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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi ladies,
Sorry, this is long!
I had trouble establishing nursing when my baby (1st) was born on 8/1. After a week of trying on my own, I called up a lactation consultant for help, because I couldn't get baby to latch on, and when I pumped (Avent Isis) I was only getting a half ounce.

The LC said I needed to increase my supply first, rented me the medela hospital-grade pump, and had me pump every 2 hours, take fenugreek, eat oatmeal, N/A Beer, chicken soup, etc. After 2 weeks, the most milk I could pump in a whole day was 12 ounces. The LC said if that's what I was getting, I wouldn't be able to exclusively breastfeed. So, I declined working with her to re-establish the latch, afraid we wouldn't be able to mix bottles and breast, and knowing that after that hellish 2 weeks I was emotionally and physically spent from caring for me, baby, and trying to pump so damn much.

When baby was 6 weeks, I returned the pump, but tapered gradually with my Avent Isis. When my milk was almost gone, I luckily reconnected with a friend who shared her experience with breastfeding. She didn't get her full milk supply in for 4 weeks, and said that she never achieved letdown with the pump. After talking to her, I wanted to try nursing again, to see if it was just that I needed baby at the breast.

Friday baby was trying to suck on my arm while I was preparing a bottle, so I pulled up my shirt to see if he would nurse. He latched on well and stayed on for 35 minutes!! After over 4 weeks with only bottles!!!

So I've put him on as much as possible and have still been giving him formula after he nurses. My breasts have gotten much bigger and he nurses well, taking in a lot of tissue and staying on each breast for usually between 10 and 30 minutes.

Right now I nurse first, then give formula after. The problem is that if I nurse for 45 minutes, then give the bottle, he stays full for a couple hours before wanting to nurse again, and I'm not having any luck getting milk out with the pump, so I'm not getting as much stimulation as I would if not giving formula. But, if I don't give him enough, he may get dehydrated or just not get enough calories. Right now I DON'T give formula at a couple of the feedings each day.

My main question is this: How do I know the best way to taper the formula off? I've read a bunch at Kellymom.com and the info there says to taper supplementation only 1 ounce at a time, but baby was being bottle-fed formula and EBM 100%, so I'm not really tapering from supplementation, but from total food. Baby was eating between 25 and 35 ounces of formula/EBM per day prior to re-establishing nursing. Since nursing, he's been taking about 18 ounces of formula per day in addition to nursing roughly 3-4 hours spread over about 6 nursing sessions.

How can I make sure he's getting enough total food, but also get him to more breast time to keep my supply going up/stable? I've read about counting wet diapers and whatnot, but it's really inexact. He's wetting 6+ diapers per day, but not super-heavily, and this is fewer wet diapers than he had when on 100% bottle. I don't have an accurate scale and don't want to pay for an office visit just to check his weight.

Do I have other options for making sure he's getting enough? Should I be doing this on my own, or should I be getting help from a lactation consultant? Given the cost of doing that, and my experience with the first LC, who was supposed to be really great, I'm a bit reluctant to hire anyone.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Questions? Sorry this got so long!!
 

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So sorry for the bad advice from the LC, but it is good you are trying to relactate. From what I understand, it may take you the same amount of time you have not been breastfeeding to re-establish your supply. I would say 12 ounces is a lot to pump in a day, that LC didn't know what she was talking about. I have always had to supplement, about 50/50 and the most I could get in a day with a hospital pump was 5 ounces. I would say the kelleymom advice is probably the best way to go to prevent dehydration. You may also want to try the breastflow bottle or another slow flow bottle so that the baby does not drink the formula fast. Ds did well on the breastflow bottle, it would take him a while to drink 3 or 4 ounces, so he would know he was getting full. I would also say you should bf before and after the formula feedings. Also, how many ounces is he getting at a time? It is better to only give small amounts at a time to increase the need to eat. So maybe you could feed him more only less at a time. Do you feed him formula at night? When my ds was about 3 months I stopped supplementing him at night so he only got in the day, and ebf at night which seemed to help.

As far as seeking advice, perhaps you could contact a local LLL to see if they could be of help, and maybe they could refer you to a good LC.

Also, you may want to post in the breastfeeding challenges forum, there may be more mama's with advice there.
 

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This was the page you read?
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html

I think I would rent a scale, and do a 24 hour intake thing (weighing before and after each breastfeed and add up how much he gets ). Then calculate what extra he needs on top of that, then start with an ounce less than that.

You also need to switch from bottles to a supplemental nursing system, so he egts extra breast time.

Sorry, short but toddler awake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips ladies! It already seems to be helping to give him smaller amounts of formula more often, and the 24-hour intake thing sounds like a great idea.
I will post in BF challenges as well.
 
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