Need Help with Nursing

Updated on December 31, 2009
A.P. asks from Dedham, MA
14 answers

My son is 1 month old now and I've been breastfeeding him exclusively, everything was going great up until Christmas. For three days straight we were out travelling and I gave him mostly bottles of breastmilk, and eventually formula when I ran out. I nursed here and there for those 3 days when I could. I also had some wine which is also why I used bottles. Yesterday I tried to get back to only breastfeeding and it was ok until last night. He wanted to eat every two hours and wouldn't go to sleep. At 4am I tried to nurse him and I don't think any milk whatsoever was coming out. He was freaking out so I gave him formula. I'm worried that I have ruined my milk production and I don't know how to get back on track. I know frequent nursing helps make more milk, but I worry that he won't get enough, and also I need some sleep. Has anyone else been through this? Will I have to go to formula from now on???

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So What Happened?

I have been nursing non-stop for this whole week and feel much better about it. There were 2 nights that he ate pretty much every 2 hours but it was ok and I got a few naps in. Now he's back to every 3-4 hours and I'm getting more milk when I pump. I think I just needed encouragement from other moms, I don't have many friends with kids and most of my family has never breastfed, apparently formula was more popular back in the day, so I can't ask anyone about their personal experiences. There's been so many times that I think bottles would just be easier, but I'm glad I didn't quit. Thank you everyone for your support!

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answers from Houston on

When I had to increase milk production for extra freezer supply before going back to work I lived on Traditional Medicinals Mother's Milk Tea and lots of water.

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answers from Pittsfield on

Hi there,
Lots of great advice on stimulating milk production, but I also just wanted to say keep in mind that your production may be fine and your son may just be going through a growth spurt. At 1 month, it's not unusual for them to want to nurse round the clock. Most of mine woke up 2 to 3 times a night at least at this age, and more often when they hit their growth spurts. As far as sleep, if you are at home, sleep during the day when the kids sleep, even if that means not getting laundry, dishes, etc. done. Trust me, they'll get done eventually, and your rest is more important. Good luck.



answers from Hartford on

Been there...The first month is particularly crucial in establishing milk supply - which is one of the reasons why its a good idea to nurse frequently during this time. I understand how upsetting it can be when you're told to nurse, when you are 99% sure that there is very little milk in there - it's a terrible predicament.

Here is what I did: I Followed the eating guidelines found on kellymom. It said that a baby b/n 0-6 months needs 18-25oz a day - so, I made sure that my child received at least 18 oz by pumping while he slept. I pumped frequently - maybe start by pumping every hour or every 1.5 hour. By the time he woke up from his nap, I had been able to get together anywhere b/n 2-4 oz. This method has received a lot of criticism from other mothers, but if you are looking for an alternative to the more common suggestions, this is what worked for me. BTW - expect results anywhere from several days to a week.



answers from Boston on

I was told not to introduce the bottle before approx. 6 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding, otherwise you risk creating "nipple confusion." Which basically means, that since baby has to suckle in two different ways on these two different 'devices' for lack of a better gets confused about how to suckle which one.

That said, I entirely understand that with the holidays things get off kilter a bit. You sound like you know what's up in regards to pumping and the whole supply/demand aspect of breastfeeding, so I'll skip it. Just do what you normally do, drink lots of water, and I'd suggest taking a breast production supplement like fenugreek. I'd AVOID giving formula as that will make your problem worse. As for sleep? Get over it. You won't get any, so just nurse!!! And good luck!!!



answers from Boston on

Here is my advice: toss that baby bottle out of sight and nurse nurse nurse. That is something that has NEVER failed for me or anyone I know to get the supply back. Drink lots and lots of water and Mother's Milk tea. Let him nurse even when there is nothing coming out. Eventually he will get enough, don't worry to much about it and just nurse... I used to nurse every two hours, that helped up the supply and get it steady.
P.S. I like how you say 'married to a loving but sometimes oblivious husband', aren't they all oblivious sometimes? ;)



answers from Boston on

I second all the advice here though I do have to say that pumping has never been very effective for me. A baby on the breast is the only way I have had success increasing my milk supply. I have also taken Fenugreek though you'll need to take 3 capsules, 3 times per day to get enough. It helps within 2-3 days.

Stay away from formula. Babies are resilient. Often they begin demanding more breast time a few days before a growth spurt when they actually *need* more milk. If your baby is in a healthy percentile for his weight, you're not at great risk of him loosing weight.

Stay away from pacifiers for a while. If baby is sucking, let him suck on you. Your body will respond with more milk.

You can talk to your doctor about a prescription. I took domperidone with my first baby with good results though most insurances won't cover it and it's hard to find. There are other meds, though.

If you're near the south shore, head down to South Shore Hospital any weekday at 1pm for the Breastfeeding Support Group. It's run by lactation consultant nurses and is FREE! They are fabulous and also give free advice over the phone (the number for their "warm line" is on their website).

Best of luck!



answers from New London on

He could also be going through a growth spurt. I would nurse him every couple of hours if he is hungry enough to get your milk supply going and if you feel that he is still hungry, nurse then give him a little formula or supplement with a bottle, but you have to keep up with the nursing schedule so that your body produces more milk. If you skip then your body will think you don't need to produce milk and you may not produce enough milk for your baby. There is nothing wrong with supplementing, but make sure you nurse enough during the day to get back on schedule. You'll get there. Plus every two hours during the night for some babies is normal during developmental stages, growth spurts, tummy aches etc. Hang in there and be patient. Things will get back to normal soon. :)



answers from Burlington on

If you can take a few days to completely dedicate to getting back on track it will help. I had a similar problem at one point. I had to take several days where my only priority was working on the milk supply. For me this entailed drinking LOTS of water..more than I thought I needed. Also trying to relax and get plenty of rest when you can. I would breastfeed my baby and then about 30 minutes later I would use the breast pump for 15 minutes. In a couple of hours I would repeat the whole process again. It wasn't fun to pump after feeding him but it seemed to really help increase my milk supply more quickly. I didn't get a lot when I pumped so soon after feeding him but as a few days went by I saw a huge increase in what I was getting. I just froze everything I pumped. Within about 3 days, my baby seemed to go back to his normal routine as my milk supply had gotten back on track. After that, I gave up the frequent pumping but still pumped at least once a day to have something to freeze for the future. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

Drink loads of fluids and have a nursing day if you can. Also, it is okay if you have a small amount of alcohol, no need to give a bottle.

Go here for more info on boosting your supply.

Good luck!



answers from Boston on

A., you can get your milk supply back if you focus on nursing exclusively (no bottles) and on demand. Your baby is working to increase your milk supply by nursing more frequently. Do not resort to formula. It will only sabotage your efforts. Just put him to the breast whenever he wants. If you want to get back to exclusive breastfeeding, you need to focus on that for the next several days. Nurse, rest, drink a lot. Good luck.



answers from Boston on

I have struggled similarly with low supply. One of the best things I did was to do a "nurse-in" where all I did for several days was cuddle in bed with the baby and nurse him on demand. Do this on a weekend when you can clear your schedule.

I also took fenugreek, which is a safe herb that definitely can increase the milk supply.

Also, your breasts likely do have some milk even when you don't think you are letting down any. Let him continue to feed and try to avoid the bottle.



answers from Boston on

Just make sure if you ever give him a bottle you are simultaneously pumping. STart out nursing him to stimulate your milk. If he's still hungry or doesn't seem to be getting anything have your husband give a bottle while you go in the other room and pump. You need to pump whenever your son takes a bottle. It's hard to keep it up, especially at night, but for me this was the only way to get back on track. Also, try to find one time during the day when you know he will not want to nurse and pump. This extra session, if done daily for several days, will help as well. It might take several days to get back on track but don't give up, you can do it!



answers from Boston on

If you are really dedicated to getting back on track with the breastfeeding, you need to stay away from the formula. Every bottle of formula he drinks is less milk that your body will make. Just dedicate the next day or so to ONLY nursing him (do not even pump and give breastmilk that way), as that is the most effective way to tell your body what to do. Things will straighten out in the next day or so. Also, drinking from a bottle is easier for babies (faster flow), so that may have been why he was frustrated and not that there wasn't any milk coming out. It takes more than 2-3 days to dry out your milk supply. Good luck!


answers from Hartford on

Just keep trying, not sure if it is gone, try to pump and see. It usually takes a while to dry out not just 3 days and you said you were a little. Bottles are easier for them, many kids do that. Just keep nursing and hopefully he will come back! Good luck!


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