Drying up at 9 months - Extremely sad - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had a relatively fabulous nursing experience with my dd. We've had bouts of lowered milk supply, but I know all of the tricks and we've made it through. She's always been a happy, chubby little baby in the 70th percentile. Over the last couple of months, she has seemed less satisfied and I found out at her 9 month appointment that she'd only gained 2 ounces. She is now in the 22nd percentile!!!

People always say, as long as she seems satisfied and she's gaining weight, nothing to worry about. Over the past week, it's gotten lower and lower. 45 minutes of pumping last night got me 1 ounce. I've been puming for 5 -15 minutes after each nursing and drinking nursing tea, tincture, eating oatmeal, lots of protein and healthy fats, lots and lots of water. As much rest as I can. What the hell is happening??? I am so upset. I feel like my nursing bond is being ripped away from me.

I don't know what I'm asking. But, I don't know what to do and I figured this was the best place to cry out for help.
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#2 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh mama, you are not drying up! It is completely normal for breastfed babies' weight gain to slow drastically after 6 months. And pumping 1 oz. is nothing to scoff at! Some women don't respond well to the pump, and the average woman gets .5-2oz. per session.

What do you mean it's getting lower and lower in the last week? Are you judging by amount you're pumping? Has AF returned?

Is your DD having at least 5 very wet diapers per day?

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#3 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I say it's lower and lower based on her reactions to nursing. When we sit down to nurse she's on and off for a good 10 minutes until the milk finally lets down. Then she nurses, maybe 1 minute and then gets enraged, screaming. She only stops screaming long enough to latch on again - but then angry. (I'm 99% positive it isn't ear pain, I think there's just no more milk and she's very upset about that). If 22nd percentile was her genetic potential, I'd be fine with that, but it isn't likely. I think she's just hungry.

The other night I decided to give her a 3 ounce bottle of ebm and she devoured it and pawed at the bottle as I pried it away. She cried and cried and tried to get to it. Then I tried to nurse her again (more) and she couldn't get any. She was so hungry, but my breast was NOT giving her what she wanted.


I feel super guilty letting her be so hungry while I try to figure this out...it's been weeks and I am seriosuly worried. I feel guilty everytime I eat, thinking she'd love to fill her belly too and I should just give her some formula so she can have her fill and not be desperate for more milk all the time.
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#4 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and aunt flo has been back for 5 months and, in that 5 months we never had an issue before this.
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#5 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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I don't think that means you're drying up - I think it means she's just getting frustrated with slower let-down.

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#6 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But what about when it does let down and then she only gets a small amount before going back to being angry?

And this has been about a month (maybe more, but I started realizing I had an issue about a month ago). How long would it take to resolve frustration over a slower letdown?
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#7 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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Ok, lets see if we can figure this out.

So, how many times do you nurse in a day. Are you nursing daytime and night time. Is your baby eating a lot of solid foods? Are you working outside the home and if so, are you pumping?

Also, have you started taking birth control in the last few months, any medications, ointments that you weren't taking before. Have you had any thyroid concerns or had your thyroid tested? Lets see, I think even some herbal teas and foods can affect supply.

I can understand why your frustrated because it sounds like your little one is really expressing frustration. The pp is right, babes stop gaining and start to only gain a small amounts at a time. Is your pediatrician concerned?

I'm so sorry that your having such a tough time. Have you checked out Diane West's Making More Milk?

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#8 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, lets see if we can figure this out.

So, how many times do you nurse in a day. Are you nursing daytime and night time.
I was nursing about 7x a day. Once in the wee hours of the morning. This has been our pattern for the past 4 months.

Is your baby eating a lot of solid foods?
I wouldn't say a lot, but she is eating solids. One serving for her is smaller than a serving you'd see in a jar, but I don't know the exact amount. Plus she does finger foods a lot and it's very hard to tell how much she ate vs how much is on the floor


Are you working outside the home and if so, are you pumping?
I stay at home with her (my plan was to be completelty devoted to nursing all day and focusing solely on her needs...so I feel like this is my only job and I'm failing or something) And recently I broke out the pump again in an effort to pump up my supply.

Also, have you started taking birth control in the last few months, any medications, ointments that you weren't taking before.
I don't take birth control (and I'm not pregnant, I took a test even, to make sure). I don't take any medications or anything. Just my usual fish oil, vitamin B complex, vitamin D and coQ10 but that's nothing new.

Have you had any thyroid concerns or had your thyroid tested?
I have had my thyroid tested by a pretty thorough osteopathic doctor whom I very much trust to be pretty rigid with the results. She has zero concern with my numbers.

Lets see, I think even some herbal teas and foods can affect supply.
I am always super duper cautious with herbs because I get confused by kellymom as far as what's safe...so the only herbal I drink is the expensive nursing tea that I love (the tea that always worked in the past).

I can understand why your frustrated because it sounds like your little one is really expressing frustration. The pp is right, babes stop gaining and start to only gain a small amounts at a time. Is your pediatrician concerned?
He isn't concerned...but he was surprised. I mentioned her mobility and he agreed that would be a reason for a small amount of weight gain, but he said he was still surprised that she went from being so big, to being so small - not that she lost, but her percentile went so far down and we aren't a teeny family (we're tall and medium framed). I wouldn't bat an eyelash at it normally, except for her signs of hunger and frustration. He is not an alarmist at all and I very much trust him to let things play out naturally (the way he did when he just stood by and let me deliver her).

I'm so sorry that your having such a tough time. Have you checked out Diane West's Making More Milk?
I have not. Is it a book? Do I have time to work through a book if she's been wasting away for the past couple of weeks. I feel a little too panicked to take time to read and make lifestyle changes ya know? Not that I'm closed to it...I very willing (and have) tried anything!
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#9 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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please chart you dd's weights on the WHO chart to see how much she has fallen off her curve. http://www.who.int/childgrowth/stand...irls_p_0_2.pdf

this will give you a better idea of what you are dealing with

has she been checked for tongue-tie?

what solids is she eating? right now i would go for high calorie: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitami...dcalories.html

pumping is great. can you add oatmeal to your diet? would you consider herbs or medications to increase supply? dr newman: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17
and http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

could you be pregnant?

nak
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#10 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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PatioGardener, yep I've been eating oatmeal...even when I'm not hungry...even when I think oatmeal's gonna make me gag!

I'm not pregnant. I'm definitely open to herbs and have been using them for the past 9 months on and off, especially now considering my struggle.

Medication...I'm not sure. I mean, I feel like I need to do what's natural and I'd MUCH rather get to the root of the issue. I gave birth naturally, I cloth diaper, I breastfeed...I try to do things that make sense for the earth and our bodies very naturally and once medication is needed I have to first wonder, what's the reason for the malfunction? Although, my mom who was the expert champion in breastfeeding and all things natural..she also mentioned medication and that's usually her LAST resort. I dunno. Maybe. Anybody know what the med is like? I'd really, really hate to have to do that. (not to mention have to pay for that!)
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#11 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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The medication typically used for increasing milk supply is domperidone; I was on it for 18 months and experienced no side-effects. That having been said, if you've been producing milk fine up until now, then there's something going on and domperidone is unlikely to fix the underlying problem.

You mentioned your dd's mobility - did she start crawling recently, and is she very active? This could affect her appetite (hungry!), her weight gain (she's burning a lot more calories) and also your supply, if she's been too busy figuring out the crawling thing to nurse.

Probably the best thing to do is dose yourself to the eyeballs with fenugreek and blessed thistle**, make sure you're eating and drinking enough, cut back ALL out-of-the-house activities for a few days, and nurse your baby as much and as often as she will tolerate, preferably going to a dark, quiet place, but if she's entertained by you lying on the floor waving the boob in her face, by all means go for it.

Also, give her solid food only AFTER nursing, and make sure it as nutrient-dense as possible (like fatty meats, or avocado). If she's been replacing breastmilk with things that are not giving her as much energy or nutrition, like cereal or fruits & veg, that may be why she's hungrier.

Don't let her go more than 2 hours without attempting nursing and, if you've still got a working pump, once or twice a day you could pump after nursing, but only if she hasn't nursed well.

Additionally, if there is a period of the night during which she typically goes more than 5 hours without nursing, pick her up and give her a dream feed. Unlike newborns, babies that age can nurse extremely effectively while still asleep, and it's totally worth it. Picking her up will rouse her enough so that she'll latch on and have a good feed. When she slows down, switch sides. I used to do this with my DD just before I went to bed - so if your DD goes to bed at, say, 8, and wakes to nurse at 4, you could do a dream feed at 10:30 or 11. She'll probably still wake at her regular early morning time to nurse and you'll get more bm into her. If she goes to bed early, nurse her to sleep and do 2 dream feeds before you go to bed.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to not stress. Stress is just as likely a culprit as anything else. Try to relax, make some time for yourself - have a nice bath in the evening, go for a walk on your own, meditate. And know that you're not alone - many mamas go through tough nursing times for one reason or another in the crawling-early walking stage and the vast majority make it through and go on to nurse for as long as they and their little ones want to.

** Fenugreek dosage: 3 capsules, 3 times per day or until you smell like maple syrup. Blessed thistle: use tincture, two dropperfuls in water, 3 times a day. Tastes completely vile; you'll get used to it. Blessed thistle is especially good for speeding up let-down.

HTH!

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#12 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

This makes me want to cry though...I'm doing all of this (except the medication). I actually like the maple syrup smell because it transcends me back to when she was a newborn. Anyway, she did start crawling recently, but she isn't eating more than normal...she can only stay latched on for literally 60 seconds, maybe less, before she's upset because it's all gone. I know she's effiecient, but that's insane. I know she isn't getting what she needs in 60 seconds or less (and I especially know it because of her extreme frustration around nursing). And, actually now that I think about it, this started before crawling. She only started crawling last week and this has been going on for awhile. When I did the dream feeds, I felt like I had nothing to give when she woke up in the morning. Usually, the morning feed is the only one I can count on to be somewhat satisfying, but after a night of dreamfeeds it wasn't satisfying to her anymore and she cried at the morning feed for the first time ever. She's a very mild mannered baby and to cry at all is really out of character for her so that was really upsetting to me. I just feel like she's been saying, "Mama, I HUNGRY, feed meee!!!" for weeks now and it is breaking my heart.

I really appreciate all of these suggestions. I don't want to seem like I'm just rejecting them all...it's just that I truly have tried just about everything over the past month. But maybe, just maybe, someone will think of something that I haven't tried?
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#13 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I think when something takes THIS much effort and thought, that it isn't natural. (I mean I know formula isn't natural either, ha!). But, this just doesn't seem right to me. Women in the 1800's didn't have google and sometimes lived very far away from their mothers. Suppose the few supporting women/mothers in my town suggested everything above and it still didn't work for me. Then where would I be? Did this happen to women back in the old days? I am really grappling with the feeling that I've sacrificed so much and tried SO hard to figure this out and make it work versus I am failing my daughter.
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#14 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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If she were really not getting enough, she'd be dehydrated and not producing any wet dipes OR drinking a LOT of water. Is she drinking large amounts of water, or is her diaper output below 6 wet ones a day? How are her poops?

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#15 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's producing much fewer wet dipes. I don't give her water. My doc told me all the hydration she needs should come from breastmilk. Her poops lately have been hard and many small pieces. I actually HAVE been concerned about dehydration. Especially in this heat.
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#16 of 39 Old 07-22-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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Sometimes I think when something takes THIS much effort and thought, that it isn't natural. (I mean I know formula isn't natural either, ha!). But, this just doesn't seem right to me. Women in the 1800's didn't have google and sometimes lived very far away from their mothers. Suppose the few supporting women/mothers in my town suggested everything above and it still didn't work for me. Then where would I be? Did this happen to women back in the old days? I am really grappling with the feeling that I've sacrificed so much and tried SO hard to figure this out and make it work versus I am failing my daughter.
Women in the 1800s (and before, for as long as agrarian cultures have been around) certainly did lose their milk around this time - they would frequently get pregnant at about this time, or be doing so much manual labour that their supply dropped - at which point they would feed the baby more solid food and probably cow or goat's milk as well. And the majority of babies would do fine on that. Some lucky ones might get handed to auntie or a cousin who was nursing now and then, but in general - prechewed meat, cereal of some sort, and milk from a domestic animal. Your baby has the added bonus of modern hygiene, a general lack of infectious diseases, and more nutrient-dense non-boob food than most of the children in history.

And you are NOT failing your daughter. As important as breastfeeding is, there is more - way more - to motherhood than that! Yes, you have been nearly her sole source of food for 9 months, but you will continue to be a source of food even if for some reason you're not producing as much as you want - nursing is great for soothing the bangs and bumps of early mobility, it doesn't matter then how much is in there - and no matter what, you are her mummy and she loves you in a way she will never, ever love anyone else, regardless of what your breasts are doing. You are more than the boob. (That should be a mantra for all new moms.)

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#17 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my gosh I am an emotional mess with this. I am crying left and right. Thank you, it means a lot to me coming from another MDC mom. *sigh* I AM more than the boob. I am. (This is not to say that I will quit trying). I love her so much, I would do anything for her. Absolutely anything.

Damn. I just envisioned this so differently. tear.
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#18 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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She's producing much fewer wet dipes. I don't give her water. My doc told me all the hydration she needs should come from breastmilk. Her poops lately have been hard and many small pieces. I actually HAVE been concerned about dehydration. Especially in this heat.
I would give her water. The poops I would not worry about too much as there is such a wide variation in babies who have started solids, but lack of pee (especially if what does come out is quite dark) is a problem. Definitely give her water. Also, once babies start on solid food, they SHOULD have water. Your doctor is right, but only for *exclusively* breastfed babies. The moment they start on solids, they need water. I'm surprised your doctor didn't ask about her wet diapers and have some concerns based on that.

Can you see a lactation specialist? Ask your doc for a referral to someone with IBCLC certification.

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#19 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've given her the sippy cup and my straw to practice and just for the experience, but she just chews. She doesn't get it yet. Should I put some water in a bottle to ensure she gets some water?

He did ask about pees, but I felt casual about it at the time and said it was fine...it was after that I realized there really might be a problem.
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#20 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I know what you mean, I just about had a breakdown when my DD went on a nursing strike/biting spree at 10 months. I'd been weaning off domperidone for several weeks but I didn't realize there could be a threshold effect - when I got down to 2 pills a day my DD started biting me, then refusing to nurse when I screeched. It got so the ONLY time I could nurse her was when she was asleep, and I tried pumping and was getting very little. I thought we were done, I couldn't nurse her if she kept biting me and she wouldn't nurse without doing it! In the end it was an easy fix, I called a local lactation consultant, explained everything and she said it was most likely a supply issue and if I could get my supply up, it would probably be ok. I went back on the domperidone (uneasily, I was a bit worried about long-term use) and the next night I woke up engorged and leaking all over the place and DD was a happy camper and the biting stopped. But that week or so was amongst the worst of my life - next to the first two weeks of her life when I kept waiting, in vain, for my milk to come in, and had to give her formula... oh, breastfeeding can be SO, SO hard on us. It's what makes us women, and when it doesn't work the way we think it should, it's like a knife to our hearts. I would take years of nipple pain over the agony of not having enough milk.

I understand, believe me I do, and I can also tell you that a few years from now, you will be easier on yourself, and you WILL be able to look at yourself and your child and know that you did a damn good job and your child was lucky to have someone as dedicated to breastfeeding as you, for a mama. I don't know why your supply is tanking (I would take another pg test though if I were you, and definitely see a lactation specialist) but it isn't the end of the world, and there's absolutely no reason you can't keep nursing your DD as much as you can, and supplement her with solids and formula in the meantime if her weight gain continues to be excessively slow. This is NOT the end of your nursing relationship! It may be a change, but not the end. (I would suggest supplementing with a lact-aid, or a regular cup though. She is still quite young enough to develop a nipple preference if you use a bottle.)

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#21 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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I've given her the sippy cup and my straw to practice and just for the experience, but she just chews. She doesn't get it yet. Should I put some water in a bottle to ensure she gets some water?

He did ask about pees, but I felt casual about it at the time and said it was fine...it was after that I realized there really might be a problem.
You could try a bottle, but a sippy without a valve (you will need to hold it or let her play with it someplace it doesn't matter if it gets all over) or a regular cup will probably work better - a lot of babies who have experience with EBM or formula out of a bottle get really offended if you try to give them water that way

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#22 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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Different poop textures are fine- until it gets to the many small balls stage- that is an issue with lack of hydration. In my opinion, while you are trying to figure this out, I would feel no guilt in supplementing with formula in a bottle. NO guilt what so ever. And honestly, I don't think even water is necessary for eating babies either- mine never did water cups until they were much older, just breastmilk and solids. I don't think I would give the water if you think it is an issue of not getting enough milk- that could honestly just worsen the issue- almost like the old fashioned recommendation to give babies bottles of water between the every four hour milk bottles if they aren't satiated. Yes, the water would hydrate, but not give nourishment. Obviously, nurse first, but I would look into formula supplementation in addition to what you are already doing, since baby is so frustrated.
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#23 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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I don't think a 9mo is still young enough to get a nipple confusion, also op says she already uses a bottle for giving pumped milk. No need ot make it any harder!
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#24 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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Also, once babies start on solid food, they SHOULD have water. Your doctor is right, but only for *exclusively* breastfed babies. The moment they start on solids, they need water..
I don't think this is necessarily true. Purees have water in them. Fruits and vegetables have water in them. And as long as a baby is getting enough breastmilk, there is no need for additional water. If there are concerns about dehydration, then those absolutely need to be addressed, but a baby who is getting adequate milk in any form doesn't NEED water.

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#25 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have so much to say...but my face is tear streaked and I am exhausted so I'm gonna try and get some rest (another important factor in making milk, right?!)

But for now, I just can't thank you enough for your advice and support. It kills me to think I'm failing her but these comments have helped me to put things into perspective a bit. I have a mental plan going and I'm gonna give it some time and do what I have to do in the interim.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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#26 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 01:00 AM
 
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Are you using a Sippy Cup or Paci? If so I would stop. Also I just learned about Vitanica's Lactation Support Supplement. I say if that doesn't pump up your supply I would be very surprised! I would just nurse as much as possible, like clear your calendar and it will get back up there I bet!
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#27 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Friendlee View Post
I have so much to say...but my face is tear streaked and I am exhausted so I'm gonna try and get some rest (another important factor in making milk, right?!)

But for now, I just can't thank you enough for your advice and support. It kills me to think I'm failing her but these comments have helped me to put things into perspective a bit. I have a mental plan going and I'm gonna give it some time and do what I have to do in the interim.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
You need to stop thinking that you are failing your baby! You are NOT failing her. Even if something is going on that is affecting your supply, you're concerned and trying to figure it out, and that is NOT a failure!

A, jammin.gif mama to a boy (2005) and a girl (2009)
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#28 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
I don't think a 9mo is still young enough to get a nipple confusion, also op says she already uses a bottle for giving pumped milk. No need ot make it any harder!

Not nipple confusion, nipple preference. Any baby can develop a preference for a nipple that gives more food, faster. If mama IS having supply issues, supplementing at the breast will accomplish a couple things: it'll get the baby associating breast with good eats, it'll stimulate the breast more, and it'll help a distressed mama feel more at peace - nothing like a good, long, peaceful nurse to amp up the oxytocin & prolactin!

Postpartum doula & certified breastfeeding educator, mama to an amazing girl (11/05) and a wee little boy (3/13).

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#29 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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Ok, so you are getting lots of great advice. Mama, I'm so sorry that your going through this. I think it might be a good idea to have a consultation with a lactation consultant. Considering all that you have tried already, it might be good to see a professional so you can work together to find a good solution.

I think you need to talk to your doctor about your babes decrease in wet diapers and bowels. Small, condensed, pebbly bowel movements are a sign of constipation and dehydration. See what your doctor says but I would consider giving a bit of formula instead of water.

Together with an lc and you babes ped, you can make sure that you are doing what you can to build supply and be sure your daughter is getting enough. At this point, I wouldn't worry too much about nipple confusion. But if your concerned, you could always try and SNS system.

Diane West's MMM is an amazing book that deals with many breastfeeding scenarios that indicate a decreased milk supply. Other issues that can cause decreased supply are breast reduction surgery, breast implants, asymmetrical breasts, and other breast conditions. Have you ever been to an lactation consultant? Have they ever visually inspected your breasts?

Let us know how your doing...

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#30 of 39 Old 07-23-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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First off-pumping really isn't a good measure of how much babe is getting. i didn't believe this for a long time but found it to be true this time around for me.

Second-its pretty normal for babes to plateau a bit after 6 months. So don't freak out just yet.

Third- is your babe still happy and growing is other ways? Dd2 didn't gain weight for 3 months. But I was slow to worry because she was still developing normally. In the end she had food intolerances that were the issue and I wish I had figured it out earlier-live and learn. Once I did though she caught up no problem.

Do you notice any signs of a hormone change in you? Af, hair falling out, mood swings, breakouts? This usually happens to me around 4 or 5 months pp and my supply dips big time. But then bounces back. In the meantime I eat oatmeal, drink my teas, and if need be supplement. This time around I used this stuff called Galctogil-worked freakin wonders for me. BUt I am in France and I do not know if its in the US.

Are you getting enough rest?

After all is said and done you have done a fantastic job of getting this far with breastfeeding and you should congratulate yourself on that. Try not to be too hard on yourself. I hope it works out mamma!

Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
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