Do I have enough milk? Ds 6 weeks

(13 Posts)
adagio Sat 20-Apr-13 23:07:25

Well done on getting so far and definitely consider calling a helpline.

I have only in the last couple of weeks started to notice let down - thats at four months old. Never noticed/felt it before. I assumed this was normal at the time

To boost supply in the early days I did pumping one side while baby fed the other. I also drank non alcoholic Becks blue (urrrgh), ate flapjacks and porridge, and drank copious pints of squash or water. No idea if this helped but hey ho.

I read somewhere - I think on here actually - that the baby feeding from the bottle is very different to breast in that every swallow creates suction which draws another mouthful, which of course has to be swallowed to avoid drowning, which in turn creates suction drawing another mouthful in etc - in other words, baby can down a bottle very very fast without necessarily intending to. On the boob she can stop for a rest/nuzzle, stimulate your nipple without drinking etc.

Oh, and I think I just wrote off at least 8 weeks - we slept/fed, sling slept then fed, went for brief outing e.g. half way round the block then fed, we went to bed, and woke up every couple of hours to feed, and every evening was baby on boob - I would swap her top the other side every so often when I got a dead arm, and very occasionally might get up for a wee (sometimes she came too, still on the boob…) Let the baby do what she needs to to boost supply - that probably means sticking to you like a limpet.

I guess my point is that now, at four months it is much easier - we have gaps of wakefulness and everything! But for the first couple of months it was boob or sleep, don't worry about it and stick with it, its sooo worth it. Now she feeds in ten minutes on occasion and I can leave the house with just the baby and my purse if I have a mind to (no need to faff with bottles etc unless I choose to)

midori1999 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:44:27

It's very hard when your families' idea of parenting or feeding a baby doesn't fit with your own.

Lots of feeding is good, can you use a sling to help keep your hands free?

I think it must be quite common not to feel let downs. I felt them early on, but never when DD was feeding. I would just get a tingly feeling in my breasts and notice I had leaked a bit. It stopped after a few weeks. If I have done breast compressions whilst using a pump I've noticed the letdown because I can see the flow increasing into the pump, but I still never feel them. Not that I express anymore, DD is 22 months and we are still BF, so obviously not feeling let downs isn't a problem.

Bringbring Sat 20-Apr-13 22:04:23

The countess, it's smashing to hear someone else hasn't had an obvious let down. I've been made to feel like it is critical from the hcp who have been "helping" me.

It's good to know that to get my supply up I need to feed often. Ds is living on the boob, quite fussy and bobbing on and off but always on. I can't go anywhere or do anything! I think this is why DH thinks he's hungry, because ds can drain a bottle in 10 mins. I wish DH would learn a bit more about bf or read a few baby books but his family is very ff and routine parenting. Not judging, just different to me.

Jenny70, no offence taken. Possibly, ds is adjusting to weight he should be. He was two weeks overdue and was a big boy at over 9lbs!

Jenny70 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:43:47

Sorry, I didn't mean to say he was being malicious in undermining your breastfeeding, he's just concerned, I'm sure. I just meant to chat to him about how this is important to you and every FF he does decreases your supply (he's probably never thought about it like that).

Also, when born babies come out at a percentile that reflects the nutrition they had in-utero, to a certain degree. Once they are born, they fall into the percentile that their genetic makeup "should" make them - so you can have a big baby because baby had lots of nutrients from the placenta, but their genetics makes them a 10%'ile size, so they fall (gradually) through the centile charts. Or small baby meant to be a 90%ile size will gain weight and increase centiles.

Obviously weight drops needs to be watched, but if no medical reasons are found, it may be that your baby is adjusting to the centile they are "meant" to be on.

They really should come with instructions, shouldn't they??

midori1999 Sat 20-Apr-13 20:07:45

Feeding your baby more often would help your supply far more than expressing and also be less faff for you. You can also increase supply by 'switch feeding', where you offer the other side each time the baby unlatches or if they stop actively sucking and swallowing. You can offer as many 'sides' as you need to. Breast compressions will also help and should also keep your baby interested for longer. You can get info on these things from Kellymom.

If you do want to pump or feel the need to (you can top up with this instead of formula if you want) then a double pump would stimulate supply better than a single and 15-20 mins pumping per session is enough really, so it'll save you time too.

Perhaps you could also have a chat to your DH about why giving too much formula is counterproductive if you want to breastfeed, although its understandable he (and you) would be anxious.

Do try and speak to one of the BF helplines.

TheCountessOlenska Sat 20-Apr-13 18:12:01

Sorry meant to say as well - i never can express hardly anything, never leak, never really felt let down with my first (do now with new baby for some reason). have confidence that your baby feeding is the best way to get your milk out smile good luck

Bringbring Sat 20-Apr-13 18:00:09

Thanks for the replies, very reassuring to hear the crying is normal! As a first timer it's so important to hear that I'm not "doing anything wrong".

Jenny70, yes I know DH is undermining my bf. not malicious but prob because it was so awful having ds hospitalised and force fed. I have been taking over feeds and do nights exclusively for this reason.

Modori1999, I completely agree I could do with someone who really knows about bf. I did have naff all support at the beginning and I'm only still bf out of sheer bloody mindedness!

I'm just goibgvto continue for the next week or two, feeding and expeessing as much as poss, checking ds weight gain and not stressing about low express amounts and not feeling a let down.

Thank you all for replies, I was really doubting myself earlier but I can see something must be going in if stuff is coming out!!!

TheCountessOlenska Sat 20-Apr-13 17:22:27

My fully breastfed 6week old spends his time either crying or on the boob - he's my second so I know it's normal grin

Jenny70 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:12:04

Your DH is undermining your breastfeeding efforts, the more formula baby gets the less milk you produce, you are entering a declining supply circle (pumping isn't going to produce as much as baby feeding).

If DH says the baby is hungry, get him to bring it to you for a feed - even if the last feed was only 30min ago - your body will realise the last feed wasn't enough and make more milk for the next feed.

Six weeks is a classic period of unsettled behaviour, and extra demand for feeding. It is likely to be a combination of growth spurt = more milk needed and also an increased awareness of the world = overstimulation and tiredness.

Many little babies will cry because they are tired - even if they are swaddled, in bed and tired, they can cry - which seems crazy, but sometimes they are so overwound they can't fall asleep. Mine barely had more than 30min awake between feeds at this age, just feed, nappy, brief look around and then back to sleep.

If your DH is misreading the tiredness crying as hunger, and feeding baby, it could set up the wrong association with food well past baby being baby.

This is such a hard age, but muddle through it as best you can!

midori1999 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:03:03

Oh dear OP, what a difficult start you have had and what a pity you didn't get better support early on. sad For a 2 week old baby a 2-3oz 'top up' after every feed isn't really a top up and is actually a full feed, or more than that. This likely spaced feeds out, which mean that even though you were breastfeeding before feeds, the feeds were too spaced out to really get your supply going in the first place. You've done incredibly well to get this far in the circumstances.

You know you have enough milk by the number of wet and dirty nappies your baby has and that they are gaining weight. That isn't necessarily 4oz per week, a baby might put on 1oz one week and 6oz another, which is why it's generally only recommended to weigh once a month at most after birth weight is regained. The chances are you do have enough milk, but it's possible that circumstances have meant your supply isn't as good as it could be.

I'm not sure what area you are in, but I think it would be really helpful to get some advice from someone who really knows about and supports breastfeeding. You could try Milk Matters if you are in their areas, or an IBCLC, or try fist of all ringing one of the BF helplines, such as NCT, LLL or Breastfeeding Network. You can find their numbers on their pages and it may take a few tries to get through, but do keep trying.

Bringbring Sat 20-Apr-13 15:40:28

I'm adding formula on medical advice, from drs and the bf consultant. We have reduced from a 2-3oz top up every feed in week 2 to just one feed before bed/ nighttime cluster feed.

I wouldn't have family support to stop ff. at the beginning I didn't have enough milk and the advice of community midwives to ebf led to hospitalisation. I wouldn't go down that road again without feeling very secure in my body's ability to lactate ( which I'm not!)

How do you know whether you have enough milk?

forevergreek Sat 20-Apr-13 14:55:23

I would stop all formula for a week. And feed unlimited. If baby is still having wet nappies etc after a day or two then def enough.
It's usually recommended not to add a bottle until after 6 weeks of just bf sonbf is established properly first

Bringbring Sat 20-Apr-13 14:51:29

At the mo I'm mix feeding, unlimited bf during the day and a bottle before bed.

I'm on 10mg domperidone x4 a day and ds was hospitalised in his first week because he had lost 14% of body weight. I was determined to bf and had help from the bf consultant and did the pumping every three hours when ds was in hospital. I have been observed having good latch and no tounge tie.

I've noticed my husband trying to feed the baby more and more formula. Ie, you go for a bath and he is sneaking a bottle in, giving him 5oz before bed rather than 3/4 etc. he often comments that the baby is crying because he is hungry.

I still try to pump to encourage supply but I rarely get more than 1oz in a 30 min session. I have no pain bf, but can't feel a let down, no pain on latch, no breast leaking etc.

Baby only put on 1oz last week. Hv keeps saying to do what I do and that we just need to observe what line he follows (started on 91, length and head on 75, weight now on 50)

I'm a first time mum, I went to a bf support group but I was the only one there. I have no idea of whether I have enough milk, we have good wet nappies and poos bit the baby does cry a lot and spends loads of time on the boob. I'd transfer to formula if I didn't have enough milk but I have no idea if I have enough milk. Any ideas? Thanks for reading a mammoth post!

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