Low Milk Supply - Haverhill, MA

Updated on November 14, 2015
P.M. asks from Haverhill, MA
67 answers

Hi I've been pumping almost exclusively for a few weeks now(i got lots of encouragement to do it from all of you) but yesterday I could barely pump anything. I'm so discouraged. My husband bugs me because he says just give her the formula but he doesn't understand my emotions behind it. First I couldn't get my son to latch on and he wasn't gaining weight so I pumped until he was seven months and then my daughter wasn't latching right and didn't gain weight. I decided to pump for her so I wouldn't run into the same problems with my son(i produced enough milk for him). But I just feel like a failure because I can't get my kids to feed "naturally" and now I can't even pump enough for my daughter. I don't want to give up because the breast milk is beast and my breast do feel like they're full(heavy and a slight tingly feeling) Anyway my question is how do i kkep the supply up? I've been pumping every few hours, I've been drinking tons of water the past few days, and took a supplement called "make more milk" which is a liquid and you take a 1/4 teaspoon a few times a day. since I started using it my milk went done but it had worked for my son. I'm not using it today to see how things go. Has anyone expereinced a drop in milk production? And how do you get it back? Pumping every 2 hours only produces an ounce were I had been producing about 3 ounces every 3 hours
thanks

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So What Happened?

I got tons of advice. almost everyone said to drink lots of water, which I started t o do more I refill a water bottle before every feeding. I spend more tome now going to the bathroom than when I was pregnant. I had been taking the fenugreek herbs and drinking the mothers milk tea. I had tried another supplement and that's what "dried" me out. I get the most milk in the morning about 4-5 oz and when I pumped with my son I actually produced more as he got older, I would pump while he played on the floor next to me and I would tickle him and play with him too while I pumped. so I'm trying that too with my daughter. I also try to get her to the breast once or twice a day so she can practice latching on and hopefully feed good. she still doesn't latch good but I'm not stressed about that because I can see what she's getting in the bottle. I give her 2/3 breast milk and then 1/3 formula if she's stll hungry. she about 7 pounds now and actually can onlt handle about 2.5 oz at a time otherwise she spits up. I'm trying not to give her a lot of formula because it seems to be what causes her to spit up and make her constipated(i give he a liitle prune juice to help her). I probably panicked when I was only getting an oz instead of relaxing. I also try to get both kids down for a nap at the same time so I can rest too.
Thankyou everyone for your support and advice along with personal stories. It's nice to know we aren't reaaly alone in this motherhood thing.
Happy Valentines to everyone. I have the 2 most precious valentines(3 if you count my husband0

Featured Answers

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R.R.

answers from Boston on

just settle down with the baby in a nice quiet place, grab a good book (Evanovich.. is funny) and a big glass of water. babies are way more efficient at the "pumping", so it will get you back to where the baby's needs are.

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N.A.

answers from Boston on

I'm going to tell you what my *fabulous!* pediatrician told me when I was having lactation trouble ... "The name of the game is to keep Mom sane - in 20 years no-one will know which kids in the class were breastfed and which ones weren't"

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K.W.

answers from Boston on

I think dips are normal, though I didn't exclusively pump. You can also try Mother's Milk tea, fenugreek and blessed thistle, beer, and oatmeal. You can also try pumping for 10 minutes beyond when the last drop of milk comes out. Also, try the forums over at www.kellymom.com if you haven't already.

Kudos to you for sticking with it, and good luck.

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M.L.

answers from Burlington on

P.,

I went through the exact same thing with my son, now almost 2. I read repeatedly that I would produce enough, but I just couldn't. I had to start bottle feeding at only 2 weeks, partially because I just couldn't produce enough to feed him. I pumped until he was 5.5 months old and sometimes only got 5 ounces in a day. I have since read of many women's stories of the same problem. I have also read/been told that the most important time for them to receive breast milk is the first 6 months, and that even if they receive a small amount of it, it still conveys the health benefits. Don't feel like a failure, as the problem is more common than we are told. Pump what you can, and supplement the rest. As long as she's getting some, she'll be fine.

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M.K.

answers from Springfield on

Hi P.,
Here are a few ideas you can try.....

1. Nurse or pump frequently. Plan to nurse or pump every
1 1/2 hours during the day and at least every 3 hours at night. Time your feedings from the beginning of one to the beginning of another. If she is available to nurse this is preferable to pumping as she will better stimulate your breast to produce more milk.
2. Nurse her on both sides untill she pulls off herself or goes to sleep.Offer both breast at each feeding.
3. If she can't nurse directly at the breast, use a hospital grade breast pump. I recommend "Medela Lactina" (at minimum ) which is a hospital basic grade . But I prefer renting from the hospital a Medela Symphony. Double pumping has been shown to increse prolactin levels. (prolactin is the hormone which stimulates milk production. Pump for 10 to 15 minutes per session. Longer sessions have not been proven to be anymore beneficial at increasing supply.
4. You many want to add another pumping session or two sometime during the day. You can also add a few extra minutes (5-10) of pumping after the baby has finished nursing.
5. If possible, allow her to meet all her sucking needs at the breast. Avoid pacifiers during this time, his need to suck ensures that he spends adequate time at the breast to stimulate your supply.
6. Avoid giving her supplements including solid food,water, juice and formula. Adding these will result in her nursing less often and you getting less stimulation.

7. Sanck often on food with lots of calcium and protein. Drink enough to satisfy your thirst. Forcing fluids is not necessary. Rest as much as you can.

Herbs:
Fenugreek is helpful for increasing milk supply. You can find it at your local health food sotre. The dosage is 2-4 capsules 3x's a day. Most moms notice an increase in their supply after using it for 1-3 days. You can also use Blessed Thistle and Alfa Alfa. For some mom's a combination of herbs work better than one herb alone. You may use Blessed Thistle , alfa alfa and fenugreek together if you choose. All are completly safe for the baby.
If all of these fail ask your doctor about Reglan. Reglan (metoclopramide) is a prescription drug which is sometimes prescribed for low milk supply.

Try to stay calm. When mom is upset, or worried this will definetly supress your milk supply. Has anything changed? Alot of mom's experience low milk supply when they have to be away from their baby for extended periods of time , like if they return to work.

Kellymom.com is a wonderful website to check out. La Leche League is another one. Check your town for a local meeting. Call a leader, they are wonderful and offer lots of advice to help you through the difficult times that may or may not occur with breastfeeding. You can even bring the baby with you to their meetings.
Please feel free to email me at anytime, if I can be of any further help to you.

Here is my email address:
[email protected]____.com
My name is M.
Good luck! :)

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F.S.

answers from Springfield on

hi P.,
the same thing happened to me and i totally understand the emotions behind it. i did very well with a mother's milk herbal formula that i got at goldenthread herbal apothecary in florence. it contains an ayurvedic herb called shatavari, which has worked wonders. my son still has formula and my milk production comes and goes with my menstrual cycle. but the herbs really help. good luck! - F.

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S.K.

answers from Boston on

My advice would be to see a lactation consultant to see if you can teach your daughter to latch on. Isis maternity has some good ones on staff. Even if the consult is expensive, if it works it will still be cheaper than formula. I suspect that without the stimulation of a baby your milk is shutting down. Of course I may be wrong and ther is lots f other advice on here about other things to try.

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H.N.

answers from Providence on

Hi P.,
I had to go to pumping when my daughter was 3 months old and on a respirator with RSV. My milk supply diminished quickly due to stress and lack of sleep or good sleep b/c I was sleeping at the hospital. I was told about "Mothers Milk Tea"
You can find it in a lot of health food stores...I would call around in your area and ask if they carry it. It is a tea bag and I didn't add anything to it like sugar or milk as this (I've been told) can break down the herbs that help you. And I began pumping every three hours...my milk came in wonderfully...also I would have to pump during the night b/c my breast were in pain for being so full!! The other thing I would try seeing as you are saying they feel full, is to really just relax when you pump and actually picture the milk flowing. It may sound funny but after a few times like this just the sound of turning on the pump will let down the milk. I was unable to breastfeed her for a week and was able to pick up where I left off. I hope this helps you :)
H. N

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S.M.

answers from Boston on

You've gotten great advice already, so this is of limited assistance other than more support. I had bad days, too, but because I wasn't pumping until I returned to work, it wasn't as obvious as it is for you!!! The baby was just hungry more often those days, and I didn't know why. Anyway, I always like the analogy of "your body is a milk machine"; the water is critical, and you mentioned you were drinking plenty. Are you eating & sleeping, too? Don't worry about losing weight now; making milk will do that, as you already know. Do worry about eating properly, sleeping enough, and not stressing. Do you know the line "fear is a mind killer" from "Dune"? "Stress is a milk killer"! I like the idea of oatmeal cookies & tea - sounds relaxing! You will get through this!

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S.D.

answers from Portland on

I would talk to a lactation consultant for some tips. I know you tried taking a milk booster but have you heard of Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid tea? You can check out their website, I have a baby store and we sell it and get good feedback on it.
Also, dont feel guilty if the breast feeding does not work exclusively. Even a little is good to supplement in with formula. Just keep trying and remember you are doing your best as a mom!
I had to give up nursing with my son after 8 weeks and I too was very emotional about it. However my next child and I had a BEAUTIFUL nursing relationship. After I just accepted the fact that my son was going to be a formula baby much stress was lifted from my shuolders and I could focus on being a better mom! Sometimes babies pick up on our stresses too which can disrupt the nursing relationship.
I hope that helped some...
Good Luck!

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A.G.

answers from Bangor on

Dear P.,

You absolutely have to contact your local hospital and get in touch with a lactation consultant. Not a nurse, but an IBCLC. They will help you get your daughter latched on. This is vital because when your child nurses, she stimulates nerves around the nipple that will tell your brain to make more milk. This stimulation doesn't happen with a pump. The fact that you made enough for your son by strictly pumping is surprising--good for you! That may not happen again and it is important to get her to your breast. If you can't find an IBCLC to help, find a La Lache League Leader in your area (www.lalecheleague.org) and get help. GOOD LUCK! And it is great that you realize that breastmilk is best. Don't give up yet!

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C.K.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,
When I went back to work I pumped a couple times a day. After a while I couldn't pump out much - the pump just doesn't do the same thing as a baby's mouth. You may need to rent a higher level pump. I started with the Medela Pump in Style and then had to rent a hospital grade one. I can't remember the name but it came in a big blue box that looks like a tool box! Also, I know it sounds cliche but try to relax - I would lock my office door and look at pictures of my baby while I pumped. If you are home you may want to try holding your daughter against your skin while you pump. Something about that skin to skin contact helps. Another thing I tried that worked somewhat was fenugreek. It is an herb you can get in capsules that helps increase milk supply. You can get them at most places that have nursing supplies or an compounding pharmacy. I think I got mine at Hopkinton Pharmacy.

I know you didn't ask about trying nursing again but I thought I'd offer my experience. I had difficulty with latching both my kids at first as well. My older daughter, who is now 3, was slightly tongue tied. The first lactation consultant I met didn't notice it but the second did. They made a tiny cut under her tongue and she latched properly within the hour. The pediatrician did it right in the office at about 2 weeks old. Before that my nipples were raw and bloody and I was crying every time she tried to nurse! You may want to have your pediatrician or a lactation consultant take a look. My four month old daugher isn't tongue tied but the first 2 weeks were very painful as well. My lactation consultant ordered a nipple cream from a compounding pharmacy which helped heal the rawness and I just had to keep taking her when she latched on wrong. She caught on within a couple days of being taken off each time it hurt. A good lactation consultant or midwife with this kind of experience is so helpful! I completely understand your reluctance to use formula but if you need to resort to that it is NOT a failure in anyway. Best of luck!

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A.G.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,

First of all, it sounds like you're a GREAT mom. I've been EPing for about 6 months, almost as long as you did for you son. I know what a big commitment it is! My daughter also had trouble latching. Because she wasn't taking much milk, my supply went way down. To get it back up, I took fenugreek, drank mother's milk tea, ate oatmeal, and eventually, took a prescription drug called reglan. I also pumped ten times a day, about every two hours, for 20 minutes each session. I still try not to go more than five hours at night. All of those things added up to a huge supply increase and my daughter's been on 100% breast milk for months. Did you deliver your baby at South Shore by any chance? They have a BF support group that meets daily and is free. I went there many, many times and the LCs are beyond helpful.

I think that's all I can think of to suggest right now. But as a fellow EPer, please feel free to contact me any time. I know very much what you're going through...the emotions attached and how people don't quite understand the situation...even the ones who mean well. I still feel like a failure sometimes and to say my daughter is thriving and happy is an understatement. Good luck to you! Keep us updated!

Oh, I also recommend a hospital grade pump. I have the Medela Symphony and it is even more efficient than my Medela Pump in Style Advanced. I am renting my hospital pump from SSH. It's well worth the extra money.

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C.H.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.-
I have read that there are lots of resons why your milk supply could go down....like stress or hormones, but it sounds like you're doing everything the books say (pumping frequently, drinking lots of water)to keep up your supply. Have you tried talking to a lactation consultant? many Hospitals have them on staff to offer support even after discharge....my 4 month old was born at Brockton hosp and they have someone i can call and ask for help. They also have a support group wed form 12-2pm. I am not sure if it is just for Brockton Hosp pts, but maybe if you live in the area you should check it out. good luck, I bet if you keep pumping it will work out =)

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M.G.

answers from Boston on

Good Morning P.,

I too know how frustrating it is not to produce enough milk. My daughter is now six and a half months old and we had some challenges with breast feeding, she would latch on, fall asleep before having a good feed, take a short nap then we'd start the process all over again, but she was not gaining enough weight. So I started supplementing with formula which took some of the pressure off. I have recently gone through some bumps, I am a single mother and lost my job in January and the stress has made my milk supply dwindle, but any milk that I can pump is better than nothing. I find that after a good nights sleep and if I eat while I am pumping I produce more milk. Try to stop fretting over it as it causes stress on your mind, body and ultimately your milk. Try supplementing with formula to relax your mind and you will probably find that your milk supply will increase.

I hope this helps, good luck.

M.

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K.B.

answers from Boston on

I would talk with a lactation consultant. They would encourage you to continue giving your baby the best milk (breast milk) but they would have more ideas on how to help yourself produce more milk. They told me that if I had any questions I could call them in the hospital or one that my OBGYN would refer me to. I just had my little one in December. Keep it up, good luck!

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L.C.

answers from Springfield on

P., I think that you need to relax. I know this sounds really hard since you are so stressed about your milk supply, but the stress may very well be the problem. I nursed my daughter and had to pump at work, and I was working in a busy restaraunt. If I was stressed about getting back to work, nothing would come out. But, if I took some deep breaths and thought about my baby or thought about how cool it is that I can make milk, it would come right out! Next time you're due to pump, take 5 minutes first and calm down and think about how great you're going to do pumping this time. If you don't get a lot right away, try not to stress out, just think about how much better you did than last time or how much better you feel to not stress out. It may sound new-agey or whatever, but you'd be amazed at the power of your own mind when it comes to your own body. At any rate, the less you stress the better, for everyone involved. You can also pass the stress hormones through your milk, maybe that thought can help you to relax. If your breasts feel heavy and tingly, you can still make the milk, just have some faith in yourself! Hope this helps...

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C.F.

answers from Providence on

I am a mom to a 3 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. I breast fed my son until I had my daughter & am still nursing her. I would suggest the best thing to do is to relax, which is hard to do when you are stressing out. I have been there & know. I didn't have any issues with my son, but I did with my daughter. It is much different when you have another one running around & you are trying to find a quiet spot to pump. I used nursing tea which seemed to help & increased my protein in my diet. This also seemed to help. But the best thing was being able to relax when I was pumping & had to completly focus on it & nothing else. I would also massage my breast before pumping, which was suggested by the lactation consultant. Good luck & you are doing a great job!
C.

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J.H.

answers from Boston on

Dear P.,

You are doing such a great job. Hang in there and pat yourself on the back while you're at it. It sounds to me like you need a lactation consultant. There is a great group that's free at Cambridge Hospital on Thursday mornings at 10 run by Kate Reist. Moms just show up, nurse, talk and get amazing help. I went when both of my girls were born and got so much help. It sounds like you should call Kate asap and chat with her on the phone too. You can reach her at Cambridge hospital. Also there is a great consultant at Jewish children and familes named Susan Davies. She is Awesome. So if you need more help you can contact her through JCFS. Also Kate would have her number, Kate referred me to her when I was having trouble with milk supply with my second child (who is now 13 months, born 1/10/07). Take care and good luck! J.

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J.C.

answers from Boston on

The last response said to relax and that is good advice. Some ideas for doing that: if possible, take a warm shower before pumping, pump in a quiet room, play relaxing music, visualize your milk flowing, remember that you are a good mom and that you are doing everything you can.

J. (-:

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H.P.

answers from Boston on

Try eating oatmeal, you can make cookies or cookte oats for a breakfast meal. But you must try to not stress. Stress does so many negative things to your body that it may be whats causing the original problem. Keep dringing lots of fluids and try taking a good multi-vitamin B for stress. Vitamin B which is also found in oatmeal can help relax you and in so doing you may produce more milk. I recomend that if you try the oatmeal to stay away from the instant, I used the 3 minute type and had really good results. A friend of mine said when she used oatmeal that even the smell of cooking it made her milk flow. I hope this will work for you because I know that failure feeling can eat you up inside. Good luke and God Bless. H. P.

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M.B.

answers from Boston on

Hi There!

I am a working, pumping mama myself, and have gone through my fair share of low supply issues, so I can completely understand your frustrations!

If you would like to get your milk supply back up, continue to pump as much as you can, and add in an extra session if you are able to. The more you pump or nurse, the more milk your body will make. Even though you may not be getting much milk from your pumping sessions, you really should keep pumping as much as you can.

Also, I tried taking "More Milk Plus" by Motherlove (motherlove.com) and it worked for me, but I found a nursing tea that worked a bit better, which you might be interested in. It is called Nursing Tea by Weleda, and you can find it at your local health food store in the vitamin/supplement aisle (I got mine at Whole Foods). You can also order it on luckyvitamin.com. I found that I saw some pretty good results when I drank the tea in addition to taking the more milk plus.

Have you tried contacting a lactation consultant to help you? I never had any issues with supply with my first son, but it wasn't until I started pumping at work with my now 4-month old daughter where I had any issues. I found that the lactation consultant was a great help.

Another great resource that you might get some help from is kellymom.com. It's a website dedicated to breastfeeding mothers. They have a forum and everything. I have really found it to be quite useful when I was going through my supply issues.

The thing is, you can take all the supplements/tinctures out there, but unless you are emptying your breasts every few hours, they wont do much in the way of increasing your supply. I also heard that eating oatmeal can help too.

Anyway, I hope that I was able to help you a little! I understand how tough it can be sometimes. I have a hard time pumping enough during the day to send with my daughter to daycare....it can get to be quite frustrating and discouraging. But hang in there, it sounds as though you are doing all the right things...you just might need a little bit of a boost.

Take care,
M.

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G.T.

answers from Boston on

P. - are you using a hospital grade pump? You can rent one for about $1.25 a day. I know Lacation Care in Newton rents them. You can pump more with those pumps. They also give lactation advice. You might be able to get some excellent help from a Lactation consultant.
I also read that eating oatmeal can increase your supply.
Good luck!!

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L.T.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,

I don't know where you live, but if you live anywhere near MElrose, MA, there is a great resource available. It's called the Baby Cafe, and there's always a Lactation Consultant there. Here's more info:

The Baby Café
Location: Hope Alliance Church, lower level, 84 Green St., Melrose
Drop-In
Wednesdays 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Fridays 10:00 AM – Noon
A drop-in center offering breastfeeding support and assistance from professionals and other moms, all in a relaxed
environment with coffee, tea, and snacks. For more information call ###-###-####. Led by Hallmark Health
lactation consultants.

Good luck!
-L.

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A.K.

answers from Burlington on

P.,
With both of my babies they said I had low milk supply so they put me on a cocktail of herbs. Blessed Thistle, Fenugreek and a third one that I can't remember the name of right now. I took 3 capsules of each 3 times per day. The further away from birth you are the less likely herbs will work though your Dr. can prescribe medication for you. My Dr. has prescribed Domperidone several times for both of my babies. It works almost immediately especially if you are well hydrated. The little bit that goes into your milk actually works to settle your baby's stomache so it has been shown to be safe for use. There are different medications that also help with milk supply ~ your Dr. will know which one works best for you.

You can also massage and squeeze your breasts while pumping. It can encourage a stronger flow which will more fully empty your breasts. Emptying your breasts fully will get out more of the hind milk and it will help your body make more milk.

With my first child I didn't actually have a low milk supply. Once I started pumping in addition to feeding her I found I would get a lot of milk in each pumping session. She wasn't gaining weight but for a different reason. With my second it was a low milk supply issue and the Domperidone worked very well. Both times I had several issues going simultaneously to deal with, so I had to address multiple problems in order to continue breastfeeding.

As for them not gaining weight... both of my babies have had trouble gaining weight. DD1 gained very little and even lost a lot of weight early on. We ended up in and out of the hospital until she was 3 mo old. (She was only 6 lbs at 2.5 mo of age). With my second she was extremely premature (weighed less than 2 lbs at birth) and her lack of weight gain has been a bit more complicated due to complications of prematurity but she has also displayed a lot of the same characteristics as my first did. Right now my little preemie is going to be 1 on March 1 but she only weighs 10 lbs. She is an adjusted age of 7 mo and is already trying to walk but looks like a 3 mo old baby.

With both babies I needed to supplement them in order for them to gain weight. It was extremely difficult for me because my pregnancies weren't normal so I had high hopes that feeding them would be natural to "make up" for the difficult pregnancies... unfortunately I was wrong so I was extremely dissapointed when things didn't go well with breastfeeding. My second did a bit better at the breast than the first, and I'm hoping that if I have more babies they will feed better too, though now I expect to have to supplement them from about 2 mo of age until they start eating solids. My plan for any future children is to give them as much as I can in breastmilk and then give them any type of supplementation that they may need. My breastmilk seems to have a lot of foremilk and very little hind milk. The hind milk is what helps the baby to grow the most, so this lack of fat in my milk directly effects the amount of weight my babies are able to put on. This is not a common problem. This is caused by some of my health issues, but if your babies have a hard time gaining weight it could be that they aren't getting all of the fatty hind milk.

I fully advocate breastfeeding and wish I could breastfeed my children completely, but unfortunately my body doesn't work like it should. My children's health is most important to me so I give them all the breastmilk that I can to give them the nutrients and the antibodies that they need, then I supplement them with specially prescribed formula to give them the added fat content that they need.

I would suggest speaking to your Dr. and a breastfeeding clinic before doing a lot of supplementing. You can also start pumping every 2.5 hours as every 2 hours may be too often to allow your body to refill fully. Our breastfeeding clinic told me to pump every 3 hours but not any more than every 2 hours since getting too tired can cause a drop in milk rather than an increase. Keeping your baby nearby while you pump, putting warm presses on your breasts before you pump, taking herbs will all help. You also need to make sure you sleep and eat properly and ward off the extra emotional stress. There should be an LLL near you with lots of resources to help you.

Keep up the good work. I know from experience it is very difficult to deal with (esp. emotionally & w/o husband's support!), but you are an incredible mom to continue trying to give your baby breastmilk.

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B.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi,
First of all, congrats on your baby...
I think you should try Healthy Nursing Tea by secrets of tea because I was in the same boat 7m ago when I used it, REALLY worked for me I am still using wonderfully.
GOOD LUCK!

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I had a similar situation when I had my daugther. She wasn't gaining enough weight and would fall asleep before she was done feeding and my milk supply started to drop. I went to the Breastfeeding Center of Maine and this woman Bettina was wonderful. She was very helpful. She put me on a supplement called Milk Thistle and another one that I forget the name to help boost my milk supply. It helped and I was able to breastfeed my daugther until she was about 8 months old. I would have gone longer but she got her first teeth and was a biter. Hope this helps.
Here is her information:
Bettina Pearson, RN, BSN, IBCLC
The Breastfeeding Center of Maine
131 Spring St.
Portland, ME 04101
Tel: (207) ###-###-####
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H.B.

answers from Burlington on

P. - you are a wonderful mother and are giving your child the best nutrition there is. I would recommend backing off of the pump for a few days and just enjoy nursing your daughter and holding her. This will help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Stress and anxiety will slow down milk production. Try taking deep long breaths in and out of your nose while you are nursing and/or pumping. Breathe in kindness and love and exhale any negative thoughts about lacking milk or skill as a mother. You have everything you need inside you. Also, you can call your local La Leche League for help with latching on. All the best to you.

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J.C.

answers from Boston on

P. - Consider contacting a lactation specialist - they are experts and have a lot of suggestions and can also help with your stress level. Brewers yeast and milk thistle are common herbs that can really help (in fairly large doses). You might also consider a better/stronger pump like one of the Medelas. Keep in mind your body and breasts adjust and won't stay feeling overly full. Try to breathe through your angst and you can only do your best. You are a loving, conscientious mother whose "success" or "failure" is not measured in the amount of breast milk you produce. If for some reason your milk supply doesn't continue, you have given your daughter an enormous advantage and head start with the breastmilk you have provided to her so far. Wishing you the best -

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R.B.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,
When my son was born I had a very very small milk supply (about an ounce most times pumping from both breasts combined, even after 3 weeks of regular pumping). He did get the collastrum (?) at the very beginning though, which is the most important part. Keep in mind that most babies thrive on formula. If you can do both breat milk & formula I think it is great, though I do understand the dissappointment of not having the milk.

Good luck! Wish I knew a way to produce more for you.

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B.W.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.! What I'm going to tell you may not jive with what everyone else is telling you. Chill out, drink a glass of wine, and don't even think about pumping for a few hours! I breastfeed and pump, and have run into your same problem (full breasts, but no milk coming out) many times. If I am even a little stressed (and it seems like you are alot) I can't hardly get any milk. Our bodies are funny that way. You said that you pump a lot, so I take it that you have some stored. (my fave way is in freezer bags) For a feeding, maybe a couple in a row, just give her that milk - and just chill out and enjoy your baby. Don't pump, or even stress about not doing it. Like I said, have a glass of wine, or a beer. Your body will catch up at the next feeding, and by then the wine will be out of your system too. As far as the supplement goes, unless it was recommended by your dr., I wouldn't take it! Your body is perfectly made to produce milk, and you even said your production went down since using it. Don't worry honey, you're gonna be great!! Good Luck!

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K.B.

answers from Hartford on

Don't give up! You are getting some good advice here. Go to Jack Newman's website - or to http://www.kellymom.com/
I never used the Reglan, but I did use the domperidone. Getting it is tricky, but it solved my problem is two days. I went through a two months supply and never needed it after that. In the mean time, water, water, water and put baby to breast if possible. Jack Newman's website has video clips as well, they can be quite useful and a good lacatation consult home visit would be worth the money given the heartache you are having. You always pump less than what a baby will take in once they are feeding efficiently, so you probably do have more milk than you are pumping. The key is to keep your supply up while teaching your little one how to breastfeed.
Oatmeal is a great easy milk producer, so eat some cookies with some tea and take good care of you!

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R.H.

answers from Boston on

P., I would say two things..One Don't feel bad and try not to get stressed, that probably will make it harder for you..It's not always an easy venture, what with growing and bearing life, then sustaining it all on your own ! :)
Next, do call your local hospital and talk to their Lactation consultant or go see her. Even if it's been months since you were there these nurses LOVE to help nursing moms on their mission. I can guarantee she'll help you , the idea on La Leche moms group is awesome too. Support is needed ! Tell your husband what I tell my dear husband sometimes..Love you hon, but this is MY department!! When I pumped I noticed it's not always the same and its harder to get the milk out than nursing directly. Don't feel bad and don't stop till you are ready. You are doing a good job I am sure, so cheer up and best luck :)

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C.A.

answers from Boston on

I was writing to you and then it disappeared suddenly, so I am not sure if you got the first part of my message: It was - try a nap every day if you can manage it, even if you're not tired. I always had a shake (yogurt, banana, juice, etc) with some Brewer's Yeast in it right before a nap and then would sleep and have better milk afterwards.
As to the pumping, I found that if I felt the tingly let down then tried to pump, I couldn't get anything (and this is with my third child, with whom my milk supply was great). I had to anticipate the let down or get the pump on as soon as it started (which is impossible with all that's going on) - so if you feel the tingling at, say, 1 1/2 hours after the last pumping, then set an alarm and pump an hour later before you get it again. I always seemed to get one let down between nursings that wasn't the one I would have nursed atm and then my nursing around 2 1/2 three hours would bring on another good let down. If I ever got the second let down then tried pumping - nothing. If I got to the pump beforehand, I would get a let down and lots of milk. Hope that helps!

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M.S.

answers from Providence on

Fenugreek worked for me when I had my son I pumped almost exclusivly for him as he was a preemie and had a bad latch I pumped 5 months.

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S.W.

answers from Hartford on

I am not a lactation consultant, but you may want to contact one to see if they can help. I had the same disheartening problem with my daughter, born in Oct 2007. She would latch, but it hurt me so bad that I had to start pumping. I was tod later by a lactiation consultant (check with the le leche league in your area for someone)that she had some form of tongue tie and that was why she could not latch without hurting my breast. This is a whole other topic. Anyway, I was told to take the herbal supplement Fenugreek, which I found at the local health food store. It worked wonders, and 4 months later I am still pumping exclusively. I am also back at work and have to supplement with formula. I pump about 20 oz a day. Don't beat yourself up, do what you can and if formula needs to be added - do it to keep you baby's weight up.

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A.L.

answers from Boston on

Try calling or going to a natural health food or pharmacy store. There are many herbs that will increase your milk supply. This happened to me and I drank mothers milk tea and took a couple of different things. It didn't take long before I was back in business!

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J.C.

answers from Lewiston on

There is a tea called mother's milk, you could try. It worked well for me when my supply was low

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C.B.

answers from Hartford on

You may consider trying to latch your daughter on again. Now that she is presumably gaining weight, and a little older, it might work. If nothing else, it will help stimulate your let down reflex, help you relax, and just enjoy the one on one time.

Also, consider a lactation consultant. There is a breastfeeding medicine practice in Stratford CT, called Breastfeeding Resources (Dr Christina Smillie -not sure if it is one or two Ls) that can take most insurance.

Lastly, talk to someone at your child's pediatrician's office. They may have some ideas too.

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S.B.

answers from New London on

Don't feel like you're a failure. Even though they don't advertise it, this happens. It happened to me. I found out at my son's 1 month check-up that I wasn't producing enough milk; he'd only gained 9 ounces. I pumped like crazy. I did the fennugreek route and then did a 2 week stint of reglan. I hated being on the reglan; it made me feel dopey. And after everything, my milk supply did not increase enough. So now I breastfeed my son and supplement with formula. Not the ideal but at almost 7 months he weighs almost 16 pounds (birth weight of 7 pounds). It was the hardest thing in the world to come to terms with, but every little bit of breast milk that I can give my son is good, and at some point I had to stop living attached to the pump.

Talk to the lacatation consultant at your local hospital. And don't beat yourself up. You're doing the best you can.

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R.A.

answers from Boston on

there is an herbal supplement called fenugreet (sp?) that really helps with milk supply, it is a more concentrated version of the tea. also drink LOTS of water and try to keep the stress down!

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M.S.

answers from Providence on

I know how you feel... I wanted to breast feed and pump milk for my son... When he was in the hospital (Boston's Children) for Open Heart Surgery, I couldn't breast feed, but did I pump... Only getting about 1 to 2 oz. of milk... I just couldn't produce enough milk... I cried because they encourage every one to breast feed and how mothers milk is the best... Not every women can breast feed... It took me awhile to accept the fact... I think doctors need to say "It's okay to use formula, not everyone can breast feed" I would of felt better... There is nothing wrong with going to formula, you don't want to starve your daughter.

Good Luck!
M.

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J.M.

answers from Nashville on

Try Breastea. My LC recommended it to me, and it's GREAT! You have to order it online, but it's only $14 for a ten day supply. I went from pumping 1/2 ounce to 5 ounces. Just make sure you are pumping or breastfeeding often. You don't want to skip any feedings/pumpings.

http://www.breastea.com

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S.G.

answers from Burlington on

You definitely should not feel like a failure, you are giving your daughter the best thing for her and remember that if you do lose your milk supply, she will be fine with formula. I pumped for my daughter for 9 months when she was not gaining weight so I understand this challenge. My secret to success was fenugreek capsules. The teas and other potions did nothing for me but the capsules worked wonders. Within 24-36 hours I was pumping at least 2-3 more ounces at every pumping and sometimes more than that. I pumped after every feeding (approx. every 3 hours) as I was able to get let down when the babies cried and pumping within an hour or so seemed to work. Good luck!

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M.B.

answers from Providence on

Hi P.. I've been pumping since my baby was born last July (now 7 months old) as he had latching problems and I also encountered low milk supply a few months ago, but fortunately now OK only with taking domperidone. I had tried the herbal stuff like fenugreek from health food store, but I didn't see any difference and I felt sick taking so many pills. Then the lactation nurse at my local hospital told me about domperidone -- it's not everywhere but happens to be sold at a pharmacy in my area as it comes from Canada, so I think you can buy it online from Canada too. It's costly -- $90 for about 1.5 to 2 month supply depending how often you take them. I was told to take 3 per day but then I ran into hurting breasts and worried about getting an infection etc with waiting through the night not pumping. Anyway, I take 2 per day and works wonders. I notice the difference after about a day if I forget to take a pill or get off schedule too much. I often play around with pumping schedule b/c it's a pain to take it with me everywhere I go and I try ideally to pump every 3 hours, but in truth I often go longer if I'm out and can't pump easily. But then I notice my supply goes down so I have to biuld it up again --- I was told and I find it's true that it takes about 2 days to build up your supply again in terms of doing it more frequently with or without meds. That's my story and hope it helps you. Good luck! I never thought I'd make it this far 7 months with pumping fulltime, but here I am and I hope to go to a year but we'll see. I'm traveling in March so will be a challenge. Also, in the beginning I'd freak out to have to give him formula in an emergency -- like maybe 3 times for a total of 8 ounces ever so not very much, but now I put it in perspective that as much breastmilk as I can give him is the goal even if I have to gve him formula in an emergency, but so far it's worked out with breastmilk only. I know others do both as they don't want to take meds.

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T.L.

answers from Portland on

If you can find a LaLeche League leader in your area they can help you a lot. Don't give up... breast milk is definately best.

T.

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E.N.

answers from Boston on

I had the same problem and still have it. My son is 3 months old now. The first two weeks, I was making enough to pump and have my husband bottle feed him with it exclusively. Then, something happened and my production went down. I also tried the lactation tonic, ate lots of almonds, and drank some beer (the hops are supposed to help milk supply). I was only pumping 2 oz. a day when I finally asked my midwife. There is a theory out there that having the baby on your breast stimulates milk production more than pumping; in fact, pumping exclusively can somtimes cause milk production to lessen. Did you take your daughter to a lactation consultant? They are pretty good at helping babies latch on properly. Since you just started having the problem of less milk, you'll probably be able to increase the supply (perhaps getting her to nurse will help). I don't make enough milk at all to satisfy my baby, so I nurse him mainly to comfort him, and to give him the antibodies. I was really upset in the beginning when I found that I wasn't making enough, but really, the important thing is that your baby is healthy and growing, even with being formula fed. You are not a terrible mother and you're not a failure for formula-feeding. You gave it a lot of work and sometimes it is just not meant to be. Try a lactation consultant if you haven't already. Hope this helps and good luck!

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L.A.

answers from Boston on

Hi, P.. First of all, I commend you for providing your daughter with the best nutrition available! It isn't easy pumping & bottle feeding but at least your baby is getting your breast milk which is the ultimate goal. Are you using a double electric breast pump? Your insurance company may provide you with one for free if your pediatrician writes a prescription stating that it is medically necessary if your baby isn't latching on, gaining weight, is jaundiced etc. Are you pumping every 2-3 hours even throughout the night? A good time to pump is early in the morning because some women produce more milk during that time. Try to stay relaxed & don't keep looking at the bottles to see how much your pumping! You can try "Mother's Milk tea" by Traditional Medicinals. It recommends drinking 3-5 cups a day. I have used it & also fenugreek & blessed thistle capsules. All of these can be found at the health food store. Have you seen a lactation consultant? I can recommend a good one if you haven't. I know exactly what you're going through because I pumped & bottle fed my 3rd child for 14 months because of latch on problems & issues with her not gaining weight. It was heartbreaking for me to not be able to breastfeed her "naturally" after having breastfed successfully with my first 2 children. I had to supplement with formula for 3 weeks until I was able to build up my milk supply but then was able to give her breastmilk exclusively even though sometimes it was bottle to bottle! Also, my 4th baby had a posterior tongue tie, which we had clipped at 3 weeks old. I suspect that that may have been the problem with the 3rd child though she was never diagnosed. My fourth is now 13 months old & is still happily breastfeeding! Let me know how it goes & stay positive!!!

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M.F.

answers from Pittsfield on

another thing to try would be to massage your breast for 5 minutes before pumping. remember how kittens knit on their mother's belly? that stimulates milk production. also warm washcloths for 5- 10 mins beore massage. try to relax and visualize your son getting a belly full. good luck

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X.D.

answers from Boston on

Poor you.... You sound so sad! There are some wonderful lactation consultants out there (LaLeche League for one). Call your OBGYN for a referral. I needed a lot of support with my first child and there's nothing wrong with admitting that this is hard work (24/7) and you've got to be easier on yourself. If your breasts are full (tingly and heavy,you said), I wonder if you are not getting a full let-down response.... also it takes a day or so for your breasts to adjust to a new routine or demand. Call a professional, but by all means, stop beating yourself up and relax, too. Your baby will let you know when she's hungry!

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M.G.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,

There is a great number you can call to ask any of your nursing questions from qualified, certified nurses who are lactation specialists. They have a free support group (in person) every week day at Weymouth Hosp. But, you can also call the number (no charge) any time and they will get back to you w/in 24 hours. Warmlines = ###-###-####

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D.K.

answers from Boston on

Check out your local acpuncturist- she/he can really give you some good advice on foods,herbs and can give you some acupuncture to help with increasing milk supply. There are also herbal teas for milk production(maybe look online first to get an idea of which one)- but be sure to get the right ones, because some herbs are contraindicated for lactating mothers- Good luck and dont give up! PS make sure to drink LOTs of water, reduce your stress and eat well- these will all help!

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S.M.

answers from Portland on

Oh P. I empathize!
I pumped and pumped and production went down and down. After pumping for months and using the bottle with a tube taped to the nipple I gave up and just let him nurse. A few years later I met someone from LL who told me that there was a study done and pumping was no where near what a child can nurse from the breast. Pumping just isn't the same although I know women who got ounces and ounces and froze the breast milk they had so much of it. Me? An ounce each breast. I didn't read your first question but my question to you is; can he nurse? If he can, I'd let him nurse and THEN pump. More importantly I would call your nearest LL contact person or look up a lactation counselor and CALL. I regret that I had some bad information when my son was so tiny from an ignorant lactation nurse from the hospital. She had me supplement with formula because when we weighed him before and after nursing on one breast at 3 weeks he had gained 3 ounces. She said that wasn't enough! Jeez, if I only knew then what I know now! If I could change anything about his infancy it would be that. Please get support, go to a LL meeting or simply call them and if the first person you call can't help or you intuitively know it's not the right info then call someone else.

Good luck. Tell yourself you are a wonderful, dedicated mom doing the absolute best for her child! I COMMEND you!
S.

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D.C.

answers from Providence on

The first thing you need to do is relax! Your breast will not let down unless you relax. Also, the more you pump the more milk you will make. Be sure you are emptying your breast fully because if you don't your body will adjust and start making less milk thinking your baby doesn't need it. Pump an extra ten minutes after you think you are empty. This will stimulate the breast and tell your body that the baby needs more. It will take a few days but if you are consistant your body will adjust. Also you may want to try having a bear, I know it sounds funny but you can discard the milk produced afterward and the yeast in the bear will also help your milk production. There is also a tea called Mothers Milk that I used to help my milk supply.
Most importantly though is to relax. Try to pump in a quiet room, ask your husband to rub your shoulders to help your body to relax (you may not even know you're stressed) Take a few moments before pumping to sit and play with your baby, or do something that makes you happy. Also make sure you are eating enough calories. God Bless

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C.W.

answers from Boston on

Go to your natural food store and ask if they have something called Lactate Support Liquid Phyto-Caps, (mine did made by Professional solutions) they contain fenugreek Seed, Fennel Seed, Red Raspberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle and Marshmallow root. I found them to work great. Another thing is don't stress, you need to be relaxed, otherwise like anything it will cause you to not produce! Have you tried looking at a picture of the baby when you pump or even tried having the baby close by when you do... sometimes that helps as well. Definitely call a lactaion specialist as well... and tell hubby that you are a determined women and this is just something that you need to do! Its the best for baby!!

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C.D.

answers from Providence on

The same thing happened to me with my twins. I started taking Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek which helped a little. My Doctor gave me Reglan when I expressed my concerns (I'm not a big supplement chick) and it doubled my supply overnight.

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C.F.

answers from Boston on

I ran into the same problem when I pumped for my son. My production went down. I think our bodies know it's not the same thing as nursing. I am 35 weeks pregnant with my second child and am fearful of running into the problem again. I would love to know the advice you get.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Fenugreek works! If you go to a health food store you can get fenugreek capsules (its also the main ingredient in all those teas). You start out by taking a few and then keep increasing. You should take enough that someone near you will ask if you had pancakes for breakfast, because you will mildly smell of maple syrup. Sometimes you have to swallow 8-9 pills three times a day. Its hard to take that many, but harmless. I've never known anyone it didn't work for.

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T.H.

answers from Portland on

Hi
I have a 14 month daughter who I breastfed exclusively for the first 10 weeks and then when I went back to work had a serious decrease in production and then had to stop. She also wasn't gaining enough weight and we started mixing my milk with formula 50-50. That way she was getting the milk and good stuff from me still but the calories she needed from the formula. I don't know how to bring back the milk production - it sounds like pumping every few hours is a good idea to keep things going - but I do think stress is a huge factor in breastfeeding in general. It's hard with all of the hormones you're dealing with to not take personally anything that goes wrong with it.
Take a deep breath, try to not be stressed out and just do what is best for you and your baby. Good luck!!!

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A.P.

answers from Providence on

Ask your ob about getting a prescription for Reglan - it's an anti-nausea drug with the random side effect of making your body produce more milk. It saved us!

Don't give up!

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D.A.

answers from Boston on

Hi P.,
I am a first time mom. Paranoid about the amount of milk my daughter was getting I decided to pump once a day on top of regular feedings every 2-3 hrs. during the pumping sessions I can only get 1-2 oz at the most. I think as long as your baby is gaining weight you should be fine. We go to a parent group at the hospital were you can weigh your baby every week. The best book on the market regarding breast feeding is"the ultimate breast feeding book of answers" by:Jack Newman. It says sage and parsley can decrease milk supply. Along with estrogens, fertility drugs,breast surgery, if you have retained placenta . The book also has ways to increase supply and is definatly worth checking out.
Good luck
D.

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L.W.

answers from Portland on

some thoughts:
1) get your pump checked at Breastfeeding Center of Maine to be sure it's working properly. maybe you need a new valve or something simple like that!
2) factors that can decrease your milk supply include stress, dehydration, decreased frequency of feeding/pumping. sounds like you're taking care of two of these...but remember to RELAX

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T.W.

answers from Hartford on

Hi P.-
I had a similar experience, although my son is almost 9 months old. I was only able to pump 1oz at a time when I used to pump 4-6oz. So discouraging, I know!! I contacted someone at the Le Leche League, and she had some really good advice. Namely: Make sure you have a good working pump, drink lots of water, and relax... She said that increased stress can make it hard to pump. I totally understand you wanting to exclusively feed your babies with breast milk!! I didn't want to switch to formula either. (I ended up pumping in the mornings, after my son slept through the night and only nursed on one side first thing in the morning, I was able to pump 3 oz then, much less stressfull than pumping 1oz per night!!)
Have you continued to try nursing? Maybe your baby just needs a little more practice time... after all they are the best pumps and can always get more out that we can with the pump. I would encourage you to keep trying.
Also, maybe a hot shower before you pump would help, or putting warm wet towels on your breast beforehand.
Hope this helps! Sounds like you are a great mom! Take care :)

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J.P.

answers from Boston on

I had the same problem at the beginning too. I almost gave up completely and supplemented with formula until her weight began going back up, hubby and everyone around really encouraged me to continue. Now, I have been nursing and pumping for over 3 months. Are you nursing too? I found that nursing, followed by pumping for 5-10 minutes, for a few days increased my supply. I also tried feugreek and blessed thistle, vitamin supplements, which helped in the early weeks of breastfeeding. I also found that I had to be very strict and consistent with the nursing and pumping. Good Luck! Jen

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K.H.

answers from Burlington on

I had breastfeeding challenges with both of my kids (now 3-1/2 and 1-1/2) and it really is hard to explain to others how emotional and fraught all of it is. The first thing I would recommend is to talk to a lactation consultant (if you haven't done so already). This made an enormous difference for me. I can't even put into words how I not only felt helped on a practical level but really understood (which, in some ways, is part of it .... not feeling like anyone understands what you are going through.) Not sure where you are, but if you're around Burlington, Sally MacFayden is one of the best. One thing she told me that really helped me see through my highly emotional / post partum fog was "it takes more than breast milk to make a good mother". Sometimes you can't hear this in the moment, but I look back now and it's one of the most powerful things anyone could've said to me (esp. coming from a lactation consultant!). You can only do the best you can do. Keep trying, seek help and advice from a professional, and know that you are doing all you can! Good luck.

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J.S.

answers from Boston on

My lactation consultant recommended taking Fenugreek four times a day and drinking Mother's Milk tea a few times a day. It worked fairly well. My biggest struggle was drinking enough water. It's hard when you are so busy with the baby. If you leave the pump on for a while once you are out of milk it will let your breasts know that the baby needs more, so hopefully over time you will produce more. Good luck!
Jenn S.

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M.B.

answers from Boston on

Hi P., I don't know where you live, but the South Shore Hosptial in Weymouth has a great breast feeding clinic; it doesn't matter what hospital you gave birth at and the clinic is free.

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