November 15, 2008,
A.D. asks from Albany, OR on November 13, 2008
The Emotions of Low Milk Supply
I've tried just about everything you've ever heard of to increase milk supply, during my breastfeeding attempts with my two boys. Are you ready for the list? Here goes: NINE lactation consultants--yes NINE, nursing like a fiend, pumping like a fiend, Fenugreek, Reglan, eating lots of oatmeal and protein, banishing the underwire bras, breast compressions, drinking tons of water, Goat's Rue, prayer, visualization, Zoloft, not using pacifiers, 5.7 million websites and books, tongue-tie clipping for my first boy, La Leche League...there's probably more, but I'm forgetting it. Oh yes, my new baby and I just went to the chiropractor on Tuesday to see if it would help. Out of the monster list, it's the only thing that helped a little bit. All the lactation ladies say, "yep, that's a nice wide latch, just keep nursing." So what's the problem? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It causes low milk supply in 33 % of women who have it.
So what's my question? I guess I'm just at that point where I feel like I'm chasing my own tail. Part of me can't help but look up more crazy things to try and keep on hoping for the day that I won't have to supplement. Then the next minute as my son latches on and then either fusses or falls asleep because there's only about 3/4 of an ounce to drink out of one breast I feel like crumpling up in a ball of tears. I want my boobs to work! He's six weeks old this Friday and I had all these visions of making breastfeeding work right this time. I know, I should count my blessing and I do: he is still nursing and I can give him about half of what he needs, plus he is healthy and so is my family and that is more than anyone can ask for and yet...I just so want to be the sole provider of what my child eats. I feel like I'm breast obsessed! I guess I'm just wondering if any of you went through this swirl of emotions. I find myself praying that by baby continues to nurse off of what I can supply. My husband is no help because he just want to "fix" the situation like a typical man, and his version of fix is for me to stop working so hard for what he thinks is so little gain. He just doesn't get it, and that doesn't help me at all.
S.P. answers from Seattle on November 13, 2008
I can certainly empathize with the feelings you are having. I had a low milk supply after my son was born 6 weeks early in January. I tried Fenugreek and Reglan and didn't see any improvement - pumped around the clock, getting no sleep of course, and was just a wreck. Unfortunately, due to other life circumstances, I was really stressed out and of course, anxiety doesn't help the low milk. I was about to have a breakdown when I decided that this was a battle I didn't want to continue. I felt really sad about it, alone, disappointed - even now, I wish things were different - but my baby is doing wonderfully, healthy (other breastfed babies I know have had more illnesses) and I'm a happier mom. Also, I started to hear about supply issues from other moms and didn't feel quite so bad. Here's a webpage that I found really helpful when I was really having a hard time.
Probably a parenting lesson from the situation for me was to do what works and it's ok to change.
Wish you, your baby and toddler well!
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L.J. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
I don't have an answer for you but I have the EXACT same story as you. I didn't go to 9 lac. cons. but other than that, I tried EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING with my first son. I completely exhausted myself and put on 10 lbs trying to eat all the right foods and make sure I was getting enough. After 3 months I hated that pump! I finally was so beyond exhaustion and frustration I went to formula. My son was such a happy baby after completely on formula and always having a full tummy and I was less stressed once I accepted it. With my 2nd son I was hoping that I would be able to know more from the get-go and be more successful, which I wasn't. And then I had my 3rd and it happened again. Each time I was less stressed out but I tried breast feeding. For some reason my body just would not produce enough milk for my kids to gain weight, barely enough to maintain their weight w/o supplement. So I feel for you and completely understand your stress and frustration. Just do what is best for you and baby. My kids are completely happy and healthy after using formula for a year. Another bonus is that my husband got to help out for the middle of the night feedings :) Best of luck to you and it sounds like you are a wonderful mother to do SO much to try to give your baby the best!
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L.L. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
Dear A. D,
This really is an emotional thing, mixed up as it is with our love for our babies and the deep natural desire women have to suceed at being able to meet their needs in the best way possible, which is usually considered to be the natural way. But "possible" is an important word here. It sounds like you have tried everything you can, and for reasons beyond your control it just isn't working. I wish I could recommend something you haven't tried that would enable you to succeed in the way you want to, but I don't know of anything.
Maybe it's time for you to re-define what your idea of success is in this, and also to learn to accept what is and let go of what cannot be. How is driving yourself crazy going to help your baby? You have succeeded in giving your baby the best start you could by nursing him with what you have. I'm sure this passed on the immunity things needed, and helped form a close bond with him. That bond won't break because you are feeding him from a bottle. But it could be messed up by your being so uptight trying to nurse and re-inforcing a sense of failure in you every time you try. It is not a failure, it is just a quirk in your body that you have to work around as best you can, just like we do any medical problem. You don't want to give yourself emotional problems because you won't accept this.
I didn't have enough milk with my daughter and had to supplement and too soon the nursing ended. It was frustrating, but she and I are very close and she is the healthy Mom of 4 of her own kids now. That is meaningful success, and it didn't have much to do with whether I could nurse her better or not.
I wish you all the best, my friend!
From a friend
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A.R. answers from Richland on November 14, 2008
I A. right there with you!!!I have PCOS and have the same problem. My 2nd boy is 2 months old right now and I have found something that works! I tried everything you did with my first one and nothing worked, until I tried Domperidone!!! I used to get 2 oz max (even after not nursing or pumping all day) with my first but since taking Domperidone I get enough to feed him and sometimes a bit extra! The max I have pumped this time around was 8oz (after going 6 hours without nursing/pumping). I almost cried. Domperidone has to be prescribed by a doctor and then find a compounding pharmacist to make it for you. You cannot get it otherwise in the US. You can get it from New Zealand off the internet or over the counter in Canada. Those weren't options for me so I found that the Medicine Shoppe compounds prescriptions. You just need to find a dr. to precscribe it. I had to tell my midwife about it - she had never heard of it before and she called in my prescription.
Go to breastfeedingonline.com and check out Domperidone (under Jack Newmans Articles). It can take up to 6 weeks for full potency but I noticed within a week that my milk came in better and more. I take 3 pills, 3 times a day @10mg each. So a total of 90 mg a day and that it what finally worked for me. I don't know if it will help me keep up as this baby demands more - time will tell, but so far it is worth every penny! Plus the emotional side of it (which I don't need to tell you)is SOOOO much easier this time. Good Luck - you can e-mail me directly if you want for support or for more questions about the prescription. ____@____.com in there - it IS worth it! A.
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N.S. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
I know exactly how you feel. With my first child I was not able to breastfeed, and believe me I tried. Not quite as much as you are doing, but I did a lot! I felt like a failure as a mother that I could not give my baby what she needed. It took me a while to realize that I was not such a horrible mother just because I couldn't nurse. If you have to supplement or even go to just formula it does not make you a bad mother. With my seconed baby I A. nursing, but at first I was also supplementing. I was able to start nursing her exclusevly, and maybe you will be able to also. Just don't stress yourself out and enjoy your little baby. They are babies for such a short time. I hope I have been able to encourage you at least a little bit.
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M.B. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
You are so awesome trying so hard!! Stay with it. It can be done. The baby is fussy at the breast because of nipple confusion. This happened with my first baby. Scrap the bottles! Supp at the breast with a supplementer. I have used the Lact-aid. (www.lact-aid.com) Go to the lact-aid website and look around. Don't waste time with the Medela SNS, I tried that also, didn't like it.I have used the LA for 2 babies and I will use it again with this future one. I have also had success bringing in more milk with the second baby with Domperidone which I order on the internet. A lot cheaper than a compounding pharmacy. I live is WA. There is also Shatavari, but you can't use Shat and Dpd a the same time.
I have severe PCO AND I had a breast reduction 1989. It was the most radical technique, the free nipple graft where they sever the nipple and sew it back on. I shouldn't have been able to feed at all but I did. I have had to supp as much as 8-10 oz a day. That's okay. Which means I was making about 2/3's what my baby needed!! Breastfeeding is not all or nothing.
When you use bottles the flow is much easier for baby, he doesn't have to work as hard as if he was extracting milk from the breast. So then when you latch him on he wonders why the flow isn't faster (like the bottle) and gets frustrated. He also has to learn that milk comes from mom, not a bottle even if some of that milk is coming from a supplementer. There is a learning curve with the supplementers but once you learn it is like second nature and eventually you will nurse w/o the supplementer or use it less when baby starts solids or whatever. I nursed bare at night and used the LA during the day. I found my "groove" and you will too. I was able to stop using it at 1 yr and we still had a wonderful nursing relationship continue. I promise you will not regret staying with it. Here are a couple of websites for you www.lowmilksupply.org and www.bfar.org. I have so much to say about this but I need to put my 2 yr old down. PM me if you would like. I would be glad to help mentor you through this process.
Good Luck and milky thoughts to you!!
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C.R. answers from Anchorage on November 14, 2008
I did everything you did . . . I even tried acupuncture! Nothing helped, and after four months I had no milk at all. I was so worried about it at the time, but now in retrospect I wish I had that time back. I needed to just accept that it wasn't going to work and ENJOY my baby. I spent too much time stressing about it instead of lovin' on my little one. You've tried so hard and put forth a great effort for your baby, and he is healthy. Cherish him while he is young because the time goes so fast :-)
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S.C. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
Hon, wish I could help with this one, but it sounds like you have tried everything.
One thing I do know- you are seriously stressed over this and stress may actually bring down your milk production.
This is one of those things that you can not change- so you have to make a choice, be worried, upset, stressed- or b;ow it off. You are still giving your baby the the food he needs, the bonding time/ cuddle time etc.. so what is he is not just breast fed- there are many women that can not or chose not to breast feed and their children are ok.
While I understand your frustration and probably anger and maybe feelings of failure- It is ok....
You are doing everything you can for your baby and seriously your baby needs love more than he needs breast milk- so hold him close and nurse as you can. Try not to let your feelings color your special time. No one else can feed your baby as you can. Even if a bottle- You are still mom and very SPECIAL to him.
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K.K. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
I A. so sorry to hear about your emotional roller coaster with this! I have been through it, too. I also had sadness over being forced to go through C-section. My hormones were adding to the problem of emotions as well as breastfeeding, too.
What I can say is that, in retrospect (particularly six years later after the first and most difficult nursing baby, #1) he is happy and healthy and it doesn't matter now. Baby #2 and #2 both were good nursers but I still had low milk supply and never even changed a bra cup size (which seemed to shock my lactation consultants and make me even more upset). It was just not my lot in life to completely nurse, I have always had to supplement.
The one thing I learned with baby #3 was that I was not drinking enough water. You would think SOMEONE would have mentioned it to me before, but evidently they all thought new moms naturally drink tons to get their milk going. I didn't see it in any literature either, for a very long time (and trust me, I read a lot!)
Here I was so stressed out going to lactation consultants and doctors, I was not making time for enough water. It didn't make a giant difference, but it was noticeable once I sat down and drank water, which also gave me time to relax. I know you have already tried that. I just wanted to tell you not to give up - there might be some simple solution like that to help you out!
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M.D. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
WOW! How lucky are your sons to have a mommy that cares so much about them that she's making herself crazy over somthing she has proven to herself she can't control.
GOD BLESS YOU SWEET HEART!
Do you know how many woman out their don't even give it a second thought and go straight to formula? And look at you breaking your neck to get you kido some boobie! I myself had a lot of trouble. Just like you had to do everything to try to keep it coming, and baby's still hungry.
Here's the good news though. Infant formula companies have spent the last fifty years and millions of dollars to make the highest quality, most nutrious, best tasting, closest, thing to breast milk product in the world. And docors, Nobel Prize winners, fire fighters, preachers, veterinarians, rocket scientists, biologists, Mothers and and world leaders have been raised on formula. Any amount of breast milk you give your child is benneficial. Even if it's just a trickle added to a bottle.
Did you know, the quickest way to lose your milk supply is through stress? Well at least it was for me. I got in a car accident when my baby was 4 months. We were T-boned at an intersection-the lady wasn't paying attention. I was so scared the baby was hurt, because I was sore.
I nursed her when we got home from the accident and I was bone dry after that for 2 days. I had to do all the "tricks" to get it back. My daughter was such a good sport too, she would nurse for a good five minutes a side even though there was literally next to nothing-a tsp. maybe.
So I do know it's hard though. But if you can, try try try to put your emotions aside. And really remember even a tiny bit of it added to formula if good if it comes to that. Don't fret. Evjoy your boy. But I know it's important, I've been there.
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A.W. answers from Spokane on November 14, 2008
I had a breast reduction in 1997. I had my first son in 2001. I was told I'd have a 50/50 chance of being able to breastfeed. For some reason, I just KNEW I'd be able to.
Funny how life doesn't work out like we plan it sometimes.
I worked so hard, and I know what you are feeling. I could pump less than an ounce in an entire day. I also worked with a lactation consultant and tried herbs and all that. He was screaming because he was hungry. I finally gave in and gave him formula. And I cried. I was crushed, and felt like a failure.
When my second boy came 4 years later, I decided I wasn't going to be quite so set on breastfeeding. Though of course I talked to the LC, used fenugreek, etc. This last time I learned about someting called a "supplemental nursing system" which is a gadget that runs formula to the nipple on a little tube, letting the baby get formula and breastmilk at one time.
I found the SNS to be messy and cumbersome, but it might be worth a try.
I was able to BF my second son for a month exclusively. I was so surprised! When he began to lose weight at his one month appointment, I knew it was time to give up. Even though I had decided to not be so attached to the idea of breastfeeding, it was still painful.
At any rate, I'm sorry you are going through the same sort of situation. What makes it worse (to me) are the snide comments people would make when I bought formula, the dirty looks when I'd give my baby a bottle...
Medela makes the supplemental nursing system (if you weren't aware of it) if you wanted to try that. But there's nothing wrong with formula. There's a reason it exists. You've put in a valiant effort. I hope you are proud of yourself. Good mothering isn't defined on how we feed our babies, but by loving them and meeting their needs.
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M.W. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
...you do sound "breast obsessed" Has any one of these supportive consultants ever heard your entire list? Have they ever tried to help you deal with the emotionality you are encompassed by in your situation? Have you spoken with your son's pediatrician?
I had a breast reduction when I was 20, I knew it might interfere with my ability to breastfeed--but at 20, it was so far out of my mind and I was SO tired of not being able to stand tall, buy women's shirts, wear anything "feminine", not wake up and go to bed without soreness...etc.
I had my first child at 33, I tried like you did and supplemented with formula. I took fenugreek, drank herbal lactation teas, spoke with LLL supportive people, and when my daughter was 6 weeks old, I let it go. I had to, my life was consumed with my ability to nurse--and all the while I wasn't able to see that I was actually giving my daughter far more formula than breastmilk. I actually in hindsight view it as a type of Post-Partum Depression episode. My naturopath agrees.
I was so consumed with "any drop of breastmilk is far better than formula" that I didn't realize that she was missing out on all of that bonding and I was missing out on FINALLY being able to relax and be thankful that I had a healthy, beautiful, and happy baby girl! I hope you have considered that.
My daughter is now almost 2, super healthy (has only had one cold at 9 months), no allergies that we know of, and extremely bright. I feel no regrets at this point for switching to formula exclusively. It allowed me to move on and enjoy my baby and my husband as a new family. My husband was breastfed, I was a formula baby (my mom was like you a "low producer") and we both turned out fine. Contrary to what others might say--it's not poison! Of course I'll try again in May (rent the hospital grade pump, ask the LLL volunteers to stop by, use the SNS, etc.) when we have our second--but I REFUSE to beat myself up about it again!
I hope you can come to terms with your situation. I like the advice from the other moms about drinking lots of water and relaxation techniques. In the end, you will do what's right for you and your new son--as well as the rest of your family.
Don't be too down on your husband either--it's got to be SO stressful for him to see you beating yourself up over this when he knows there are other options, even if you can't accept those other options at this time.
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D.J. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
Hi A., I hear your pain, sister. I've been through that, I tried everything. I went crazy, depressed, upset, freaked and etc. ... until one day I just sat in front of the computer and started googling the best formulas. I was done trying and that was the best thing at that point for my son and me. Yes, I started giving him formula together with whatever I was able to get out of me and I started to spend more quality time with him - rocking him, singing to him, talking to him, loving him. Before all that time was spend on the phone with lactation specialists, on the Internet searching for remedies, in pharmacies and doctors offices. Yes, he was eating formula but he had me - his loving caring mommy there just for him. And I think he liked it. He liked to be held and listen to my voice instead seating in his car sit on the way to my next hope that I can provide him more breast milk. Your son is lucky to have such a caring mom, so relax and just love him and enjoy him. We all want the best for them but sometimes we can't do much about it. By the way, at the moment I relaxed and decided to go for formula I was able to pump more brest milk, just because I took off all that stress from my shoulders. My goal was to breastfed him at least for 3 months, I manage to do it for 4. Good luck!
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R.R. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
Hi. I'm sorry for your struggles. I, too, went through a low milk supply for almost 3 months although I don't have POS. Domperidone was what ended up working for me. You can get it online here http://www.inhousepharmacy.com/ and you can read about it here http://www.drjacknewman.com/help/Domperidone%20Getting%20...
I was also only able to give my son about 1/2 of his daily needs but with domperidone that changed to providing him what he needed. Email me if you would like more details.
Hang in there because regardless of how much milk you provide while nursing, your son still benefits tremendously from you nursing him!
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K.F. answers from Seattle on November 13, 2008
I went through the same thing when I started to lose my milk. I felt very depressed and worthless. It took me a little while to realize that getting depressed about it doesnt help and that I was not "worthless", I was providing for my child in many other ways and doing the best I could. My son is now two and there will be many other times that you wish you could do something for your child that you cant.. Just give that baby lots of love, continue what you are doing, its better than nothing and give yourself a pat on the back for being a great mommy!! Take care
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W.C. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
I had this problem.
I could not feed my 10lbs son adequately via breast feeding. It got to the point that I was feeding him 45 minutes apart. I was exhausted and hes was still hungry. Then I was supplementing with a bottle (8oz) a time for a week. I felt more than inadequate. At 4 months I stopped the breast feeding and started with bottle feeding and solids. The difference in our family life was incredible. I had energy. And I let go of something I couldn't do.
It took courage to walk away from the my need to breast feed, because I was so stressed out about the need to breast feed, but once I had done it, (and slept for once) I found that it was really the beast for all.
I do want to say that once I let go of my need to provide breast milk, something that only I could do for my son, I had the energy to create a loving family, to love every one better, and love myself.
Then my daughter (also 10bls) came along and she nursed and nurse, but didn't grow. She was super active (!) and at 5 months the doctor put her on solids. She nursed until 9 months, but most of her food came from solids. I think she nurse for the closeness. Still super active and super thin. She still ate a lot--anything I put in front of her.
So I was redeemed in a sense because my daughter did nurse until 9 months, but I also understand how you feel about not being able to do this wonderful close thing for your sons.
But neither child got alot of milk from me. I had to let got of my need to do that for them. They needed more than I could give them. And only I could make that decision for them. It was part of being a good mother. What did they need. What could I give them. Where could they get it. Do I have the courage to give it to them. And recognize your courage. You, as a mother walk in courage every day. Recognize your bravery. Lean on your husband. He sounds like someone who is very supportive.
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K.B. answers from Spokane on November 14, 2008
Seriously what can I add that these wonderful ladies haven't already told you. Nothing really except to let you know that your not alone. My list is the same as yours, including the tongue clipping! With my first I was able to pump for 6 months but with my second (only 16 months after my first) I was only able to hold on for 6 weeks. My lactation specialist (my best friend after 6 weeks of almost daily visits) said I admire you for trying so hard but if your exhausted you cannot enjoy your sweet baby. I tried very hard to let go of my emotions regarding breastfeeding, I felt like a failure. The feelings do fade and my kids are 3 & 2 and perfectly healthy in everyway. The best part was I was able to enjoy them so much more once I was able to stop and relax. My Peditrician & lactation specialist agreed that no matter how great breastfeeding is, it's no comparison to a happy healthy mom. Unfortunelty there will be some who will still try and make you feel like less of a mom for not breastfeeding but you TRIED! Plus you let them have what you could for the first part and thats great. Keep trying if you are happy doing it, if not know it's ok and other mom's support your choice. Great job for trying so hard, many do not! Your bio sounds a lot like mine, feel free to pm anytime.
J.D. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
I think just about every mother that has a low milk supply goes through all the emotions that you are. I had low milk supply with my daughter and it was causing her to loose weight. As much as I didn't want to, I had to supplement in order for her to get enough to eat. I felt worthless and broken. How come my body wouldn't do the most natural thing a mother was supposed to do for her baby? I kept nursing her numerous times a day until she was about 6 months. Then she just didn't want me at all anymore. It took a little while to deal with the fact that I couldn't provide her with what she needed, but in the end I'm happy I have a happy, active beautiful daughter.
I think my supply could have been low to the fact that I stressed about it so much, and that I didn't eat enough calories because my appetite dropped dramatically after having my daughter. I'm not sure though. I tried the teas and the supplements, but it didn't help. I'm pregnant with my second, and I'm hoping not to have the same problems with breastfeeding. But I've already told myself that if I do, it's okay, my baby will be fine and healthy even if she isn't breastfed her whole first year.
S.S. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
I went through all those emotions with my son and drove myself crazy for the first four months of his life not being able to just breast feed him. I also contacted various people, though not as many as you, and yes, my husband wanted me to give up on several ocassions. I stuck it out and he was mostly breast fed until he was 7 months old. I was an emotional wreck and so was always just keeping my goal at six months, so I'm glad it went to 7. Anyway, eventually I just gave up feeling so badly about it and came to accept that I would have to supplement and time him when others didn't have to. This made all of us less stressed and more relaxed during feedings. I gave up on pumping as it just made me cry to see how little milk there was for him. There were times after he was four months old that he didn't take any supplement at all, and I was pleased, of course. But I'll tell you one thing, I had no trouble weaning him because he was used to taking a bottle and he's a happy, healthy little boy and has not suffered because he was supplemented! My advice to you is to just put aside all the lactation stuff, stop driving yourself crazy and accept your situation. I know it's difficult, believe me I've been there, but your whole family will be happier if you stop obsessing over how much milk you have. By the way, I had no reason to have a low milk supply - I went up to a size H-cup and I watched people who were B cups leaking! Carrying all those boobs around for such a low milk supply sure got me down!!
P.W. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
Sorry to to hear of your challenge, but good on you for sticking at it. Your son will too, as nothing feels better to him than your breast! I know you have tried everything so this is probably lame, but MotherLove More Milk Plus worked for me after a few days, here is a link or you can google and go to their site. And I'm sure you are drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest :) Good luck!
A.B. answers from Spokane on November 15, 2008
I went through many of the same things you have!!! and believe me it's frustrating. I'm a very driven person and have believe I A. the one who determines my outcome in life. Like I told my husband--I can do anything I want in life........except feed my baby. Well, I took domperidone with my 2nd one. I gave in to supplementing because I had to but I continued to nurse. As she started to eat solids (the Super Baby Food book is excellent by the way), she continued to nurse. Now she will be 2 in a week and still wants to nurse. (I by the way have been ready to quit for a while). All I can say is do the best with what you've got--that thinking is what finally helped me cope. Something is better than nothing:)
A.S. answers from Eugene on November 14, 2008
I completely symphathize!!! I also suffered from chronic low milk supply. Mine was due to a mild case of hypoplastic breasts. In otherwords, I just don't have the mammary tissue sufficient to make milk. I tried, for nine months to keep my milk going and keep my dd interested... she finally gave up. I always felt that it was a huge injustice. So many people have more than they need but don't want to breastfeed. I wanted to sooooo desperately and couldn't.
I A. sorry to hear that your husband seems unsupportive. I know in our case my hubby just hated to see me stressed and upset at my body's failing and just wanted me to be able to enjoy our daughter and our time together. Whether at the breast or by bottle.
For me (and it sounds like you have already tried everything as well) there was nothing I could to to improve my supply... In the end, we found a great solution. Stop here if you've already tried this.....It's called an SNS... I think. Sometimes called just a "supplementer". It's a bag that looks a little like a transfusion (blood-bank) bag. It's not a solution to needing to supplement, but I liked it better than going to a bottle. It has a very small tube coming out of it. You fill it with formula or pumped breast milk (whatever you like) and while holding the tube near your nipple, you latch the baby on. They get the tube and your nipple in their mouth at the same time. This way the baby gets more milk, while at the same time providing better stimulation for your breasts. You get the feeling that you are feeding the baby yourself, but the baby gets what they need. It is often used by adoptive mothers who wish to have the special bond breastfeeding can bring to an infant and mother. In many cases using an SNS, because it provides more even and constant breast stimulation, can actually help increase supply better than pumping.
Anyway, they are available online and through many pediatrician's offices, breastfeeding clinics and lactation consultants.
I wish you all the best. Keep up the amazing work. Your son may not realize it, but you are doing a wonderful thing for him.
K.T. answers from Portland on November 13, 2008
I know exactly what you mean! I tried pretty much all the things you did, except lots of lactation consultants. I knew my daughter had the latch...I didn't have the milk. My final straw was acupuncture. It actaully made a difference! I never got engorged or anything, but there was more milk there and my daughter was happy until she self-weaned. I didn't look where you're located, but I'd be happy to recommend by acupuncturist (specialist in women's health) in Portland! You're doing all the best you can!
C.A. answers from Portland on November 13, 2008
Oh sweetie I do understand - both of my babies were lactose intolerant - while I didn't suffer the low milk supply my breastmilk gave my son jaundice and no amount of changing diet did anything to allow them to continue to nurse. They lost weight, I lost sleep, the doctors and lactation consultants kept telling me I had no choice. I cried and cried - I dreamed about nursing my second! I was obssessed with it! Bought a pump and geared up for her arrival and two months later after severe weight loss had to switch to formula. I have my third on the way and A. trying not to get my hopes up, but I do know how despairing it feels. My first husband was so lame - he said bottles were easier anyhow and thought I was being dumb for getting so emotional.
You should count your blessings though. Supplementing isn't fun, but it is better than loosing nursing altogether. And do cry! Anyone who says it's not ok to or ridiculous hasn't been through this. It is not breast-obssessed - it is your divine rite as his mother to be his provider for nutrition! Just be very careful that your desire to nurse doesn't override what he needs in sustenance - I think I did that and that my babies ended up suffereing more than they should have. You are stronger than you know and this baby will be healthy just like your other one.
Also try to explain to your hubby why you feel this way - tell him if you feel like you are letting baby down or if this is something you have dreamed about - liken it to something he has dreamed of. Maybe it will help get through that you need support and not more emotional things to have to deal with.
I sincerely wish you the best!
M.L. answers from Seattle on November 14, 2008
That's great that you're trying to give your son such a perfect food! It sounds like you have a medical condition that is prohibiting you from being able to exclusively breastfeed. Maybe it's okay to accept that and keep giving him as much breastmilk as possible knowing that every drop helps but that supplementing isn't failure. Also, the more stressed you are, the slower your letdown. If I remember right, 6 weeks was about when my hormones were the worst. I don't mean to imply that something is wrong with you, please understand that. You might want to seek a therapist as well though to help you sort through the emotions.
For dealing with your husband, maybe he can read some of the literature that you've already read to help him understand that he doesn't need to fix this, just support you.
P.H. answers from Portland on November 14, 2008
I too was unable to breastfeed and felt like such a failure with baby #1 since everything is about breastfeeding. It's heart wrenching to realize you can't be the only food source, but please accept it and be the mom your kids need you to be. Go ahead and cry over it because it is a difficult decision and a loss. My husband also wanted to fix it - that's the man way. However, he later explained it better saying he couldn't stand to see me in pain and upset over something I couldn't control. Blessings to your family.
J.G. answers from Anchorage on November 14, 2008
I know this is not recommended by doctors and others... but I had a very difficult time with my #4 child.. they threatened to put her in the hospital because she was not gaining weight.. she got back to her birth weight at 5 weeks old. Anyway... what I found was I had just a few sips of wine one afternoon and BOOM - I had the most major letdown of milk within 15-20 minutes. From then on I had like a half a glass each night and it helped me tremendously. And she is fine... she has some health issues but they are not considered to be related to me drinking. I did it with my #5 child to but I did not have as much of a problem with him as I did with her.. not sure why it happened with her (me not being able to produce enough milk).. but anyway. It is probably making everyone's jaw drop -but this worked for me.
M.F. answers from Seattle on November 15, 2008
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