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Slow let down, no engorgement, not much milk?

(26 Posts)
WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 08:53:48

Ds is 5 days old. Poor thing is small, jaundiced and very sleepy - and has lost 8% of weight since birth so I'm working really hard to try and help him build himself up a bit! I have to wake to feed him every 2 hours, and because he falls asleep after only about 5 mins feeding, it's hard work to keep him awake, keep him drinking and make sure he's getting enough. I do almost constant breast compressions (my boobs are actually feeling really bruised now!), take him off and latch him back on, tickle him, etc etc and every feed takes up to an hour.

The thing that's making me really despondent is that I just don't seen to have much milk at all. I don't get any of the satisfying signs of having enough - if ds stops feeding mid way through there are no drips, I can't see any milk 'pooling' at the corner of ds's mouth, he never actually pulls off and looks drunk and full, on fact I have to allow him to feed until he looks asleep then sneak him off my boob and put him down so carefully, but if he wakes up he will immediately start rooting again. He'd sleep latched on if I let him. He'll sleep in his Moses basket for daytime naps but at night he willingly sleep on my chest - moving him means he wakes up and cries and the whole cycle starts again.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for by posting really - maybe just sympathy!! I just feel like I'm failing my not having copious amounts of milk, and suppose the whole thing is feeling relentless. Am wondering whether topping up with formula would help.

Sorry for the whinge.

Not really sure what I'm after from this post really

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 08:54:30

Whoops ignore the last half a sentence, proof-reading fail!

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 08:55:34

And willingly should have been will only

MrsHelsBels74 Wed 24-Oct-12 08:58:25

I had the same thing with both of mine. I wish I could tell you it all worked out fine in the end but it didn't & I reluctantly formula fed them both. DS1 is now a robust toddler, DS2 is 4 weeks & thriving so it was best for us, but I can't help wishing I'd been able to BF.

Wormshuffler Wed 24-Oct-12 09:11:30

You are doing everything right, don't worry! If he has only lost 8% he is getting enough. Look out for plenty of wet nappies.
At 5 days old you are still setting up your milk supply so the frequent feeding you are doing is absolutely right. Allow yourselves plenty of skin to skin time as the hormones also stimulate your supply. His stomach is only the size of a marble at the moment. Introducing formula will not help you in establishing your supply.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 09:16:32

HelsBels this happened with dd too and I ended up ff, she is also robust and healthy and it hasn't done her any harm! It nearly sent me into depression though and DH and I agreed not to let that happen again. (ie to move to formula before I lost my marbles if necessary) but its just so hard to stop and not feel like you're really failing.

thezoobmeister Wed 24-Oct-12 09:19:45

At this stage you will have milk whether you can see it or not - your body produces it automatically for the first couple of weeks after birth. Not everyone gets engorgement or can feel let down.

But it sounds as if your baby is not well attached, which means that he is having trouble getting the milk out - even though there is plenty there, IYSWIM.

See if you can get a midwife or breastfeeding counsellor to sit with you while you feed and get that latch working more effectively. Google Jack Newman breastfeeding videos for some tips, keep baby close in skin contact and offer boob whenever he shows feeding cues, every half an hour if necessary.

At this stage, the problem is eminently fixable and you shouldn't need to use formula unless he's showing signs of dehydration. If you can get him latching effectively, he'll start to gain energy and weight and things won't be quite so relentless.

whenwill Wed 24-Oct-12 09:20:07

did you have normal delivery? and was placenta intact? sometimes takes longer for milk to come in anyway. Some MNer have said they never felt engorged or full but it was fine.

Before you got to the formula stage i would try warm bath or shower, pumping or manual expression to stimulate your let down and then latch him on. don;t do that every time though otherwies he'll not realise he has to work for it. Feed frequently and let him sleep latched on sometimes as he might suck in his sleep to boost supply.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 09:24:04

zoob I should have said, we have a really good mw who has checked and adjusted my latch which is now working well.

thezoobmeister Wed 24-Oct-12 09:26:34

Forgot to mention, it might also be helpful - temporarily - to hand express into a sterilized spoon and give him the milk that way. That will help keep your supply up, and also give him more energy to wake up and keep suckling.

thezoobmeister Wed 24-Oct-12 09:35:10

Great you have a supportive midwife! If the latch is working well now, then he should be gaining weight and things should start to feel more normal soon. If he loses any more weight, however, I suggest you get a second opinion from someone more experienced (also check for tongue tie?)

Remember a latch can only be said to be working if the baby can get the milk out...

jaggythistle Wed 24-Oct-12 10:18:54

also maybe don't always take him off when he seems sleepy as he is still stimulating supply even when 'sleepy feeding'

topping up with formula would definitely not help supply as you are reducing the stimulation to produce milk.

he's only 5 days old, it's v early days yet. smile

are you getting wet/dirty nappies ok?

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 10:36:49

Yes - wet and dirty nappies fine, and he's started to put weight on. Just feeling overwhelmed by it all and wishing I had loads of milk that I could actually see! (have tried expressing and absolutely no joy).

I have to take him off sometimes or he'd be latched on 24/7, otherwise how am I supposed to eat/wash etc! I'm lucky enough that dd is in nursery today but that's not always the case and she needs me too.

jaggythistle Wed 24-Oct-12 11:02:33

i know what you mean - i did a lot less sitting around feeding with DS2 compared to DS1. smile

wet and dirty nappies and weight gain are v good signs though.

i have a sling for DS2 and he napped in there after a change and feed. still use it for naps at 6 months if he won't settle in the cot and DS1 busy. smile i just got a cheap wrap sling.

expressing is no measure of supply, some people just can't express much even with lots of milk.

hopefully someone expert can reassure you.

also this site is great for what to expect when feeding a newborn.

jaggythistle Wed 24-Oct-12 11:16:13

i meant someone expert on here, there are a few bf counsellors and similar posting. <looks around hopefully> smile

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 11:52:33

To be honest, I think what I'm really after is someone who can give me 'permission' to stop bf and move to ff - I don't think I can cope with this!

MrsHelsBels74 Wed 24-Oct-12 12:13:32

I felt dreadful when I stopped trying to BF but I've mostly got over it. You need to do what's right for you & all your family not just your new baby & if that means moving to formula then so be it. You can still bond with your baby using formula & feeding is only a small part of being a mother. Plus it means your partner can do some of the feeding duties so you might get more sleep, which is good for all of you. I know it's hard to make the decision to stop BF but if it doesn't feel like it's working for you then stop.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 12:38:40

Thank you so much Hels - I know all of this but it's hard when your in the midst of it all, isn't it. With dd I battled on for a month and cried for a large portion of most days (exactly the same issues with jaundice, not much milk etc) but I don't have the dubious luxury of doing that this time, I need to be able to get on with being a mum!

MrsHelsBels74 Wed 24-Oct-12 14:17:29

I knew it all too but it didn't stop me crying my eyes out after I decided to stop. It is a tough decision to make.

thezoobmeister Wed 24-Oct-12 15:56:16

OP why do you feel you need permission to stop BF? You are an adult and entitled to everyones support for the decisions you make! You have mine, for starters.

You could call the NCT breastfeeding line, they support loads of women thinking about stopping and are totally non judgemental, they won't try to persuade you against it.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Wed 24-Oct-12 17:03:44

zoob it's a bit pathetic isn't it, but it's because I feel that bf is the best thing for ds, that I am a failure for not being able to do it without basically becoming a complete fruit loop, and because I think there are others who would persevere in this situation without mentally crumbling! Don't think I can do it though.

Your support does mean a lot, thank you!

thezoobmeister Wed 24-Oct-12 17:57:06

It sounds like you had a bad time with DC1 and you'd like to skip that bit this time around, not unreasonably!

Hugs to you - this too shall pass.

MrsHelsBels74 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:55:02

It's a lot easier on your conscience if someone says 'stop doing it' then if you say 'I'm not doing it', I too desperately wanted someone to tell me to stop, even though I thought I was prepared as I had a dreadful time with DS1, rather than make the decision myself.

bbface Wed 24-Oct-12 21:01:57

Express, express, express.

Do not worry if not much comes out.

But your body wil think your baby is needs enormous feeds, and will start to produce more milk.

Iceaddict Wed 24-Oct-12 21:08:19

I wanted 'permission' to stop with DC1 after 5 days to. and it was such a relief when MW said 'you've given him the best start, its OK to stop', please don't feel guilty if you stop. But good luck if you carry on, it may even get easier

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