Help! I'm so desperate that I'm researching formulas... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-17-2010, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, bear with me here, I haven’t made any decisions yet. Here is the background story…

DS will be 6 months old next week. I had an oversupply when DS was first born. I probably could have fed triplets. My body responded well to the pump and I was able to get up to about 300 oz in my freezer at one point. (I have a Medela PIS.) Unfortunately, because of the nature of the work I was doing, I was unable to pump consistently at work. Inconsistent pumping, teamed up with the return on my cycles, proved disastrous for my supply. There have been a few times during AF where I have actually had to supplement from my freezer supply and give DS a bottle myself.

I have tried nearly everything to get my supply back up to what it once was…fenugreek, Brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, Mother’s Milk tea, and tons of water. I do just fine if I’m with DS all day - I can feed him with no supplements. This is probably a good time to admit that I started solids three weeks ago to take some of the pressure of my boobs. I felt like it delayed the decision I have to make now by a few weeks. I never intended on giving solids before 6 months. I never intended on ever feeding him cereals - but cereals sounded better than formula at the time. It’s not ideal, but DS now gets cereals once a day as well as pureed fruit or veggie once a day.

I have been off work three weeks now but I go back next week. My current problem is that I don’t respond hardly at all to the pump anymore. I was away from DS for an entire day last week and was able to pump regularly but I only yielded 4 oz total. Meanwhile, DS drank 20 oz that day! I can pump for an hour and a half straight sometimes and never trigger a letdown. Even when I do get a letdown, I only net about 2 oz total. I used to get 10+oz in one pumping session. It’s so depressing, particularly because I can feel that my breasts are still full but I can’t get any more milk to come out.

I’m at a loss. I’m so depressed over this that it no longer feels like it’s worth it. I’m down to 70 oz in the freezer. At the rate we’re going, that’s bound to be depleted in my first week back at work. I’m tempted to just throw in the towel during the day and just go with formula. My supply at night and in the morning is still abundant. If I give up day feeding all together will I still be able to continue with night & morning feeding or will it all eventually dry up?

I forgot to add that I’ve ordered Domperidone but have yet to receive it. I’m going to give that a try. My hope is that it will make my breasts so full that I’ll be able to pump more in a session and maybe I’ll be able to save my BFing relationship completely.

Any and all advice and experience is welcome!

ETA: My pump is a Medela PIS & DS will be 6 months old next week.

Me (26), DH (27), DSD (8), DS (Feb 2010), & 5 kitties
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#2 of 5 Old 08-17-2010, 04:56 PM
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I know others will respond with more help but my first question is would it be possible for you to take any time off work to have the babe at the breast as much as possible?

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#3 of 5 Old 08-17-2010, 05:20 PM
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First, give yourself credit. You are doing great.

Second, (and you've probably already done this), inspect your pump. Are you using the AC adapter or batteries? Have you replaced the membranes lately? You can pop open the front panel of the pump to make sure there's nothing weird going on in there. Have you played with the speed/intensity to see if you can trick yourself into letting down?

Now "you stuff"--have you tried breast compressions/massage? Someone will pipe in with more on this, I'm sure. Are there any new stressors in your life (other than BFing!) or have you started any meds (like BC)? Is there any way that you can pump more frequently but for a shorter period of time at work? It doesn't sound like you have supply issues, so much as needing to help your body letdown. Relaxation is a big part of that....I'm hoping that others will help with ideas on stimulating letdown.

Third, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. Don't let it get you down. If you have to supplement, so what? I'm not suggesting you give up, but supplementing during the day IS NOT the end of your BFing relationship. I know you're not ready for it, but you can still have a GREAT Bfing relationship nursing before work, after work, and all night. Consider it a good plan B.

Don't give up!

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#4 of 5 Old 08-17-2010, 06:25 PM
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I had to pump and feed three babies who would not nurse, so I'm no stranger to the pump! I agree about making sure your pump is working correctly

One really good way to increase supply is to pump a lot during the wee hours of the morning. It's exhausting but it works. Your supply is usually highest in the wee hours of the morning (like you said). I used to start at 4 a.m. with "cluster pumping". That means you pump every hour for a few hours. It works best in the morning. Make sure you continue to pump for 2-5 more minutes after the flow stops every time you pump. Often times you will tap into a reserve supply that you didn't know you had.

If your supply is good at night, do some cluster pumping at that time as well. I once increased my supply from 20 ounces a day to a whopping 50 ounces a day using cluster pumping, pumping 10 times a day minimally, and pumping 2-5 minutes after the flow stopped every time.

Also, don't be so hard on yourself if you have to supplement. He's had mother's milk for 6 months which is a good long time. Many babies get none. You've done a great job and you are a wonderful mommy! I felt terrible when I had to supplement, but I learned to accept that "some" mother's milk is better than none.

Good luck. I hope you can get your supply back.
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#5 of 5 Old 08-17-2010, 06:37 PM
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Check out your cones (I don't know what they're called) for sizing. Nipples change during pregnancy and nursing- you may need to size up for more stimulation. OR another suggestion is to try renting a hospital grade pump for a month (I'd also add that PIS is not the end-all-be-all pump- it let me down after a few months) - Hospital grade pumps are great for building supply and renting one is cheaper (and obviously supperior because it's breast milk) than formula!

Don't give up- you're doing great! The light at the end of the tunnel is near- in just a few months your babe can probably get by on just a couple bottles during the work day. Hang in there!

Momma to DD (12/04) hearts.gif and DS (11/09) hbac.gif.
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!

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