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Should my milk drip or flow?

(51 Posts)
Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 21:47:50

Hi, just wondering what should be happening when I am expressing my milk. My milk is just dripping into the container but I was expecting it to kind of flow, I am having problems with my supply meeting Ds' needs and am wondering if this is a sign that it isn't going to work? Wish breastfeeding was easier for me, I really want to be able to do it right but I seem to be having one problem after another sad

GreenTeapot Sun 19-Jun-11 21:50:58

Expressing is a totally rubbish way of measuring how much milk you're making. Please, please don't think it means you haven't got milk. Drips or flows are ok, either can be normal, but neither bear any relation to how much milk you make. Why do you think you aren't making enough?

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:02:20

Please don't pay any heed to the amount you are able to express being an indication of your mi supply. It is total rubbish.

Some women can happily feed twins but aren't able to express even an ounce, while othe women can express 5 ounces in 5 minutes. No breast pump can ever be as good at getting the milk from your breast as your baby is as it is a totally different action.

How old is your DS and what makes you think that you aren't meeting his needs?

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:02:52

We ended up in hospital last week due to ds loosing weight and not having any dirty nappies, the doctors said I wasnt producing enough milk to feed ds and after expressing and only producing 30ml of milk from both sides after an hour I agreed to try him on a little bit of formula (30ml) after each feed, about an hour after his first 'top up' feed he had a dirty nappy (his 3rd in 12 days) and 2 days later he had gained 4oz after loosing 6oz from day 5-12.

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:04:08

Ds is 19 days old, i did have another post on here a few days ago but not sure how to do links.

GreenTeapot Sun 19-Jun-11 22:07:22

Ok, you need specialist advice. Have you seen a breastfeeding counsellor? How old is your DS, and if you can give his weight at birth and subsequently there may be someone here who can advise you.

I am not a counsellor but I think you definitely need real life support with the BFing - it's entirely possible that you will be able to feed him successfully if you get proper help quickly.

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:18:14

Sorry Icanonly I remember you now. You really, really need to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor or lactation consultant (IBCLC) preferably in person ASAP. It is important that your DS continues feeding at the breast frequently and effectively. And that some strategies are put in place to help you increase your milk supply. Supplementing with bottles is not ideal for this and will eventually lead to a decrease in your own supply.

Did you manage to read the info on Kellymom?

It might be easier for posters to support you if you stick to one thread, I'll link to your 2 previous threads presently.

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:20:58

A friend of mine is a bf counsellor and she said he seemed to be feeding really well, this was before we were admitted to the hospital though but she has got a baby herself so dont want to ask too much from her. Will ask her if she can recommend someone to talk to
Ds was 9lb when he was born, 8lb7 on day5 and 8lb 1oz on day 15 (in hospital). he was weighed on day 17 and had gone up to 8lb 5oz.

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:23:09

Previous thread and original thread

RitaMorgan Sun 19-Jun-11 22:27:20

Can you call the NCT or La Leche League and see if there are any groups/bf counsellors near you?

How often are you putting him to the breast now?

FWIW I've never been able to express more than an oz, and that was pumping one side while feeding off the other. It's only ever been drips!

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:27:23

Thank you MBJ

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:32:43

Rita, I have been feeding him every chance I get, we had a lazy morning so he fed on and off for a few hours then the same again tonight. He never seems to want to stop though so not sure if he is feeding or just using me for comfort, trying to swap him over regularly to try and keep him awake

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:33:56

It would definitely be worth seeing someone again as there has been a change in circumstances since your friend has seen you.

Remember that breast milk is made in a supply and demand basis, so when you are topping up your baby with formula, he is not demanding that from your body, so it starts to think that it need not make it. I'm not suggesting that you stop supplementing your baby, but there are ways of increasing the stimulation of your breasts by feeding to help increase your milk supply.

The two main things you want to do is:

1. Increase stimulation at the breast to increase supply
2. Increase effective milk transfer

These 2 things are often linked but some strategies to increase stimulation are: increased frequency of feeding at the breast, masses of skin-to-skin time, switch feeding, using a supplemental nursing system instead of bottles etc. Increasing effective milk transfer; check and improve on latch and positioning, check for tongue-tie (this may be missed if not looked for specifically by someone who knows what they are doing), breast compressions.

It would be really valuable for you to speak to someone and work with someone over a period of time to overcome this as it will be process rather than a quick fix and you will need a lot of support.

There are some excellent, knowledgable posters here on MN who can help but I really think that you will benefit from person-person support.

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:35:47

Whereabouts in the country are you Icanonly?

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:40:01

The midwife did say he had very mild tongue tie but said it was not enough to be affecting his feeding. Will spend some time tomorrow trying to get some 1-1 support with this.

Icanonlytry Sun 19-Jun-11 22:40:31

I am in Manchester MBJ

RitaMorgan Sun 19-Jun-11 22:46:16

Midwives aren't necessarily the best people to judge whether a tongue-tie will affect feeding - I'd push for a second (expert!) opinion. Even a mild tongue-tie can have a big impact, and if a baby isn't feeding efficiently and lost weight with no other explanation, personally I would insist on having the tie snipped asap.

It's a very simple procedure, takes seconds and doesn't seem to upset the baby very much.

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:46:31

It is a myth that the degree of tongue-toe is related to the effect on feeding. If you are struggling to meet your DS's demands this may very well be a contributing factor! Read this excellent post about TT myths.

IF you are near London Ann Dobson may be able to asses and snip if necessary...

TheRealMBJ Sun 19-Jun-11 22:48:27

Sorry x-post.

OrganicCarrotCake knows a TT specialist in the North (West Yorkshire IIRC but she is willing to travel), I will see if I can find her name for you.

RitaMorgan Sun 19-Jun-11 22:57:55

From a quick google it looks like there's a lactation consultant called Avril Smith in Warrington - not sure if she can divide tongue ties.

gforgiraffe Sun 19-Jun-11 23:23:58

Icanonlytry if you are anywhere near Tameside or Glossop there is great support available. There is a group called Little Angels who offer breastfeeding support, they can come to visit you or chat over the phone. They work closely with midwives as well. If you are anywhere near Glossop there is a breastfeeding support group on a Wednesday 9.303am - 11.30am at the George St Clinic. There is usually a specialist breastfeeding support midwife and a Little Angels volunteer there who can check your latch and help with a strategy to hopefully increase supply. Both ladies are superb, really helpful and friendly. It is a drop-in session and everyone is welcome whether you are having problems or not. I go most weeks to chat to likeminded ladies and pick up little tips etc.
Good luck and just to let you know, I am currently feeding DC3, 7 months and can only get 3oz total when expressing !! I'm sure he must get much more than that when he feeds as he only feeds off one breast at a time yet my 3oz expressed is from both !!
Keep at it and there is lots of help out there.

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 20-Jun-11 14:32:10

Nothing particularly helpful to add to all the good advice above, but just wanted to say I was in a very very similar position with mine (without the suspected tongue tie) and I wish I'd seen a lactation consultant and attended a support group much sooner. They really can help enormously.

As it is, I did keep BF, albeit with 2 top-ups a day, and once solids started I was able to cut the bottles completely. So, go see an expert and keep positive! Will keep you in my thoughts.

Limelight Mon 20-Jun-11 18:06:01

Just wanted to add my support and say really really do speak to someone. It does sound to me that this is partly TT related. A friend of mine had a nightmare trying to persuade her MW and GP that her DD's 'mild' TT was an issue. She won her battle and it was sorted and the result was an end to all of the pain she was in and her DD starting to gain weight for the first time.

And as everyone else has said, expressing is a rubbish guide. I've successfully fed two babies and I have never ever been able to express more than about 2oz per day. And that's only if I don't feed on one boob overnight and express first thing in the morning, whilst also feeding DC. It just doesn't work for me, but I'm damn sure I'm producing plenty of milk.

You need to find someone who REALLY knows what they're talking about and will be on your side. The sad truth is that too many of our medical professionals are not that.

Also... comfort sucking not a problem in my opinion. As others have said, long feeds might just be about your DC trying to build up your supply.

Limelight Mon 20-Jun-11 18:13:27

These are the people who really helped my friend incidentally. http://milkmatters.org.uk/

crikeybadger Mon 20-Jun-11 19:01:00

The lady that runs milkmatters is the same lady that is Analytical armadillo (The realmbj* linked to her article about tt previously).

I think she has a helpline and it would definitely be worth having a chat with her.

Like others have said, please try and speak to someone about this as soon as you can.

good luck smile

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