I gave birth via c-section to my daughter approximately 6 weeks ago. I never had any change in breast size during pregnancy and have never had any engorgement AT ALL. I do have milk but I can only pump about a 1/2 an oz from each size at any given time and I usually am only able to pump about 7 oz a day (on a good day.) I am taking fenugreek and blessed thistle and eating oatmeal like crazy. Nothing seems to help. I admit I was unprepapred and uneducated about Bf'ing which led to supplements being used. I did pump everytime we fed and continue to do so. I am thinking though that I might have a problem beyond lack of knowledge. Does anyone have any info on this (IGT?) Who can I go to to see if this is my problem? I would love my little girl to have nothing but BM even if it means me EP'ing.
I'm sorry you're struggling
I think you should see a lactation consultant. She should be able to tell you whether IGT is the issue in your case and suggest ways in which you can have the best nursing relationship possible.
Or your problem may be easily remedied!
I don't have IGT but I do have unexplained low supply. I don't think EPing will help because a baby who is nursing well can remove more milk and stimulate supply better than any pump (although I'd encourage you to continue pumping after feeding).
The LC may suggest you take domperidone. It's a medication that has the side-effect of increasing levels of prolactin and many women have used it to successfully increase their supply.
Are you supplementing by bottle? If the LC says you need to continue to supplement, I'd suggest getting rid of bottles and all artificial nipples (such as pacifiers) and using an at-the-breast supplementer such as a Medela SNS or Lact-Aid to give your baby your pumped BM and the supplement, whether it's formula or donor milk. Have you investigated whether donor milk might be available?
Please don't beat yourself up for supplementing. If you have IGT, it was truly necesssary. The first priority is always feeding the baby.
How much you can pump isn't indicative of how much milk you have. Babies are better at getting milk out than pumps, and some women's breasts don't respond to pumps as well as others. I have plenty of milk to nurse without supplementation, and my baby is growing well, but I'm consistently unable to more than like half an ounce if I'm lucky.
Edited to add that if you have IGT it is necessary to supplement and don't worry or feel bad about that at all. But don't take your lack of ability to pump as proof that you have IGT. I would see a lactation consultant and preferably one not associated with a hospital to get more info.
First, breast size changes and engorgement don't mean much. Some women's breasts do that and others don't. If you have larger breasts, especially, it tends not to happen. If you have smaller breasts, it still doesn't mean much.
Also... Are you EPing right now or are you nursing in addition to the pumping? 'Cause lemme tell ya... I could never get ANYTHING out of my boobs when DD was nursing all day. Not hardly a DROP. The only time I could get anything was when she hadn't nursed for 3 hours or more. And even then, I'd likely not get much with my pump, especially before I learned to use it properly. Check out this link for more effective pumping methods. It's not as simple as you'd think.
I'm going to third the lactation consultant suggestion. Also, see if you can rent a hospital-grade pump for a month or two or even just for a week. See if you can pump more/better by using that. If you can, it's not a supply/IGT issue so much as a supply/demand issue (i.e. that you need better milk-removal protocols, such as a better-latched on baby or better pump or both).
IGT is pretty uncommon, but if you have a real true reason to think you have IGT (like, mother or sister has it diagnosed or your lactation consultant says so or something) then you might consider taking Goat's Rue. It's used a lot of times to help women who've had breast surgery build up to a full supply and works by increasing glandular tissue. It's also commonly sold as a "breast enhancer". (to make your boobs bigger). Well, you could consider taking it anyhow, though. Also, if you're not taking enough Fenugreek to smell like maple syrup, you're not taking enough to affect your supply according to Dr. Jack Newman.
Lots of women start off their first BFing relationship just like you have and end up believing that they can't make enough milk. Don't take yourself down that path just yet, ok? Give yourself the benefit of GOOD, SUPPORTIVE help. NOT mediocre help.
And don't feel like there's something wrong with you because you don't "get it" all at once and it didn't just magically happen. Breastfeeding successfully is a learned activity. It's not instinct and it's not hormonal knowledge. It's like learning to swim. It takes training and opportunity, not just getting thrown in the deep end without a life jacket.
I couldn't pump a drop after six months--completely unexplained--just never let-down again into it, however, I had no problem breastfeeding ds for a full year. I had to supp with formula at the sitter's though and everyone survived and thrived despite.
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