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Worried about low milk supply

(32 Posts)
KLou111 Tue 04-Oct-11 10:30:44

Hi, I have a 7+3 week old son as of today (BF).
On Saturday we had some friends come to stay for the night, so knowing we'd be out a while in the day, I fed him expressed milk except for one feed at night. It was about 24 hours (bar the one feed) he had expressed in a bottle.
He usually has one expressed bottle every day (before bed which Daddy does), and the rest I feed him.
My milk usually flows really fast to a point I use medela breast shells, and while my son is on one side, the shell almost fills on the other.
Since Sunday afternoon, the shells have literally had about 1/2oz in on every feed (usually 2+ozs) so I am worried my milk has slowed down due to me not feeding for 24 hours.
My son also doesn't seem satisfied on one breast now, so I have to switch him to the other despite my first breast not being empty.
Can someone please help me with what to do?? Is there anyway I can boost my supply??
I feel like the worst mum in the world at the moment.

ShowOfHands Tue 04-Oct-11 10:38:03

You are not the worst Mum in the world. I promise you that.

It could be any number of things. Your supply does settle down so that you stop leaking as your body learns how much milk your baby needs. This is normal and to be expected.

Did you pump at all during the 24hrs? Because for every feed you miss that you don't pump for, you give your body the message that it doesn't need to make that milk anymore. It does have an effect. But at 7 weeks in with one bottle a day, your supply is not that fragile that you will lose it dramatically in 24hrs.

It's normal for a child to want both breasts sometimes, particularly if they want comfort (may have missed the regular feeds during those 24hrs), if they are signalling they need more (growth spurt), if they're thirsty (recent hot weather) and be reassured that switching sides like this to demand will increase your supply if there has been a wee dip.

And your breasts are never empty btw so don't worry about that.

Feed your baby to demand for a few days, switch sides at request, more than once if necessary and please don't be cross with yourself.

ShowOfHands Tue 04-Oct-11 10:39:18

And look at your child. If they're still pooing, weeing, happy, gaining weight etc, you can see the effects of your milk. Any of the above are affected and you might be seeing a problem.

tiktok Tue 04-Oct-11 10:41:40

ShowofHands is right - a good milk supply, as yours is, does not disappear in the way you fear.

Most women use both breasts each time, anyway - it's not a terrible indictment of your milk that you are doing this smile

No need to consciously boost your supply - just feed responsively, as you are doing, and nature will fix anything that needs to be fixed smile

Seeline Tue 04-Oct-11 10:41:48

Make sure that you are eating and drinking properly too. I don't know where you are but the temps in the southest have been really high and if you have not been drinking enough fluids, that could also reduce your flow. Just keep feeding as much as DS requires, your body will soon adapt to his needs!

ShowOfHands Tue 04-Oct-11 10:44:46

The amount you eat/drink shouldn't affect your milk supply except in very rare circumstances. But you will feel bloody awful if you're not eating and drinking to your own requirement. BFing can make you feel dehydrated and a bit crappy which won't help with your emotional well being. I have a bottle of water with me at all times (Bfing a 4 week old).

KLou111 Tue 04-Oct-11 10:47:58

Thanks guys. I'm in west Wales, so the weather yesterday and today have been awful and not too hot, which has been fab.

I'll see how it all goes. Little one has had plenty of wet nappies smile

KLou111 Tue 04-Oct-11 10:51:01

Oh, I didn't express in the 24 hours sad

KLou111 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:08:22

Well the little one has been grotty, so ended up topping his feeds up with expressed out of the freezer.
Going to get an electric pump tomorrow hopefully to help increase my supply, my manual one is crap!

ShowOfHands Wed 05-Oct-11 09:22:11

No sad faces. Not expressing/feeding for 24hrs will not decimate your supply at this stage.

Have you a local bfing counsellor/drop in cafe? The quickest and most efficient way to improve supply if you perceive it's lacking slightly is to put the baby to your breast at the first squeak. If you've gone from a slight oversupply with lots of leaking, to a more reasonable amount, he might be a bit annoyed at having to work so hard for it. DS did this a couple of weeks ago. He thought he could just lie there and let the oversupply drip into his mouth. He was v lazy about working for it but he had to and soon cottoned on.

Remember it's still perfectly possible that he's having a bit of a growth or developmental spurt and needs the comfort of suckling even if not for milk or he might be telling your body to change the milk a wee bit to meet his growing needs. To get your body to receive this message, you need to let him feed as much as he asks to. Honestly, at 7 weeks there were days when dd would feed and feed and feed and fuss and pull off and get cross and act like there was no milk. A couple of days later she'd be content, extra sleepy and huge.

It's so hard trusting the process. I think you'd really benefit from a chat with somebody who knows what they're talking about.

ShowOfHands Wed 05-Oct-11 09:24:03

And remember you said in your op that he wanted to swap sides even though you knew there was milk in the first breast. So you know there's milk there. Which to me implies it's developmental/behaviour related and not a real issue with supply.

ukrainianmum Wed 05-Oct-11 22:13:03

the good test to know whether your milk supply is ok is to count how many times per day baby pees. the minimum is 12 times per day, not nappies. if a baby pees 2 -3 times in 15 mins period- it counts as one time.

the minimum weight growth is 125 gramms per week.
with EBF there should be NO BOTTLES at all. stimulation of the breast by pump and by baby is very different.and also the technic of sucking a breast and a bottle also differs, so babies get confused. it is very important for the baby to get to the so called aftermilk, which is harder to get. so if the breast is not empty- it is not good to give second breast. let the baby fifnsh the first one. in this case you will be sure that little one got all the nutritiens from your milk

tiktok Wed 05-Oct-11 23:31:22

ukrainianmum - sorry, the info in your post is not helpful sad I am sure you mean well, but you're just not right about frequency of weeing.

It is impossible to know how many times the baby is urinating - how would you know unless you were watching the baby without a nappy? And why 2-3 times in 15 mins = once? What about 2-3 times in 30 mins?

A baby not urinating - ie with dry nappies - would be a concern of course.

It is also not true that the min weight gain is 125 g a week. Weekly weight gain is very variable and some healthy babies may gain less than that, with no problem.

Babies don't get 'confused' between breast and bottle - sometimes they may decide to favour the bottle, if the breast is difficult or not effective.

Yes, let the baby finish the first breast, but it will never be empty - the baby decides when he has 'finished' it....and it is very good to offer the second breast....not all babies want it, but in the early days it should be offered.

I am not sure where you have this information from, but it is very misleading, and not helpful to the OP's situation, sorry sad

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 07:57:46

I have this info from the breastfeeding counselor

it is "very possible" to count how many times baby urinates, and yes you right, you have to watch it without the nappy on the baby. i am not against the nappies, oth my babies used them. and if the baby made one big pee he will not pee again in 30 mins, it will take longer, but smallers pees they do come in
a little row
i counted and i also was sure it is impossible.

weight gain- Dr. Sears minimum one pound a month, which will bring you around 125 gr a week. yes each baby is different like any other human being. but there are always the lowest borders. and of course at a certain period of time the baby will startto be more active and so on, so weight gain will be again different. but at almost 8 weeks it is 125 g a week minimum.

tiktok Thu 06-Oct-11 08:44:46

Sorry, I am sticking to my argument here smile

You cannot get a 24-hour (or even a 12-hour) accurate idea of how often a baby is urinating....and even if you did, where is the link between that and sufficient milk? Sufficient milk is judged over days (with a new baby) and weeks and months with an older baby. Are you expecting mothers to watch for weeing all the time???

I cannot imagine a breastfeeding counsellor who was qualified telling you this.

Dr Sears is one source. And even he guages weight gain per month - not week by week, from what you say. Weight gain in babies is not evenly gained - a baby may gain a small amount one week and a larger amount another week. There is no evidence-based 'rule' that up to 8 weeks it has to be 125g minimum.

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 10:08:42

to test how many times per day baby pees you normaly do it once. if baby gets enough milk he "will have" his 12 times before he goes to bed for the night sleep

it is not adviseble to wejght baby every day and i have met mummies who did it after each feed and gave up bf at the age of 5 weeks coz they were not sure it was enough.

yes, nobody weights baby every week, but if there are issues or concerns it is advisible.

and another thing on the pee- the newborn until he is 14 days- minimum times to urinate per day is how many days he is. after two weeks of life it is minimum of 12 times.
a good counselor always asks about this, cos if it is nit enough milk the baby should get copmlimentary milk and to know how much to give needed to know how many times per day baby pees

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 10:11:03

and about "you cannot"- if "you cannot" it doesnt mean that others also like you;
i told you- i had the same arguments until i did it. believe me- nothing scary in this

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 14:37:33

Signs that baby is receiving
adequate amount of milk
■ Baby is satisfied with the feed. ■ Weight loss is less than 10% in the first week of life. ■ Baby gains at least 160 g in the following weeks or a minimum 300 g in the first month. ■ Baby wets every day as frequently as baby is feeding. ■ Baby’s stool is changing from dark to light brown or yellow by day 3.

this comes from PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH, POSTPARTUM,NEWBORN CARE. all info downloaded from the WHO website. so here they give even higher number fow weekly gain but dont exactly state how many time per day baby pees. but as many as eats.

i hope this will be good sourse for all the doubters

KLou111 Thu 06-Oct-11 15:00:08

With regards the watching out for the peeing without the nappy thing, I couldn't possibly watch my baby for 27/7 without a nappy on lol. I don't think he would enjoy it for starters (as much as he loves being in the nude!!)
My baby has plenty of wet nappies, but seems to, at the moment anyway, poo every couple of days, and then it is a major explosion!!! I spoke to the HV this morning about it and she said in BF babies, it is perfectly normal for them to not poo every day, but should have plenty of wet nappies. He is wearing washables, so he doesn't need changing as regularly as a disposable, and he is having anything between 6 and 8 changes per 24 hours.

With regards the weight thing, I was told that 6oz is average. 1oz per day except on a Sunday is apparently the 'saying'. This is not to say however that any baby slightly below this, or slightly above is unhealthy.
My son was born 8lb 12.75oz, and went down to 8lb 4oz after the first week. He is 7 weeks 5 days as of today and is 11lb 10.5oz. He, in recently weeks, has been putting on 6-6.5oz per week, but at 5 weeks he put on 15oz in 10 days!!
I am very relieved he has put on his normal weight, as I was getting VERY anxious about him not feeding very well since the weekend. He seems to have got back into the rhythm, to a point he fed last night at 8pm, and woke at 2am for a feed, then 6:30am, so he's obviously more satisfied than I believed he was smile. He usually wakes and feeds at 7, 10:30, 4, 7. The HV is very happy with him which is fab.

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 15:49:49

i never said 24/7 without nappies. in fact i said i use them for my baby. what i meant is one day without, just to count. and it is very the way in my country for many people disposable nappies are still a luxury, specially in small vilages and towns coz they way to expensive.
clearly- if baby doesnt get enough milk, he shoul get some formula until the good milk supply is established. and to know how much to give of formula a breastfeeding counselo needs to know how often baby urinates. i think at LLL it would be said the same. our counselors take a lot of information from LLL.

4madboys Thu 06-Oct-11 16:10:54

ukranianmum If YOU give formula whilst you wait for bfeeding to bcome established it wont become established, you need the baby to nurse to promote your breasts to make the milk!!

i have never heard info on how many times a baby wees, if i was concerned i would pay attention to the COLOUR of my babies wee, but a baby not getting as much milk as they need would still wee, they wouldnt stop weeing unless they became dehydrated, which would be a serious issue of course!

i would say tiktok has the right knowledge here.

btw my bfed babies would never take a bottle, (i have seen you say elsewhere taht all will) simply not true and i know plenty of people who once feeding is established have managed to combine expressed milk in a bottle with bfeeding, to go out, to work etc. its not always easy but it is possible and babies will not then reject the breast after one bottle!

all babies are different, there is a huge range of what is normal with regards to weight etc and babies grow at different rates at different times, gaining loads some weeks and not so much others, thats normal.

ShroudOfHamsters Thu 06-Oct-11 16:19:43

Please don't worry. I remember my supply at roughly this point (7-8) weeks 'settling down' a lot - I didn't seem to leak anymore.

Only one tiny anecdote smile but you sound as if you produce just fine and I can't imagine there being any major problem because of that one day. A minor hiccup perhaps, but you won't lose your supply.

I find even now (DD 21 months) that things still change and alter, feel different. Goodness knows why!

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Thu 06-Oct-11 16:21:57

I've never heard of trying to work out urine output. As long as the child appears to be well hydrated - frequent wet nappies etc - what does it matter??? That sounds like a recipe to a) drive a mother insane worrying/fussing unnecessarily and b) convince a mother that a child needs formula because they're not reaching some arbitrary 'standard' figure.

ukrainianmum Thu 06-Oct-11 16:43:41

4madboys- i have never given my baby a formula. i only describe how things are working, coz I have ssen in reality how the breastfeeding counselors are doing it. i read very much on th facts of breastfeeding, niot everything in english though but i really doesnt matter what language.
just a question- what to do if baby doesnt get enough milk and he needs milk now?? it is very obvious that baby will need to eat SOME formula before milk supply is established. and to get a good milk supply sometimes takes 48 hours with constant latching of the baby on the breast.
it is very strongly recommended to make milk suplly higher to feed babies at night, coz this is when prolactin is at higher point. and for the doubters- i checked it with WHO- it even explained in pictures. the night feeds are essential for a good milk supply.

apparently from what I see- UK breastfeeding is different. here in France where I live now women either dont breastfeed or if they do it is very similar to what I do.

tiktok Thu 06-Oct-11 16:50:43

I give up.

ukrainianmum, you are certain you are right. I know you are misunderstnding things. Your idea of assessing weeing frequency is not only wrong but crazy smile

Almost everything else you say is either very wrong or a bit wrong...but clearly you are happy being certain you are right, so good luck to you smile

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