31 answers

Breast Feeding - Clinton,IL

My son was born on July 15th of this year so hes 4 weeks old. I started nursing him right away and he was doing great. But then his jaundice levels got really high and was placed on a light vest and my milk had not fully come in so we were told to give him so much formula a day. So within a few days his levels came down and he went back to nursing but it wasnt as successful and he was constantly crying. So we noticed he had a white tounge and was diagnosed with thrush. So then once again we went back to pumping and giving a bottle. At that time i was only pumping about an ounce at a time so he was constantly still hungry. Now the that thrush is gone he refuses to nurse and will only use a bottle, which is ok with me because he still gets the breatmilk. We started taking fenugreek to increase milk and alfalfa. Now i get 2 ounces, 2 1/2 each time if i am lucky but he is always still hungry after that so we give him formula as well. As a total he gets 16-18 ounces of breast milk aday and then drinks maybe 10 ounces or more of formula along with that. I use a pump in style medela double pump but i was wondering if anyone out there had advice as to how i can get more milk for him. I really dont want him on anymore formula then we have to give him but i cant let him cry in hunger either. Any advice would be much appreciated. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital where he was born and she just said to keep trying and keep trying to offer the breast and that my milk would come in more. But its been 4 weeks and he completely refuses the breast now. I am just so frustrated and feel like i cant provide for him.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I also recommend getting a house call from a lactation consultant. I believe Barbara Hardin does them ###-###-####).


I was unsuccessfull at breastfeeding my son (tried for 3 months,then formula) but I was able to breastfeed my daughter until she was one. I found that my milk readily "flowed" when I pumped while she was hungry and crying or eating a bottle from dad while I looked on. Otherwise the act of pumping was very difficult and produced such small amounts of milk that it wasn't worth the time spent doing it.


it might help to see a lactation consultant to get him back to the breast.

additionally switching to a hospital grade pump may help

Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions

More Answers

You are doing so great. You can take a supplement of Brewer's Yeast to help your milk supply come in. You can also pump right before a feeding so that the letdown comes faster - this may be what is frustrating him. Your lactation consultant is right - you just have to keep offering him the breast. Make sure that you don't have any latch problems, you can tell this by watching his cheeks, they shouldn't look like they are sucked in or dimpling. You may want to try a nipple shield until he can get back in the rhythm.
You are an awesome mommy!

I heard oatmeal, water water water water. maybe try pumping more frequently??

Congrats on your baby! Sounds like you've had a rough start with nursing, but your baby is still very young and you have lots of time to figure it out. THE BEST thing you can do is get him nursing again - at the breast. Your LC was right - offer him your breast EVERY time he eats. You can manually stimulate your nipples to get your let-down and then offer it to him - he may be more likely to latch on if he tastes the milk right away, which is what he's used to with the bottle. I would especially make sure I offer him the breast when he's sleepy - he may latch right on without even thinking about it. Consider even dedicating the better part of a day to this (some women call this a "nursing holiday") - take your shirt off, spend a lot of skin-to-skin time laying around with your baby for the day. A day or two of doing this can work wonders for a nursing relationship. (I know it's near impossible to find the time to do it with a toddler around, though!)

Pumping so much is very stressful for you I'm sure, and it means less time that you're holding your baby. Plus no pump can do as good a job at stimulating your milk supply as a nursing baby. So if you can get him nursing again it will pay off - more supply, more time with your baby, fewer bottles to clean etc. Totally worth it. In the mean time I suggest joining the Yahoo group "Pumpmoms" - the ladies there range from at-work pumpers to exclusive pumpers and can offer you some great advice and support.


I advise going to a lactation consultant...one in a private practice. At least it was a MUCH better experience for me. Here is who I used along with several friends and families memebers - We love her and she will help you and your little man get back on track. She is a miracle worker!!!

Breast N Baby Lactation: Carol Chamblin ____@____.com

Best of luck!!! Don't give up!!!!

Congratulations on your new little miracle. I would suggest contacting Le Leche League. They are very helpful with breastfeeding tips or have a lactation consultant come into your home. I know Be By Baby in Chicago has a lactation consultant who comes into the store to give advise to Moms. I'm unsure of the days, times or cost.
You won't be able to pump as much as he is able to suck out if he were nursing. When you try nursing him don't wait until he's crying for food or really hungry. Also try to get your milk flow going by pumping or squeezing milk out with your hand. This way your milk is already flowing and less frustrated for him. I would try using Playtex nurser bottles. I know a lot of moms use advent myself included but the milk flows out very quickly unlike the flow from our breast and I think that is what also is frustrating for babies once they get used to the bottle.
I hope this is helpful. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing but it doesn't always come naturally. It takes patience, perseverance and determination so don't give up! There have been many times when I thought of giving up or stop breastfeeding my daughter. It does get easier.


My son is almost five months old, and we've been down a fairly similar path. He didn't have jaundice, but he did have some other circumstances around his birth that necessitated similar choices.

First of all, please be easier on yourself. Breastmilk is important, but there are lots of important things you are doing to take care of him and your family. It was actually my OB who said, "Life is short. Do what you can, and stop beating yourself up."

Breastfeeeding is like a dance, and you both have to be good at it for the relationship to work. You are experiencing issues on both sides. You are doing everything you can to help your side, but it may be too difficult for him to get through this. Unfortunately, the only way to get him going is probably to take away the bottles. The theory is that will force him to get his food from your breast, but that will deprive him of food for (hopefully only a short) time until he figures out how to do it. My guy was really small, and I did not have the nerve to do it. When he was around six weeks, I talked to our ped and LC and decided what was important was getting as much breastmilk as possible into him. For us, that meant spending the time pumping rather than nursing and freed me up to enjoy more time with him and nuture him in other ways. That was us - you need to decide what works best for your entire family.

BTW - your milk is at higher levels than mine was at this point in time. It sounds like you've got a big guy or a big eater.

A couple of things that helped me:
--Adding Blessed Thistle - The theory behind More Milk Plus is the interaction between Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle helps, but it's really expensive, and I found the generics of the two herbs actually worked better for me. Make sure you are taking enough - you have to be able to smell the fenugreek on your skin (usually in your sweat) to know you have enough in your body.
--I did find the hospital grade pump (Symphony) worked better than Pump in Style. It's also more comfortable.
--Frequency - the best way to increase your milk is to pump every two hours.
--Make sure you treat yourself for thrush. You can put some of his medicine on your nipples or take diflucan. Make sure you sterilize your pump parts and bottles and wash your clothing and bras every day. Acidophilus powder also worked better for us than Nystatin. Wet your clean finger, dip it in the powder, and let him suck it off. For you, just mix it in some other liquid - it's really pretty tasteless.
--Some helpful websites - Drjacknewman.com and www.mother-2-mother.com/ExclusivePumping.htm. The later will have ideas about getting your milk up through pumping. A lot of people recommend Kelly Mom - their bottle feeding guidelines didn't work for me, but there is a lot of helpful information there.

Wow - my answer turned out longer than I thought. It's because I've been in your situation and felt exactly the same emotions. I can't imagine going through it with a two year old who needs and deserves a lot of attention as well. I'll say it again- please be easier on yourself. Remember nursing is only one of the things you do to love and care for him. Any breastmilk you can give him is good, and the formula won't hurt him.

Good luck with your choices - anything you decide will be right for Caleb.

Hi there, There are experts out there who can help you through this -- it does not sound like your lacation consultant is really providing a level of support that is constructive. I HIGHLY reccomend a consultant I have worked with. She is professional, proactive and has many many years of experience. Her name is Janet Talmidge and her web site is http://lactinv.com/about_us.php. She is located in the west suburbs, but she does do houscalls.

I understand what your saying. We too had a hard start with our little guy. There are several different things we did and with each thing we saw better results. I ate oatmeal daily and sometimes twice a day, took fenugreek and mothers tea( you can find it at any health food store or organic grocery) and pumped every one to two hours. I also drank water like it was going out of style! it sounds like you are very determined and so was I, keep on plugging and your little man will do great! But don't allow him to have a bottle anymore and he will get hungry enough and will nurse.
Good luck!
A little about me: SAHM of a wonderful 7 month old little man and daycare provider to 5 wonder children

I also recommend getting a house call from a lactation consultant. I believe Barbara Hardin does them ###-###-####).

La Leche League leaders and meetings are a wonderful resource. The leaders are available 24/7 by phone and there are local meetings as well. http://www.llli.org/

I used Medela soft shell breast shields for the first couple of months I was nursing because I didn't want anything touching my nipples (breastfeeding was painful for me). After I stopped using them I suddenly had less milk. When pumping I used to be able to get 5 ounces on a side and then suddenly it was much less. I realized that the breast shield's constant pressure on my chest was causing me to overproduce milk. The down side of wearing the breast shields was that I was always leaking. The shields catch the leaking milk, but after a while they kinda fill up and spill out, making for some embarassing moments. I got mine at babies r us and used the soft shell with the larger hole.

I had extremely low supply with both babies. The first one dehydrated and was starving (first time mom, didn't know what was going on). With Baby #2, I was well prepared.

I used Mother's Milk tea which caused milk to drip out of my breasts (which was a good and well assuring sign for me considering what happened with Baby #1!). I have 4 boxes that I never used (bought in bulk off of Amazon and I stopped breast feeding last month). I will send you a box for free, if interested. I don't know what else to do with it!

Hi C.,

My attempt at breastfeeding was similar to yours. I have myasthenia gravis, which causes muscle weakness in both fine and large motor skills. After both my sons were born, they had the symptoms that I did from sharing my antibodies, though they do not have the disease. What that meant for my boys is that their suck was extremely weak for about 3 months after birth, and they couldn't feed from the breast. As it was, it was extremely hard for them to get anything from even the fastest flow bottle. After the birth of my second son, I started pumping with Medela's hospital-grade pump (much stronger that the regular at-home model) that we rented for ~$50 per month. Since the hospital rentals are so much stronger, they do a really good job of building your supply. Once my supply was firmly established, I switched back to my regular pump with no dips in supply. Pumping was a huge time committment, but worth it in my mind since my baby got exclusive breast milk from me for the first 7 months ( I chose to stop and go to formula after that b/c of time, but my personal goal at the beginning was to make it to 6 months. Once my supply was established I was averaging 45 ounces per day. My two-year-old son would see me on the pump and say"mooo!). Here's what I would suggest: rent a hospital-grade pump from the hospital where you gave birth, or a lactation consultant. ( I used the Medela Symphony.) Beginning when you wake up, pump for 20-30 minutes every 2-3 hours, so you can get it 6 pumps during the day. I chose not to pump during the night, and usually did every 3 hours during the day. I would highly recommend a nursing bustier, so you can be hands free to sit and read or whatever with a double pump. I can't remember the name of the one I used, but you can google "nursing bustier" to find one. I would also recommend a thick lanolin ointment like lansinoh to put on your nipples immediately after each pump. After 4-6 weeks, you can go back to your personal pump, since your supply will be firmly established, and you will probably be ably to go 3-4 hours between pumps. For milk storage in fridge or freezer, I was a big fan of the lansinoh bags, although I know Medela has them, too. Though I offered the breast during the first month, my son never breastfed, so I was pumping exclusively. Best of luck! E. S.

You are doing great! You are providing! I would encourage you to go to www.kellymom.com for starters. They can help if you post in their forum, but there is lots of information if you search their site. For instance http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html talks about babies that age only needing about 25 ounces a day. That means you are close. They have tips for increasing supply too. Also I think a very good lactation speciallist would be an important choice for you. I saw someone recomend Carol Chamblin. She is great and I think she would really help you!! I think you may not be getting the best advise form the hospital lactation poeple. For instance most of the time you can nurse through thrush, in fact I am doing it right now. Gotta run, it's nap time, but please consider calling Carol.

Hi C.,
One idea is to go to the website: DrJackNewman.com and read his advice for increasing milk production, or you can call Home Care of Newborns & Families, Inc. ###-###-####. We can discuss options with you and possibly set up a home visit to see how the breastfeeding is actually going by doing what is called AC/PC weights (before and after 10 min of feeding) to see what the baby has actually transferred into his stomach.
Best wishes on improving your milk supply,

Hi C.,

I am speaking to you as a mother of a child born severely premature (at 24 weeks), who survived his early birth and consequently had several severe disabilities.

My son was the oldest. When he was two my daughter was born. I know that I wanted to nurse her for a long time and did so successfully for over 2 years.

Having two kids is challenging enough, but when you have a kid with disabilities, it is even more challenging.

Here are my thoughts: Keep nursing! Your son will relearn to suckle at the breast and the time you spend holding him will not only let him know that you love him, but will help relax you too. Nursing produces a hormone that helps mom relax. This really helped me get through very challenging times.

When you are waiting in the doctor's office or at therapy or where ever you are...and there are so many waining rooms when you have a kid with disabilities, you can nurse your son and find a bit of inner peace.

When you're going somewhere and packing up all the stuff you need for your daughter and son, you'll have one less thing to pack...

When you're so frickin stressed out that you feel like running away, pick up your son and nurse him...even if he isn't asking for it...this will give you the "excuse" to sit down and space out and put things in perspective.

I could go into so much more detail, but I think you get the picture.

The end result of all this is that you will be a better mom to both kids by nursing your son.

Just asking for help is so hard...know that there are other mom's in the same club as you out here that are cheering you on...

Keep up the good work! Oh yeah...kiss the babies for me!


First let me say I know how disappointing (to say the least) it is when you can't successfully breastfeed. I had a really hard time with my oldest. She had reflux and a little jaundice but other than that, no medical issues. She was just a "bad eater" and had a hard time getting it out of the breast. In turn, I wasn't producing much and at 4 weeks had to start with formula. I was soooooo upset and before I went to formula tried pumping after each feeding to get a little extra. I was completely and totally exhausted. Finally, since she wasn't gaining weight fast enough, the ped. said to give her formula. I still continued nursing but as time went on she would nurse for less and less each time. I kept pumping though until she was around 4 months old and I pretty much dried up.
In retrospect I wouldn't have worried about it as much and especially, I wouldn't have been so hard on myself. Do the best you can but if it's not going to work out, your baby will be fine too. We all know breastmilk is the best...we hear it over and over and over which adds to the guilt and heartbreak when it doesn't work. But sometimes it just doesn't. You do the best you can and that's all you can do.
I would like to add my sister-in-law's story though. She got off to a rough start with nursing. The baby wouldn't nurse at all so he was on pumped milk for the first 2 months. She kept trying (and trying and trying) to nurse him and after a few months he got the hang of it. He is almost 1 now and still nursing!
Also, my second child was a great eater and I had no problems nursing which just goes to show it takes 2! I love what the other post said "it's a dance" ...so true.
Anyway, best of luck to you and don't be so hard on yourself. Caleb will do just fine.

Hi C.,
There is a "Baby Feeding Requirements Chart" which tell you how much your baby should be eating based on his/her weight. For example, a 10 lb baby requires 26.7 ounces of milk per day. Divide that by how many feedings your child gets and that is the amount per bottle. Try to continue to pump to stimulate milk production and also have your baby latch on to stimulate production...even if its in between bottle feedings. Baby's have a rooting reflux so he/she may appear to be hungry but they may just want to suck on something. Try a pacifier after feeding to help with this.
I ate oatmeal daily and drank lots of water to help my milk production. After pumping and nursing for a while you will notice an increase. It does take some time. My baby and I had a rough start and after about 5-6 weeks it all came together and got easier and now it's a breeze. It's amazing how things work out. There is a small percentage of women who do lack all the milk ducts for sufficient milk production---a lactation nurse can diagnos this.
I hope this helps! Good luck!


First off, you are obviously a great mom to be so dedicated to nursing.

I don't know that I have a magic bullet, but one idea might be to ensure that Caleb isn't too hungry when you try to nurse him. That is, offer earlier before he gives signs he's hungry, or if he's starving, offer a little BM in a bottle to take the edge of his frustration. Then offer the breast. I don't know if this is good advice, but it would seem worth a shot.

I also agree with the advice to ensure a good latch on, drink water, sleep, etc. Having both pumped and b/f, I also agree that you get less with the pump than nursing.

Lastly - relax! Believe this will work out, and if he ends up on formula with 2 breastfeeds a day, it's OK! Take the pressure off yourself.

My own experience - first son had serious medical problems, I pumped and bottle fed for 3 months, he developed milk & soy protein allergies and suffice it to say I made the difficult decision to move to formula. With my second child, I nursed, though needed a boost from a lactation consultant once I was home to get the latch-on right. The LC recommended 'breast rest' for 24 hours (pumping and bottles exclusively) while I slept, healed, and relaxed.

This may be an approach for you: The LC recommended reintroducing nursing every third feeding for a day, every second feeding for a day, and then every feeding. I probably spread that over 4-5 days. You might take that approach just to give yourself some rest. Make others give her the bottles if you need nap. Oh - and at the time, my daughter was 2 weeks old. Worked like a charm for me!

I found a GREAT lactation consultant with a nursing background who will come to your house. If you are interested I can pass along her name.

Best of luck,

Water, water, and more water! Drink it constantly. Then pump constantly, not only when he's feeding. Make sure your pumping at night and pump an extra time at night if you can. Even if you only get a little milk each time, your body should start producing more milk little by little. And dont' stress about it. It's exhausting, but well worth it. Hang in there!

It's ok that you need to supplement for a while. Don't beat yourself up about it. I would throw out the bottles and only give the formula in a syringe or cupfeed it. That way he has to work at it, just like at the breast. Don't worry, he'll catch on and be a pro in no time. Bottles are easier for them so they prefer them if there is a choice. Don't give him the choice. Try to sleep with him skin to skin as much as you can and even try going topless around the house as much as possible. you want Caleb to smell you as much as possible. Pumping is also not a good way to tell how much milk you produce. Your baby is much better at getting the milk out than a pump. You can try to nurse him and then pump to stimulate more production. I would also contact a La Leche League leader in your neighborhood. Here's the link to the Illinois chapters. You are doing great and such a dedicated mama to little Caleb.



I was unsuccessfull at breastfeeding my son (tried for 3 months,then formula) but I was able to breastfeed my daughter until she was one. I found that my milk readily "flowed" when I pumped while she was hungry and crying or eating a bottle from dad while I looked on. Otherwise the act of pumping was very difficult and produced such small amounts of milk that it wasn't worth the time spent doing it.

Hi C.,
Here are 2 websites that have great info on breastfeeding(these were referred to me by a lactation consultant). I referenced these quite a bit when nursing my twins for 14 months.

What worked best for me was using Fenugreek- 3 capsules 3x/day and Blessed Thistle-- 3 capsules 3x/day (per Drjacknewman.com)and drinking PLENTY of water. Try nursing Caleb every time he is hungry if you do want him to breastfeed, then pump afterwards. I know it is frustrating but you can do it! If you want to give him breastmilk from a bottle, pump every 3 hours to get your milk going again--no more than 10-15 mins at a time so you don't get sore. You will need to keep pumping or nursing on a regular basis to keep your milk supply. And most important of all, don't worry or stress yourself out! It really can affect your supply. Just be confident in yourself and enjoy your children and the rest will come naturally. Hope this helps you--Good Luck!


Congrats on your little boy Caleb. I have a 11 month old named Caleb too!! My doctor prescribed Reglan for me when I had low milk supply. I know there is a lot of controversy out there over this drug, because of side effects - anxiety, twitching, etc.. I have not experienced any of those side effects and have been taking Reglan off & on for the last 5 months. I also eat oatmeal every day and Fenugreek. Of course the best way to increase your supply is for your baby to nurse, so I wish you best of luck getting him back on the breast.

Try pumping more often to increase the amount of milk you produce. It's a supply and demand system for producing breastmilk, so if you pump more you're increasing the demand and your body will produce more milk.
Good luck!

Hi C.,
I recommend you to try 'More milk Plus' Capsules/tincture made by Motherlove company. They are organic and really work. Also rent a hospital grade breastpump for a month or so as it gives more stimulation and emptying if the baby is not nursing. Once the milk supply improves you may use your pump in style.

I am a Nurse practitioner and a Lactation Consultant. I will be more than happy to work with you to get your baby back to breast. Please call me ###-###-#### /###-###-#### as needed.
Healthy Babies Happy Families

Well, shame on the hospital for telling you to give him formula when he was jaundiced. I hate when people who are supposed to be supportive with breastfeeding shoot new moms in the foot, so to speak. The jaundice would have still gone away just fine, albeit a little slower and there really is no reason to pump when you have thrush....If you treat yourself and the baby it is best to nurse so that you and the baby continually are medicating each other ....but what is done is done now. Nursing is so hard in the beginning and I know what you are going through in that my older son would not nurse when he was young because he was given a bottle due to low blood sugar in the hospital. See a GOOD lactation consultant...cause some of them don't help at all. Maybe contacting your local LLL would be a best first step cause one of the leaders may be willing to help you in your home. Breastfed babies usually don't drink as much as formula fed babies....my 5 month old only takes 3-4 ounces when he takes a bottle. And, babies are much much better at getting the milk out than a pump so if you can get him back to the breast you probably will not need to supplement. I know it is frustrating....I remember crying every 2 hours after trying to get him to nurse and then pumping ......but he may surprise you one day and all of a sudden get it. I would maybe try to give him a BM bottle, then pump just to the point of let down (so it is easier for him to get the milk right away) then try to put him to breast. But, latching issues are complicated and seeing someone is best. Also, if you aren't already, make sure you have the best best best positioning possible. Use a nursing stool and/or a My Brest Friend pillow to make sure baby is up high enough and laying properly.

Good luck!


it might help to see a lactation consultant to get him back to the breast.

additionally switching to a hospital grade pump may help

Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions

Hi C.- I nursed all 4 of my kids exculsively for over 14 mo. but was lucky enough not to have to deal with thrush and jaundice (I am so sorry it must be hard!) I might try offering the breast, supplementing with the formula if necessary and then trying to pump even more. When I pumped I did stimulate my nipples (sounds gross I know but does work) until my milk let down then I could get more and pump faster. Also don't guilt trip yourself too much- you are doing all you can for your baby and if that includes formula occasionally he will be fine . I saw you have a little girl too and setting aside enough time to feed/nurse/pump etc must be hard.
Hang in there!

Man, I feel for you. You sound like such a sensitive mama. I hope you get through this. What I know is that the way to get more milk is if the baby nurses as much as possible. Another thing I read, was that breastmilk is wonderful, however the complete immunity comes from the baby sucking on the breast. If they ever come down with something, they transfer the bugs to you via your nipple, you make the antibodies, and give it to your baby via breasmilk. Kind of gross, but that's the way it works. You will of course provide him with lots of good stuff by drinking breastmilk by bottle, just more of it by breast.

I'm sure you already know that by using bottles, he is getting used to a faster flow than your breast. That's why he's rejecting your breast. I'm not really sure why they had you pump when he had thrush. Everything I've read says to keep nursing and keep clean/take med's until it's gone. I'd try as hard as you can to get him back on.

Before offering the breast, make sure you put some warm compresses on the breasts to stimulate milk flow; express a little before latching her on to get her to want to take the nipple; massage the breast during nursing; drink lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of water; drink lots of nursing moms tea; pump during his naps to encourage your ducts to produce more milk. Go to www.kellymom.com for more info on breastfeeding challenges. It helped me a lot.

I have 2 children and I work full time so breastfeeding was difficult to do. I ended up using my medela pump in style pump for the first full 12 months for both of my boys. Try pumping every 2 hours to get a good supply to come in. This may take a couple of days (everyone is differnt). After that, your supply should remain as long as you pump around every 4 hours. If you have a hetic day and can't pump as much, just try to make up for it the next day. It is all supply and demand. Good luck!

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