, 02:09 PM
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What you're describing sounds like it was for me with nursing twins. I never used nursing pads, except maybe in the beginning when I didn't know whether I would leak or not. I do not recall becoming engorged.

You'll be fine with keeping up with their needs as long as you put them to the breast on cue and don't cut them off before they're done suckling. They know how to build your supply and your body will respond.

I nursed my twins exclusively until I weaned them at 2-1/2 when I was pregnant with their brother.

SAHM to F & P, : fraternal twins born 3/05, : I, born 12/07 & at 5 weeks in July 2009
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#6 of 10 Old 07-11-2010, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I really hope you're right re: everything being fine.

There are times of the day when they seem to get enough milk without too much fuss. There are generally a few times, though, that they cannot get a letdown or it takes 30 mins or so for them to get one. If they nurse together they can generally force one out faster, but tandem nursing isn't always feasable. When they have trouble getting letdowns they get whiney/sad and fairly aggressive with the nursing . .. I feel so bad for the little guys and just want to cry.

They are nursing many, many times a day each (a fair bit more than the 12 times a day guideline I think).

I do unlatch them before they release the nipple frequently . . . perhaps this is causing problems? I don't do it when they are actively nursing but rather after they have been nursing a while and are passively sucking/sleepy. With DS1 I always waited until he released the nipple, but doing that with twins seems overwhelming.

After nursing they often still seem a bit unsettled (the times when they don't fall asleep nursing, that is). I can't remember what DS1 was like at this age . . . maybe the satisfied milk-drunk look happens more with older babies, I just can't remember!

All I know is my nipples are so tired/irritated from constant use. I'm feeling worried that a problem is building, and despite reassurances from my fellow LLL leaders that all is likely okay/that they will build my supply just fine, I can't kick this feeling that something is wrong.

Thanks for listening to me ramble, and if you have any other thoughts I would appreciate them!

mama to big brother Mason (Jan '05) and the littles, Adam and Holden (May '10)
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#7 of 10 Old 07-11-2010, 06:28 PM
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I didn't leak much when nursing my boys, but I did for a long time with my singleton.

my best advice is just nurse as often as they need.
Good luck, and try not to worry.

Twin boys (2/05) and little sister (10/07)
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#8 of 10 Old 07-12-2010, 02:51 PM
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I had the same worry about not making enough for my boys. But they are five months old tomorrow and we're still going strong. I do get engorgement if they sleep for awhile (or all night, as they often do now).

When they were little I remember thinking like you do. Thankfully, Karen Gromada (author of Mothering Multiples) is local and helped me through the thinking. Have you read her book yet?

For me, it helped to just sit with the twins on the EZ2Nurse, and nurse nurse nurse. We didn't use a pacifier at all. That was me. Within a day my supply would catch up to their demand. Remember, there are a lot of little growth spurts in the early days.

Just hang in there. You're doing great!

Valerie, wife to Kevin, mother to Elena (4), Jonathan (2), and twins, Andrew and Benjamin (2/2010)
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#9 of 10 Old 07-14-2010, 03:08 AM
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You're doing great. I remember constantly worrying those first days, because I had to supplement for the first whole month every single feeding. Eventually it doesn't become a worry anymore. I remember sometimes having to just focus on nursing a lot and just doing it whenever they wanted it, which seemed like a lot. I still sometimes wonder if they nurse so often because they aren't getting enough, but at almost 2, it's not a worry anymore...instead, now I'm trying to figure out how to wean them. If it's not one thing, it's another.

Sarah Joy
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#10 of 10 Old 07-15-2010, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone!! My supply is increasing, just as you said it would . The babies are growing, always want more milk than it seems possible to consume in one day , and I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I mostly enjoyed nursing with DS1 and I cannot wait until I get past the newborn hump and start enjoying this a little more.

I am grateful that I haven't ever had to suppliment and am also so fortunate to have friends IRL and in this MDC forum to remind me to trust that it will all work out.

mama to big brother Mason (Jan '05) and the littles, Adam and Holden (May '10)
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