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Old 06-13-2006, 07:43 PM   #1
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Late Breast Milk

I didn't really know if this was a question for the pregnancy board or here. This is an after the fact question, because DD has been on formula for almost 5 months now and starting cereal and veggies...but I was just curious.

I had a C-section and was in the hospital for four days after trying to work out breast feeding problems. We were having latching problems and my milk didn't come in while I was at the hospital. We tried to breastfeed at home for the next two weeks (about three weeks total) and my milk came in a little bit, but my breasts never felt full or engorged. I also pumped everytime I fed her to try to stimulatge milk production, but she continued to lose weight even being supplimented with an ounce of formula in a syringen at each feeding.

I was never able to pump more than a quarter of an ounce (I pumped 3 oz. once but it was fluke). My nipples were so bloody and scabbed over from latching problems and pumpig that my doc told me to take a break and give formula in a bottle for a few days, so my nipples could heal.

Well, she started to gain weight immediately and her temperment changed to more contented. And my breasts NEVER felt full or engorged. I pumped for a few more days, and then just stopped because I wasn't getting anything to speak of, and there was no pain, no fullness, no engorgement and minimal leaking. When I followed up with the doc she seemed very perplexed at my minimal milk production. I began to imagine that they accidentally gave me the shot that dries you up! I know that didn't happen, but has low or no milk production ever happened to anyone else, or have you ever heard of this?

-D.

Last edited by My5Cats; 06-13-2006 at 07:45 PM.

 
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:37 AM   #2
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Re: Late Breast Milk

It sounds like the latch issues were not taken care of. Poor latch can lead to problems, as you know. How often did you feed her and how often did you pump? In the beginning you need to feed or pump a lot in order to bring in your milk. Regarding engorgement, I have had three children and I have never been engorged with any of them. I breastfed the first two for 2+ years and my dd is almost 4 months now and breastfeeding. Being engorged is actually not a good thing as some people may think. Also, the amount you pump is not an indicator of how much milk you are making. I can't pump for the life of me. Baby is much more efficient at getting the milk out. Good for you for trying so hard! In the future if you have another child I suggest seeing a (board certified) lactation consultant. She can help you through any problems you may have.

 
Old 06-14-2006, 02:12 PM   #3
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Re: Late Breast Milk

yep i had an urgent c section i tried bf straight off after 2 days we discovered ds was crying through starvation, because when i was pumped to see how much i was producing there was nothing at all. i then bottle fed for 8 days till i wnet home. then on day 9 pp my milk came in but i think i was spoilt by the ease of bottle feeding and was still physically ill from my health problems thatled to ds sudden delivery that i only bf 3 times a day and the rest was formula so after 3 weeks my breasts dried up.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: Late Breast Milk

Well, I am glad to hear that I am not the only one. When I tell the story to ladies I know I always get "that's so weird" or "I had more than enough!" My lamaze class teacher said she had enough to feed twins, and a friend who had pumped a whole lot due to her son being born at 30 weeks, offered me some of her extra milk. It's just so hard not to see it as a failure somehow, even though I know it's not, because DD is doing fine on formula and knowing that I starved her to death the first three weeks of her life is awful.

I've been told that even when a first baby has latching problems, usually subsequent children don't. So hopefully I will be able to breastfeed in the future.

-D.

 
Old 06-14-2006, 05:05 PM   #5
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Re: Late Breast Milk

I just want to let you know that what you're going through is a lot more common then you think. The good thing about that, is that if you find the right people you'll get the help and support you need to resume breast feeding.

First of all. It is extremely rare to have a medical condition that prohibits a woman from producing an adequate milk supply. The reason that supply issues become a problem is almost always due to breast feeding mismanagement. I know this because I am going through something similar myself.

If you honestly suspect a problem with insufficient glandular tissue, then ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in such a problem. You can get one from your OB. I would also ask your OB to do a blood test to check for thyroid problems, as wonky thyroid after pregnancy/labor is quite common, and a big factor toward breastfeeding difficulties. As is a retained placenta, but you probably have noticed that by now (infection - fever).

If you have eliminated all of those as possibilities, then you need to look more closely at your actual breastfeeding. The fact that you said you had ANY leakage indicates to me that you did not have supply issues. Women with supply issues don't leak - at all. Leaking is an indication of excess milk/full breasts. Which leads me to my next point.. if you are not properly emptying the breasts at each feeding your body will make less as it's a cue that not as much milk is needed next time. Your body has an amazing ability to make exactly what your baby needs, so if your baby nurses more one day, you'll notice and increase in milk (and visa versa). Supply and demand.

A bad latch or poor ability to suckle can have this effect in a negative way - the less milk that is eaten means less will be made. Bleeding nipples is an indication of a poor latch. I'm sorry that your pediatrician told you to give formula to "rest" instead of referring you to a lactation consultant. That in itself will almost ensure BF feeding failure. Giving my daughter formula was the WORST thing we could have done. At least in a bottle.

There are a number of things you can do. I suggest you get in touch with a Le Lache League leader to get information on "re lactation". It IS possible for you to still breast feed!! I know women in my group who had to wait until their babies were 3 or 4 months old to breast feed. I also know of a woman who is successfully breast feeding an adopted baby!

You may also want to research the SNS (supplemental nursing system) or lact-aid. These are tubes that you tape to your nipple that will feed the baby either formula or EBM while you nurse. This kills two birds with one stone - nipple stimulation (which will produce milk) and supplemental feeding to the baby. You should also look into renting a hospital grade breast pump. These are the best for establishing a good supply as they are better at evacuating the milk then other pumps. And the above poster is right - pumping is not an indication of your supply. I'm able to feed my daughter at the breast, less then 4 ounces daily, and I'm only able to pump an ounce at time... if that. Being engorged is also not an indication of poor supply. Really, the only way to measure propper intake is to watch diaper output. If baby was having 5-6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period you were probably doing fine. Some women never leak, never get engorged, and never feel a letdown and are still able to breast feed.

There are also dietary supplements you can take - fenugreek, blessed thistle, oat meal, and PLENTY of water!! If you do get diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue, there are also prescription medicines.

I have been through the ringer when it comes to breast feeding, and my baby is only 13 weeks old. For 10 weeks I've been pumping at least 3 times a day, sometimes as much as 8 times. I nurse on demand. I drink a ton of water, and I take those stinky supplements. Finally, after a month of working to increase my supply (due to poor advice and support) I am almost supplement free.

I won't lie to you. It is HARD to re-establish a supply. I cry some days just from pure exhaustion and desperation, but I know deep down that I am doing this for a reason. I wasn't going to risk her health while I was pregnant, and I'm not going to do it now that she's born. But I'll tell you what, when I've had days like today with no formula, it is the BEST feeling in the world and is what drives me on. I've wanted to quit so many times I can't even tell you, and I would have had I not gone on a researching frenzy. I also thank the Le Lache League for their information and support. Even without going to a meeting you'll be able to get plenty of info to help you. I also wouldn't be able to do this without the support a very pro-breastfeeding pediatrician.

Good luck! You can do it!!

Last edited by debating; 06-14-2006 at 05:08 PM.

 
Old 06-14-2006, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Late Breast Milk

Oops. I thought you said DD had been on formula for 5 weeks, not months. My bad.

 
Old 06-15-2006, 01:14 AM   #7
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Re: Late Breast Milk

my cats
i know it is easy to feel a failure lot s of women i know do what i had intended that is to bf. however unless people have been in our situations it is always easy to judge. i am sur elike me you have done the best by your little one. in an ideal world everything would work out perfect. i know i feel guilty from time to time but we shouldn't at least our hearts were in to bf even if our bodies weren't. my health problems were my liver starting to fail - still don't know why, ds was delivered at 36 weeks due to risk of still birth i tell you ds arrival was not as planned either - such is life at least we are all happy and healthy ds is now 14 weeks
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Old 06-15-2006, 08:49 AM   #8
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Re: Late Breast Milk

Weepy, you shouldn't ever feel guilty, you did great concidering your health. I feel like I'm barely hanging on by a thread sometimes. If I can pass on any of the info I learned, then I try, but feeding your baby, by any means possible, should never be cause for guilt.

 
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