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  • Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

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    Old 03-04-2007, 04:12 AM   #1
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    Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    I breastfed exclusively for the first month, and somehow my milk supply started to decrease (I think it was due to the fact my baby is a very casual nurser and falls asleep/loses interest easily). So about a week ago I started supplementing w/ formula, which I was told was fine as long as I pumped 3x a day. The problem is that I can't pump. I've tried several times, following the precise directions in the manual. I got hardly anything.

    My supply has quickly decreased over the past few days due to this. I can usually feed late evening/morning w/o supplementing, but for the rest of the day have next to nothing (I can nurse for maybe 5-10 minutes until I'm empty). I want badly to increase my supply, if not going back to exclusive bfing, then at least giving my baby the majority of her feeding in breast milk. (I'm taking fenugreek, eating oatmeal every morning, trying to get more rest, drink more water).

    Do you think it's to late to increase? It seems like maybe I should just give up at this point. I'm going to rent a hospital grade pump tomorrow to see if I have any luck with that.

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    Old 03-04-2007, 04:32 AM   #2
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    Re: Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    If you are having a hard time expressing milk with the pump why not try expressing by hand? It is so easy.Try manually pushing the milk down from the upper areas of the breast if you find that during expressing you start to get not as much milk. As you stated, continue to drink LOTS of water and nurse or express frequently throughout the day to increase your production. I don't think it's too late! You can do it.

    Old 03-04-2007, 07:58 AM   #3
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    Re: Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    What kind of pump are you using? Even if you don't get anything when you pump it does not mean you do not have milk. And just the nipple stimulation with the pump will help increase. The best thing you can do though is nurse (and decrease the amount of formula) because the baby can get way more out than the pump. The more formula you give, the less milk you will make. What makes you think you are empty when you nurse? Your breasts are never truly empty. You continually make milk. The more your baby nurses the more you will make. Try to keep baby on one breast as long as s/he wants before offering other side. Another thing you can try to increase is pump on one side while nursing on the other. And all the other things you mentioned, like the oatmeal, water, rest. You can do it!

    Old 03-04-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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    Re: Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    I laughed at the previous poster who said manually pumping is so easy. I am on baby #2...he's almost 9 months old and have never been able to manually pump and don't think it's easy at all. My first was given EBM exclussively as he could never master nursing/latching. I had tons of milk but had to learn to use the pump and relax while doing it so that there was enough milk for him. I pumped every 2-3 hours at first, then every 3-4, then 4-6 and finally just every 6 hours. At the start I took blessed thistle AND fenugreek, drank fennel tea, drank tons of water, massaged my breasts before and during pumping and used a hospital grade pump.
    With #2 I was (still am) able to nurse but pumped at the start due to mixed messages in the hospital and then pumped again when I was heading out or after I came home and had missed a feed. I was amazed at the difference between how much I could pump in the early first weeks compared to after a month or two of not pumping much at all. I know I have enough for my son now as his diapers are soaked etc but when I pump after 8 hours of not feeding him, I barely get 3 ounces. Proof to me that pumping is not the same to the body as nursing.
    Anyway, I would suggest sticking to it as much as possible and not giving formula. Try feeding on both sides, feeding often and if that still isn't enough and you have to give formula, try doing it with a lactation aid. You can get them at any breastfeeding clinic or lactation consultant I think. It is a tube and syringe that you put the formula into. Then place the tube by your nipple and allow your baby to suckle and get the formula that way. That way you are still getting the stimulation and your babe doesn't discover how easy it is to get milk from a bottle and learn to prefer that as my first did.
    Good luck!!!

    Old 03-04-2007, 03:45 PM   #5
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    Re: Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    I have a medela harmony.

    I know my supply is low because she was getting very fussy in the evening especially when I tried to nurse, she was not gaining enough weight, and my lactation consultant told me she did not hear enough swallowing when she nursed.

    I guess I'm not 100% sure that my breast is empty, but I try to be. Usually the baby fusses, falls asleep, or stops swallowing so I'm pretty sure she has emptied it. I usually go to the other one and let her finish nursing then back to the breast I started with.

    I know formula can decrease your production, that's why I wanted so badly to pump. Ultimately, making sure that she is getting enough to eat is my first priority. Three out of four of her weight checks she hasn't gained enough.

    She seems to go from bottle to breast pretty well. When she starts out with the bottle, she gets a little frustrated not knowing how to suck. But she hasn't started preferring it over the breast yet. I always nurse her before I offer her a bottle, and only do it when she's hungry.

    Old 03-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #6
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    Re: Hoping to increasing milk supply--too late?

    All I can say is just keep pumping and breastfeeding as often as possible. Other thing, I didn't know at first that I had to turn up the dial that increases the frequency of the suction...not the dial that makes it pull harder, but the dial that makes it pull faster. First few pumps didn't do anything for me and duh...that was why! And you won't get a ton at first, but if you keep at it with frequency and length of time things may get better. Good luck!

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