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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know so many people IRL who either breastfeed or have breastfed, but they say they had to supplement. I was bullied into supplementing a bottle of formula a day until DD was about 2 months - then I decided that a bottle was going to lead to 2 or 3 and so on. So I cut out the supplementation. DD's weight gain isn't fabulous, but it's adequate and she has hit all the milestones with a big smile on her face. So why do so many people supplement and how do they know how much to supplement? I don't ask in a snarky, holier-than-thou type of way... just out of curiosity. Hope I don't sound too silly.
 

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I don't know about most people supplementing but I have started supplementing for my son a little. He only gets a bottle when I'm at work. Two nights a week and only one or two each night. I come home in the middle of the night to feed him because he's still not use to the bottle and doesn't always take it. I know I make enough milk to be able to pump for him but I just don't have the time. I need to work out a better pumping schedule so I can quit supplementing at all but I just can't seem to find the time around work, the baby, a toddler, my husband, and caring for my house and cooking!
 

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We supplemented because our preemie was not able to breastfeed and I had a horrible time getting my supply up with a pump. We weaned off the supplement, but then when he was just a couple weeks old, and his weight gain precarious, I got mastitis and my supply halved. Right now I'm working on building that supply back up. Starting domperidone tomorrow. I think it's important to remember we are all in different circumstances and have different needs. Knowing how much to supplement? Well, I gave him as much as he wanted. This involves feeding in an upright position where the formula doesn't pour into his throat, and stopping frequently to allow him to tell us whether he still wants more or not.
 

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These types of questions come up every so often here, usually in the form of "how many women TRULY have low supply?" I'm glad you did ask in a non-snarky way, so I'll try to give my un-snarky opinion <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.<br><br>
It's hard to say because there's no good studies on this. Below are my impressions based on talking with people & hanging out on lots of internet bulletin boards etc.<br><br>
Breastfeeding is complicated in North American society with so many medicalized births. Like c-sections, supplementing or being diagnosed with low supply can be a life saver for babies. Like c-sections, it can be overused.<br><br>
Many families supplement with formulas because of poor breastfeeding management, often based on poor advice from poorly informed and poorly motivated medical professionals. Many bfing relationships are sabotaged by hospitals and doctor's offices run for convenience and profit, well-meaning but uninformed support systems, and just general stupidity on the part of some in society (SHE CAN"T JUST WHIP OUT A BOOB HERE! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">)<br><br>
Some of the most common reasons for low supply / supplementation are:<br><br>
WOHM who don't respond well to the pump.<br>
Being told not to bf more often than 3-4 hours.<br>
Breast reduction surgery.<br>
Multiple births.<br>
Dad wants to feed / bond.<br>
Doctor says so / is (ab)using the wrong growth percentile chart.<br>
Premature births<br>
PCOS<br>
Insufficient glandular tissue.<br>
Thyroid problems.<br><br>
And more <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I believe that *most* moms who supplement do so because of misinformation. You will probably not find that here, because its MDC, and Mamas here seem more educated and pro-bfing than other mothers out there, so if they supplemented its likely they did so because there was a true need.<br><br>
The misinformation usually has to do with a couple things...<br><br>
1.) Baby isn't getting enough from Mama because he wants to nurse all the time and that's not "normal"<br>
2.) Baby isn't getting enough because Mama's milk hasn't come in yet and colostrum isn't enough.<br>
3.) Baby isn't growing adequately.<br><br>
Other reasons are legitimate reasons for supplementation, although they can have a detrimental affect on supply.
 

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Expect a young baby (0-3 months) to need 2.4 oz of formula or breastmilk per pound of weigh in a 24 hour period. If you do a before/after weight check (weigh baby naked before feeding, then directly after to see how much they're taking in) you'll know approximately how much you should offer either via sns/lactaid supp or bottle supp after the nursing session ends.<br><br>
Some women are legit - all the bfar mamas on this board that need to supp aren't doing it for fun or convenience. Neither are the women with other legit low supply reasons. Supp'ing in these instances is absolutely necessary.
 

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i know people irl who "had to supplement" and were not happy about it. some got off to a poor start after an emergency c/s and no rooming-in at the hospital and others talked a lot about "ferberizing". feeding on a schedule wasn't directly mentioned, but i would be surprised if that was NOT what was happening.<br><br>
before i was a mom, i didn't feel i could offer advice. and i'm still hesitant, because i know a lot of times, people aren't sharing the full story/all their reasons.<br><br>
oh, and i know one mom who's my mom's age and has always been upset that she didn't have enough milk - she tried very hard to bf and did for several months but her ped eventually told her the weight gain was not sufficient and she needed to supplement. i wonder if the new WHO growth charts would have helped? but i can't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MaryJaneLouise</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9017193"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Some of the most common reasons for low supply / supplementation are:<br><br><b>WOHM who don't respond well to the pump.</b><br>
Being told not to bf more often than 3-4 hours.<br>
Breast reduction surgery.<br>
Multiple births.<br>
Dad wants to feed / bond.<br>
Doctor says so / is (ab)using the wrong growth percentile chart.<br>
Premature births<br>
PCOS<br>
Insufficient glandular tissue.<br>
Thyroid problems.<br><br>
And more <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"></div>
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Yes, ITA with this summary. If I worked full-time, BFing would be very difficult because I don't always let-down for the pump. It's too bad more businesses didn't have pump-friendly environments. My work allows me to nurse DD in the office during my break. I wish all businesses were this BF-friendly. I guess I'm lucky.
 

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Sometimes pediatricians aren't very pro-BF and talk you into supplementing or even hint that you should stop all together. Then comes the lecture making you think that you are neglecting your child.<br><br>
My baby lost weight. I left the peds office crying after my lecture. I started supplementing and breastfed until my supply was gone. I still remember the night that nothing was there when DS tried to nurse. It took me months to get over it. I was 19, uneducated and didn't know LLL existed.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">, mere2hayden. your story made me cry! best of luck to you in the future.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>threadbey</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9030199"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">, mere2hayden. your story made me cry! best of luck to you in the future.</div>
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Aww! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Thank you. It was really tough and I realize that a lot of people feel strongly about BF and I understand. Even though I stopped and used formula, I'm pro-BF. I wish I could go back and do it all over again for my son but I can't and through those experiences and more not mentioned above I have learned a lot. I've researched and I know of so many supportive resources now. With age and motherhood I've also learned to put my foot down. I'm not afraid to be rude, <b>especially</b> with a doctor.<br><br>
I just wish there wasn't the stereotype that all mom's who "tried" use excuses or didn't try hard enough. Some of us don't need to feel any more guilt than we already have. I still get jealous of new moms who have no problems with BF. It's wonderful and I'm happy for them but at the same time...it just hits a nerve.
 

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Our ds had really bad jaundice and was re hospitalized at 5 days old. He had to be under the lights for 2 days. They gave him an IV but let me take him out to nurse him. With the light therapy and not being able to take him out as often as you would need to since really at that age they would like to nurse all the time not just every 2 hours...he didn't get back to his birth weight by 6 weeks. His billirubin count was 22 when we went into the hospital, it went down to 13 when we were released and then a week later was back up to 22 (eek, thats not supposed to happen). They asked me to supplement with formula because he wasn't gaining weight fast enough. They did more tests and determined that he actually had "breast feeding jaundice".<br><br>
I supplemented an ounce or two after most of his feedings for one week. I was so depressed about it and so upset. I decided that we were being unreasonable about how much weight we were expecting him to gain in such a short amount of time, he was energetic, awake and alert and having an appropriate amount of diapers so I decided that the formula was just going to make problems for us with BF.<br><br>
He was still jaundiced at 2 1/2 months but now at 3 1/2 months is perfectly fine.<br><br>
Doctors seem to jump right to formula as soon as something is not going how they want it to. Thankfully my dr. understands that I am a strong BF supporter and that recommending a supplement is really upsetting to me, she worked with me and now we're all doing great.<br><br>
Don't take the suggestion to supplement as a forever thing, sometimes it might be needed but don't give up on BF just because of it.<br><br>
For everyone out there that has struggled with supply, sick babies or all the other myriad of problems, keep your chin up, you're not alone in your experiences and it can get better.
 

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Well I HAD to supplement and here's my story :)<br><br>
I had a "surprise" c-section and it took about 4 or 5 days for milk to come in. Luckily I was in the hospital for 7 days post c-section. Anyway, they had me try to breastfeed my baby every 2 hours for 10 minutes on each side. They weighed him before and after. At that point I was given a pump and told to do as much as possible for 30 minutes. Whatever I could pump was poured into a bottle and topped off with formula. It took until day 6 until I had enough milk.<br><br>
I consider myself to be really lucky to have such pro-BF midwives helping out. I'm sure my level of frustration would have been really high had it not been for them.<br><br>
That was about 15 months ago and we haven't supplemented since then. BF has been a wonderful experience for us.
 

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My son has had 2 bottles of formula in his life. From my point of view, I CHOSE to supplement.<br><br>
Why? Cause my milk didn't come in until day 5 postpartum. The nights of day 3 and 4, I was exhausted, he was nursing every hour (which is normal), and I felt bad for him that he was hungry. I wasn't worried that he would starve, didn't think he would loose too much weight, nothing like that. I just felt sorry for the little sucker. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: So, I supplemented with one bottle in the middle of each of those nights. He took about 2 ounces each time, fell asleep, slept for about 2 hours, then we were back at the nursing every hour mark until my milk came in.
 

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As an example of "when mama supplements and didn't need to"...<br><br>
My sil called last night and they had taken my niece in for her 8 week checkup, and she was in the 50th percentile for height, and the 25th for head and weight. The doctor said she needed to fatten up, that my sil's milk wasn't fatty enough, and that my niece needed formula. She was in the 25th for all 3 when she was born. I encouraged my sil to find the WHO charts, or I would send them to her, and take those in. Even still, who is this doctor to say this kind of BS? IMO, there is no reason to supplement at all...she just happens to be taller than she is wide.
 

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I teach other women how to breastfeed. I have for 10 years now. I am NOT new to the concept. Just had to get that out of the way...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">.<br><br>
When I had my son, I had a c/s that resulted in a lot of blood loss, plus I had a post op infection. That, combined with the fact that my ds had a very weak suck (we later found out it's because he has low oral motor tone and oral sensory issues), made my supply next to nothing. My milk didn't come in until 7 days post op. Seriously. This was with pumping, using herbs, eating oatmeal, drinking until my eyeballs swam. I also lost 40lbs. within 10 days of delivery, after only having gained 19 during the pregnancy....I'm sure that contributed.<br><br>
At 1 week of life I took ds to see my friend who is one of the LC's at work. We did a before and after naked weigh in with ds nursing. Ds nursed for 30 minutes. He took in a total of 13 cc's. That's approximately 1/3 ounce. At 1 week of life, that's WAY less than I should be producing and he should be getting. Not to mention my breasts were bruised and blood blistered from all the pumping, expressing, and working with ds on his suck. We had been using the SNS, and it took ds 1 hour to take in 30cc's of formula, because his suck was so weak. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Ds was not a little baby, either, nor was he preterm. He was 8lbs. 15 oz. at birth and born at 40w2d.<br><br>
We supplemented until ds was 3 weeks old, and I was *finally* able to nurse him exclusively without any formula at probably 2 mos. of age. I still had to fight to keep my supply up with galactagogues and pumping until ds was about 18 mos. old. It was an uphill battle the whole way until ds self-weaned at age 2.<br><br>
So there's my long-winded answer.<br><br>
ETA: I just wanted to add, also, that it was horrible for me to not be able to nurse my own child when I had YEARS of training and bf education and advocacy under my belt. Buying formula made me want to cry. My cheeks burned with shame and I was terrified of what people must think, seeing me buying it. Feeding my child with a bottle in public evoked the same feelings in me...guilt, shame, inadequacy. Mercifully, nobody ever said anything nasty to me or gave me any nasty looks. Just wanted to put that out there....I know some folks like to make snide comments about bottle fed babies or moms buying formula, but you have no idea what her story is, and for all you know she could be just like me, dying inside that she has to do this, and worried about the judgment of strangers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to clarify, part of the reason why I asked the original question is because I don't know if DD is getting enough lately, and if there is some sign I should be looking for. I feel like her weight gain has been adequate, but I don't know how really "full" she is lately. I really didn't ask to challenge anyone (though answers have been civil and informative.)
 

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I asked this question of my doctor, how to know if he is getting enough. As long as there are the right amount of diapers and the baby seems satisfied then they are getting enough. You can expect there to be days when the baby only wants to suck, all day long. This is normal because they have to build the supply so it's there when they demand.<br><br>
I know none of that is an easy answer because its a judgment call on your part, whether baby is getting enough or not.<br><br>
It would be easier if they had a little meter on their belly that shows how full or empty they are! While we're at it, can we get an instruction manual too?<br><br>
Go with your instincts, they're usually right.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>silly_scout</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9033696"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just to clarify, part of the reason why I asked the original question is because I don't know if DD is getting enough lately, and if there is some sign I should be looking for. I feel like her weight gain has been adequate, but I don't know how really "full" she is lately. I really didn't ask to challenge anyone (though answers have been civil and informative.)</div>
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I understood your motive of the OP wasn't hostile, but honestly looking for information. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
If you're really concerned, weigh your dc before a feed, totally naked, then after, or ask a LC to do it for you. If your milk is in, and your baby has a good suck/latch, your baby should have 6-8 wet diapers a day. She should look content immediately after a feed (as in 5 minutes after, not 30 minutes after), not still be rooting and crying/fussing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>atobols</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9030357"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well I HAD to supplement and here's my story :)<br><br>
I had a "surprise" c-section and it took about 4 or 5 days for milk to come in. Luckily I was in the hospital for 7 days post c-section. Anyway, they had me try to breastfeed my baby every 2 hours for 10 minutes on each side. They weighed him before and after. At that point I was given a pump and told to do as much as possible for 30 minutes. Whatever I could pump was poured into a bottle and topped off with formula. It took until day 6 until I had enough milk.<br><br>
I consider myself to be really lucky to have such pro-BF midwives helping out. I'm sure my level of frustration would have been really high had it not been for them.<br><br>
That was about 15 months ago and we haven't supplemented since then. BF has been a wonderful experience for us.</div>
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Does not sound to me like you needed to supplement. 4-5 days for milk to come in is common. And the bottles could have caused serious problems.<br><br>
6 days for a full supply is common as well.<br><br>
Sounds like bad support to me.<br><br>
-Angela
 
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