Having supply problems :-( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been having a very hard time with my supply lately. My daughter is 4 1/2 months old now and this is the first time that I've had a serious struggle with my milk.

I've had to supplement in the past, but only 2 ounces a day at the most. The last couple of days it was 6 and 8 ounces!!!

I'm taking fenugreek and blessed thistle pretty religiously, I'm drinking plenty of fluids. I pump for 20 minutes after each time I supplement her (I don't get anything, but I've heard that I should still pump to simulate her continued nursing) I have been watching what I eat (as I'm still trying to lose 25 pounds of baby fat), but I've been making sure to eat plenty... and I'm only losing 1/2 pound a week or so, so it's nothing drastic. I am making sure my diet is very balanced and healthy..... yet I can't seem to keep up.

I feel so desperate, as my plan is to breastfeed my daughter till at least 1 year. I would be devastated if I lost that ability now.... I love it so much!!!!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I don't know what else to do

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
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#2 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 11:01 AM
 
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What are the signs that your supply is low? It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I only ask because I am always thinking i don't have enough milk, but when I consult the LLL leader, she says I am doing fine. My 3.5 month old baby often cries or seems frustrated during nursing, more so when she was younger, but sometimes now. I never notice any particular fullness or leaky milk since the second week of nursing. And, when I pump, I have a really hard time getting a significant amount. I am always calling LLL (thank God for them!) saying that I think I have no milk. Yet, my baby is in the 90th percentile for weight, and is continuing to grow well. She seems alert, and mostly happy. She has lots of wet diapers.....So they always tell me not to worry, and not to supplement.

I am not saying you are wrong, just wondering what the signs of low supply are???? I know it is a scary and frustrating thing. I hope it gets better.
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#3 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 12:02 PM
 
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I never notice any particular fullness or leaky milk since the second week of nursing.
That is normal and not a sign of a supply problem.

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And, when I pump, I have a really hard time getting a significant amount.
That is normal and not a sign of a supply problem. Some moms haev trouble warming up to a pump, and the baby gets milk out much better in general. Sometimes a pump may have a worn out part. Or it may be a weak pump like the Evenflo or other inefficient small pumps. There are many reaons.

Links for both of you about milk supply, pumping

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html

http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBJulAug96p118.html

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#4 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 12:45 PM
 
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supplementing can be a slippery slope that leads to reduced supply. be sure you really need to before you do. remember that baby is better at increasing your supply than any pump, too. one thing LLL leaders often advise is to take a nursing day and just snuggle topless (both baby and mom) in your bed together all day and nurse nurse nurse. housework and everything else can wait. the more baby nurses the more milk mama makes. don't forget that baby will often want to nurse more during a growth spurt, too, to increase your supply. when your breasts start to produce more baby should go back to a more "normal" nursing pattern.

ita, that leaking stops. i remember being worried with my first dd when i stopped leaking, but all was well. my breasts just finally knew how much to make. i'm tandem nursing now and really am nursing all the d@#m time it seems like and i truly do have an abundant supply even though i've got two to feed.

i hope you can get through this. other things to increase supply besides the good stuff you're doing like fenugreek, lotsa fluids and nursing, nursing, nursing are oatmeal, mother's milk tea (has fenugreek, and fennel and other herbal galactalogues (sp) in it), oat milk (i used to use it on my cereal instead of cow's milk) and i'm sure there are tons more tips on those links the previous poster gave.

really, though, i just wanted to say to be sure you need to supplement. i have a friend who got bad breastfeeding advice and though she wanted to breastfeed she fell into the trap of supplementing early on due to wrong headed advice from hospital personnel and never did let her baby establish her supply. i feel bad that i wasn't able to help her more, so i'm probably overcompensating by offering too much advice here.

and hth

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#5 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The signs I have that my supply is low is when she nurses for 45 minutes and seemingly becomes frustrated. I will then hand express to see if I can pull anything... and of course.. there is nothing.. she has nursed me dry :-( Bless her heart for trying so long.

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
I spend my days : : and seeing how many smilies I can fit in my siggy.
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#6 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 01:36 PM
 
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Since your fluid intake is good- my question is: are you unusually
(considering new baby) tired or stressed? Maybe you need a few days of rest- not trying to accomplish much or even keeping up,
except basics?
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#7 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know... you might be onto something. It just occurred to me, in the last two weeks, my husband left for 21 weeks for police academy, only to return home 1 week later injured. It was a pretty stressful 2 weeks and he's been home a bit over a week, so I've been caring for him and Emma. Do you really think a little added stress would have such a dramatic affect on my milk? Guess I never associated the two.

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
I spend my days : : and seeing how many smilies I can fit in my siggy.
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#8 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 05:24 PM
 
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Consider taking it as easy as you can for a few days. If you have a trusted friend or relative nearby, ask for specific help. (Like ask them to make a trip to the store, wash a load of towels, etc- NOT hold baby 'for' you, unless that is what you want.- It doesn't sound like you need a break from the baby- just all the other responsibilities!) I know not everyone has someone who will help like that. Snuggle your baby, nap, do easy things that you enjoy- put your to-do list out of sight!
It won't hurt anything to try this- and it might help. (I hope so!)
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#9 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whew... I thought you were going to tell me to have someone take my baby!!! I'm one of those "freaks" (as I'm so lovingly called) that has yet to need "me time" away from my daughter. I feel lost when she's out of sight!!! Maybe I will send hubby out snowmobiling for the weekend and her and I will just have girl time

Thanks so much for all of your advice!!

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
I spend my days : : and seeing how many smilies I can fit in my siggy.
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#10 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Here's another good link about increasing supply:

http://www.drjaygordon.com/bf/galact.htm
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#11 of 13 Old 03-06-2004, 07:11 PM
 
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Are you exercising and is it a recent development? When I was nursing dd I started a weight loss plan 2 different times. I tend to go long and hard on the exercise and I noticed that when I started these programs I would notice a drop in supply so I had to cut back on the time and intensity of my workouts. Good luck. I am sure it will work out for you.

Ginger
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#12 of 13 Old 03-07-2004, 12:48 AM
 
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I've heard that one way to get your supply up is to spend 24 hours (or as much time as possible) snuggled up in bed with your baby, letting her cuddle against your breasts and nurse at will. I didn't try it, but it makes sense.

Good luck -- and, like someone else said, be careful with the supplementing. It can easily cause far more supply problems than it solves.
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#13 of 13 Old 03-07-2004, 01:33 AM
 
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I remember the times that I didn't get out of my reclining chair for 2 to 3 hours in the late afternoon because of cluster nursing. DS didn't actually nurse for 3 hours straight - we'd both doze off for some of the time. But, nursing for 45 minutes and not being done happened a lot in his first 6 months, especially during growth spurts, and usually at that late afternoon time of day. I never took it as a sign of low supply - he was thriving and gaining weight, and I had read about cluster nursing so I didn't think it was unusual. It didn't happen all day every day, though.

Maybe this is nothing like what you are talking about - but I thought I'd toss it out just in case.

By the way, at two years old he'll still have times when he'll nurse for 45 minutes or an hour, especially to go to sleep, or on waking up in the morning. Lot's of this is comfort nursing - I definitely "run out of" milk during these marathon sessions!
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