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4 months on, how to boost supply

(19 Posts)
SingingKettle Mon 19-Mar-12 11:16:08

Brief story: how can I increase supply and also get more when expressing?

Long story: I am breastfeeding my 4.5 month old DD2, who is definitely having a growth spurt over the last few weeks. I feed on demand, and she has always fed every hour during the day whilst awake,(as did DD1) and at least a couple of times in the night. I have always been happy to feed regulary as she is obviously a hungry baby and she has always been reasonably content with my supply, except through 3-4 days of growth spurts. However, she s becoming increasingly frustrated and seems hungry a lot of the time and is often unsatisfied after a feed.

I was riding it out in the hope it would pass and knowing this is a classic age for this, but I really don't like to see her so unhappy and screaming after a feed, it also becoming uncomfortable in public as she is on and off the breast so many times. I have been trying to express more frequently to give her a bottle at bedtime as the cluster feeding is still ongoing, but now with her unhappy for more of the time, and to increase my supply, however I usually only manage 1oz and can't fit in more than 1 session of pumping a day in between feeds. When I have (once or twice a week)managed to give her a bottle of ebm, usually only 2-3 oz that I have saved up, she is much more content and goes to sleep much happier.

I am really wanting to avoid weaning early or introducing formula as managed not to with dd1, but could do with some advice and encouragement please.

SingingKettle Mon 19-Mar-12 12:37:25

Bump smile

smearedinfood Mon 19-Mar-12 12:40:15

Are you eating enough and drinking enough? They only way I know how to increase supply is pop em on your boob more..

worldgonecrazy Mon 19-Mar-12 12:52:37

You can take food supplements such as fenugreek or ask your GP for a prescription of domperidone.

Is there a good breastfeeding clinic nearby - they may be able to help too, so give them a call. Also try phoning LaLeche and the Breastfeeding Network.

If you can bear it, then a pumping session between 2 and 6 in the morning will help too.

Weaning onto food this early won't help as early weaning foods are all lower in calories than breastmilk, unless you're feeding avocado or banana, so that won't help, though you will probably get some uninformed helpful relative or HCP tell you to wean early.

SingingKettle Mon 19-Mar-12 12:54:53

Thanks, definitely eating and drinking enough and up until now breastfeeding more to increase supply has always worked for us too, think that's why I am not really sure what to do. I am happy to keep offering the breast, but after a while she is clearly still hungry and becomes frustrated.

SingingKettle Mon 19-Mar-12 12:59:18

Sorry cross posted wordgonecrazy. Thanks for your advice. The breastfeeding clinic just advise feeding more, but as it is it pretty constant, and she is now not always wanting to keep trying. Will try the helplines, haven't used them sine the early days, but could give them a go. Will look up fenugreek and domperidone too.

worldgonecrazy Mon 19-Mar-12 13:06:08

singing I hit a major obstacle at 4 months too, I had a weekend away and thought I could pump a bit but the alcohol lured me I got too distracted and didn't pump enough. The local clinic lent me a hospital-grade pump for a month and I managed to get my supply back up and running. I think I was taking about 8 fenugreek tablets throughout the day too - it does make your milk smell a bit like a cross between maple syrup and curry sauce. Boosting your supply can be done, even at 4 months, good luck.

SingingKettle Mon 19-Mar-12 13:18:41

Thanks worldgonecrazy, smile it is starting to feel like a major obstacle! Its hard to have DD really unsettled and know she is hungry, sad my resolve is starting weaken and I feel like the support at the breastfeeding clinic is very limited to 'feed more', which is not supporting me as I am doing and it is not helping. hmm It's interesting you say that about the hospital grade pump, i am wondering if I should try a different pump, but reluctant to spend anymore money. Will definitely check out the fenugreek, even with the bad smell side effects grin

heliumballoon Tue 20-Mar-12 13:23:56

Do check out fenugreek, I swear by it. My GP wouldn't give me drugs due to poss side effects, but fenugreek works quickly and just makes me smell odd. But no one has complained <yet>

MigGril Tue 20-Mar-12 13:33:21

Have you tried switch nursing? You feed one side she comes off offer the other then offer a 3ed, 4th or even 5th side. This is gerenaly considered the best way to increase supply.

You can also try breast compresion during feeding to help increase the flow and help her get more milk (google for videos).

TruthSweet Tue 20-Mar-12 14:37:19

There are other side effects/contra-indications with fenugreek so do look into it before trying it - just because it is 'natural' doesn't mean it is safe (to quote my pedant of a DH 'arsenic, cyanide, ricin and digitalis are natural but I'm certainly not taking any of those')

Have you started your periods/ovulating again? That can sometimes lower supply temporarily but it's almost always back up again in a couple of days.

Have you started any new meds, e.g. a new contraceptive, anti-histamine. etc? Some meds can have a negative effect on supply just as some can increase milk supply.

Have you had baby's latch checked and a whole feed observed? Sometimes we can get complacent when they get older and not worry about how they latch. This can lead to poor positioning and attachment which could mean baby is feeding more frequently because they aren't getting as much milk or getting it as easily.

Have you tried 'switch nursing'? This is where you switch sides as soon as baby starts fussing or they slow down (e.g. instead of doing 'suck, pause, suck, pause, suck, pause' they are doing 'flutter suck, flutter suck, flutter suck, pause' or 'suck, suck, suck, suck, pause, suck, suck, suck, pause' [and it's not the very beginning of a feed]) and you keep switching from side to side until they come off the breast themselves and appear satisfied.

You can also do breast compressions to aid the amount of milk the baby can access when doing switch nursing (or at other times if baby appears fussy) which is a bit like hand expressing but while baby is still nursing.

heliumballoon Tue 20-Mar-12 20:50:02

Truthsweet I am taking fenugreek at the moment and you've got me all worried about side effects, since the herbalist, mw and bf counsellor all assured me there were none except a) funny smell and b) if you take too many and produce too much milk and baby doesn't drink it so you get blocked duct/ mastitis. Can you link to anywhere expanding on the side effects? Or can anyone else tell me more? TIA.

TruthSweet Tue 20-Mar-12 21:08:23

heliumballoon - sorry for worrying you. Hope this is helpful :-

This is from

This is from

I have taken fenugreek in the past and technically I shouldn't have because a) I am asthmatic and b) I take a shedload of other meds that it could interact with by interfering with the absorption rate which would then leave me vulnerable to seizures (I have epilepsy). Luckily I didn't notice any side effects but I would be leery now if taking it tbh given my set of circs.

Your herbalist/MW/BF counsellor all need to know what they saying is not correct. If you don't share your entire medical history with them (and why would you mention asthma or diabetes, which is one of the other conditions the fenugreek can affect, if you are talking bfing with a herbalist or bfing counsellor?) they cannot say there are no side effects besides stinking of maple syrup and may be too much milk (which would sound brilliant if you are suffering with low supply) as even then there is the risk of an allergic reaction.....

I hope none of this affects you though and you are in good health and have had no side effects what so ever.

heliumballoon Tue 20-Mar-12 21:52:34

Thanks so much Truthsweet for such a full and helpful response.
It says it is taken as an appetite stimulant- aaaah! Last thing I need!
Thanks again.

TruthSweet Tue 20-Mar-12 22:16:51

TBH I think bfing is an cake appetite stimulant for some! I am not including myself in their numbers at all <ahem> wink

hazchem Wed 21-Mar-12 08:32:42

You had some great advice from some people far more knowledgeable then me but... I have heard oats are good for increasing supply.
I have pretty much have porridge for breakfast everyday and my supply is very robust. ( I know that is not evidence smile )

It might be worth ago ( it also helps with 1030 cake cravings!

mousymouseafraidofdogs Wed 21-Mar-12 08:39:37

singing sounds like the infamous 4months sleep regresseion/growth spurt to me. just keep feeding on demand, it will pass.
porridge in the morning is good for supply as are fennel tea (if you like it). drink enough.

worldgonecrazy Wed 21-Mar-12 08:45:44

If you are going to a herbalist make sure they are a Medical Herbalist (NIMH) trained. Otherwise you have no way of knowing what training they have had about contraindications, etc.

SingingKettle Wed 21-Mar-12 12:50:17

Thanks so much for all your replies, thought the thread had died so didn't check until just now! smile

Thanks for all the tips and safety advice. I'm sure it is the 4month growth spurt, but I'm keen to minimise the frustration for DD, especially as it has been a few weeks now. TBH, it's been helpful just to type it out a receive some support.

grin to appetite stimulant! No need for that here either grin

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