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Milk supply dwindling. What can I do/eat?

(18 Posts)
SaggyAndLucy Sun 16-Mar-14 11:36:22

baby is 8 days old and in scbu so I'm expressing for her. A couple of days ago I had a large hot egg sized lump on one side and around a quarter of the other breast was hard, hot and tender.
I know the drill, I massaged, hot compressed and pumped for England in just about every position possible and over the next day the blockages subsided.
The trouble is so has my milk! I was getting 120 mls or so 5/6 times a day, this has gone down to 30 mls total at the last attempt. I've got loads of fluid going in, im eating and getting as much sleep as possible. I've upped pumping today to at least every 4 hours or so and im going to pop in some 'cluster feeds'.
can anyone think of anything else I can do, or any suggestions for bf

I look rather ghostly so dp is bringing me some multivitamins with iron. would a calcium supplement help?

tiktok Sun 16-Mar-14 11:52:39

What a difficult time, Saggy sad

The only sure way to make more milk is to remove it more frequently - 4hrly is not enough, so your plan to increase and include shorter 'cluster' sessions is fine.

Calcium and vitamin supps may help you, but will have no effect on making milk. Same goes for your diet, and whether or not you sleep.

Hope this helps.

Your baby can have as much skin to skin and kangaroo-ing as poss, too, as this helps get things going and is also lovely to do smile

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Sun 16-Mar-14 11:56:48

oats and brewers yeast bsicuits - A mum I know made these and said it really helped with her supply. I don't have a recipe, but I'm sure it's googleable. I think oats generally are supposed to be good, so porridge and flapjack.
There is lots of info on KellyMom, but you might have to root around a bit as you are in a specific situation, so a lot of the info won't apply.

ThursdayLast Sun 16-Mar-14 11:58:12

I don't know how much it worked, but I took fenugreek supplements to help my supply.
But I was doing everything tiktok says too so I wouldn't like to say it was solely responsible for my milk. It certainly helped me feel like I was doing something.
For what it's worth, I think that what you've achieved so far is incredible. I hope you can continue how you'd like x

Parliamo Sun 16-Mar-14 12:04:19

Congratulations on your new baby! And well done for expressing so far. I don't have a lot of expertise, but I supported my sister doing the same thing. She had a similar dip, and got herself in a panic about her supply. Everyone was telling her how hard it is to express etc etc, and the stress and pressure just made it harder. It soon settled down though and she expressed more than enough.

It could be just your supply settling down after the initial engorgement. Are you getting enough milk for her for the moment? I think the best thing you can do is make sure you have the best possible pump, best fit etc. Then one night session is important to keep supply going in the first few weeks. Once the mechanics is right, the next thing is stimulating the let down reflex. Perhaps in the first few days of oversupply this wasn't a problem, but I think this is the trick with expressing. My hv used to talk about having the baby near, or a photo, or just clearing your mind so you can think about just your baby. Some women hearing a baby cry can stimulate let down.

So I would think the best thing you can do is try to relax(ha!), and have skin to skin if you can. Do you need a bit more privacy? Don't worry about your diet too much. Good luck, You're doing your best and it must be hard having a baby in scbu x

Midori1999 Sun 16-Mar-14 12:44:02

Expressing more will help with any mastitis as well as helping your supply. I've exclusively expressed twice. The first time I expressed 5/6 times a day and not at night and by three weeks my milk had dried up. The second time I pumped at least every 3 hours (8 times plus a day) including at least once between about 1 and 4am and after a week was getting about 250ml a time.

Pumping from both breasts at once can also give a higher milk yield. If you haven't got one, a hospital grade double pump will be your friend.

Thumbwitch Sun 16-Mar-14 14:37:18

Fennel tea, if you don't mind the slightly aniseed flavour. A friend used to drink 2 litres a day (she'd make it up in the morning, chill it and drink it through the day) to help her supply - of course the fluid helped too!

I find that my supply fades off with pumping as well (had to do it a few times because my nipples kept cracking thanks to DS2 being a bit tough on them) - if it's any consolation (and it might not be because I don't know how long your DD will be in SCBU) the supply did improve again once I let him back on.

HellomynameisIcklePickle Sun 16-Mar-14 16:36:35

I had trouble with my supply and my lactation consultant prescribed fenugreek - you can buy it yourself as a supplement.

Try and look at pictures of your baby as you pump or hold/smell a little hat she's worn

Kellymom has advice about pumping - there is dome trick of doing it 4 times in an hour or sonething yo help kick your supply up a notch, but have look on there for tips.

do you have any local support?

Romily Sun 16-Mar-14 19:32:18

I expressed while my baby was in SCBU and it was hard going so congratulations for keeping it up!

What worked for me was having having photos of him and a blanket that he had slept with near me when I expressed. I was also allowed to express next to his incubator or in the hospital expressing room which helped.

Before expressing I did a full breast massage on each side.

I had a double hospital grade pump and as well as expressing every 3 hours I had cluster sessions through the day where I expressed for 10 mins rested for 10 mins and then repeated for an hour.

Once he could be held I tried frequently to feed him with lots of skin to skin contact and after expressed until there was nothing and then kept expressing for another 5 mins. There was also a clear link to my mood, when I was upset I produced far less than when I was relaxed.

As well as keeping hydrated I ate oats a couple of times a day through porridge and flapjacks and then recently I have started to take Fenugreek and to drink fennel tea.

The LLL, NCT and Kellymom provided loads of invaluable help. Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:54:07

Sadly one of the reasons we are in scbu is that Lucy has a pretty rubbish suck and swallow so putting her to the breast isn't going to help much! Although we try every feed time and sometimes she will t ask e a suck or two.
I've been told to ask for a referral to a SALT so I'm going to do that tomorrow.
I'm just hoping we get some kind of breakthrough with bf or my milk supply before it gives up the ghost. sad

Thumbwitch Mon 17-Mar-14 00:14:40

Everything crossed for you Saggy - hope you get your referral and keep going with the pumping for as long as you can stand it. xx

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 17-Mar-14 00:33:32

Hi saggy - I've exclusively expressed for 22weeks for my15 month old DS and am 8 weeks in with DD. Tongue tie issues for us plus DS was in SCBU for a week

I'm not an expert but just wanted to pass in some tips that worked for me.

1. Drink gallons. Eat loads

2. I found DS being in the SCBU shell shocked me as it was my first baby. My DH was really good at basically forcing me to eat and drink and take time to express - hand expressing to start with.

3. I presume your using a good hospital pump - electric? If not, get yourself one - particularly if you're going to keep going at home. I have two ameda lactalines and love them. You can buy on amazon - next day delivery. They are very light and just as good as the hospital grade ones (I found) so you could take the pump and pump beside Lucy, if you're not already. Our hospital got you to pump in the antenatal ward and I never thought to ask if I could pump with DS on the SCBU.

4. Get a hands free expressing bra - I like the medela one and make sure you're pumping from both sides at the same time. You can get the bra on Amazon too

5. Check the suction of the pump - do you have a good seal between your boobs and the funnels - all the way round? Check all the bits of the funnels etc to make sure that nothing is damaged or letting the vacuum break or just generally be less effective.

6. Are you sitting up enough and leaning forward enough to encourage the seal and let all the milk go into the bottles rather than dripping back onto you and escaping out of the funnels

7. Just keep pumping as much as you can - you could ask the doc for domperidone too so might be worth discussing tomorrow so you can have a fall back

Hope this helps ((hug))

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 17-Mar-14 00:39:05

Oh - absolutely second what midori said - you need to be expressing at least once between 1 - 4am. Which is a right bloody ball ache.

However, my DD is 8 weeks and I've been able to drop that pump with no ill effects in the last week or so as she's been sleeping more so it's not forever. I have absolutely no issue with supply and have had to start giving DS two bottles a day too - albeit I know that everyone's different. If you did see a decrease in supply, you can just add that pump back in again.

SaggyAndLucy Sun 23-Mar-14 02:03:21

A bit if an. update for anyone who's interested...
We are home now, we escaped yesterday. I'm still pumping and I must say, the Ardo Calypso pump that the bf support ladies have loaned me is FAR nicer than the Medela Symphony all singing all dancing job by that they had im on the wards. The Medela was basically just forcing the milk out and shredding my nipples. They were horrendously sore. The Ardo has variable vacuum and suction levels and the cup is a better fit. After the initial burst I don't even feel it working. Also, if I nod off, it stays put rather than the Medela which used to disconnect at the drop of a hat!
I'm able to relax at home and have dd beside me which is great.
I also popped into the gp last evening and got him to prescribe me with domperidone. Its made a real difference. I'm up from 30 mls max per breast to 75:mls!

BadPenny Sun 23-Mar-14 09:41:02

Well done! Was going to suggest domperidone too - can really make a difference... So glad to hear you've found a pump that doesn't hurt - will make the let-down so much easier...

mrscog Sun 23-Mar-14 09:44:21

4 hourly isn't enough I'm afraid - you need to pump 2-3 hourly with one of these at 2/3am. I'd say that's the main reason why the amount is decreasing. Drinking loads and relaxing us also v important in my experience.

TanteRose Sun 23-Mar-14 09:50:23

Congrats on the birth of little Lucy, Saggy thanks

Glad you are back home and can relax a bit. Will make all the difference to your supply, plus the good pump.

Remember I am usually on MN during the night if you want to chat anytime during those midnight feeding sessions

GingerMaman Sun 23-Mar-14 09:51:45

Nursing tea might help. You can buy off amazon. Have two a day.

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