Have I irrevocably messed up my supply?

(8 Posts)
marsala28 Mon 04-Nov-13 22:36:44

At three weeks old we found out that my DD had posterior tongue tie and got it snipped, this explained (amongst other issues) why she was constantly feeding yet not putting on any weight after her post-birth weight loss.

At the TT clinic the lactation consultant weighed her before and after a feed to see how much she was getting, based on this I was advised to give her some top ups after every feed since she wasn't feeding enough. Of course I was advised to top her up with EBM but as I was getting practically nothing from my manual pump, I began topping her up with formula.

Now two weeks later I think I have really screwed up my supply and am wondering if it's irreversible. I know the top ups are working because DD finally went above her birth weight at day 29 which was a huge relief, and seems to be putting on more weight. However, since I started topping up she seems to be getting less and less from BF which means that, in order to make sure she's fed enough, I have to make up the difference with formula. A few feeds have been entirely formula, such as some nights when I am completely exhausted. We bought some baby scales to keep track of her weight and sometimes I weigh her before and after a feed; a week ago she was getting 45ml from BF but tonight one feed was only 20ml - and that was from both sides and after one hour!

How do I get out of this cycle of dwindling supply which leads to more formula which leads to less supply etc? I got an electric pump which I started using yesterday but it's hit and miss; last night I got nothing but this morning I got 20ml total after both sides (although I know supply can be higher in the morning). How often per day do I use it? If nothing is coming out, how long do I keep pumping before stopping? I also started taking fenugreek tablets tonight, will these really make a difference?

I won't lie, having some formula feeds is really nice occasionally as I can get some sleep or go out, plus she is sleeping in longer stretches. But I want to mainly BF so how do I get my supply up, and once it starts going down how hard is it to get it up again? I don't want to drop the formula totally right now because she needs to feed more than I am able to supply at the moment.

Sorry that's so long, any advice really appreciated!

Sunflower1985 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:04:06

Hello,
Firstly it's not irreversible. I'm in the process of upping bf and reducing ff. I've been taking domperidone but to be honest what I think has really helped is night feeds. I moved his last ff earlier in the evening then from then on only bf until morning. It is tough, won't lie, with feeds every hour or so, but a few weeks in and my supply is up and the spacing is getting longer. Tbh I don't think I could have done it without resorting to co-sleeping though. I had a nudge and a wink from my bf savvy HV yesterday like she knew this was the only way I could be coping.
Hope this helps, but of course what works for one often doesn't for another. Good luck .

mrsmalcolmreynolds Tue 05-Nov-13 08:04:26

I'm not a bf counsellor or anything so hopefully someone's much more qualified will come along soon but as I understand it the way to get supply up is to go all out bf on demand - have a day or two of loads of skin to skin time with the baby, feeding whenever she looks interested and offering both sides.

I've also never heard of weighing before and after feeds to see how much bm has been taken and to me it sounds bonkers - surely over the course of an hour the baby could wee 50 ml which immediately throws the calculation way off! I would put your scales and pump away and get back to basics if you want to ebf. If however you're ok to mix feed, that's fine too imo.

Good luck.

rabzz Tue 05-Nov-13 08:05:17

hello marsala i can completely understand what you are going through! when my baby was born she had latch issues and i got really sore nipples like wounded so i gave her a few feds of formula per day but that led to decreased milk supply. in order to go off formula i started feeding her as much as i could on the breast. (that did mean that we were breast feeding most of the day). however now she is expressly breastfed and i do get some expressed as well for going out! she is putting on weight and is happy. One small thing i did, though i am not sure if it will work with you or not, is eat dates. either eat them with milk or make a milk shake. i think it also helped.. I hope you get your supply back very soon!

stargirl1701 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:15:29

Have you heard of Supplemental Nursing Systems? I used the Medela one which I got from Amazon. It meant I could bf and ff at the same time. This meant I got more rest!

I think you need RL help. Have you tried a bf helpline? I found the LLL one excellent. 0845 120 2918

Is there a bf cafe near you? Have you been in touch with the unit where you gave birth? There may be an Infant Feeding Specialist.

I found the book 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' fantastic. The LLL also do good leaflets for specific bf issues. Have you been on the kellymom website? Really good online resource.

kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basics/decrease-formula/

tiktok Tue 05-Nov-13 09:19:31

marsala, it is very unusual in the UK to do 'test weighing' (weighing before and after a feed). There are many reasons why test weighing is not usually thought of as helpful - as part of a wider list of interventions and investigations it may have its place, and it's not totally ridiculous to do so, but it is highly questionable whether any sort of plan can be made based on the information. The level of accuracy is poor, for a start.

Yes, it sounds like your assessment of what has happened is pretty accurate - the formula is taking the place of breastfeeding with consequent impact on your supply.

You do need a plan - call one of the bf helplines and work one out together. The bfc will probably suggest you gradually reduce the formula at the same time as working on increasing the bf - and that does mean more time spent bf throughout the 24 hours. Supplemental nursing system - worth investigating though very fiddly smile Main thing is to have your baby skin to skin as much as possible, using both breasts each time at least, responding quickly to feeding cues, and doing this day and night.

You are now in the business of 'rescuing' your milk supply and it can be done - good luck smile

ebif Wed 06-Nov-13 11:03:32

Hi Marsala
I'm in the same boat. I was encouraged to give formula in hospital and nine weeks later I feel stuck. We are on our second bout of breast refusal. I have started taking fenugreek capsules which are meant to help supply. Last time I also shut myself away for a few days to focus on feeding myself up, relaxing and feeding bub in peace and quiet.

I was down to just two bottles a day and it has gone pear shaped again following a few nights in hospital with a fever. It is so upsetting and frustrating (for us all). Try not to take it personally (easier said than done!)

Sunflower -how did you get the domperion script? My GP wouldn't prescribe it as it is not actually scheduled for boosting milk supply.

wispa31 Sun 17-Nov-13 01:44:43

A clinical dietician advised me to include lots if pistachios, almonds and grapes and red grape juice to help with supply, make sure the juice is not from concentrate, tescos have it, brand name suncrown and lidl has it brandname vitafit. Its quite nice, has a wine like taste smile and yes take your fenugreek, i use solgar supps, 1 tab twice daily. I only felt properly engorged and leaked aftr starting taking it, never happened when milk came aftr birth.
Im now in your situ now aftr bringing in the odd bottle as felt ds not getting enough from me, (never seemed settled, constantly wanted to feed and i just know ILs were giving out behind my back that hes hungry all the time)

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