Ill in bed and milk supply seems to be dwindling

(22 Posts)
eagleray Mon 18-Mar-13 21:53:29

Hi - DD is 7 weeks old and we have a history of feeding problems. Since early on we have been mix feeding (I posted about this a few weeks ago) and since then my supply seems to have ramped up a bit and recently the amount of formula top ups have been negligible. When she was weighed a week ago, DD was putting on a good amount of weight (staying on mid percentiles)

However... last week I had shingles (not affected too badly) then the last couple of days I've come down with a horrible virus - dizziness which meant I could barely sit up, and then this has developed into a cold with sore ears and throat (but no real fever). Today is my third day in bed and I've noticed since yesterday that DD has been feeding a lot more. She has gone from roughly 4 hourly to 3 hourly and the amount of time on the boob has gone way up (from 15 mins to up to 40 mins). On top of that, there's lots of pausing, tugging, nodding off, waking up and latching on again. My boobs feel soft pretty much all the time and they are pretty much painless (normally would get let down pains and would hurt a bit just before a feed).

I've given a bit more formula today as the poor thing seems to be really hungry (but only about 150ml all in all). Trying to find the balance between not making BF supply worse, but not starving her!

She's with me all the time in bed and I just feed her whenever she wakes up and seems hungry/unhappy.

Do you think we can rule out growth spurt behaviour? The increase in feeding/floppy boobs coincides with me being ill and I'm a bit worried about her becoming dehydrated. She's been sleeping on and off all day today (more so than normal as she is often a nightmare for daytime wakefulness)

Is my supply likely to ramp up again if it's gone down? I know she's getting something as she's had a few little sick-ups today (more than normal).

Sorry for long post - feel like shit and been on my own all day sad also feel like ditching the BF altogether as can't really take any painkillers either and my throat/ears are killing me!

Welovegrapes Mon 18-Mar-13 22:10:45

Is she having plenty of wet and dirty nappies? If so, I wanted to reassure you it is unlikely she would be dehydrated.

Will now read the rest of your questions and post a proper reply.

eagleray Mon 18-Mar-13 22:15:34

Thanks Grapes - she's peed a fair bit today but that's it (has had 2/3 dirty nappies per day over the last week)

She might have one at the moment but have lost my sense of smell and feeling too ill to get out of bed to change her - DP due home any minute so will get him to check.

Sorry hope that doesn't sound negligent - I did change her 3 hours ago!

eagleray Mon 18-Mar-13 22:17:17

Sorry should also add that she is sleeping for reasonable periods, smiling when awake and generally seems happy (apart from hungry). Am just a bit haunted by her weight loss in her first few days where we didn't realise what had happened until it was regarded as quite serious...

RedKites Mon 18-Mar-13 22:17:46

Hello, sorry you are feeling ill, I hope you are feeling better soon. I'm not an expert, but I hope some of the following links might help a little.

Kellymom on normal supply settling down around 6-12 weeks
Kellymom on whether supply is really low
Also the first question on this page says, if you are sick: "Your breasts may feel softer but you will still have enough milk. Your baby may want to feed for shorter times but more often when you are ill. If you feel ill stay in bed (if you can) and feed your baby. "

Also, I'm not sure why you feel you can't take painkillers, but I don't know if the following might be useful to you? Breastfeeding network painkillers information sheet

eagleray Mon 18-Mar-13 22:22:56

Thanks Redkites that's really useful. DP has visited pharmacy tonight and they said I could only gargle paracetamol but have just had my limit of those today!

Interesting re the soft breasts - DD is feeding for much longer but am now wondering if that's partly because I'm letting her (on the basis that it's easier to do that than entertain her/try to get her to sleep).

AnisotropicWeetabixFTW Mon 18-Mar-13 22:24:12

My babies feed in the same way when I'm ill, when growth spurting or when getting ill themselves.

Do you have bf support in place?

There are LOADS of painkillers compatible with bfing...

AnisotropicWeetabixFTW Mon 18-Mar-13 22:26:34

I have sinusitis and earache. I am taking paracetamol and ibuprofen. Post cs, they give you morphine and co-codamol. All safe while bfing.

Please sort out your own pain relief, you must feel rotten.

AnisotropicWeetabixFTW Mon 18-Mar-13 22:27:29

Sorry, was co-dydramol post cs.

JollyGolightly Mon 18-Mar-13 22:27:46

Good advice above. Can I add; drink as much as you can possibly manage. You need loads for you and you need loads for feeding. It sounds like you're doing all the right things, get well soon.

CelticPromise Mon 18-Mar-13 22:29:20

Breastfeeding network info is to be trusted- they have their own pharmacist and know better than most who have no interest in bfing. I believe they also have a drugs helpline? You can def take ibuprofen, not sure if that might help?

Sounds like you are doing really well with bfing in difficult circumstances. Hope you feel much better soon. smile

eagleray Mon 18-Mar-13 22:38:36

Thanks all - I've been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen all day. I've taken stronger painkillers for throat pain before (have a tendency to get tonsilitis v badly now and again) but doubt very much they would be allowed now.

What I wanted was something to really numb my throat as it hurts so much.

DP here now and has brought strepsils, lockets and panadol for gargling (may take a chance with that one as won't be ingesting full dose).

DD had a very full dirty nappy apparently (couldn't smell it!) so it would seem she is getting some nutrition.

Also been told off for breastfeeding too much and wearing myself out so DP has taken her away for a bottle of formula (there are some slight issues there but we can leave these for now...)

If I'm not much better by tomorrow morning I will head off to the docs as will be on my own for the rest of the week (DP works away normally) and I'm not coping with this at all (even though technically I just have a cold!) I just feel so run down and sore all over

AnisotropicWeetabixFTW Mon 18-Mar-13 22:51:45

You don't need to drink as much as you can possibly manage. Just drink to thirst, as you normally would.

CelticPromise Mon 18-Mar-13 23:06:25

Poor you, it sounds rubbish. Can you Google the BfN drugs helpline and give them a ring in the morning? They'll give you a definite answer on what painkillers you can use. GP won't know unless they have special interest in bf. Hope you get some rest tonight.

Great advice here. Also - there is a wonder week at this age - a developmental leap that leads to fussiness at the breast, and more frequent feeds. Google wonder weeks smile

eagleray Tue 19-Mar-13 05:11:31

Thanks Bunty - I've been looking at the wonder weeks stuff as wondered if that was connected.

I've had the most godawful night - in so much pain and every time I swallowed I woke up. It was nearly as bad as the night I was in labour and they kept giving me painkillers that didn't touch the pain!

Am going to doc surgery at 7.30 and will take bfn drug sheet with me. Am so demented with pain and lack of sleep I don't want to miss opportunity to get a prescription (if that's what's needed). Also DP can only stay til 8am and need him to look after dd while I go.

Meanwhile dd has only woken once in the night and I fed her for 15 mins and it was enough to send her back to sleep. Boobs feel like they've had a bit of a chance to get back to normal (she fed 15 times yesterday)

eagleray Tue 19-Mar-13 14:16:49

Painkillers all sorted now! Managed to see GP first thing and he agreed to write a prescription for Diclofenac and also recommended a throat spray with Benzocaine in it (he looked them up to see if they were safe for BF and there wasn't any issues). I'm now relatively pain-free and it's such a relief.

DD is still wanting to feed fairly frequently, but I'm trying to switch sides a bit more often. Redkites the Kellymom page on supply settling down was a bit of a revelation as have been focused so much on getting supply going I hadn't got as far as reading anything about supply settling down!

Anisotropic hope you feel better soon - earache is so nasty

Thanks everyone for your help smile

Welovegrapes Tue 19-Mar-13 15:05:08

Glad dr has sorted you out.

I remember really worrying when my breasts suddenly felt soft! Then a bf counsellor at a drop in said it was totally normal once the body has got supply sorted. I carried on ebf until DS was over 6 months and never really got the really full feeling again.

eagleray Thu 21-Mar-13 12:48:33

An update: took DD to be weighed today and in the last 10 days she hasn't put on a single gram sad

I'm a bit gutted as she's been doing so well up until now, with really consistent weight gain for quite a while.

I've expressed a few times in the last couple of days (partly to see what supply was like) and it did seem fine, but did wonder if the milk was thinner than normal.

I'm still quite ill (walking the 200m to the clinic was quite painful) but am better than I was, so hoping if milk quality is an issue then it will get better again soon.

tiktok Thu 21-Mar-13 13:12:36

Sorry you're feeling worried, eagle.

Firstly, eyeballing expressed milk does not tell you anything at all. It is the least reliable and most misleading way of assessing milk. The quantity you can remove is also unrelated to the amount your baby might have at any one time. Also, quality of breastmilk is consistent across mothers and situations - it remains high. You can be confident your milk quality is just fine.

Unless you or your HCPs feel this is an urgent situation for your baby, continuing to work on supporting your supply is the right thing. This means frequent feeding on both breasts at least each time, expressing in addition, and monitoring formula supplements so they decrease over time rather than increase.

A call to any of the bf helplines would be a good idea, maybe?

eagleray Thu 21-Mar-13 13:35:35

Thanks for replying Tiktok - I'm puzzled as to the static weight as she's been feeding quite a bit more while I've been ill. On the plus side, she's still happy and alert.

I'm going to keep going with the BF (plus some FF) and will try to ring a helpline as soon as I can speak properly (lost my voice completely yesterday)

HV not overly concerned, but we're going to weigh her again in a few days' time to check that she's started gaining weight again.

tiktok Thu 21-Mar-13 15:03:38

Static weight over a week is not a concern if the baby is otherwise ok - weekly weighing is not a good way of getting a good picture of overall pattern anyway....too frequent.

Makes sense to keep an eye on her weight though, esp as you had probs at the start.

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