Preparing to Breastfeed Again

Updated on August 22, 2010
L.M. asks from Elizabeth City, NC
13 answers

When my son was born (by unscheduled C-section), it took a few days for my milk to come in. During that time, he lost about 10% of his birthweight, but since he was such a big baby, the pediatrician gave us a lot of flack and told us we *had* to supplement with formula. This lead to a series of stressors that added to my post-pardum depression. It took a long time and a lot of determination on my part, but my son eventually latched on and nursed for about 2 years never having had more than a total of 6 oz of formula while I pumped. A hard-earned success.

I am now pregnant with twins who will, for numerous reasons, be born by scheduled c-section. I was wondering if any of you ladies knew of ways I could prepare my body for lactation so as to perhaps avoid the stress and emotional upheaval of my previous experience.

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So What Happened?

So my twins are now four months old and have been nearly exclusively breastfed. (I was in and out of the hospital for a while with gallbladder issues.) One twin was born with an amazing latch and doubled her birthweight in two months. The other (twin B) has had difficulties and requires a nipple sheild to latch on, but she is gaining weight, if a bit slowly.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would try Fenugreek. You can find it at a vitamin store like GNC.
Look it up online and read about it. It is there to help mommies make more milk.

I wish you all the best.

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answers from Miami on

Yes! Pump as soon as you get into your room start pumping. I had to do that with my 2nd son (C-section) and my milk came right in. It's funny my son lost 15% of his birthweight and I congratulate you for sticking it out. I wish I did. I'm pregnant with no. 3 due in 6-7 weeks (can't wait). and I am already predetermined to breastfeed the whole year. My g/f had a hard time getting her milk in after her baby she was induced and had her vaginally. She had to pump the first hour she was in her room to get it going. That's where I learned it from. And although I did not breastfeed as much as I wanted I beleive because I pumped when I got in my room was the reason why on day 3 and 4 I was already producing 4 - 5 oz of milk each breast.

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answers from Washington DC on

It drives me nuts to hear that doctors tell mothers to supplement because their milk "didn't come in right away"... NOBODY's milk comes in RIGHT AWAY! Milk takes a few days to come in. In the mean time, your baby gets colostrum from the breast and the continued sucking action of THAT brings the milk in. The worst thing you can do is supplement in the first few days because every suck your baby makes on a bottle is one less suck that he/she is making on YOU to stimulate your milk production. PLEASE hook up with a local LaLecheLeague leader to answer your questions. Google LLL and you'll find someone local to help you.

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answers from Saginaw on

It will help you make more milk-making ducts in your breasts if you start pumping during the last few months of your pregnancy. Interestingly, I only just heard about this research at a workshop...this apparently brings your milk in faster (it is normal for it to take 4-6 days) and your babies will gain faster (it is normal for babies to lose 10% of their birthweights and take 15 days to get back)

Here's a piece of information I expect you did not have: babies born after mom's been on iv fluids for hours and hours are born significantly heavier than they will be in 12 hours NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY EAT. Because their birthweight is distorted by the iv fluids that, like their mom, have plumped them up with nothing but (heavy) water.

So, your first probably didn't weigh as much as he was weighed at, and he didn't lose as much as you were told, either. If you end up on iv for any length of time this time, be aware of it and remind the pros --they know, but often act as if they don't.

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answers from Cincinnati on

I had supply issues with my son, so my OB recommended that when I hit 37 weeks, I begin pumping. Even if I don't get anything, it will apparently clue in my body to begin to producing milk. She warned not to do it before the 37th week, though, because excessive nipple stimulation can trigger uterus contractions (leading to labor) in some women.



answers from Flagstaff on

After having a scheduled c-section after an emergency c-section, I did much better with the scheduled one. 1) I knew it was going to happen and prepared 2) because it was planned, they had the time to do all the stuff they couldn't with my first and my recovery was much faster.

I have 4 boys and the only one I was able to nurse was my last one. I prepared myself by telling myself that I was goin to have enough milk. I made sure to have all stressors away from me or just ignored them. It helps to have a dr who really understands breastfeeding rather than just spouting the "new" terms. I would try to have someone with you who will support your nursing and to run interferen with the persons who think they know better.

Some dr think they understand breastfeeding, but when they ask you to supplement, you know they don't. The more you nurse, the more milk will be made eventually. It is better for your body to know the baby is hungry to better provide for him.



answers from Washington DC on

I had a c-section bc my baby boy was over 10lbs. I was dead set on nursing. Even though baby and I were doing well nursing, the hospital staff still pressured me to supplement. I was so angry that they were trying to force me to do something that I didn't want to do. Society is {for some reason} so against bfing. Its what's best for mom and baby. Stick to your guns. ;}



answers from Boise on

By preparing, are you wanting your milk in earlier? My daughter lost 7% of her body weight, apparently 8% is the fear do to spiraling into failure to thrive. We had to stay in the hospital and extra day, but later I was told that c-sections tend to lose more because they are squeezed and wrung out like natural births. My milk comes in on day 2-3, but i have been told that since their bellies are so tiny at first that whatever you produce before your milk comes in fills them up just fine.

I've never done the early pump, but if you do, and the doc still wants to supplement, at least you would have breastmilk to do that with.



answers from Washington DC on

I am a little confused by our doctor since it takes ALL women a few days for milk to come in and ALL babies lose that much of their birth weight in those first few days. I have heard this story over and over and over about forced supplementing and derailing breastfeeding efforts. There are, of course, situations when supplementing is truly necessary but the good news is you are now an experienced breastfeeder and will more likely know when your babies are latching and nursing well. I know nothing about nursing twins, however--God bless you and I hope it all goes well!



answers from Washington DC on

First off I would like to commend you for your perseverance. You sound like a very dedicated mother which is truly what every baby deserves.

As for advice, I would seek a new pediatrician before your twins are born. It is common, yes even expected that a breastfed newborn will lose weight initially. They like to see a breastfed newborn re-gain TO their birthweight by the 2 week appointment, but anywhere in that range is fine as long as they're gaining by then. I can't believe your ped didn't know this and I truly can't believe that he said you HAD to supplement with formula. It doesn't inspire much confidence for sure and I find it to be a destructive attitude that's probably sabotaged breastfeeding for many of his patients. I would find a ped that is more on-board with breastfeeding.

Also, It does take almost every mother's body a few days to bring the milk in, although in my experience it's longer with the first baby and subsequent babies won't have to wait as long since your body already knows what to do.

With my first my milk didn't come in until we'd been home from the hospital for a couple of days, with my second it came in while we were still in the hospital. I believe this is normal. I don't think you're going to have to do anything special to get your body ready to breastfeed again. It's got the recipe now and knows the right functions so it should be quicker this time.

Best of luck to you with your twins and congratulations!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi used fenugreek leaves can be bought in indian grocery stores or the asian markets, i prep and freeze them ( separate the leaves from the stalks can also include some of the tender stems, wash thoroughly and dry them using a salald spinner or just let the water drain out in a colander, chop and freeze) it does have a strong taste, can saute it like spinach but cook longer then spinach can add also saute with potatoes or peas etc add some cumin powder salt ( in india new mothers are always given fenugreek almost everday ) my mother lso use to put some in the dough for our flatbread it was good let me know if you want some recipies Good luck



answers from Washington DC on

Congratulations! I too just had twins (2.5 months old) via scheduled c-section. My advice is to breastfeed as soon as possible and as often as possible. My milk came in pretty quickly (but I was only 6 months post breastfeeding my 2 year old). If you have ample milk supply (and we know babies do not need much to eat the first few days of life) do not allow the nurses or anyone else force you to supplement (unless of course your babies need the supplement for health reasons). With that said, exclusive breastfeeding is very different with two babies and can be very stressful especially the first month. Get yourself a twin nursing pillow (EZ to Nurse) it will help a lot to tandem feed and will help you help them get a good latch. I find it easier to BF one baby at a time, but tandem feeding is going to be necessary at night and certain points throughout the day, especially with an older child in the house. Does your ped. have a lactation specialist on board? I would talk to one, let them know your concerns and go from there.Don't worry, it is going to be a long road, but one well worth traveled!



answers from Washington DC on

I nursed my two children for 13 and 18 month respectively. I hav ebeen there - sititng in the hospital trying to get a latch, crying, with a nurse scolding me and shoving a bottle of formula at my husband. It sucks.

My savior was a lactation consultant, get one now, hav ea pre-birth consultation, and schedule a follow-up for the day you come home. DOn't even try to go it alone.

Thant being said, I absolutley should hav esupplemented with formula sooner than I did. My baby was hungry!! And that kept her jaundiced and sleepy which made it all worse. Now, the hospital nurses were lousy with respect to supporting nursing - I should have demanded better help and I should have pumped earlier. Get the help and support you need EARLY. But don't feel bad if you need ot supplement. It is not the end of the world and may actually get the nursing on track.

FYI, I used this horrile contracption - a bottle of formula upside down with a tube attached to my nipple so my daughter would latch and get formula at the same time. It was a pain in teh necxk but it worked and helped my milk come in. I forget wha t it is called, but a lactiation consult would know.

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