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Old 11-25-2007, 04:19 PM   #1
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uma_anne HB User
Breastfeeding and milk supply

I gave birth to my baby about 2 weeks ago and have been determined to breastfeed. I've run into several frustrating problems that have left me beside myself. Due to the shape of my baby's palate, my nipples come out distorted after each feeding and the tissue has begun to break down. My lactation consultant had recommended I give them a chance to heal by using a nipple shield and pumping for 3 days or so. But I'm concerned about maintaining my milk supply during this time.

I had been able to pump at least an ounce and a half in 20 minutes a few days ago. However recently when I pump I’ve been getting less. Sometimes I get an ounce at some sessions and hardly anything at others. Also I pump 8 times a day and toward the end of the day it actually gets painful. I’m confused about why it's happening...I don't know what to do. Help!

Does anyone have any recommendations for how to maintain my supply, aside from pumping?

When does a “full” supply come in so that I can pump a bottle full of milk?

I'm desperate for some insight!

 
Old 11-25-2007, 06:56 PM   #2
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Brooke85 HB User
Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Try to hang in there. It took me an entire week for my milk to come in. (I also met 3 of the statistics...fair skin, blonde hair & had a C-section) according to my Dr.

I don't think I ever was able to pump a full bottle, but I pumped what I could & gave it to my daughter and supplemented with formula. I sat there and pumped & pumped until I had tears in my eyes so frustrated that I couldn't make milk like I thought I was supposed to. Between nursing and supplementing with formula I ended up exclusively going to the bottle when she was 4 months old. I felt slightly guilty, but it was so much less stressful for my situation. I was also back at work by then and didn't have a place to pump, so they were engorged by the time I picked her up after work.

I can't offer a whole lot of other suggestions other than what I did. Everyone is different as well as their situations so I hope you are able to figure things out I do know that drinking lots of water helps. Good luck

 
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:21 AM   #3
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Congrats, Uma! Did I miss your birth story?

Are you sure the baby is latched on properly. With my 2nd, the lactation consultant assured me that she was on right, but I had painful, bleeding nipples. There is no way she was latched on right. Once she did start latching on properly, I had no pain at all. Pumping was never successful for me. I was lucky to get 1 oz with the hospital pump and it always hurt. Some people just can't pump. I've been told that you don't have your "full" supply until about 6 weeks. If pumping isn't working for you, I would try nursing the baby again. There are some great websites with videos about latching on. Also, try your local La Leche League for some support. Hang in there. I know how emotionally and physically draining it is to have breastfeeding problems.

 
Old 11-26-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

My mother had the same problem with me. She would put a bottle nipple over her own and gt me to latch on that way. I seemed to work, I was bf till I was 9 months. I wish you all the luck. I know its hard, I gave up after 2 months with my 3rd dd.

 
Old 11-27-2007, 01:15 AM   #5
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asako HB User
Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

try relaxing. being under stress can constrict your milk supply. if you are really determined to breastfeed, then keep at thepumping. When my ds was born, he didn't latch properly. I pumped around the clock for the entire first year of his life...well, he part time nursed for about 3 months then weaned himself and was strictly a bottle baby....

pumping 24/7 wasn't easy. in the beginning i felt like giving uptoo. i was under so much stress and on top of that, worried about my milk supply...give it time, relax, drink lots of water and just keep at it! good luck!

 
Old 11-29-2007, 06:45 AM   #6
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Thanks so much to each and every one of you for all of your supportive words. These past couple of weeks have been so draining both physically and emotionally. Sara – I didn’t post my birth story. It was bitter sweet. Of course I was so overwhelmed with love and joy over the birth of my daughter and feel so blessed. However having a C-section was even harder than I anticipated. I spent the entire first day throwing up from the morphine, and I was so frustrated over my inability to care for my daughter in those first few days, let alone nurse comfortably because of the intense pain in my abdominal region. I still will never understand any doc that says a C-section is no big deal.

After such a difficult pregnancy and birth experience, I was really looking forward to nursing, both as a way to bond with and nourish my baby. But the milk supply issues have left crying practically every day. Yesterday I spoke with my lactation consultant again, and told her that I can get at most an ounce per pumping session. And she said that it sounds like my supply is just generally low, and that I may have hormonal deficiencies causing this. Of course I had another good cry after getting off the phone with her. I’m trying to pump constantly around the clock but so far it doesn’t seem to be doing much good.

I should also note that in a 2 and a half week time frame I lost a good 25 pounds after giving birth (only gained around 18 for the entire pregnancy). Between taking care of the baby, and pumping, I feel like I have to choose between sleeping or eating. I’m not sure if this could affect my supply. My husband spoke with some folks in bf supply store who said weight loss does not affect milk supply, that the low milk supply is also likely related to hormones.

(Sigh.) I’m really so upset. If any of you have any more advice (or insight regarding these hormonal issues) or just something to comfort me I'll really appreciate it.

 
Old 11-29-2007, 09:05 AM   #7
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Uma, I'm so sorry to hear about all of the problems you've had. I can certainly relate to your b/f issues. I've had a lumpectomy in each breast which is thought to have severed some of my ducts. I'm still going to try b/f a 3rd time, though. With ds, I knew next to nothing about nursing. I ended up giving him 1 oz of pumped milk each day for 6 weeks. I nursed and supplemented dd for 6 months. I would have done it longer, but by then I was pregnant again and she sure did like to use her teeth.

After having what I thought was supply issues with dd, I really don't think that was the case. She couldn't have been latching right because I was bleeding and so sore. I was on a nursing and pumping schedule and could NEVER pump more than 1 oz...usually it was more like 1/2 oz, though. Sometimes it was pink with blood. Once we got the hang of it, it was comfortable and she was definitely getting more.

Some people really can never pump. A cousin of my husband had big babies who gained lots of weight strictly on breastmilk. She was never able to pump more than 2 oz. I would really recommend nursing more often and not pumping. I think that stresses you out even more because you think the baby isn't getting anything. Babies are much more efficient than pumps.

Hang in there. I cried and cried for days over the same problem. Dh actually thought I needed to go see a shrink because he was sure I had post-partum depression.

It is very rare to have a true milk supply problem. It is usually something else. Another way to help is to take the baby to bed with you and nurse all night. You will get more sleep and the baby will get more sleep. I probably wouldn't have survived without doing that.

Have you checked out ********? There is a lot of good info there. I hope you are able to find a solution. Nursing is such a wonderful way to bond with the baby. I had a much stronger bond with dd than I did with ds as an infant (before I get blasted from pro-formula moms, I'm not knocking anyone's choice not to nurse).

I don't know about the hormonal imbalance, but I do know that enough food, liquids, and REST will help tons. Keep us updated. Having a newborn is so hard...no matter how many times you've done it. I promise it will get better.


***the missing part above rhymes with bellymom, but it starts with a k. This just a breastfeeding resource site so I don't know why it's getting blocked. It's no different than La Leche League. I wonder if that gets blocked.

Last edited by sarawithnoH; 11-29-2007 at 09:08 AM.

 
Old 12-03-2007, 08:27 AM   #8
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uma_anne HB User
Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Hi Sara, I cried when I read your response, this time not b/c I was sad but b/c it felt so good to know there’s someone out there who’s felt what I’m feeling right now. Yes, dh also thought I had PPD but he understands now. It’s frustrating with him too though b/c he’s trying to push me toward meds to increase my milk production. And one of the meds is known to have depression as a side effect and the other is not FDA approved so I’m not willing to take either.

I want to nurse my baby very badly but I have had a whole range of issues. 1) I have very large nipples and it’s hard for the baby to get her mouth around it and some areola. One lactation consultant in the hospital recommended I wait until she gets bigger to breastfeed! 2) She wasn’t gaining weight and since my nipples were sore we needed to start supplementing her with formula. B/c of using a bottle I think she now suffers from nipple confusion. 3) She’s started biting me when I do try to nurse her. It’s utterly terrifying. She clamps her gums down like a vice and each time it’s happened I’ve screamed. The lactation consultant from the pediatrician’s office has had me wearing nipple shields to help my nipples recover but I still feel it when she bites.

I feel so hopeless I don’t know what to do. I agree with you that nursing is more efficient and effective but it’s so hard to nurse her right now. I have continued to pump around the clock to maintain whatever supply I have but I’m starting to burn out.

I am thinking of getting in touch with the league which I won’t mention by name since I know it’ll get edited, but I think you know which one I’m referring to. I think you mentioned you’d been in touch with them also. Do you know if they can actually help out with the latching issues I’ve been having?

Thanks again for your responses, your moral support and advice mean so much to me.

 
Old 12-03-2007, 12:12 PM   #9
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Hi Uma Anne

I feel like I am reading my own posts when I read yours. My baby is 10 wks tomorrow and we have had every bf problem in the book. My nips also come out a strange shape. they were so sore I would feed and cry at the same time. My latching on was not good either. I also have a colicky baby. My baby lost a lot of weight at first. My nips are really very big and I couldnt understand how I was expected to get the areola in too. I also bought shields, guards, suction thingy, pump, and I go through a lot of nipple cream but at the end of the day it is just you and bubs slowly becoming pro at it. At first it is clumsy but later it really does become much easier. Me and baby are still learning, but much better.

PLEASE stick it out. Your consultant telling you to bf later is weird! The other responses to your thread are really good. It does get better. really, I never believed it but it is true. Spend some quality time and try to relax when 'experimenting' with your latching, positioning, and let your baby lead the way if you can. But latching is very important. My baby feeds as often as he wants (I dont believe in this every three hours stuff). Remember, it is supply and demand, the more you produce, the more you will produce. I do. I sought the most AMAZING help from another site. It is the name of the country we call down under + bf + assoc....... They are so fantastic. Without them, I would have ended up on formula by now. Absolute life savers. They even personally email you if you ask for individual help (or oyu can call them).
Let us know how you are doing.

 
Old 12-03-2007, 12:26 PM   #10
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Oh also, dont worry about your weight. I have lsot 18 of the 21 kgs I put on during pg. Someone mentioned water. Yes, drink loads of it! This was great advice given to me too. Remember though, women in poverty stricken nations bf their little ones and they are lacking lots of food and good water supplies. Women are amazing creatures!

I know it is very tiring and some days you feel like you are going insane but remember it wont last for much longer. Things iron out.

About the pain. I was told that even if your nips are very sore, it is still possible to feed comfortably once baby is latched fully (although initial letdown can be painful). It is true, believe me. I would latch with the sorest of nipples and then feed. (the right one especially is troublesome). If you can, try to get bubs back on the breast. This will cut out the stress of pumping and also their suck is much stronger than a pump, so you will be releasing thus producing more milk too. Your baby will learn so quickly what to do and before you know it you will be bf lying down in the dark It's true!

 
Old 12-04-2007, 07:36 PM   #11
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

The lactation consultant I’ve been seeing has essentially told me that even if I did get the baby to latch correctly, I’m still not going to make 3 times the milk supply I’m making now (2-4 oz a day). So she basically said I could either stick to pumping and “comfort” nursing her once or twice a day but that it’s probably not worth trying to breastfeed.

I’m so confused. In the hospital I was able to pump an ounce in one session and now I hardly get half an ounce in one session. I don’t know what happened for things to get this way. I keep hating myself for what I may have done to mess things up.

Broodygirl, thanks for the info on that site which I’ve found and will be sure to check out.

 
Old 12-04-2007, 08:01 PM   #12
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

uma_anne
I would really see another lactation specialist. She sounds awful. Your body has enough milk. You will be able to feed her. Don't hate yourself. It is not your fault. If you want to continue to try do so. Find another lactation person though. If you want to give up then do that too. Do what is good for you and your baby. Good luck sweetheart. Sherri

 
Old 12-05-2007, 07:01 AM   #13
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

I absolutely agree with Sherri. It sounds like you need a different lactation consultant. A proper latch is essential to building a good supply. There are women who haven't been able to nurse and lost their supply completely...they can still relactate and exclusively b/f.

How about trying fenugreek? You would have to take 10 per day. It makes you sweat and smell like maple syrup. Some women swear by it. It didn't work for me, but my dd wasn't latching properly when I tried it.

If you want to keep trying, at least try until 6 weeks. The baby will start getting more comfortable nursing and you will start healing by then. Like I said before, get lots of REST

 
Old 12-08-2007, 11:38 AM   #14
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uma_anne HB User
Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

Thanks for your support and encouraging me to find a different lactation specialist which I did. This new one seemed measured but still much more encouraging than the first one I was working with. She told me that my milk supply probably decreased due to poor milk drainage since my baby was not latching properly and since the flanges for the pump I was using were too small for my large nipples. She said insufficient drainage could cause milk supply to fall.

She noted that its hard to say if I will produce a full supply or not at this point, though it is possible. She suggested I try power pumping where I pump 3 ten minute sessions within an hour and take ten minute breaks in between. I tried this and was surprised to see that I produced about an ounce for each session, 2 out of the 3 times I tried it. The specialist did note that I shouldnt get discouraged if the amount pumped varies from session to session.

So Im feeling a bit better and hopeful. It is certainly time consuming and a bit draining to spend what seems to be the entire day devoted to pumping. But I want to give it my best shot and all of your encouragement has certainly helped me stay motivated!!

 
Old 12-08-2007, 06:49 PM   #15
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Re: Breastfeeding and milk supply

GOOD JOB UMA_ANNE! I am so glad that you seeked help somewhere else. Also something else that you could do right now is in between pumping put a hot, as hot as you can stand wash cloth on your breasts. That will help move the milk down. You should report the other lactation specalist. She was clearly not doing her job.
You won't have to pump like this for long. Do your nipples still hurt? Is your LO latching on any better? Mine had so much trouble and then one day it just clicked. Try putting her on with the bottom lip first and then up. I kept looking at books and finally found out that I was trying to put him on from the top lip first but it worked when I did bottom lip on the breast first. (I hope you understood that.)
Keep up the good work. Let us know how it is going. I want to know how you are doing, I keep looking for your post all the time. We are all here to help. Good Job again Sherri

 
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