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Old 01-01-2007, 08:43 AM   #1
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Unhappy Frustrated with Breastfeeding

I can't seem to find articles about what to do when mom doesn't seem to have enough milk? I always understood that the more baby needs, the more milk my body will produce, but that doesn't seem to be the case with me... Both my mom and my sister weren't able to breastfeed for very long, but I always thought that was because of different reasons (diet, smoking [don't get me started ]), so now that it's happening to me, I'm just devastated! I eat very healthy, yet don't drink nearly as much as I should. my baby seems to get VERY frustrated when I latch her on, because after about five minutes the breast seems to have emptied. This, of course, gets me frustrated and then the whole thing just ends pretty much with both of us in tears. We were doing so great in the beginning, but she is so hungry and I just don't seem to be making enough milk for her. I've started supplementing with formula because of that but now I can just feel my milk supply shrink. she just passed the 10 week mark and can drink up to six oz. or more each feeding. She feeds very regularly during the day, about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and can sleep up to seven hours at night.

I've been giving her the breast first and then top her off with formula, so as to not completely screw up my supply, but with her being so frustrated at the breast, the formula has taken up more and more part in her diet... I've been taking fenugreek and blessed thistle and I do believe that it's helping, just not enough. I have a manual breast pump but that thing just takes forever and I only get 1 1/2 -3oz., ugh!

So I guess my question is: if I rented a hospital grade pump now, would that increase my chances of getting more milk again? I would just pump so that I could at least feed her breastmilk. And how long would I have to do that? They are so expensive, but if it would help I wouldn't mind doing it (I can't believe the hospital is trying to make money on those pumps, I find that very sad!!). IS there such a thing as increasing your milk supply once it seems to dissipate???

What do you think? Thank you ladies!

Befer.

 
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:43 AM   #2
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Aww honey... I feel so bad for you! I can understand how frustrated you and Sophia can get. I really don't have any words of wisdom for you because I have enough milk, so I'm just going to offer emotional support!

Maybe try feeding her more frequently than the 2 1/2 to 3 hours, like every 2 hours. I still feed Jayden every 2 hours, maybe more in the early evening/evening hours before she goes to bed. Her pediatrician says that is fine to do because she is stockpiling the milk - since she sleeps thru the night.

Also, when Sophia is sleeping thru the night - are you getting up to pump during that time? If you're not, try to.

I know with Jayden, when my dh feeds her formula, she takes a few more ounces than with my milk. We did have to supplement with formula around 6 weeks so I could pump and bank the milk. Now I have enough so she gets a bottle with eb first and then formula if she's still hungry or at a later time.

I have one of the hospital grade pumps. Yes, it was expensive, but I knew I would be pumping a lot especially since I have to go back to work, so it was worth it to me. But I had a problem with the breast shield - the one it came with was too small for me. In fact, we had to go back to the hospital twice to get a bigger size (free of charge). I take a 36mm breast shield. So make sure that your shield is the appropriate size for you because the 'standard' isn't for everyone. Once I got the right size, pumping was so much easier. Now I get anywhere from 3 - 5 oz from one breast.

I probably haven't helped you much at all. Just don't give up. Seriously, even a little breast milk is better than nothing at all. And Befer, if Sophia is gaining weight and having wet diapers at least 5 times a day, she's getting enough milk.

I know it's frustrating since she's fussy after eating. Just hang in there and don't give up. I'm sure you'll get much better advice from the other mommies on the board, so I'll stop trying to think of suggestions.

Hang in there hon, big hugs to you!
Trooper

 
Old 01-01-2007, 02:56 PM   #3
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by befer70
I can't seem to find articles about what to do when mom doesn't seem to have enough milk? I always understood that the more baby needs, the more milk my body will produce, but that doesn't seem to be the case with me... Both my mom and my sister weren't able to breastfeed for very long, but I always thought that was because of different reasons (diet, smoking [don't get me started ]), so now that it's happening to me, I'm just devastated! I eat very healthy, yet don't drink nearly as much as I should. my baby seems to get VERY frustrated when I latch her on, because after about five minutes the breast seems to have emptied. This, of course, gets me frustrated and then the whole thing just ends pretty much with both of us in tears. We were doing so great in the beginning, but she is so hungry and I just don't seem to be making enough milk for her. I've started supplementing with formula because of that but now I can just feel my milk supply shrink. she just passed the 10 week mark and can drink up to six oz. or more each feeding. She feeds very regularly during the day, about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and can sleep up to seven hours at night.

I've been giving her the breast first and then top her off with formula, so as to not completely screw up my supply, but with her being so frustrated at the breast, the formula has taken up more and more part in her diet... I've been taking fenugreek and blessed thistle and I do believe that it's helping, just not enough. I have a manual breast pump but that thing just takes forever and I only get 1 1/2 -3oz., ugh!

So I guess my question is: if I rented a hospital grade pump now, would that increase my chances of getting more milk again? I would just pump so that I could at least feed her breastmilk. And how long would I have to do that? They are so expensive, but if it would help I wouldn't mind doing it (I can't believe the hospital is trying to make money on those pumps, I find that very sad!!). IS there such a thing as increasing your milk supply once it seems to dissipate???

What do you think? Thank you ladies!

Befer.

Your story and frustrations are EXACTLY like mine - almost word for word. My DS was in the NICU for a few days after he was born and they had to start him on formula there. I continued to breast feed him while he was there (visiting him around the clock) and I also pumped, but the truth is, my supply never caught up with his demand. I did the herbs, had a lactation consultant come to the house, pumped, fed him around the clock, etc. I still am supplementing with formula to this day (DS is 7 weeks).

Renting the hospital pump is worth doing and can't hurt. Maybe it will work for you.


You will get die hard breast feeders that will tell you that you can do it and that your supply will catch up. Perhaps that has worked for them, but I am convinced that it doesn't work for everyone. Mine has not caught up. Infact, my DS must be going through a growth spurt b/c he has been extra hungry the past few days and has been eating more formula and feeding off of me just the same. He is a hungry baby.


I know this is throwing a wrench in your plans, but you want your baby to be happy and fed. I cried my first few weeks b/c I didn't want to formula feed, but I have come to accept our routine and am comfortable and happy with it. Your baby will be healthy and fine with what breast milk she gets.

I wish I had more advice to give you, but I guess I just want to give you support. Whatever you do or decide, I am sure you are making the best decision for your baby.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

i guess i must be a "die hard breast feeder", according to the poster above. yes, i managed to nurse all five of my babies, until they weaned themselves, at advanced ages. i led LA LECHE LEAGUE groups for 15 years. now, i'm a gramma, and trying to keep my nose OUT of my daughter-in-law's breastfeeding choices......

i do know that YES, if you nurse often enough, your body will catch up to the supply needed, IF IF IF you rest enough and drink enough fluid. it's a simple system of supply and demand. when interferences come in, such as hospital births, and baby-separation from mom, this screws things up from the beginning.

the A-number one piece of advice for you, from a mom who nursed for a total of FOURTEEN YEARS, (yes, nursing time, not time from first to last kid): TAKE YOUR BABY TO BED AND LET HER NURSE ALL NIGHT. YOU WILL LEARN TO SLEEP AND NURSE AND SO WILL THE BABY. then the supply will automatically increase. best of luck, from an ol' timer, dianne

 
Old 01-01-2007, 03:45 PM   #5
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Dcook, she was referring to me. Until you came along, I was the "die hard" breastfeeder of the group (and proud of it!). We had major supply issues in the beginning, and I relactated at 10 weeks from scratch. It was a lot of hard work, it took ten weeks to be formula free, there were times I didn't think it was going to work, but I stuck it out.

I have posted many a replies on increasing supply, but unfortunately it seems (and I'm not talking about anyone here, just in general) that people seem to be all about instant results. It does not happen over night. It can be HARD WORK setting an alarm clock to get up and pump very 2 hours, but it's worth it.

I and TOTALLY agree about co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is what saved my milk supply. I got sick to death of pumping around the clock. I was able to sleep, and the constant nursing is just what my body wanted. But, I also believe that co-sleeping is biologically normal, and that I will not be creating "bad habits", as is often misunderstood.

Fenugreek, blessed thistle, pumping after feedings, and co-sleeping... it will work. Don't watch the clock or the ounces. Watch the baby, and keep an eye on diapers. What goes in must come out. Our breasts don't have lines on them, so the only way to know if baby is getting enough milk is to keep an eye on diapers. If your baby is having 5-6 wet diapers per day, you're doing good.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 03:50 PM   #6
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Befer,

Just wanted to wish you luck. I had supply issues due to a NICU/critically ill baby for the first 12 weeks. They didn't allow him to latch for the first 4 weeks and then he refused the breast. I tried to pump (with a hospital grade) and didn't get more than an ounce at a time, but I gave him what I could. My supply never caught up, of course no one told me about the herbal supplements, I did take Reglan for a short time. Relax, stress is a big factor in relation to supply. I tried, but trying to visit my ill baby, travelling 6 hours a day to see him and attempting to pump in between and eat right was just not feasible. My lac consultant didn't support me as much as I needed her. My biggest piece of advice, listen to the experienced BF moms who give you advice. I sure wish that I had them when I was going through my struggles. Enjoy the bond with your baby girl.

Amy

 
Old 01-01-2007, 04:37 PM   #7
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

oh good, i have a buddy! i am now an antique 66 years old, but i think about my births and breastfeeding experiences with great fondness and like it was yesterday.......there is no bonding and love quite like that little baby eagerly seeking out his/her mom, and the mom being the ONLY ONE, sometimes, who can soothe and calm that precious little one. dianne

 
Old 01-01-2007, 04:49 PM   #8
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

And looking back, wouldn't you say that those endless all night every 45 minute nurs-a-thons were but a drop in the bucket? People always look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm prepared to co-sleep and nurse my DD until she's 4, but really.. what's 4 years when you live to be 80?

FYI, I'm in bed nursing my 9 month old to sleep right now. She's been at the breast for 45 minutes and JUST pulled off. Time to sneak out of bed.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 04:56 PM   #9
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

my only daughter nursed for 4 and a half years. my fifth child and youngest son "only" nursed 3 and a half years. i treasure those years. they DID fly away too fast. my success story is HALF DETERMINATION and HALF SUPPORT. a support system is just totally essential. la leche meetings are the greatest, as is their "manual", available in every bookstore and library. i'm sure there are other groups of mothers who help each other, also.

one always has to keep in mind that the best-intentioned advice from OUR mothers and grandmothers is almost always WRONG. so is the advice from most doctors, who are men, and clueless about the realities of day-to-day life and feeding of little babies.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 05:26 PM   #10
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

<<I've been giving her the breast first and then top her off with formula, so as to not completely screw up my supply, but with her being so frustrated at the breast, the formula has taken up more and more part in her diet... I've been taking fenugreek and blessed thistle and I do believe that it's helping, just not enough. I have a manual breast pump but that thing just takes forever and I only get 1 1/2 -3oz., ugh! >>

1 1/2 to 3 oz. may not be what your baby is wanting at a feeding now, but I wouldn't let that amount discourage you. It is very rare (but not impossible) to have a true milk supply problem that you can't improve on your own with some work. And, you're probably making more than that anyway, since babies are more effective at getting the milk out.

Lest I sound too harsh - I do have a confirmed milk supply problem and the maximum that I could pump was 1 teaspoon from one side and about half of that from the other. And, from doing a weigh in after using an SNS system, it was found that my baby received no measureable milk from me. And, on top of that, you can just feel how my breasts have practically no milk. I've been told by a reproductive endocrinologist who is studying breastmilk supply problems due to a certain hormonal deficiency that my problem is hormonal and possibly a lack of sufficient breast tissue as well compounding it.

But, anyway - I do have some advice that I think might help. I've tried a lot of different methods (this is my second time with the problem). And, since your baby will latch and does drink, I would quickly look into a lactation aid system such as Lact-Aid or the Supplemental Nursing SYstem (SNS) before your baby stops. They are not the easiest things to use, but once you get used to it, you would get the benefit of the baby suckling (and this is the best way to increase supply) and at the same time, feeding your baby with both your milk and supplemental milk. This will not only make your efforts to increase your supply more effective, but it will save you a lot of time. If you're feeding at the breast supplementing and then pumping, you are going to lose a lot of sleep and get tired and that won't help. But, if you can get the supplemental feeding system to work, you can do it all at one time. And, then if you want to pump afterwards, you can add pumping for even more help. But, it might just be enough to do the supplemental feeding system.

The system when used right, works because it's a way to get the baby to suckle and get rewarded for doing so. When the baby suckles, the baby will get the supplemental formula and will continue to suckle until satisfied. It involves the use of a small tube that is attached near your nipple. The baby takes your nipple and the tube into his or her mouth at the same time.

I've also read that since the breastmilk comes out faster than the tube milk, as your supply increases, the baby will be getting less and less of the supplement. You can also ask your pediatrician or perhaps a breastfeeding consultant to wiegh your baby, allow you to feed and then weigh the baby immediately after. This will give you an idea as to how much your baby is drinking. And, if you use a supplemental feeder for that feeding, you can also determine by keeping track of how much that baby drank from the feeder, how much of your milk versus the supplemental milk the baby received.

Another reason why I recommend using the supplemental feeder is that once you start a feeding, supplementing, and then pumping regimine every 2-3 hours, you might get more tempted to skip the breastfeeding and then just supplement and pump. If you do that, it will only get harder because your baby will get too used to the bottle and may not latch on later.

So, why not cover it all at once?

Anyway, as I say, these systems are awkward to use at first. I used a temporary SNS and one thing that bugged me about it was that why I was trying to get the tubing and nipple in the baby's mouth, the tube would leak (small amount of milk, but a pain). So, I started looking at the Lact-Aid system. This system does not leak like that, but it can be more expensive because you have to buy bags for it. It looks to me to be easier to use though. But, I didn't get one, so I can't be sure. YOu can call either company to ask for more information.

Btw, if you decide to go the pump route or include pumping with a supplemental nursing system, I would definately rent a hospital grade pump.

Anyway, I wish you good luck. Hang in there, I have a really good feeling that you can get this to work for you.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 08:12 PM   #11
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Thank you all so much for all the thorough explanations and warm support! I knew this was the place to ask! I do love to BF and am very sad that it has become such a struggle for both of us...I do not want to give up as I'm sure that I can do it for longer than just 10 weeks!! I'm determined and will try several of your suggestions. I might start by just putting her at my breast when she's not really hungry, so that the the frustration on her part isn't as big? I know that she enjoys the closeness because when we're somewhere she's not used to and I nurse her, she can just hang out at my breast for what seems hours, without really feeding too much, but it seems a comfort and a safe place for her to be. I didn't know that just by her suckling breastmilk could increase. I don't like the idea of pumping too much and want to avoid it if possible, but might also look into renting a pump from the hospital, because that manual one just doesn't cut it for me. I mean it would work well if I HAD good supply, but not if I'm struggling like this.
It's true, you kind of do feel like a "failure," that might actually too harsh a word, but you get the idea.

She is such a good baby and I just want to give her the best possible! So thank you all again very much for all your great advice! I will take it to heart and try again, if you feel that it is actually possible to get the milk supply back up!

I had another question too: how much exercise can I do if I'm breastfeeding? We just booked a vacation to Hawaii for the end of April, and I "need" to get back in shape! It's just that I will feel much better about myself if I do, but I heard that too much exercise will screw up your BF. I'm talking powerwalking and crunches at best. I'm also going to cut out all extra sugar (other than fruit sugar etc. of course) but what about them carbs? I imagine I will need them. I'm not big on weight lifting (I have Sofia for that ) or running. right now I still have about 10lbs from my pregnancy weight to lose, but I was at my heaviest when I got pregnant and want to lose at least another 10-15 lbs !! Will powerwalking be OK?

Thanks again ladies, and a Happy New Year to all of you!!

Befer.

 
Old 01-01-2007, 08:28 PM   #12
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Whatever happens, please don't feel like a failure and don't drive yourself nuts. It's easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know that feeling. You are a wonderful mother to have these concerns and to try to do what you can, to give her the best that you can. I think you'll be ok with it though, but post to us and let us know how it's going.

 
Old 01-02-2007, 02:14 PM   #13
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

diane~yes, my breast are soft all of a sudden and I feel that there isn't enough milk in there. DD is getting enough wet diapers but of course I'm supplementing with formula. I refer to her as a "Hybrid Baby" . The problem is that she gets frustrated at the breast (especially the right one, and there seems to be less milk in it since from the beginning), then pulls away and screams like I'm beating her or something. I'm waiting for the neighbors to call CPS on me one day..., she won't latch on again after that. That's when I usually put her on the left side, until she starts over again with crying and pulling away. she won't stop until she gets more from the bottle...
Now, I don't think she wants the bottle exclusively (or refuses the breast because it's easier for her to get milk out of a bottle), because when I feel that there should be enough milk in the breast, she drinks very well and seems to be happy. It's just the moment it becomes less, when she starts the screaming business.

She's also sleeping a lot the past few days, I'm thinking she has a growth spurt and just needs more food. Anyway, we're doing what we can to make this work, as frustrating as it is. Thanks for your advice though!

Befer.

 
Old 01-02-2007, 06:38 PM   #14
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

I so wish I'd found all of you 3.5 years when ds#1 was born. After a very long, drug induced labour, ds was born in extreme stress and was put in special care for 5 days. For the first 36 hours I wasn't even allowed to try him at the breast. To make a VERY long story short he was never able to latch on to my flat nipples well and when latched, with SNS, he still couldn't get enough (or anything really). I ended up pumping for 7 months and NEVER gave him formula. I bought a hosptial grade pump and never regretted it. The difference in what I would pump with it over the regular electric medella I had was more than double!!! I also took the herbs, drank dark beer, drank fennel tea and tons of water. I used warm compresses on my breasts and massaged them before and during pumping.
But do you want to know when my supply really increased and became enough to sustain him (and then some....I fed him from the freezer for 3 months!!!). After I came to accept that breastfeeding in the way that most did it was never going to work for us and decided to just go with what worked out best. I relaxed, stopped beating myself up over the fact that I couldn't nurse my child and with in days had almost doubled my supply.
I guess what I am getting at is that the most important thing to do is relax and be okay with whatever happens for you and your baby. And know that every baby is different (my second had a few minor struggles but mastered breastfeeding by 3 weeks or so) and everyone's advice is different too. Do what works for you and enjoy this time in both of your lives.

 
Old 01-02-2007, 06:42 PM   #15
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Re: Frustrated with Breastfeeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordyn
I ended up pumping for 7 months and NEVER gave him formula.
Yer the man!! Er.. woman. That's incredible!

Last edited by debating; 01-02-2007 at 06:42 PM.

 
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