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Expressing to boost supply

(13 Posts)
soundsystem Tue 28-Feb-17 07:59:05

Possibly a daft question...

If I'm expressing and hardly anything is coming out, is it still worth doing? As presumably it's still helping increase milk production by signalling milk is required? I

Background: newborn DS was feeding well and I felt I had enough milk and all was ok. Then he lost some weight and I had a panic and startered giving formula. Which has now affected my supply. He's put the weight back on, and is now gaining steadily and I want to reduce the formula and gradually get back to just breastfeeding. (He's 4 weeks old now).

I'm annoyed at myself for not trusting my instincts in the first place but I can't just suddenly stop formula as he'll be hungry/lose weight. So I'm breastfeeding as much as he'll take and then expressing in between, but it's demotivating expressing without much to show for it!

tiktok Tue 28-Feb-17 08:44:11

Not a daft Q at all smile

More info please: how much formula is he having?

What's the full weight story?

soundsystem Tue 28-Feb-17 15:05:45

Thanks, Tiktok, ok this might be a bit long...

Full weight story:

He weighed 3.28kg at birth, then dropped to 3kg. Less than 10% so no concerns. But then at the next check he'd dropped again to 2.97kg, rather than putting weight back on. I got a bit of a shock as I felt feeding had been going well: milk had come in, midwife had checked his latch and all looked good. With my older daughter (now 2) my milk didn't come in for a week, she lost a lot of weight and we ended up briefly in hospital, so I think when I saw he'd lost weight I panicked and jumped immediately to giving formula to get his weight up, rather than trying to increase my milk supply/wait for it to catch up. I'm a bit annoyed with myself now for this as I think I probably did have enough milk (the midwife said this at the time and encouraged me to keep going, but I was just a bit emotional and didn't really listen).

Anyway, now he's still breastfeeding, seems to latch on ok and will take both sides. Sometimes he seems satisfied but other times he's fussing as if he's still hungry so I've been topping up with on average 2oz of formula, maybe for 6 feeds a day. This has been for the past 2 weeks. Obviously, that's quite a lot and I'm not proposing just stopping giving it. I was advised to keep doing what I am but to try expressing after each feed/when I give formula as well to try to build supply, but when I express there's not really much milk there...

(Thanks if you read all of that, sorry it was so long!)

tiktok Tue 28-Feb-17 16:37:03

Still not enough info, though!!

When were these early weights done? To be honest, the diff between 3 kg and 2970g may be insignificant - if weight one was on day three and the next weight on day four.

What does he weigh now?

Yes, he's having a lot of formula. At a guess, he is having about half his requirements. So you need to cut it down gradually.

How about this : If he fusses after a BF, just BF him again! Far more effective and easier than expressing. If he won't go back on, try again in a few mins. If he needs formula as he fusses and will not BF, then top up with a smaller amount - maybe an ounce - and then BF again after that.

BUT - check this out with an hcp first. I'm not an hcp, and in any case I can't even see your baby.

soundsystem Wed 01-Mar-17 11:50:59

Ah, sorry! Ok, weights:

He was born on 27.01.17, weighing 3.28kg

01.02.17 3.08kg
07.02.17 2.97kg
09.02.17 3.00 kg
14.02.17 3.18kg
20.02.17 3.36kg
28.02.17 3.55kg

I started giving formula on the 08.02.17.

So he was on the 25th centile at birth, and has consistently on the 9th since the second weighing.

That sounds really sensible, thanks so much for taking the time to read and make suggestions. I'll give it a go! I'm seeing the HENRY people on Friday so I'll run it past them.

Thanks again!

icclemunchy Wed 01-Mar-17 11:59:09

Do you have a local la leche group? (The have a phone line if not) but pp's advice to just offer the breast again is good. You need to remove more milk to tell you body to make more and baby is much more effective than a pump. Indeed the amount you can (or can't!) pump is no indication of supply smile

tiktok Wed 01-Mar-17 12:12:04

Glad to help. On those figs, no need for formula but you were right to raise an eyebrow at the apparent weight loss on third weight. Better would have been to increase bf and 'sides ' taken and then reweigh. Now you can turn it around smile

SerialReJoiner Wed 01-Mar-17 12:20:48

You've had some great advice here. I used a pump to increase my supply with my dd when she was struggling to feed due to posterior tongue tie. I know you said you had plenty of milk in the first couple of weeks, but that will still be post-birth hormones driving your milk supply rather than the baby as such. (this is why many women struggle with oversupply in the early weeks) As time goes on, the baby drives the supply as your hormones settle.

Tongue tie doesn't always hurt. I didn't really experience a lot of discomfort with my tongue tied babies, especially my ds, but their weight was sliding down the charts and/or they weren't putting on enough weight fast enough. I used the pump to stimulate my breasts in between feeds, even at night.

Does your baby feed well at night? Can you set up a safe co-sleeping arrangement, so baby can have access to you as often as he wants? Has he been checked for tongue tie (I bang on about this, I know, but it really is so woefully underdiagnosed)?

soundsystem Thu 02-Mar-17 08:46:04

Thanks all!

I feel like supply is geting back on track. And so of course yesterday DS decided to refuse the breast completely in favour of wailing and looking at me reproachfully sad

He's feeding again happily now and seems satisfied so I think we're slowly getting somewhere.

Thanks again!

SerialReJoiner Thu 02-Mar-17 09:25:43

Glad to hear it. smile

namechangedtoday15 Thu 02-Mar-17 09:37:45

Another saying you've had great advice. One thing I always say, apart from your baby and feeding, are you eating and drinking enough? I was trying to feed twins and the paediatrician told me its just as important to eat well as it is to drink lots to maintain your supply. Obviously this was music to my ears smile but actually my body was telling me too, I was constantly hungry so just went with it to start with (and reigned it in a little later when feeding was established!). Good luck, sounds like you're doing a fab job!

soundsystem Thu 02-Mar-17 09:42:36

namechanged To be honest, I've probably not been eating enough (not consiousky cutting back just busy with baby and toddler).

The plan for today and tomorrow is just to stay on the sofa feeding, and I'm armed with drinks and snack at this time! Great advice, thank you!

soundsystem Thu 02-Mar-17 09:43:54

Also, good work managing to feed twins, and can't even imagine how tough that must be!

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