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Keeping up a low supply when baby sleeps through

(21 Posts)
StiffyByng Fri 15-Jul-11 23:19:15

I have a low milk supply owing to breast hypoplasia. I am mixed feeding and maintaining about 50/50 breast formula thanks to a mountain of supplements (domperidone, fenugreek, goat's rue) and pumping. DD usually feeds only from me in her dream feed and throughout the night. The last couple of nights, she has slept right through the night from the dream feed to morning, and another night she slept from 10pm without waking at all. I am nervous about the implications of this for my (precarious) supply. Should I be pumping at night if she isn't waking? Should I wake her for a dream feed? She is almost 9 weeks and was EBF until 7 weeks.

japhrimel Sat 16-Jul-11 08:29:55

I wouldn't wake her, but as supply is such an issue for you, set an alarm to pump at least once during the night. Night-time can be an important time for feeds to establish supply, plus if she's sleeping through you'll probably get more EBM by doing a session of just pumping at night.

StiffyByng Sun 17-Jul-11 09:27:38

Thanks. She went from 9.30 to 6.30 last night waking only at 2.30 and I didn't leak at all this morning, which I normally do, so I clearly need to do something to preserve night emptying or I could be out of milk within the week!

moondog Sun 17-Jul-11 09:28:55

Why are you mix feeding?
The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will make.

narmada Sun 17-Jul-11 14:12:43

moondog, the OP's mixed feeding because she has tubular hypoplastic breasts, and therefore cannot make all the milk her baby needs.

moondog Sun 17-Jul-11 14:13:44

Oh ok.
But isn't that the case even so?
(Not sure of the implications of this condition.)
Well done for your perserverance in what sound like very difficult circumstances.

Sossiges Sun 17-Jul-11 14:16:35

Can you sleep with her? then she can feed at night which will boost your supply and you won't have to pump at night (which I found a right PITA - woke me up completely). Well done on the bf

Sossiges Sun 17-Jul-11 14:18:17

Also very envy that she is sleeping through - that can't be good for any new mum grin. I've had about four full nights sleep in 2 years (double envy)

StiffyByng Sun 17-Jul-11 18:15:28

Ha, Sossidges!

We cosleep, so she has full access. She has always been a pretty good sleeper though-she seemed to know it was 'night' from the start. So between that and the cosleeping we've done well. I don't currently pump at night at all because she feeds and my LC said that, plus rest, were better than early hours pumping sessions, but as I said, I'll do it if it keeps my supply up. Current routine is EBF at night and as often in the day as it seems enough, followed by formula top ups in the day if needed. I pump as often as I can, given the day's activities, and her last top up of the day is expressed milk.

StiffyByng Sun 17-Jul-11 18:17:47

Sossiges, sorry. And that ha! was meant to be sympathetic in tone...

StiffyByng Sun 17-Jul-11 18:23:19

Moondog, my breasts lack lactating tissue, so while I can maximise my supply as much as possible for what I have, I am one of those 'very few women' whose breasts absolutely cannot sustain a child. I have been heartbroken about it but have to see formula as 'medicine' for DD to supplement her 'food' that comes from me. Before we switched I was feeding constantly and I still had an unhappy baby with weight stasis.

Thanks, all, for the support.

Sossiges Mon 18-Jul-11 01:26:56

Hey, no worries. Don't be too sympathetic, over time I've become insomniac - means I can spend half the night more time on MN! I obv didn't read your OP properly, anyway, durr!
Still wouldn't bother with the night pumping, sleep more important. If you wake up, just give her a little poke in the ribs, see if she wants to feed. As long as your dd's feeding, you'll be making milk, so don't worry about running out. Though I know it's hard not to. There's a growth spurt coming up soon (12 weeks?) so I'm sure she'll want to feed more then. You sound as if you're doing really well & congrats on the babe smile

Marabou Mon 18-Jul-11 13:51:28

StiffyByng I hope you don't feel as if I'm butting in in your thread.. Just had a few questions regarding this tpic, I hope you won't mind!

My DS is 10 weeks old today and he generally wakes once in a night to eat. I was thinking that perhaps in a few weeks' time he will sleep through. My supply is adequate, but would I have to get up to pump?

StiffyByng Mon 18-Jul-11 19:59:49

Don't mind at all, Marabou. I hope someone can answer! I suspect that you don't.

RobynLou Mon 18-Jul-11 20:03:43

marabou, no, no need to pump at all.

stiffybyng, could you not replace one or two daytime feeds with bm instead of getting up to pump?

Clueless79 Mon 18-Jul-11 20:51:54

Also butting in here - hope that's ok? I was just coming on here to start a very similar thread but thought people on here may be able to help. My ds has just started (unexpectedly and VERY pleasingly!) sleeping through the night - from 9 till 6 the last couple of nights. I'm concerned that my adequate but not great milk supply will lessen with the loss of night feeds. I also quite expect that this fantastic sleeping won't last. So 2 issues - should I pump through the night to maintain supply? And what if ds then wakes up needing a night feed and I've just pumped and don't have enough for him?? He's only 11 weeks if that makes any difference.

RobynLou Mon 18-Jul-11 21:11:31

barring exceptional medical problems like the op's there is no need to pump, just feed your baby whenever they ask and your body will make plenty of milk.

I've been feeding my babies for 4 years without any pumping.

you breasts are like rivers, not lakes - the flow may slow a little at the end of a feed but your breasts are never empty, even if they feel that way and you can't get anything out with a pump your baby will be able to.

Clueless79 Mon 18-Jul-11 21:28:06

Thanks very much - that's a reassuring way to look at it. It also gives me more confidence to approach expressing some milk to store for occasions when I may need to leave milk - I've previously been wary of when to do it in case it compromises feeding my hungry boy! I never feel like I have that much milk as pumping doesn't tend to produce great results.

RobynLou Mon 18-Jul-11 21:32:50

as I said I've never pumped myself, but tips I've heard include, looking at pics of your baby while pumping, pumping on one side while feeding on the other, always pumping at the same time of day, drink lots of water. good luck!

StiffyByng Tue 19-Jul-11 13:18:02

Clueless, I've read many times that quantity expressed is no signifier of supply! There are people on here successfully EBFing who apparently pump even less than me! The evidence of my poor supply was very slow weight gain, a constantly hungry and fretful baby, and weighing her before and after a feed.

Robyn, she's breastfed at every feed already. Today for example she had a breastfeed around 7.30, then took 30mls formula. She then had another lengthy feed around 9.30 and took about another 30/40 mls. I then pumped a magnificent 10mls! Then another short breastfeed around 12.30.

Sossiges Tue 19-Jul-11 15:59:06

You can have tons of milk and only be able to pump a tiny bit - the amount you can pump is not a reflection of how much milk you are making.

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