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need breastfeeding help

I have nursed my son for a month and everything has went really well.  No problems with supply, or latching on, or anything.  All of a sudden, my milk is gone.  I know that the worst thing you can do if your supply is low is supplement with formula.  My son would try nursing for a while, and then get really frustrated.  So I gave him a bottle.  Then, after he was calm, I tried pumping.  All I was able to collect was less than half an ounce.  I've pumped before and got about 2.5 oz.  So what happened?!  And is there anything I can do?  And I've already heard from my husband (half-jokingly) that I need to consume some dairy, so please, please, no jokes about diet.  I do watch what I eat, and am careful to get a variety of (enough) foods.  I know its counter-productive, but I am really beating myself up over this.  So anybody have any suggestions?

Are you drinking enough liquids? Also, when I was breastfeeding, I would drink one beer and it seemed like all of the sudden I would be engorged. But if you don't drink beer, then just make sure your drinking enough liquids, water in particular. Just don't beat yourself up over it or panic, because that'll just make matters worse. You're baby's feeding demands are going up, and it will just take your body a little while to adjust. Just be patient. In the meantime, keep trying, and that will stimulate more milk production too. I'm not a breastfeeding specialist, just an experienced mother and breastfeeder!!!

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#1 stay very hydrated (water water water!)
#2 keep feeding him!
At a growth spurt you can seem to "dry up" and it seems like you don't have enough milk but remember the more you nurse the more milk you make and YES the baby is getting enough... his frustration could be from anything... let him get through it (frustration and all) and keep suckling... eventually he will get it flowing ;)
yes supplementing isn't good but don't beat yourself up about that. YOU can be frustrated too.
I know I often felt cow-like when my son went through a growth spurt and i was latched onto day and night!! alllllll the time....
I say... maybe just start a movie sit down and plan for it to take a bit of time let him work through the frustration and keep at it until he "get some"
send me a message if you need to!

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My SIL used oats to help produce more milk. I'm not sure about the science behind this but I know she did a lot of research. Maybe try drinking oatmilk or adding oatmeal into your diet.

Good luck!!

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Remember that how much milk you can pump does not dictate how much you have. Red raspberry leaf tea is great for helping with a sense of well being, preventing post partum depression. Blessed thistle is also good for that and increasing milk supply, should you ned to. Also remember that when milk first comes in, the breasts feel very full. Once you and baby have established somewhat of a routine, you won't be as full because your body knows when to let the right amount of milk down for baby. Liquids are very important and don't be afraid to have lots of healthy snacks around (nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies...)! Hang in there. You are giving your baby the best start by making milk especially for him. Way to reach out for support!

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I had problems with making enough milk when my daughter was around a month old also. My mom would tell me that I needed to drink milk.  I thought that was silly.  Men that are going bald aren't told to eat hair to grow more hair!  I was working part time and would pump while I was working.  I tried beer (can't stand the stuff), wine, herbal teas, and oatmeal, but I don't think it made a difference for me. What finally increased my milk production was to become a stay at home mommy.  Babies stimulate milk production more than the breast pumps do, and your baby is also better at getting milk out than the pump is.  So there is still milk in your breasts after you pump.  So don't get discouraged when you get out just an ounce or two.  My little girl is just over a year now, and I'm still breast feeding her.  I don't know if you are working or not, but taking time away from my job, and just letting my baby take her time nursing made all the difference in the world for my boobies.  

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tkitty96: have you heard of the la leche league

Quote:
La Leche League is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, education, information, and encouragement, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

i

i found their extremely knowledgeable support/help absolutely invaluable whilst breastfeeding my daughter 20 years ago. for further information and/or to find a local group, go to  http://www.lllusa.org/.   i found them always accessible and i highly recommend them.

cheers!

rebecca

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I agree about contacting La Leche League.  It's free and they are very nice and informative.  On their website, you'll find tips on increasing supply.  Good luck, and hang in there!  Also, you can look at baby's diapers to see if she's getting enough.  Is she having lots of wet and dirty diapers?  Good sign!  She should nurse 8-12 times per day in these early months. 

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I certainly hope your milk comes back and I hope some of the advice given here works for you.  There is a drug you can take, I can never remember the name, but it sounds like dom pera dime...I will caution you about calling the La Leche League though. I called them the "boob Nazis"... I have met other moms who have had bad experiences with them also.  I bf for 14 months but I had to supplement at every feed because I could not produce enough for two.  My hubby's aunt, who in her day was a grand poohbah for the LL, actually compared formula makers to cigarette manufactures which is not very helpful and down right hurtful when you struggling with bf and have no choice but to give your baby formula.  Formula is not evil and is very necessary for lots of babies who's mothers cannot bf.  Your baby will not be less intelligent because he had formula as a baby, another LL scare tactic. She also kept telling me to "feed on demand" as if the 8+ hours a day I spent bf and bottle feeding wasn't enough (I fed on a schedule as many twin moms do).  Can you tell this is a bit of a sore point for me... like I said, I hope your milk comes back, but don't feel like an inferior mother (like I felt/feel and was made to feel) if you need to bottle feed.

K^2

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Quote:
Your baby will not be less intelligent because he had formula as a baby, another LL scare tactic.

strong words.  i would like to say that during my 2 year la leche experience and involvement, i never witnessed any overt employment nor covert inference of so-named scare tactics

rebecca (nz)

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I believe in New Zealand La Leche mets often with Formula company representatives and health experts  to ensure that mother and baby are getting sound, objective advise and support from all organsations and all angles.

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I breastfed each of my 6 kids for 2 yrs.  Here are my suggestions:

You might not be well rested enough.  When you are not rested, you don't have enough milk.

Your baby is right at a growth spurt.  Your body has to work with his.  He may be getting milk, but as he is in a spurt and needs more than you are making.  THe best thing is to do is to nurse him more frequently, i.e. if you are nursing about every 3 hours, try to cut this to about 2 for a while.  His sucking will stimulate your body to make more milk and this takes a couple of days to increase your supply.

Are you experiencing a "let down reflex"?  This is a tingly feeling when he begins sucking.  It is sometimes said that you can feel your milk "coming in" and this is the same reflex.  If you are not having a good let down reflex, you need more rest.  You can try a small amount of vegan beer with alcohol.  Seriously, this works to help with that let down.  No more than 4 oz please.  Wine and other spirits will not work for this purpose and I would not do it any other time of day besides evening.

Not everyone can successfully pump.  In order for anything to come out, you'd need to feel the let down reflex.  I pumped quite a bit with my first child because I worked outside the home with him.  I got to where I could "hold it" and then let down on queue with the pump.  It is an art as well as a science.

If you are not feeding him in the night, set an alarm and get you both up and see if you can encourage him to nurse more.  Milk is ultra rich and thick in the morning and by night it is thin.  Another thing, they probably told you to allow him 5 minutes a side when you taught how to breast feed.  For SOME women this is just not enough time for the baby to get to the "hind milk" which is the cream, just like in a cow.  It is this rich cream which sustains the baby longer.  It can take 10 minutes or even 15 a side to bring the richer milk.  In the evening, milk can be very thin and it seems like there is no cream at the end of the process.

If all of these things do not work, please don't beat yourself up about putting him on the bottle. I would tell you that the above things are not a quick fix, but that if you stick with it I think you can succeed.  In other words, don't give up too easily if you are determined to continue breastfeeding.  I believe this is temporary, if you work at it.  Be easy with yourself.  Being upset and worried and fearful that you have to give it up will make matters worse.  The important thing, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, is that your baby is loved, well nourished and content.

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Sorry, this won't be helpful to you Tkitty, but when I read your post K2 I was reminded of this.

My mother had twins, too, and I never knew until my actual wedding day when my aunt-by-marriage came up and hugged me and told me she always thought of me as her daughter after breast feeding me! I never knew, but my mom couldn't make enough milk for my twin sister and I, both, and my aunt, who lived across the street, had just lost her one week old daughter to a heart defect.  So she volunteered to help out and my mom always sent me across the street to nurse from her!  It was very sweet of her, I know, and I laugh about it now, but learning it on my wedding day in front of a room full of people and co-workers (firemen, no less) did catch me off guard a bit!  :o 

So don't feel bad K2!  :D

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I agree with everything Lady Dragonfly said. I have nursed all three of mine...the 3rd one is 2  and still at it.....

I do feel your pain, I remember what it was like being a first time mom and facing one of those breast pumps....they can be very discouraging and frustrating! Don't judge your ability to make enough milk by the tiny amount gathered by those things. Especially at first, it takes awhile to get used to the way it all works.

This is a "controversial" suggestion, but have you tried co-sleeping? Sleeping next to your child will should help him relax and sleep better and if he nurses through the night on-demand, it will really help increase your supply (and your let down might be more natural if you are in a relaxed state and not consciously worrying about about it). I slept with all of mine. I swear they spent half the night nursing, but I always had tons of milk (despite what people might think, since I am a ...uh...well....hmmm....let's just say...I am not that well endowed in the boob area! LOL!)

Anyway, the important thing is to try and relax (I know it can be hard) and just spend as much time as you and your infant can stand together nursing.

When it comes to raising kids, there is always something new to try and get a handle on. Always remember that you are a good mother and your body was perfectly designed to care for your children.

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Thank you DangGirl.  You know, I co-slept with all of mine and I didn't even think about that! Silly me, my youngest is almost 11 and how soon we forget about important things. 

I am not well endowed either, but found I was a Jersey cow.  I come from a line of umm high producers, shall we say.  My grandmother and I both donated milk for other infants whose mothers could not, did not or were unable to breastfeed infants who would have died without mother's milk.  It was a neat experience too.

You so right...do not judge your supply from a pump.  Don't judge your product too harshly either because as you know, DangGirl, what comes first is blue!

Just do the best you can with it.

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Thank you all for the suggestions and the support.  I do co-sleep with my son (and I love having him next to me), and I let him graze (for lack of a better word) all night.  I think that today he's gotten a little more milk, but he still gets frustrated.  He'll latch on and nurse, I'll feel let-down occur, and within a few minutes he fusses.  LadyDragonfly, you're probably right about the resting thing.  I have a 5 yo and a 3 yo as well, and while I'm fortunate that I can stay home with them, they keep me running around like a madwoman.  My husband is on-call for work.  He goes to work, takes his train to another city, stays in a hotel there, and then gets called to bring a different train back.  Lately when he's been home it has only lasted 8 to 9 hours before he's back out again.  So he's great when he's home but unfortunately he's not home much.  We both grew up about 400 miles away from here, so I have no family to rely on, either.  I'm letting my son nurse as much as he wants, because I do know that that should help milk production, and I have been drinking lots of water, too.  This afternoon he nursed for at least an hour, the whole time getting frustrated.  He'd nurse one side, get mad, so we'd switch sides and he'd be happy for a few minutes, then get mad and we'd switch sides again.  I finally gave him a bottle, and he was so content then.  I really want to make this work.  I hate formula, but the contented look on his face just made me realize how hard breastfeeding is for me right now.  Just a week ago I could tell that he was satisfied after nursing, but right now exclusively breastfeeding him is not doing enough for him.  I guess I'll supplement with formula, because I'm not ready to completely give this up. 

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Now I have the answer for you, you are overdoing it!  I have 6 and I know what it is to do too much.  By the last 2, life could go to hell around me and I ignored it.  I had a fairly lousy husband who didn't think that being a dad, a husband or a breadwinner was all that important and he didn't do any of these things, well not the last 4 yrs we were married he didn't.  He would complain about the state of the house or the laundry needing done.  I was pretty well done with the marriage and told him if he wanted it done to do it himself.  He didn't, so it waited for me.

Trust me, dirty dishes can wait, get paper plates for right now.  Laundry can wait till you are down to your last outfit.  Vacuuming can wait.  When you nurse, get a nice drink, sit down, put your feet up.  Be sure you put your feet up!  Really relaxing and resting while you feed him and insisting on cooperation from your older kids will help you recharge.  I have gone so far as bribing older kids to play iwht little ones while I fed babies with candy, money or coloring books. 

The suggestion I have for every working mom (believe me, you are home all day, YOU WORK) that is flylady.net.  It tells you how to get your house clean in 15 minute hitches, how to declutter with a trash bag and overall simplify your life.  They say, stop living in C.H.A.O.S. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) and stop spending too much time doing housework...enjoy your life instead.  It really really works. 

Hang in there.

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Heehee! I should have known you F.L.Y. dragonfly!!  ;)
Flylady rules.

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Great link! I am going to start "FLYing today! I have three kids under 7 and I run my own design business from home(well I try to...)
Between caring for my kids, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and working every spare minute I can find (unfortunately those spare minutes are usually are only available after the kids go to bed....arg...!) I never have time to keep my house in good shape. Hopefully the FLY lady can get me to feel more organized.....

TKitty96,

Wow! I didn't realize you had other little ones! You are burning yourself out! You just gave birth 4 weeks ago, you really should be trying to take care of yourself....I know it seems impossible right now though! By the time my 3rd one came along, their father was working  non-stop as well and I really did not have close friends or family to help out a lot either.....At the time, I could afford it..., so I had the older kids(they were ages 3 and 4.5) start going to a 3 hour morning preschool for 2 or 3 days a week. I still had a newborn at home to care for...but when they were gone i just sat around with the baby and did NOTHING. The break from the older ones really helped out at the time. If that's not an option, take them outside, get some fresh air and relax.

As far as the breastfeeding goes, don't pressure yourself. Its important to do what works best for each situation, so if giving a bottle is working for you right now, don't feel guilt. Sometimes when we choose a more "natural - unconventional" way of life, we end up guilting ourselves to death over every little thing. I am definitely pro-breastfeeding, but more the most important thing a baby needs is a healthy(mentally and physically) mommy. So do what works for your situation and don't feel guilty.

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I am a little late on this topic but just wanted to tell you to drink a glass of water right before breatfeeding. My midwife recommended this and I did it the few times i was low on milk and it did help.

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Wanted to give an update, and thank you all again for your suggestions.  I'm sticking with it, but towards the end of the day I realize that my body is worn out, so the baby gets a little formula.  Mostly, though, I nurse him.  And I checked out flylady.  I really like the idea, and my kitchen sink is still shiny!

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