Breastfeeding and a Low Supply

Updated on November 28, 2015
M.P. asks from Gilbert, AZ
11 answers

My daughter is about 10 1/2 months old, and i have been strictly nursing her since she was born. My problem is that I have an extremely low supply,and try nursing/pumping every 3 hrs,however I'm pretty confident that I wont make it to a year and have enough milk for her till i can wean her to cows milk. She wont take formula at all...i've tried a few different kinds, soy, gentle,organic, etc and she gags each time and refuses the bottle. What do I do?

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answers from Gainesville on

Why do you think you have a low supply? If she is thriving and you have been exclusively nursing with no supplemental formula then you have a great supply! Do you think you have a low supply because you aren't able to pump a lot? That is very normal! If that is the case, you need to understand that your baby is much, much more efficient at nursing and getting milk than a pump ever will be. Some moms have a harder time pumping than others. You only have a couple of months left. Don't feel defeated now. Do you need to pump to give her milk while you are at work? You can work around that if that's the case. You could nurse her in the am, she can have other things to drink during the day and make up for it in the evening and at night. Or you could rent a hospital grade pump for these last couple of months and try that. Also, try giving her some expressed milk in a sippy. Forget the bottle at this stage. Take the spout out of the sippy and put just a tiny amount of milk in it so she understands that good stuff comes out of it. Once she "gets" that then you replace the spout.

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answers from New York on

You may not really have a low supply - rather, you may be making less because your daughter needs less. However, your daughter may not think so, and so she may be taking your nipple more than she needs to, perhaps many times for comfort, and not necessarily because she is seeking milk. At 10 1/2 months, while it is better to wait for a year of life, it is still OK to start on a little milk (cow or soy or even almond) - like 8 ounces daily, to supplement your milk, and then transition fully at a year. Most babies are not harmed by this - just start slow, like a mouthful or two, to ensure that there are no allergies. Alternatively, you can use OTC products like Mother's Milk Plus to keep your supply up, just enough until she is one. You can find that on Amazon (I have used it - it really does double your supply!) - MMP is mainly fenugreek, and actually, there is a wealth of science that supports that it does significantly augment your supply. In addition, the AAP recommends switching to milk at one year because excess cow's milk at at a younger age can cause anemia and hyponatremia (low salt in the blood) from solute overload. After all, cow's milk is for baby cows! It actually has nothing to do with vitamin D - the current recommendations now say that all babies taking less than 64 ounces or fortified milk should be supplement with vit D anyway.

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answers from Topeka on

If your little girl is healthy and thriving then you do not have a low milk supply!! As one of the other Mamas said, it is completely different to pump milk than it is to have your baby nursing. As to why she is gagging at the formulas that you have offered her, it probably isn't the formula it is the nipple!! I breastfed all three of my daughters and they absolutely refused to take anything out of a bottle!! The only nipple that I found that worked was a NUK nipple. She may also be gagging because she gets so much MORE formula with one suckle that she does at the may be literally gagging her because it is just overwhelming her with its' flow.
Just keep on doing what you are doing...sounds to me like it is going really really well for both you and your precious little girl.



answers from Detroit on

go to the health food store and buy fenugreek.. it is a herb.. comes in capsules..

it increases milk supply. I didnt believe it but it works great.. I thought it upset my stomach a bit so I would start with 1 capsule and see how your body does on it.

My ped said it was safe but you can ask your dr also.

as long as your daugher is eating some foods.. she can switch to cows milk.. babies cannot live on only cows milk.. but once they start eating babyfoods and table foods they can have milk.. she is close enough to a year to switch to milk and skip formula all together.



answers from Memphis on

You could try putting it in cups or sippy cups and see if that helps. But it is a bit of a fallacy that she "needs" formula or milk. Just make sure that she is eating foods containing calcium and getting enough fluids either from nursing, water, or juice, as well as enough calories from food and she'll be fine.

Also, you may be producing more milk than you realize -- your baby is a more efficient "milk extractor" than any pump can be, so the fact that you can only produce a small amount for a pump may not be a good indicator of what you are actually producing. In fact, one of my friends was exclusively breastfeeding her child, but could only pump an ounce or two at a time, though her child was obviously thriving and was healthy and fat.

[When you say "strictly nursing" do you mean that she isn't having any table foods yet, but has only nursed? or just that she's only nursed as opposed to taking artificial milk in a bottle? If she's not eating table food or baby food, you may want to start if you think she's hungry and not getting enough milk.]

If you want to increase your milk supply, first make sure that you're eating and drinking enough, and getting enough rest. (Some forms of birth control can also interfere with milk supply, so that may also be a consideration.) You can also sit with the pump going, even if you're not "producing" anything but a few drops, and that will increase your supply through the extra nipple stimulation. Your body thinks that your child is still hungry and still nursing, so will ramp up supply. When I was pumping for a friend's adopted baby, I would sit for even 15 minutes just getting a drop every few seconds to build up supply, and eventually worked up quite a supply. That was when my own baby was very young, so I had the post-birth hormones to quickly increase supply, and those drop off around 3-4 months postpartum, so you might not be able to build up a huge supply; but you still should be able to increase it.



answers from Providence on

You can try some Healthy Nursing Tea by secrets of tea. It can really help to increase your milk supply, as well as getting lot of water in, and plenty of rest.
Hope it all works out...!
You're giving such a great gift to your little angel...!



answers from Los Angeles on

what have you done to increase your supply? Are you drinking lots and lots of water? Are you still taking your prenatals? There are also some things that you may be eating or drinking that will lessen your supply. If you want to, you can start giving her beginner foods, like mashed bananas and applesauce, maybe some rice cereal in a spoon. If you would like to get some good advice on how to increase your supply, visit the La Leche League website at , and you can find a chapter near you, and a very helpful mom who has probably been through the same thing to help you. Good luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

I'd recommend asking your pediatrician. Their guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is pretty rigid - formula or breast milk for the first year because of the essential nutrients that are not in Vitamin D milk.

Your pediatrician will also advise you on formula - soy is usually not recommended unless absolutely necessary (according to our pediatrician when we had to switch our daughter so I could start chemo).

Though people recommend Fenugreek, there is really not any good scientific evidence to show it increases milk supply that much. The BEST thing to increase supply is her suckling. My supply really started to wane when I got close to 1 year with my son, but he was able to get enough to make it to his first birthday.

Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on

When you are nursing it is hard to tell how much you are producing. The baby will get as much as it needs. I also breastfed, but couldn't even hardly get an ounce from pumping. Pumping is more difficult than many people realize and it is more inefficient than what babies can get by themselves. If you keep breastfeeding, you will keep producing.



answers from Seattle on

Are you sure that you have low supply? Why would you think so?
I thought I had low supply, but it turned out, I had exactly enough for my baby. I was terribly stressed, because I just didn't seem to be pumping enough for her (maybe 12 ounces a day) and she was in daycare full time at 6 months... but she never drank more than I had for her and of those bottles it wasn't unusual if she left over an ounce here and there. She also nursed extensively in the mornings and evenings and continued night feeding once a night until she was about a year old... so I figured my bdy just knew when to produce exactly how much milk.
I nursed until she was 19 months...introduced milk at 12 mo.
I would say if she is growing fine and neither seems hungry or thirsty you are probably doing fine!



answers from Chicago on

I started introducing cow's milk at 11 months so I could wean her at 12 months, and I am glad that I did. It took her a while to adjust to the taste --a good 3 weeks in fact!

I'm with the other ladies as well. Pumping is different than breastfeeding. You can't tell how much milk you really have, but chances are, your supply isn't low if your daughter is nursing!

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