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How quickly to help increase supply?

(10 Posts)
IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 27-Oct-12 18:57:33

My DD is 5 months old and EBF. She was feeding every 4 hours and just one side per feed so a boob wouldn't be used for 8 hours. Unfortunately even though she is content and appears full after feeds her weight isn't reflecting this and in 6 weeks shes only gained 12oz and weighs in at 13lb 6.5oz.
I'm starting to offer both breasts at each feed to try and get a bit more in her - whether this works or not I don't know but it's not going to hurt to try- but as my supply is used to the 4 hourly one boob feed routine, I need to help get it so both are nice and full every 4 hours.
How many days should it take to help get them used to it? Both today and yesterday they've not had that full feeling that one would have if it hadn't been used for 8 hours.
I just want my little girl to gain weight!

ZuleikaD Sat 27-Oct-12 19:26:16

Boobs are never 'full' or 'empty' - bm is produced on demand. Your best bet to get your supply up is to feed her at shorter intervals.

Is the weight a concern? Is she tracking a centile? Has your HV expressed concern?

crikeybadger Sat 27-Oct-12 20:47:30

As Zuleika says, if you need to increase your baby's milk intake you just need to feed more frequently. 4 hourly feeds can work for some babies, but are rarely enough for most.

You don't need to wait for your breasts to fill up, in fact softer/'emptier' breasts will have higher fat milk in them as they have to work harder to keep production up. If you leave milk to accumulate in your breasts, a protein called FIL (feedback inhibitor of lactation) will act to scale down milk supply, so really don't worry about softer breasts.

Weight gain does slow down about this time and weight gain between 4-6 months is usually somewhere around 4-5 oz a week.(that's average figs according to kellymom).

Did the HV have any suggestions?

knitcorner Sat 27-Oct-12 20:53:24

Fenugreek is supposed to help supply, you can get tablets at health food shops if you don't to eat lots of curry. Also try massage/compressions before feeding. I was paranoid about not producing enough too, I gave top up feeds with formula for a week (before bed time), and then it all seemed ok and we went back to EBF.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 27-Oct-12 22:10:20

Thank you for your replies.

Yes, the health visitor has her on weekly weight checks now, and this week she only gained 0.5oz. She was tracking on/just under 50th centile and is now just above 9th.

I've found if I try and feed her more frequently she just isn't interested or goes completely off the next feed. She's generally a really happy and content little thing so not screaming for a feed more frequently. I'm just hoping I can get more in her when she does feed!

whenwill Mon 29-Oct-12 13:01:01

It sounds like you might have a feeding schedule?

ZuleikaD Mon 29-Oct-12 13:05:48

Fennel tea is supposed to help with supply too, though I have no idea in what concentrations. How's it going with offering more frequently? Is she feeding more often?

tiktok Mon 29-Oct-12 13:14:52

Squishy, it's good you are addressing this, as long-term 'one side only every four hours' as a deliberate policy is not a good way to ensure good production.....some babies are laid back and happy enough with this, but a slow weight gain as you have described (12 oz in 6 weeks and a drop down the centiles) shows that it's something that really needs to change urgently.

It sounds as if you think you only have 'enough' milk if the breasts feel full.....and this is not the case. In fact it's misleading. Full breasts are the signal your breasts have ceased producing for the time being, and this suppresses production (it's the way the body does not continue making milk to explosion-stage smile ) . Well-established bf and well-established production does not really have this sort of full-empty contrast.

Forget herbs or potions or teas - though they prob won't harm. It's more important for your baby to feed at least both sides every time, and every time she twitches or squeaks or indicates that she would be happy to feed smile You need to be aiming for about double bf frequency, so you'll need to be more proactive than you have been.

Hope you can turn things around.

tiktok Mon 29-Oct-12 13:16:45

Just to add: babies who need more milk rarely 'scream' for it, so it's not a good sign that she isn't. The good news is that these situations can turn round in a couple of weeks or so, as long as you are consistent about upping feeding frequency.

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 29-Oct-12 20:00:54

Thank you all. Yes we have a routine but I don't stick too rigidly to it. If she woke up after eating 3 hours before and was grumbly for example, I'd give her a feed, she got herself into the roughly 4 hours thing. If I let her she would probably go longer and stay asleep!
I've been offering both breasts for a few days now and even though she generally sttn I've started doing a middle of the night dream feed much to my annoyance of an alarm going off at 3am, but her weight is more important than 30 mins sleep grin

Fingers crossed for this weeks weight check. HV has said to start weaning before 26 weeks if weight continues to be slow. I ideally wanted to wait until then but as she will be 23 weeks at next weigh in its not too early.

Thank you all for taking the time to help smile

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