I think I've lost my supply - baby 2 weeks. Is it over or can I get it back?(28 Posts)
I have had a really painful, rough start to breastfeeding. So I took a break and pumped because the ulcers were torture and just pumped for a few days and fed my baby expressed milk and formula.
Anyway my nipples are mostly healed and I've gotten some great advice on latch. It still hurts, but less.
BUT I don't have nearly enough milk. My baby is so frustrated and my breasts feel soft. So I've been topping him up. He's a huge baby, too, and very hungry.
Can I do anything to get my supply back? Or have I ruined it?
I don't mind mixed feeding, especially to give me a break at night, but it doesn't feel mixed, it feels drips of breast milk and mostly formula.
Keep him on the boob as much as possible. Definitely not too late, your supply has barely got started at 2 weeks. However the worry about having enough milk and topping up with formula is a vicious circle- it works on a supply and demand basis so by giving formula you're reducing the demand and it makes it harder to get the supply back.
Also worth bearing in mind that cluster feeding (hours of nonstop feeding when its almost impossible to leave the couch/put baby down) is normal and is not a sign that baby needs topping up. It's how they tell you to produce more milk. I was stunned at how much time it takes in the early weeks but that's why you get mat leave.
The time to worry about supply is if baby isnt producing wet nappies and isnt gaining enough weight.
But for the time being, go on strike- no chores, no cooking, nothing.... just snuggle and feed and smell your precious bundle as much as possible and all will come right.
I lost my supply when my baby was about a month old (so a little bit further on with established bfing than you) and managed to get it back from my ds being 100% on formula to 100% breastfed. I kept offering feeds constantly and if he refused then I expressed what I could and it did work. I also did lots of skin to skin and my gp prescribed me something (the name of which has gone from my mind right now), though I'm not sure whether either of these things helped or not!
Do you feel like you've got the latch sorted now? Has your baby been checked for tongue tie?
I found a breastfeeding support group and nipple shields helpful in the early days of breastfeeding.
It's not too late but it's hard work. I breastfed and then topped up. I then pumped for a bit after every feed, including the night feeds. It was sore because you're basically pumping on empty breasts but my supply gradually increased until I managed to drop the topping up.
Feed feed feed. Put on a box set, keep him in your arms and feed on demand. I watched entire 9 seasons of Friends on the sofa with my first doing this. You will definitely 100% be able to get your milk supply back if you do this.
I also found breastfeeding excruciatingly painful to begin with, despite good latch, but 2-3 weeks in it always got better. Good luck.
Thank you for this advice!! I will try this sitting and feeding. The trouble is, it's so painful I'm scared of cluster feeds
I can't seem to make nipple shields work, they hurt too! Any tips? (I tried every size!)
trinpy - wow that makes me feel so hopeful that you got your supply back from 100% formula to 100% breast! The latch is better, but he's not perfect. I have to keep taking him off then trying again. It's so frustrating for both of us, then I end up giving him a bottle as he's so distressed from lack of milk.
Apparently he has a small posterior tongue tie but it isn't bad enough to snip (and I'm quite reluctant to because they said it's not so bad).
I haven't used nipple sheilds so I don't know. I did have supply issues though. Firstly as pps have mentioned feeding constantly is not a sign you have a poor supply- really it is about wet nappies, whether the baby is well and gaining weight etc. What to do is each feed Breast feed first from each side. Then give the formula top up- a measured amount. Then express for 15 minutes in each side. That way your body knows it needs to make more. If you get any milk (and if you are having supply problems you probably will get very little) add that to the formula top ups and decrease the volume of formula.
It is best if you can get advice on this from your local breastfeeding clinic if you have one. If feeding is sti painful it may be that your latch isn't quite right. Try the kellymom site or you tube for pointers.
Make sure you feed every three hours especially during the night (I think about 11-6) as that is when your hormones trigger the supply needed for fhe next day.
Many women manage after a week or so of this regime to turn things around- gradually reducing the amount of formula he gets by say 5ml a feed - don't go too fast.
I managed, but it can be a hard slog- be kind to yourself. Two weeks in is very early days so still plenty of time to fix everything.
If it's still really sore to feed then I'd insist on getting the tongue tie sorted. It might not be affecting your baby but it's probably affecting you and your ability ( and willingness) to offer your breast as much as you need to - and understandably so!
If no one said this yet, then by two weeks your breasts do lose that rock hard full feeling, and are soft even when there is lots of milk. It means your supply has settled down to the right amount for your baby, not that it's all gone. Do keep clusterfeeding if you can.
Not much to add other than I had the rock hard breasts the day my milk came in and then not again for 9 months on the day I returned to work, so that is not a sign if low supply. Ds was big and red constantly, as pp say it's the way of upping the supply.
Good luck, hope the pain settles.
I had low supply. I used to feed and pump at the same time keep baby on boon to stimulate supply. Gave in to hours of cluster feeding and pumped round the clock
You may be able to hire a hospital grade pump that helped me.
I just wimped out of one of the night feeds as it was too painful I don't know if I can carry on! I feel so guilty. Pumping now!
The tongue tie isn't mild or too small to snip if it's causing a lot of pain and affecting the feeding a lot, which it is.
It isn't supposed to be this hard. Really. Please seek further help with it so that you can carry on, if you'd like to.
I had a low supply (difficult birth + anaemia) and used to literally dread DS waking up fo a feed, I gave up after a month on the advice of Dr and HV. I felt huge guilt for ages and couldn't even face trying to bf ds2. Both are now healthy, intelligent teens and I regret the time I spent worrying. I'm not advising you to give up but if you do please don't waste time feeling bad, your baby will be fine.
I would urge you to get help from a local group. Without proper support, I fear you will continue to struggle and rely on formula, which in turn will negatively affect your milk supply.
Do you really truly deeply want to breast feed ? If so, you can. If not, that's all right too.
What footle says.
If you want to breastfeed partially or fully, you absolutely can. But if it is too much, let yourself off the hook. It is so hard with a newborn, sleep deprivation and recovering from birth and then trying to learn to breastfeed. Formula is there for a reason and you don't need to feel bad for formula feeding.
But if you want to breastfeed then there is support available, and it can and will get better. By the time baby is 3 months old it is so easy it's hard to understand why it was ever hard.
I formula fed from 5-8 weeks with what felt like drips of breast milk only. I only got 10mls if I pumped. I told health visitor how upset I was that I couldn't breastfeed and she just said if you want to breastfeed, throw the formula away and breastfeed him. She told me that if you gave a woman with one baby a second baby and told her to feed both, by the time it has been 24 hours her milk supply would have doubled and be enough to feed both babies. So I chucked the formula and went into hiding in my room with DS and exclusively breastfed from then on.
You'd need to get the pain sorted though to do this. I went to something called the Baby Cafe - might be worth a Google, they were fantastic. They can help you latch to reduce the pain and will sit with you for hours day after day.
Thank you so much for your replies! You have made me feel so much better. Hopeful that I can get it back and less guilty about it being so messy at the moment.
I've decided to go along to s breastfeeding support on Monday, I've just been relying on my (fantastic) midwives to watch the latch so far. And then I can talk about tongue tie.
I've been having another go with the nipple shields in the meantime to give my nipples a chance to heal. My baby hates them, which is frustrating, as I hoped they'd be the answer!
How did you get on nickname at the breastfeeding group yesterday? Hope it went well and feeding is improving. As a side note, which brand nipple shield are you using? Some are brilliant others pants!!!!
I know it's horrid but the night feeds are also the best for getting your supply up too. Have you got a local breastfeeding support team?
Haven't RTFT but yes, you can. I got it back quite a few times. Make yourself a nest somewhere near TV or books, with a pile of snacks and feed, feed, feed.
knaffedoff - bf support group was good! I am definitely going to go back. I have been using the medela ones, I'm still using them as i am not quite confident enough to stop yet but hoping the group next time will help! Are the medela ones good, do you think?
alongtimecoming - arg I know you're right. Nighttime is when I top up the most! Probably why I still don't have enough during the day!
pleasenottrump - that's so reassuring to know you got it back a few times. I think mine is definitely better than when I started this thread, but am by no means exclusively bf. Not even close... he probably has 12oz top up over the course of 24 hrs! But I've signed up for Netflix and downloaded some books and while I have the time, am planning to try the feed, feed, feed you suggest! Trouble is, he gets so frustrated after some time and I just give in and make a bottle after a while! How did you cope with your baby's frustration? I keep thinking I have a very hungry boy!
You sound like you are doing amazingly well, I don't have much to add except that your baby will be much more efficient at getting milk than a pump so don't worry if you are only expressing small amounts, that doesn't reflect the quantity they get direct from you.
I found the latching and unlatching the painful bit. I got over the worst by not unlatching- I got comfy on the sofa and literally left them on there all day.
Otherwise what everyone else says, it's unlikely you "can't" make enough milk, just you've got yourself in a negative cycle with the top ups which is affecting your supply. Which unfortunately means you've got a difficult week or so of doing nothing but feed, feed and feed some more.
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