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Fenugreek guidance?

(13 Posts)
funnylittlekaty Sun 24-Jul-11 16:29:56

Hello...just in search of some advice. After a battle with breastfeeding, I am now attempting to get to exclusively express for my little cherub who is 10 weeks old. I've got a hospital grade pump and express 5 or 6 times a day but I've yet to get to the stage where I can meet all his hungry needs, so we are adding formula as well. I express average 120ml per express. I've heard that fenugreek is good for increasing milk production but it says on the side I need to consult my dr before taking it. It's in the capsule form.
Whaddya think?
Tia xx

Justtrying Sun 24-Jul-11 16:46:42

No expert but I made fenugreek tea, 1 tsp seeds in a mug of boiling water, 3 times a day. Worked for me, but pumped 8 times a day to increase milk. Have now given up, as too tiring, as well feeding 4 times a night. Good luck, hope you have lots of support.

rubybambini Sun 24-Jul-11 17:29:27

Hello - I'm just trying fenugreek at the moment.

Background: DD is 15 weeks, my periods have come back already (cries) and she sleeps from 8 til 8 (with a dreamfeed). I think the combination of those things has really lowered my supply, plus, she's simply getting bigger and needs more food.

For example: three weeks ago, I was waking with exploding and leaking boobs and could easily express 125ml+ from one boob in the morning. Now, all of a sudden, I'm lucky if I can express 80ml, and DD has got very fussy on the breast, and we do a lot of swapping back and forth from boob to boob.

So I'm pumping like a mad thing (would like to bf to 6 months if I can), and feeding her as often as needed in her wakeful hours. (Some trains of thought think that you can get a bit 'pump-resistant', but if you have a hospital grade pump...)

From what I've read (and this is just me browsing the medical sites I can find, rather than eg, forums), the main issue with fenugreek seems to be if you have, or indeed, might have, diabetes. It might also give you / LO some digestive issues and make you smell of maple syrup (I regard that as a plus, rather than my current off-milk smell =).

I chose not to seek medical advice. I've now taken 6 doses of 1/2 teaspoon of powder, with some milk. There's definitely 'something' going on, but that could also be due to more pumping and the fact that AF is on her way out the door now! I'll see what happens in a few days, and next month too.

discrete Sun 24-Jul-11 17:33:58

I took fenugreek with ds1 and it definitely helped, but not as much (by a way) as more milk plus capsules, which are fenugreek plus something or other else.

Never heard of the seeking medical advice thing....

vintageteacups Sun 24-Jul-11 17:37:46

Speak to your GP about Domperidone (Motilium) for increasing supply.

TruthSweet Sun 24-Jul-11 21:16:25

funnylittlekaty - expressing more often would be an easier (and low/no side effect) way of increasing milk rather than taking fenugreek. No galactulogogue will increase milk supply IF adequate milk removal is not taking place (5/6 times a day probably isn't enough - 8 times a day is usually the minimum recommended).

Having said that I have taken fenugreek to great effect but I was already pumping 12+ times a day with a Medela Symphony (double hospital grade electric), and massaging before pumping, breast compressions during pumping, hand expressing post pumping, block pumping....

Rubybambini - Are you exclusively expressing or are you concerned about your supply?

It's very normal for your body to stop making excess milk (if your baby is sleeping through that 125mls you were pumping was excess to requirements) as milk is very nutrient rich and it you don't need it making it is very wasteful from a biological point of view. Even saying that 80mls is still a large amount of milk to express that's probably 1/2 to 2/3rds of a whole feed!

Breastfed babies don't generally need more milk from 1-6m (individual days may bring more feeding though) and babies take between 19-30oz with an average of 25oz (i.e. Baby A may normally take 21-ish oz a day from 1-6m, Baby B may take 26-ish oz a day from 1-6m and Baby C may take 30-ish oz a day from 1-6m) so you don't need to increase your supply as they age as your body adjusts the fat/protein/carbs/etc to your baby's age/growth pattern. More info on low supply (perceived or otherwise) here, info on milk production here and info on milk requirements here.

funnylittlekaty Mon 25-Jul-11 03:43:36

Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll get cracking with it tomorrow and see how I get on.
Truth sweet, how long did it take you to see a significant rise in output. I'm really reluctant to pump in the night because the little man still wakes up often between 3-4 for a feed, and for done reason has always taken to the b feeding with much more purpose at night. He latches on fine, goes for ten mins each side and then goes Back to sleep for 3 hours! If I pump during the night, there wont be a goodly amount in there for him if be wakes up. But he does sometimes go through 11-5 and my last pump is at 10, meaning that there's often no action for the boobs between 10-5. I know this is no good...any thoughts? Thanks for the links. I'll have a look now, seeing as I'm up at 3,45am! grin

TruthSweet Mon 25-Jul-11 10:02:10

The thing is bm production doesn't work like that (need to keep milk in the breast to feed baby). The emptier the breast the faster the milk is made and the fattier it is so the longer the gaps between bf/pumping the less milk is made. Kellymom has a good article on bm production here.

If you do pump in the night it won't affect how much milk your son gets and will increase how much milk you make overall. Your son may have to work a bit harder to get the milk but he will still get what he needs.

Perhaps think of your breasts as a bath and the taps can sense how full the bath is, so the fuller the bath gets the slower the taps run and the colder they run too. When the bath is nearly empty the taps run fast with hot water, when the bath is nearly full they water just dribbles out and it's cold water (hot water = fattier milk, cold water = less fatty milk). If the plug is out (baby feeding) the taps run at full force.

As for me, DD1 wa bottlefed from her 2nd day and I was expressing every 2 hours from day 3. I started fenugreek at about 7 weeks (went from a DD to a F in 48 hours!) and my yield went up quit a bit too so I felt able to really cut back on the bottles and just feed direct by 8 weeks. She did feed for very long periods of time though as she had reflux so fed and fed and vomited and fed for months. She bf until she was 3.6y.

Have you contacted a breastfeeding counselor or lactation consultant (proper IBCLC qualified one not self described one!) about a plan to get baby back to the breast or are you hoping to continuing to pump long term?

funnylittlekaty Mon 25-Jul-11 10:16:28

I'd bloody love to ebf. I've had a very emotional time accepting that breast feeding has been very hard and did feel that if I couldn't it would affect my bonding with ds. It hasn't, and I can't imagine how I could possibly love him more no matter how I feed him, but for him and me I would love to get it back. If I can't though, I won't feel despondent about his first 3 months, but will try to feel proud of my perseverance, he has had breastmilk every day of his little life where lots of people would have given up.
The prob is that when he feeds he takes 5 minutes, then stops, then three then stops etc etc. He never fills himself up enough to be satisfied and can go hours, literally once 8 hours, feeding frantically and not falling asleep.
Do you think if I called the nct line they could give me a plan to wean him off the ebm and formula bottles?
Thanks for your help.

TruthSweet Mon 25-Jul-11 10:34:23

I found it so difficult when I was expressing as some days DD1 would latch and sometimes she wouldn't and I despaired of every feeding her at the breast again. It did work for us eventually but it wasn't easy so I totally get the feelings you describe. You are doing a fantastic job as a mum even if you don't get back to bfing directly, he has a mum who loves him (and that won't change even if the feeding method does).

I think they would, I expect they would prefer to see you feed your DS in rl too, so if you can call from your land line not mobile so you get through to the nearest available BFC they might be able to arrange a visit themselves or one of their colleagues (can't promise that though).

There are other helplines here in case the NCT one is busy.

Has you heard of breast compressions before? They are a way of getting a baby who sleeps on the breast to feed a bit more, often babies sleep on the breast when the flow isn't quick/instantaneous enough, especially when compared to a bottle. Worth a shot!

As an aside, what do your nipples look like when baby has finished a feed? Are they nipple shaped or flattened/lipstick shaped? Does feeding hurt?

rubybambini Mon 25-Jul-11 11:48:07

Thanks Truthsweet - yes, I've read the kellymom site before. I'm mainly bfing, and express to help keep supply up. Usually, the EBM goes into the freezer, but lately, I've been using it in the evening, when there's just been so little milk.

It was quite nuts from going from a calm, albeit speedy 10 minute feed on one side only, to DD literally throwing banana shapes, thrashing and clawing with apparent frustration, and going 6, 7, 8 times from boob to boob.

I'm going to see what happens next month with my period; if it's the same, then three times is enough to call that some kind of annoying hormonal pattern, in my opinion!

Now, where's that fenugreek.

rubybambini Mon 25-Jul-11 11:51:42

Oh and I just saw that yours had reflux - mine too. Horrible isn't it. With her, it's mainly just a laundry problem, as she's in no pain. But, wow, the number of bibs and tops she gets through in a day. It also makes me a bit sad that when I pass her to a friend, it's always with metres of muslin, as I know she'll throw, even 50, 60, 70 minutes after feeding. She's often worse later in the day too.

The paediatrician has said not to worry, she'll grow out of it, so I'm going with that plan rather than eg, trying Gaviscon.

TruthSweet Mon 25-Jul-11 12:11:23

Ah if it's lower supply just before your period, a) that's normal, a pain but normal, b) feeding more frequently is usually the way to deal with it, c) if feeding more frequently isn't working Calcium/Magnesium supplements are considered the way to go not fenugreek. I tried fenugreek but it was Cal/Mag that worked the best.

Reflux is horrible, DD1 was in such pain with it, we went down the medication route due to the very poor weight gain though Gaviscon did nothing for her except make her poo marbles! Domperidone worked well though and she gained weight on it. She's fine now at 5y though grin

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