b-feeding 20 week old - low milk supply? when to wean...

(11 Posts)
ruthietoothie Wed 18-Apr-12 20:02:30

Hi,

Lookng for a bit of advice. I'm exclusively b-feeding my 20 wk old daughter, and have started worrying that perhaps I don't have quite enough milk to keep her going. My breasts feel much less full than they used to and don't even seem to get hard when she doesn't feed for a while... She's feeding well although sometimes gets frustrated towards end of feed (as if she wants more but my breasts are empty).

Wondered if anyone had any tips for increasing my supply. Also wondered if worth thinking about starting her on some solids or whether people reckon best to wait right up to 26 weeks.

any advice appreciated, R

ValeriaS Wed 18-Apr-12 21:15:30

Hi Ruthie! I think everyone starts feeling that they don't produce enough around the 16-20 month mark. I know I did and was frustrated that I couldn't wean my DS before 18 wo. But it was just a phase. Firstly, it's quite normal for your breasts to feel different. They are now used to bf and don't get engorged as much. This does not mean you are not producing enough. Secondly, it doesn't sound like your DD really needs it. Maybe she is just behaving differently at the breast? Hunger cries are unmistakeable. They also start sleeping less when hungry. Check if she meets most of the criteria on the weaning checklist such as can sit, can swallow etc. Finally, it will be a while until you give her enough solids for it make any difference in terms of food intake so weaning is not a quick fix. Overall, I'd say wait until 26 weeks.

TruthSweet Wed 18-Apr-12 22:55:09

Feeling 'full' doesn't mean you have milk it means you have too much milk! Feeling soft means you have the right amount of milk (the full feeling is the excess milk). There is no biological reason to have extra milk given how much goes into BM (anti-bodies, fats, hormones, growth factors, vitamins, minerals, etc, etc) when you can make extra milk when/if you need it.

Have you tried swapping sides when your DD gets fussy - even if it means going back to the first or second side again (the more you feed the more you make)? Or doing breast compressions?

What does she do that makes you feel she is still hungry - does she make a hungry/milk noise/cry, suck at her fists (though this can be developmental as opposed to hunger), pull at your breasts or something else? Does it happen at the same time of day or is it random?

Starting solids before she is developmentally ready won't lessen her hunger but it may well displace breast milk in her diet with foods with less calories and less nutrition than the BM. If she is ready then she will be able to sit in a highchair without slumping, be able to pick up something like a bit of banana, and swallow it without pushing it back out (lots of info on readiness to wean on the NHS website 'No Rush to Mush').

ruthietoothie Thu 19-Apr-12 19:12:59

Thanks to you both for your input. I really appreciate it. Hard to say if I'm just getting anxious unnecessarily or if there's anything I should be worried about. Helpful to know though that my breasts feeling less full is not a cause for concern in itself.

In terms of what makes me think she s sometimes more hungry than I can feed her:
- on her night feed last night I fed her both breasts but it was as if wanted more at end. She wouldn't settle until half an hour later when I fed her again (perhaps I'd produced abit more n the half hour that had passed)
- she does suck at her fists all the time but not sure if that is teethng / developmental or hungry
- she was sleeping almost through the night for a brief period around 18 weeks mark. Since then she's been waking once or twice a night - and always settles after afeed so must be hungry...

Not sure she is developmentally ready to wean yet as can't sit up at all and not great at putting thngs in her mouth! #

Perhaps best to wait till 26 weeks and just perservere with the b-feed (haven't tried breast compressions but do swop sides..)

Thanks for advice again, x

KD0706 Thu 19-Apr-12 23:40:09

Hi ruthie
I'm breastfeeding dd2 at the moment and unlike with dd1 my breasts never really get that full feeling. I'm not leaking at all dtc. But dd2 is putting on weight well etc and I know that I have enough milk for her, it's just as truth sweet says, a full feeling indicates an oversupply. It's totally fine to not feel engorged.

I think the sucking her fists is just a developmental thing. Certainly my dd- did that from about four months onwards.

If she is seeming to want more after you've given her both boobs then swap back to the first boob. The softer your breasts feel the more fatty and good the milk your baby is getting. My understanding is that when you feel full you have excess milk sitting in your boobs. The longer it sits there the more the good stuff in it gets absorbed back into the body ( I think this is where the whole fore and hind milk stuff comes from). When your baby is feeding your body constantly produces milk so once baby has taken off the easy to get excess that was sitting in your boob, they get the pure rich stuff that you're producing as they feed.

I read on here that you shouldn't think of your breasts as like a pool which can be emptied. Instead it's like a river, constantly flowing. So there's always milk there if the baby wants it they just sometimes have to work a bit harder for it.

Re the waking at night, could it be a sleep regression. Also, certainly with my dd1 she didn't only feed when hungry. A feed was as my h about comfort for her as anything else. So the fact that your baby settles after a feed doesn't necessarily mean they were hungry. It could have been the cuddly comfort of the feed that settled them.

I hope that's of some help and reassurance to you. It sounds like you're doing a great job, you've done so well to get this far. If I were you I'd definitely try to continue ebf till the six month mark.

Mother2many Thu 19-Apr-12 23:48:02

Nurse more...and you will produce more milk too! :P

fhdl34 Fri 20-Apr-12 05:58:29

Just to say you don't need to wait to swap sides again once you've done it once. In the evening my DD will sometimes swap sides 3 or 4 times during a feed with 15 minutes at each side before going to the other, which is how long she usually feeds for during the day on just one side. Does that make sense? Not usually awake this early smile

nickelhasababy Fri 20-Apr-12 11:24:50

oh yes, your boobs will feel less full - mainly because your body knows what to do, and isn't making loads "just in case"

keep feeding.
if you think she's not getting enough, just keep offering both sides over and over.

she'll soon tell you if she's hungry!

if she pulls and thrashes, it's because she's working hard at getting the milk out. if you think she's doing it too much (ouchy!), swap her over for a bit.

nickelhasababy Fri 20-Apr-12 11:28:05

oh yes! sleep regression!
that happens between 16 and 20 weeks.

ruthietoothie Tue 24-Apr-12 21:30:03

thanks all! all this advice and support really helpful and much appreciated.

We're doing well, and dd's weight gain good so going to perservere and try to ebf until 6 months...

alvinareagan Sun 14-Feb-16 22:34:24

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