Breastfeeding- help needed to increase milk supply!(23 Posts)
I'm looking for some advice on breast feeding. My little one is 9 weeks old. We had a difficult start in learning to breastfeed, it took us about 3 weeks to master it which was very tough going but I persevered and also expressed using a pump to try and increase milk supply in between. I put a lot of time and effort in to this and at times I felt like giving up but I felt a real sense of achievement when we finally cracked it.
Things were going well until now when suddenly in the last few days, I have found that my DS is never satisfied. We have been through growth spurts before and cluster feeding episodes but this feels different as he is crying a lot, is never satisfied after a feed and is always hungry.
Over the last 3 days, we have given him a bit of formula (around 100ml) once a day to top up as he seems to need it to satisfy his hunger. This has not been done lightly (as I am very familiar with the top up trap) but I can't have him screaming as he has been and going hungry.
I have tried pumping more, eating more of the foods which increase milk supply, as well as taking supplements for the same reason but things are not improving. I feel like all my hard work could be for nothing, especially when I top up with formula!
Does anyone have any advice on how I can increase my milk supply over and above what I'm doing? Or has anyone been in a similar position? Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!
You need to breastfeed more. Skin to skin, stay in bed/sofa and feed, feed, feed.
Read kellymoms website. Eat oats and take fenugreek until you reek of curry. Get an industrial pump and pump for 10 min after every feed and at least 2h over night (increased frequency =increased supply) Get a Lactation consultant to check your latch. You may need help
Feeding baby while Pump.
This is what I did. I had more milk than I knew what to do with. But the main thing is to chill out and give a bottle very now and again. It's fine.
I stopped at 6 months after 6 months of hell. A tongue tie op and no sleep. Then we moved on to a formula for allergic children.
I find the pressure on mums to breastfeed when they find it difficult really disgusting.
Do your best but let it go before you get in as deep as I did.
It might not be an issue with the amount of milk you have. The best way to up your supply is just to feed as often as possible, as well as lots of water for yourself. I fed one breast per feed; if baby was hungry soon after a feed, I would then offer the other side.
Oats did it for me. Hearty bowl of proper porridge in the mornings and within a few days I was spurting like a fountain. Could have been something else that caused it, but oats were the only change I'd consciously made. This was at about 3 months, if i remember correctly.
Good luck, and hopefully you'll find some advice here that works for you
Make sure you are expressing after night feeds. Between something like 11pm and 5am try to fit in two feeds and express after both. It is so rough I am sorry you are going through this. It is the night feeds which are lost important as you produce hormones then that set up supply. I expressed during the night even when Dd1 began to sleep through. It is SOOO tough, but I thinky helped.
Don't give up- you can get there. I hope you have a decent box set to watch.
Thanks loads for the advice- I really appreciate it! Thanks also for the words of support and encouragement- your kind words are really helping. If I can make it to 6 months, I'll be really proud and happy!
I have started eating porridge every morning but only for the last 3-5 days. I haven't seen an improvement yet but maybe this will happen soon?
I've also been taking fenugreek but only half the recommended dose as this was the amount advised by the midwife, but perhaps I need to increase the dose?
I've also been trying to drink more water too.
It sounds like I need to increase the frequency of feeding to increase supply and even express when he is asleep at night (he sleeps for 3-4 hours at the moment)- which sounds very hard (I love my sleep)- but probably necessary.
Do keep the advice coming though as any other ideas are most welcome! Thanks!
I had problems with supply too, and you have my sympathy . It's so tough: physically exhausting and emotionally wrenching, especially when a growth spurt seems to undo all your hard work.
I posted on a thread a while ago with things I wish I had been told about breastfeeding here
The main things that come to mind:
1. If you haven't already, then get a lactation consultant to check your latch: if it's bad then it's hard for them to drink (think squashed straw)
2. Increase feeds. Spend a few days in bed skin-to-skin, cuddling and putting him to the breast whenever he is remotely interested. Have food and drink set up beside you at the start of the day, and do nothing else. This really will make a difference.
3. Top ups are fine to get you past a difficult start - but you can end up sticking with them when they aren't needed out of nervousness/not trusting yourself. Always breast feed before the top up, and keep trying to reduce it - eg reduce by 10ml every few days.
4. Expressing is great if you can do it, but it didn't work for me and just made me more tired and stressed (which affects your ability to make milk). Putting him to your breast more often is the other way to do it. You don't need to wait until your breasts feel full, and it's fine to keep switching breasts to keep them interested.
5. Do consider reflux: it causes pain after feeding, and sometimes they want to feed more since the milk dilutes the acid and relieves the pain. Does he pull off or arch away while feeding?
Best of luck.
I was hospitalised when my baby was 4 months for 2 days. Was a nightmare as she was exclusively breastfed. My supply supply dipped for a couple of fays afterwards but I just fed all the time, offering a feed every half an hour and drank LOADS. Back to normal very quickly
Thanks so much for the advice! Think I will take your advice and spend a day or two in bed with him just breastfeeding.
I will also take your advice and drink even more water as well.
To be honest, I'm willing to try anything and everything as it's so stressful and such hard work not being able to satisfy him. He cries so much at the moment and it's really distressing.
Thanks again all for responding to me- much appreciated xx
Food and drink won't increase your milk supply, just eat what you fancy and drink to your thirst . My first thought was are you certain it's hunger? No temperature? Other signs of illness, ear infection? Also, and I say this in the hope I'm wrong, but you are approaching colic age. Is is a high pitched scream? Wind? Have you always pumped? It seems unlikely that after 9 weeks of ebf (until the f top ups)your supply would suddenly drop. I'd go with lots of skin to skin, unlimited access to the breast and lots of feeding, feed from both breast every feed. Have you tried any of the bf help lines? Look up breast compressions.
Thanks for the advice. I will definitely try more skin to skin and increase the frequency of feeding on the breast.
I have wondered too whether he has colic or lots of wind- which is definitely possible as well. I'll look into this further.
Also, I wasn't aware that there are bf helplines. I'll take a look at this too.
Are you having latch problems (shallow latch, slipping off, clicking sound, very farty baby) or sore nipples at all? Asking as posterior tongue tie can start to cause problems around the 10 week mark. if so, get a lactation consultant to check for a tie.
How has weight gain been goin up till now?
Are you sure it is hunger rather than, for example, overtiredness (ie does he settle well once you give the top up)?
I would not advise interrupting your one block of 3-4 hours sleep - you need that sleep! But frequent feeding in the day is a good idea.
I think your baby is looking for comfort more than feeding. I had days like that in my early days and midwives nist told me to keep mine on the boob. There were times shell have breast for 1 and a half hours then I'll go to shower and then she'll cry for more. Your body will make how much it needs to make, some baby's cluster feed for long periods. My ML said she fed my brother in law every hour on the clock for 10 months
What about wearing baby in a soft wrap or sling, mine settled when held close, also good for breast feeding once you get the hang of it. If his weight gain and nappy out put is Ok he is getting enough milk
I had low supply at the beginning too. Oats, fenugreek, fennel tea & expressing loads helped me. X
All really useful advice, thank you. Our DS is now 14 weeks and I only finally feel my supply is really established. I think every time we breast feed we should feel really proud of ourselves.
Much respect to all those who manage to Exclusively Breast Feed.
Strength to everyone on their Breast feeding journey!
Make sure your baby gets lots of hind milk to fill their tummy up, not just fore milk from lots of snacky feeding
Like Nicky I'm wondering if it's something else. My lo feeds so much when she's poorly and sometimes the only signs of being poorly are the feeding - then I get a cold and realise that is what she was fighting off with the feeding.
If baby is satisfied on the breast and just crying when off keep them on the breast. Are they refusing breast and crying? Or just want to perma-feed?
You are doing so well and should be really proud of yourself 😀
My baby is coming up for 5 months now, and with this one and my first (who was harder work!) I have lots of oats - porridge, flapjack (look for soup dragons soft flapjack recipe here on mums net). Lots and lots of water - if I'm a bit dehydrated then it makes it a bit harder for my body to make milk so try and drink shed loads. On my first I also did fenugreek, fennel tea, alcohol free becks blue (urgh). Haven't needed to on this one. Also make sure you avoid anything that might suppress your milk eg peppermint tea.
Peak prolactin surge us 2-5am ish if I remember correctly (read it on kellymom website and a lactation consultant confirmed it with my first) so skin to skin and lots of milk during this patch might also help (all skin to skin is great and will help, just this time period might help more).
Kelly mom is great as pp have said, and lactation consultant if you can find one too.
As babies grow they go through developmental leaps. These leaps happen at roughly the same time for every baby, and are predictable. From each leap there are new outcomes such as being able to grip, being able to see further etc. All of this is very unsettling for the baby!
There is a leap at 8/9 weeks. Leaps are recognisable as the baby feeds more, cries more, is much more needy and much harder to settle. The good news is it will pass and your sunny baby will be back soon! In the mean time he wants lots of milk and lots of contact with you, so just keep cuddling and offering him the breast.
I really recommend the wonder weeks app. It charts these leaps and explains with each one what is going on biologically (so what new skills your baby is mastering) and how you can help them. It was honestly a life saver for me throughout the first year! It sounds from your op that you are blaming yourself/your breast milk/your decision to introduce formula for your baby being unusually unsettled, when it's really not your fault at all!
Go easy on yourself, you are doing a brilliant job
To Increase Milk Supply
Meals and snacks
Plenty of nice water
Pile of nappies and other baby stuff
Collect ingredients and utensils
Assemble - mother and baby in bed, food and drink, and useful items to hand.
Allow baby unlimited access to the nipple (ie, both nipples (wink))
Bake gently in the bed for at least 24 hours.
Do not allow visitors, ideally, not even phonecalls. They disturb the concentration.
Do this as often as required.
This works because the mother and baby focus entirely on what is important.
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