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Friend is worried sudden hospital stay has dried up her milk

(15 Posts)
CarterGirl Fri 26-Oct-12 20:42:00

My friend has a five week old DS and bf is going well. Unfortunately on Wed night she had a big bleed and has been in hospital since. Yesterday she was able to pump all day but today she has been in surgery/ recovery so has obviously been unable to. She has been bearing up well much better than I would have but is really worried about her milk due to the lack of pumping and fact she has been nil by mouth since yesterday evening- she says she has 'dried up' (I don't know if she tried to pump or if it is that she feels less full/ leaky etc). She is still NBM (poor thing!) as they may need to do more surgery.

I feel so bad for her as I know I'd have been terribly stressed in that situation. What reassurance can I give her re 'drying up' and also what practical tips can I give her for when she's back home? I thought perhaps plenty of skin to skin and maybe extra pumping sessions? She also has a toddler so will be constrained a bit.

I did try searching for advice on this topic as assume it must be a reasonably common issue but had no joy. I'd be really grateful for any help you can give!


lorisparkle Fri 26-Oct-12 23:08:26

I'm no expert but found the site- very useful. You might have to read around a bit but hopefully it has some useful stuff.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 27-Oct-12 07:50:28

Is there a lactation consultant in the hospital that she can ask to see to give her some reassurance and advice? I'm sure they'd come to the ward to see her. Since women in famine conditions can continue to breast feed, I'm sure she's fine. x

tiktok Sat 27-Oct-12 09:06:47

She will not dry up - that is certain. She may well notice a drop in production because of a short term lack of pumping/feeding, and her let down may be hard to get going due to stress.

She can get everything back to normal by frequent feeding and keeping her baby really close day and night as much as she can - she'll need help with the toddler. The frequent feeding and the skin to skin is more important than the pumping.

Hope she is well soon.

CarterGirl Sat 27-Oct-12 18:13:12

Thank you everyone- your advice is much appreciated.

My friend is being discharged today which is great news! Hopefully she can lie on the sofa for a while being waited on and doing lots of skin to skin with the baby. And eating cake. Lots of cake.. smile

SooOOOoolooOOOooo Sat 27-Oct-12 18:16:09

Lots of fluids with that cake too...water, milk, more water...all good!

tiktok Sat 27-Oct-12 18:50:39

No, to the extra fluids. If she is thirsty she should drink to assuage thirst, but definitely not loads of extra fluids...the evidence we do have is that this suppresses milk production, so please don't perpetuate the myth!

SooOOOoolooOOOooo Sat 27-Oct-12 19:04:47

Really?! I was told to drink more when my milk diminished massively with Noro Virus. Sorry for posting that then.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 27-Oct-12 19:46:24

Tiktok's nothing if not a font of information. smile I had a GP tell me to drink lots of water too because I was breastfeeding and I have low blood pressure. Glad I didn't follow that advice too closely!

tiktok Sun 28-Oct-12 00:02:17

Scroll down for a mention of this on kellymom; for the scientific research see here: and read the next page where it lists a study that shows lower milk production in a group of women who were taking in extra fluids. Other studies show no difference.

You drink to thirst; if you need more fluids, you'll be thirstier smile

It is a huge myth that bf requires more fluids than the body would 'ask' for by being thirsty; it's common to be thirstier when bf; but neither sensible nor necessary to 'force' extra fluids.

aamia Sun 28-Oct-12 06:57:58

About the fluids and drinking to thirst. I did that and ended up really dehydrated. While I'm sure you shouldn't drink too much, keeping an eye on how much you drink and making sure it's at least eight glasses or two litres a day is a good idea given they are what you should have just as a normal adult.

tiktok Sun 28-Oct-12 08:54:05

The research does not back you up, though, aamia - there is actually no need for adults to aim for at least 2 litres a day. You'll see advice to drink at lest 2 litres in women's magazines and from quack nutritionists but it's just not true.

I think it may be possible for busy people to forget to drink and to ignore signs of thirst, though. So maybe they need to make a point of drinking.

Having said that, if someone feels they need to drink 2 litres a day, then of course they should do so. The women in the study who drank more and who had less milk were drinking an average of 3 litres, so 2 is prob ok smile

aamia Sun 28-Oct-12 18:02:13

Interesting tiktok - I found I drank so little habitually (probably about 3 glasses of water a day) that I actually stopped feeling thirsty once I was bf. My body adjusted, saved water from what came out so to speak and some rather unpleasant side effects occurred! It was only when I started intentionally drinking MORE, that I began to feel thirsty at points during the day. Now aiming at somewhere near those 2 litres and my body is functioning so much better. Thought it was worth mentioning because I wouldn't want anyone else to suffer those side effects!!

whatsoever Sun 28-Oct-12 18:37:33

aamia I am like you - if I drink too little (which I do tend to) my thirst disappears and the next thing I know, my wee is brown and I am knackered. I have found this since I had my baby 2 weeks ago so I'm afraid my personal experience also goes against the "don't force extra fluids" research.

If I don't drink more than I feel I need to, I am dehydrated. Especially since having the baby/ breastfeeding..

tiktok Sun 28-Oct-12 18:51:37

3 glasses of fluid a day not enough, true (though it won't affect your bf or your milk)...but as a general piece of info, bf mothers don't need to 'force' extra fluids. There is no need for the OP's friend to drink tons of water, more than she feels she wants, and if she does, she will make no difference to her ability to boost/regain her supply.

Regardless of individual experiences of forgetting to drink or ignoring feelings of thirst or even stopping noticing them, the evidence is still the same - you don't need to 'force' fluids to make milk/more milk.

Can't say any more than that smile

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