My baby is starving! (Why don't I make enough milk?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is hungry all the time. She wants to eat about ever hour or two. We thought it cluster feeding/growth spurt...but she's 6 weeks old and it's been going on since about 2 weeks of age.

At times I'm engorged and have an overactive letdown (like first thing in the morning) and I have to pump off some milk just so she can get her mouth around the nipple. But for the rest of the day my breasts are flat and deflated and just can't keep up with her demands!

In the evening my husband feeds her my pumped milk but lately we've given her more and more and she'd continyue if we let her. I'm worried that my once great supply of frozen milk will be gone soon.

I started drinking the mother's milk tea, but I feel SO GUILTY that she is so hungry and constantly knawing on her little fists and looking into my eyes with her bottom lip sticking out saying, "Mommy I'm hungry!!!"

I'm thinking about running out to get some formula. Yuck. I hate even saying it. I'd get organic and it would only be supplemental, she would't depend on it. I'd try to pump while dh feeds it to her so that my breasts understand that the demand continues to be what it is...

Is this what I should do? Does anyone have any advice for my hungry baby?
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#2 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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Is she gaining? Sounds normal to me. My lo eats every 1-2 hours as well.

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#3 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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I'll second a previous poster's question - is she gaining weight? How about output - is she wetting and pooping regularly? Does her urine seem especially concentrated?

I know this can be a stressful situation. In your shoes, I would definitely speak to your health care provider to assess your baby's need for food. If she does need formula, then go get some and thank heaven that it's available and don't beat yourself up about it. I know it's not your first choice, but feeding the baby is your priority right now. (I know that you know this - I just hate for you to feel badly about it - you're doing the best you can, and that's all you can do)

As for increasing your supply - breastfeeding really is a supply and demand thing. The more she's latched on, the more you will make. Remember, you have milk even if your breasts don't feel full. In the evenings, is your husband giving her pumped milk after she's nursed or instead of nursing? It's not unusual for babies to ask to nurse frequently in the evenings (perhaps as nature's way to build up supply). I'm a bit concerned that you might be hurting your efforts by giving her pumped milk instead of letting her nurse first.

Mother's milk tea can help. As can fenugreek - you need to take a good bit of it, until you start smelling like maple syrup (seriously!). And I know it sounds ridiculous, but try to get some rest - it will also help your supply.

Have you spoken with a La Leche League leader in your area? These ladies can be extraordinarily helpful.

Good luck to you, and congrats on your new little one!!!!

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#4 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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sounds totally normal. you got some great advice here http://www.mothering.com/discussions...=#post14691672

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#5 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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Im not sure but I think they have a growth spurt around 4-6 weeks ?? I remember in my lactation group with my first talking about a growth spurt at that time.

Pump what she drinks at night to help your supply.

Mama to & +:::
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#6 of 36 Old 11-18-2009, 11:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Kawa kamuri...I kept checking back and had only seen one response. Lots of helpful stuff there now.

I guess it does make sense that the bottle feeding by my husband at night is hurting the supply. I mainly just wanted a break - when he feeds her, I zoom around the house furiously showering, doing dishes, vacuuming, doing laundry, etc and so on. I LOVE that break. I also wanted to be sure she could take the bottle so that my mom could babysit once a week (or every other week I guess) so that we could go on a date and I could have a couple of glasses of wine without worrying about nursing while buzzed.

Also, I hear all of these people talking about their babies already sleeping through the night or for 5-7 hours and I thought maybe she wasn't doing that because she wasn't getting enough food.

I'm fine with nursing every 1 or 2 hours...but I guess it seems like she isn't getting anything from me at times and is just using me as a pacifier. She won't suck sometimes but wants to keep her mouth on. Then other times after lots of sucking she buries her nose into my breast very hard and kicks her legs and flails her arms...it seems like she is trying to hard to get more but that I am tapped out. (Her latch is fine when she wants to eat so it isn't a latch issue).

I guess I'll stop the evening bottle. Damn.
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#7 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PS She actually did not gain anything the first three weeks. Didn't get back to birth weight until week 4. So gaining very slowly. I'd say her bm's have slowed down a bit. I'd say 1-2 a day. I'd say about 6-8 urines a day.

We went to the doctor and LC every week for the first 4 weeks to monitor since she wasnt gaining. We have our next appt Dec 2 (week 8).
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#8 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 12:17 AM
 
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That sounds like the right number of wet diapers.

The more you nurse, the greater your supply will be. It's so early, there will be lots of date nights...hang in there! Once your supply is established, you'll be laughing. Also, all of the running around (cleaning, etc) might be taking its toll a bit on your supply. Be sure you are getting enough rest and eating a good diet and it will pass on to your BM.

Mama of 2 sweet boys, Miles (Jan 3/07) and Avery (Nov 28/09) My fast and furious HBAC
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#9 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 01:56 AM
 
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millie nurses like that! 6 wks is a growth spurt, too so it may improve a bit in a week or so. also, millie cluster feeds in the evening and she will take a bottle if we give it to her even after eating for hours. i think her brain is trying to tell her to gear up for sleep, so she nurses like crazy from about 9 p to about 2 - 3 a and she sleeps longer stretches during the day. i'm exhausted, but we are going with what she wants.

you say baby is slow to gain??? she was 8 1/2 lbs at birth so maybe she just needed to grow into that weight? it sounds weird, but some bigger babies tend to gain a bit slower at first as if they are trimming down the excess brown fat in order to be able to gain at a steadier pace. average weight gain at this stage is 5.5 to 8.5 oz/week after week 3.

amelia gained more wuickly at first because the dr's insisted on pumping her full and giving her supplements. although her weight gain has slowed lately, she's staying on curve for her weight gains.

and as for babies sleeping 5-7 hr stretches, i've found those are few and far between. it's normal for babies to behave like you described for you dd. i think that all those sttn newborns are exaggerated by either the parents or by us tired mommas honing in on the few that are supposedly sttn.

s i've counseled so many women who are where you are and end up supplementing and destroying their supply because they don't trust their bodies. you are working with other professionals so i think you'll be ok. your baby and your body will tell you what to do!

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#10 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 02:44 AM
 
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I did have low supply issues, based on baby not gaining weight for a while. Doc gave me some time to get my supply up, but weight just wasn't coming on, so I did have to supplement (maybe my breast surgery a few years earlier didn't help). Please don't let my story discourage you. Most women don't have any supply issue, and find it fairly easy to up the supply with more frequent pumping and such. You really can't base it off how frequently baby wants to nurse. Mine wanted to nurse all the time, hungry or not. Anyway, fenugreek did help. Also, my DS started refusing his daily bottle after a while (probably after about a month), so the period of time that we supplemented was really short. If worse comes to worse and baby is not gaining weight properly (I have a feeling she is), then you can supplement for a short period of time, while getting your supply up through pumping and taking herbs.

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#11 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 04:44 AM
 
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I was concerned about supply because my milk was very slow to come in after the c-section. My lactation consultant recommended More Milk Plus http://www.luckyvitamin.com/item/itemKey/51752
It's a mix of fenugreek and other herbals in a tincture, and it definitely helped me. (This is largely the same stuff as in Mothers Milk tea, but much more concentrated. According to my LC you'd have to drink crazy amounts of the tea to equal what's in the tincture.)
Also, you're probably already doing this, but remember to drink lots and lots of water.

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#12 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by completebeginnings View Post
is she gaining? Sounds normal to me. My lo eats every 1-2 hours as well.
me too!!!
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#13 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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If it's any consolation to you at all, I can't BF my DD because of medication I have to take, so she's on formula. And, she still eats every 1-2 hours during the day and chews on her fists at other times. She drinks 3-4 oz. at a time, she's gaining weight steadily, she has PLENTY of wet and dirty diapers, and she's still acting hungry.

However...if I offer her more, she will refuse it or spit it up entirely. So, she isn't hungry. I really just think it's normal behavior - I really wouldn't supplement with formula, she sounds normal to me.
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#14 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BlueEyedLady: That's really interesting...my dd has acted hungry and then spit all up a few times too.

Well, I'll start taking the More Milk Plus and the Mother's tea and just nurse, nurse, nurse. Thank you all for the encouragment and advice. I love this website! If I were only listening to people near me in town, I'd likely have bought formula last night. I feel like you ladies and your experiences have been a lifesaver for me so often.

It's awful, but I just want to have a few drinks sometimes and not worry about the alcohol level in my milk for a few hours. I think a lot of women would find nursing MUCH easier if they could have a few drinks to take the edge off! (I know I can have a glass of wine or a beer and be safe...I guess I prefer a few glasses or a few beers though - I will be honest, I don't drink it for the taste, but instead for the buzz).
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#15 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boobs4milk View Post
and as for babies sleeping 5-7 hr stretches, i've found those are few and far between. it's normal for babies to behave like you described for you dd. i think that all those sttn newborns are exaggerated by either the parents or by us tired mommas honing in on the few that are supposedly sttn.
my babe sleeps like that but i consider it a rarity even among my own children

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#16 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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"She wants to eat about ever hour or two" ... I think that is normal too!! I've heard that babies will take more milk even when they are not hungry. Sucking on her fists may mean she just likes to suck .. you could try one of those round pacifers, I read they don't interfere w/ breastfeeding. Good luck.

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#17 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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Sounds normal to me.

My son is the oddball, he does sleep 5-7 hour stretches in the night, but he's just that way. DD was lucky to sleep 5-7 hours and that was until she was past 2.

I personally don't think 1 bottle is causing any issues, but that JMO. I am one to give my babies a bottle for your exact reasons though, but I pump one bottle over the course of a day or 2.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#18 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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i think you can have more than one drink, look into it. i thought it was like 3 or something?? probably not 3 like in a hour but maybe over a few

Me, my Husband and three little Boys! 7, 5 and 7 1/2 months! Life is good!
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#19 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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I don't think there's any reason you can't have one drink with a meal and then nurse the baby whenever they want it -- this is my general practice. But if you're actually seeking a buzz from drinking, perhaps the best thing to do is to find other things that make you feel good without the self-medication aspect of drinking alcohol? (Getting more exercise always works for me, just taking a walk outdoors every day.) I'm no prude about drinking and I do enjoy one or two drinks nearly every day, but the fact that you're feeling a "need" for a buzz implies that you're stressed and that the stress needs to be addressed. Stress can interfere with your let-down response.

I also think you need more down time to get your supply up, which is what your baby is trying to do. Have you tried switch nursing? Each time you sit down to nurse baby, take her off the first breast as soon as she slows down her sucking or gets sleepy, then put her on the other. Repeat until you've offered each breast twice, and let her finish the last side herself. I had a slow gainer this time around, and switch nursing (plus lots of skin-to-skin contact) made a huge difference in just a few days. She started gaining faster than normal. LOL

Also, people mentioned getting enough water, but also make sure you're getting enough food. You need a lot of extra energy to make all that milk.

Finally, in case nobody else mentioned this -- even if your breasts feel soft and flat that doesn't mean you're not making enough milk. Mine are only "full" feeling in the middle of the night after dd's one long stretch of sleep (4 hours) and otherwise they feel "empty." But she's getting plenty of milk.

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#20 of 36 Old 11-19-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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My dd is hungry all the time. She wants to eat about ever hour or two. We thought it cluster feeding/growth spurt...but she's 6 weeks old and it's been going on since about 2 weeks of age.

At times I'm engorged and have an overactive letdown (like first thing in the morning) and I have to pump off some milk just so she can get her mouth around the nipple. But for the rest of the day my breasts are flat and deflated and just can't keep up with her demands!

In the evening my husband feeds her my pumped milk but lately we've given her more and more and she'd continyue if we let her. I'm worried that my once great supply of frozen milk will be gone soon.

I started drinking the mother's milk tea, but I feel SO GUILTY that she is so hungry and constantly knawing on her little fists and looking into my eyes with her bottom lip sticking out saying, "Mommy I'm hungry!!!"

I'm thinking about running out to get some formula. Yuck. I hate even saying it. I'd get organic and it would only be supplemental, she would't depend on it. I'd try to pump while dh feeds it to her so that my breasts understand that the demand continues to be what it is...

Is this what I should do? Does anyone have any advice for my hungry baby?
Totally normal. Stop the bottles and don't do formula!! Just keep nursing. My ds nurses constantly.. sometimes every 30-45 min. I am super full in the am and feel deflated in the evenings.. but still have milk. Just keep on nursing

All natural Mama to Keira 6/1/07, Israel 10/10/ 09, Nairi 04/01/2011, and #4 March 2013

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#21 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me clarify - I want a buzz SOME days like I want a candy bar some days. I don't need it, but I would appreciate the freedom or for the restrictions of pregnancy to end at some point. (And my birthday celebration is this weekend and I'd like to share a bottle of wine at the restaurant with my husband without feeling worried). I don't need it and certainly wouldn't ever indulge myself at the expense of my daughter's well being.

I don't mean to sound defensive. I just wanted to make that clear though.

Motherhood doesn't stress me out. I'm lucky to have a great set-up and I actually love nursing. Mothering has been awesome so far! My only stress would have been if she wasn't getting what she needed. But from what I'm learning from you all, there's milk there when I don't think there is. Good! I sure do feel flat and deflated right now. But I am just putting her on the breast every hour and she's going right along with it. Only once today she was sleeping when I was going to put her on, so I pumped. (Took 30 minutes to get 2 ounces!!! I used to be able to just look at my boob and I'd get three!) Still drinking the tea and taking the tincture, so we'll see how it goes.
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#22 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 02:36 AM
 
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Motherwort tea can take the edge off too.

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#23 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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Also, I hear all of these people talking about their babies already sleeping through the night or for 5-7 hours and I thought maybe she wasn't doing that because she wasn't getting enough food.

I'm fine with nursing every 1 or 2 hours...but I guess it seems like she isn't getting anything from me at times and is just using me as a pacifier. She won't suck sometimes but wants to keep her mouth on. Then other times after lots of sucking she buries her nose into my breast very hard and kicks her legs and flails her arms...it seems like she is trying to hard to get more but that I am tapped out. (Her latch is fine when she wants to eat so it isn't a latch issue).

I guess I'll stop the evening bottle. Damn.
MY DD is sleeping 5-7 hours a night, but that is because we're co-sleeping and I just BF her whenever she starts to fuss. I would guess that some of the others do the same thing .

If you feel like she is using you as a paci, maybe you should try introducing one. Amelia loves to suck, and I started giving her the paci, its like a new baby. Les fussy, and she doesn't need the boob every 30 seconds

Also, whenever my DD starts kicking her legs a lot during a feeding, it is because of gas. If I take her off and burp her, she goes back with no issue.

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#24 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmph...good suggestions, unfortunately, we do already cosleep and we're sidelying and I've already introduced the paci. She wants to walk and bounce from about 11:30 pm to 2:00 am. We do the 5 S's all night with little success too. She doesn't cry and scream...just grunts and talks very loudly.
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#25 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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if it's any consolation, i've been awake since shortly before midnight...

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#26 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ha! Well, I admit, it IS nice to know I'm not alone. Thanks boobs...hope you get to sleep soon.
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#27 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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My LO nurses constantly too, every 1-3 hours during the day. For us part of the prob was reflux and we just got him on zantac. He seems to be happier and he wants to nurse less because the nursing was soothing his tummy when it was hurting. We had a couple of days of sleeping 5-7 hours but we're back to waking every 3-4.

How often baby nurses is very strongly tied to your storage capacity. Some woman can store a TON of milk, some just a little. If baby only gets 2oz a feed they're going to need more feeds to get the total amount per day then the baby of a mom who can produce 4oz. Can you pump a bottle for your DH to give (like in the AM when you're most full)? Then you could at least get a break in the evening to shower and get rest.

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#28 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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Ha! Well, I admit, it IS nice to know I'm not alone. Thanks boobs...hope you get to sleep soon.
and i'm still awake! i'm waiting for dh to get home to give her a bottle so i can rest. i feed her for a bit, then give her to him to finish up with a 2 oz bottle and i sleep until the next feeding. if someone is holding her, i can usually get 2 hrs out of it. but that's it during the week as far as sleep for me. i can sometime doze while dd3 watches tv, but she usually talks to me or pulls open my eyelids (and no, i'm not exaggerating) so i can't count on that. is it bad that i'm looking forward to my tubal dec 2 so i can have dh home for a week so i can sleep? he has taken 1 day off since millie was born!!!

i think she might be getting close to the 12lb mark so hopefully we can sleep a bit longer, even if she has to be held to sleep.

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#29 of 36 Old 11-20-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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or pulls open my eyelids
while i feel for you not getting the sleep you need the eyelid thing so perfectly illustrates what it often means to be a mama

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#30 of 36 Old 11-21-2009, 06:26 AM
 
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lol thanks crystal!!!

i got 4 hrs!!!!! dh had to give her 4 oz of ebm, but i feel like i needed it in order to stay sane and make more milk. that was a rare treat, but now i'm wide awake even as she snoozes on my tummy.

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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