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Help! My supply dropped dramatically - how long is it going to take to get it back up?

(30 Posts)
feesh Sun 15-Oct-17 12:26:23

DS is 5 months. Last week he lost 200g as my supply dropped off a cliff face. Since Friday night I've been taking Fenugreek and Moringa and pumping after every feed. I don't feel like I've seen any improvement and I'm desperate to for both our sakes. How long will it take to get my supply back up? Is it even possible when breastfeeding is this well established?

(Am also on Domperidone but have been taking that since he was a few weeks old anyway).

Chickchickadee555 Sun 15-Oct-17 14:17:05

He LOST 200g? Over what time period? Are you sure the weight was taken and recorded correctly?
If you've been exclusively breastfeeding for five months, it's highly unlikely to be a supply issue. Is this the case or do you supplement?

feesh Sun 15-Oct-17 14:37:20

Yes it’s a real weight loss! I weigh him obsessively as we have always had weight gain struggles. My scales are quality and accurate and corroborate with the doctors when we go there.

He lost 100g in 24 hours on Tuesday last week and then another 100g in 24 hours on Friday. He’s also suddenly stopped throwing up milk after every feed (he’s refluxy usually) and had quite dry nappies and gone from pooing twice a day to only once every 3 days. My boobs have stopped filling up between feeds and it’s definitely a supply issue.

I know what’s caused it - I’ve been an idiot and stretched out feeds the last 2 or 3 weeks to try and get him into a routine

feesh Sun 15-Oct-17 14:39:36

Oh and yes he’s exclusively breast fed, he had a formula top ups when he was small as he had a fairly drastic weight loss in his first week or two. We weaned off them using the Kellymom method

feesh Sun 15-Oct-17 14:40:33

Oh and he had tongue tie snipped at 6 days - I had it rechecked by a tongue tie expert a couple of weeks ago as I had been worried it had grown back, but she said it was ok.

gamerchick Sun 15-Oct-17 14:40:44

Your boobs shouldn’t be filling up before a feed now anyway really. It’s more instant.

The only efficient way is to feed feed feed. Nobody is better at increasing supply than your baby.

ElizabethShaw Sun 15-Oct-17 14:45:20

Stretching feeds or night weaning shouldn't cause weight loss like that. I think he needs to see a doctor tomorrow to find out what's going on.

feesh Sun 15-Oct-17 15:04:22

I’ve been feeding him all the time since Friday and when he’s coming off the boob (usually upset and frustrated because he can’t get any more) I’ve been pumping to stimulate supply. Also been pumping overnight after every feed.

I know why he’s lost the weight, my supply absolutely tanked very suddenly. I recognise the signs as it’s happened before when my mum was taken seriously ill and I was really stressed when he was little.

My supply has always been very precarious, I’ve got polycystic ovaries and hypothyroid so I struggle.

I just want to know how long I have to keep up this regime before it comes back to what it was as quite frankly it’s killing me (I also have older twins)

Chickchickadee555 Sun 15-Oct-17 16:00:24

Please take him to the doctors. If that weight loss is accurate then it's drastic and he needs urgent medical attention.
Supply doesn't tank like that, not when you've been ebf up to now.
This is very likely to be a scales issue - weighing at home isn't recommended. But the priority should be getting an Hcp to double check the weight.

MrsNai Sun 15-Oct-17 16:05:23

Please do take him to the GP.

Also, to express more try expressing from one breast whilst he is feeding on the other one.

feesh Mon 16-Oct-17 03:33:16

I’ve got a doctors appointment tomorrow.

This is so frustrating. I’ve just woken up to feed and pump and whereas only a week ago, my boobs were both full to exploding at this time of day, now they’re completely soft. I used to wake up with a soaking wet bra and duvet cover and now nothing.

It’s the 3rd night of pumping through the night and still nothing has improved.

He normally favours my left breast, but he just went on for less than a minute and came off crying and fussing and was only happy when I gave him the other one. It’s weird that the left one seems to be the most ‘broken’ as that was always the most productive one before.

The only thing I can think of is that about 10 days ago, I woke up in the morning with it quite engorged. He drained it well as normal, coming off with milk dribbling out of his mouth and spitting up milk everywhere (oh how I miss that now). But my boob, although soft, was very painful and tender for another 48 hours after despite me massaging it loads and feeding him first on that side every time. After two days of this the pain went but that’s also when my supply dropped - do you think it’s related?

I just want to know if there’s any point at all in me trying to up my supply. It feels like it’s not working. If I knew it would take a week or even two weeks I could manage to keep up this regime. But if it’s not going to make any difference I want to stop now for the sake of my health and sanity.

feesh Mon 16-Oct-17 03:34:57

On the plus side he has gained 70g in total since I started this feeding and pumping and topping up regime so that’s good news.

Callamia Mon 16-Oct-17 03:45:41

This is unusual, but your experience is your experience.

It's a little curious to me that you're still getting that engorgment at 5m, when nothing particularly unusual has happened (if you'd been away for a while longer than usual or something, then I wouldn't be surprised).

I don't know enough to make an educated guess about the effect of your hormones on supply, but I guess it's worth following up on.

Such drastic weight loss The lost curious thing I think - he's definitely not been ill? With a decrease in feeding, I think I'd expect slower weight gain rather than weight loss.

I don't think it's possible to know how long it will take you to get to the point that you're happy with - until you know what's causing this blip. I hope the doctor is helpful - will you keep this thread going?

Pastaagain78 Mon 16-Oct-17 03:46:31

Your breast will be soft by five month. They shouldn't 'fill' like in newborn days. I do understand your anxiety. I have exclusively breastfed all three of my DS, DS 3 had weight gain issues down to laringomalacia. Even the paediatricians at the hospital didn't recommend excessively frequent weighing. Go to the drs today to see how he is, if he has been poorly. Feed on demand, don't try stretching or routine. This is fixable. You have done a great job and try to weigh less. I have a feels by you are weighing him far too often. It will feed your anxiety.

LapinR0se Mon 16-Oct-17 03:48:36

This sounds really distressing and exhausting especially if you already have twins to look after.
I hope it all works itself out but if not, you've done amazingly to get this far and 5 months is almost weaning onto solids time anyway. If you need to move to formula, you have not failed.

ICJump Mon 16-Oct-17 04:01:35

If you have thyroid problems stop taking fenergreek it can reduce your supply.

It's worth having a chat with breastfeeding counsellor.

moreismore Mon 16-Oct-17 04:20:29

Just a thought but are you eating and drinking enough yourself?

feesh Mon 16-Oct-17 06:10:23

No I wasn’t drinking enough a couple of weeks back, I know that’s contributed to my supply issue.

He’s got one white spot in his mouth, could it be thrush? Would it explain this all?

Chickchickadee555 Mon 16-Oct-17 10:02:40

Go to the doctors. Today. They will always give you an appointment for a baby.
You need to clear up what's happening with his weight because if those weight losses are accurate then that could be a real cause for concern, not with your supply but with your baby's health.
Make sure the doctor weighs naked on digital scales.
You also need to stop weighing him at home. It's not a reliable way of doing things.
Your supply will be fine. Please stop worrying about it. Nothing you have described on this is out of the ordinary and if you've been ebf it doesn't suddenly drop like that.
This isn't something anyone over the internet can diagnose or advise on other than to tell you to seek urgent medical support and reassurance.

tiktok Mon 16-Oct-17 10:45:23

Sorry, feesh, none of this adds up.

Babies do not lose 200 g in a week - they really don't.....not without being seriously ill (think meningitis or something equally serious) and of course there are always symptoms showing quite clearly the baby is ill. The baby would hardly be feeding at all, for example.

Undernourished babies might plateau, or gain very slowly.

The overwhelmingly likely reason is weighing error or recording error.

Weighing/recording error can happen with faulty scales, or human error.

Your breasts sound normal - very few women are still getting 'full to empty' sensations at five months. Your baby's pooing pattern sounds normal. Your baby's weeing sounds normal - these are developmental changes that happen without any need for concern. Babies' bladders mature, for example, so they 'hang on' to wee for longer. They wee less frequently, so it's common for nappies to be dry for longer. It's also normal for babies to be sick less often after feeds.

By all means take him to the doctor, but there is stuff going on here that needs proper discussion - domperidone useage over months, 'obsessive' weighing at home, the looking at normal symptoms/behaviour as indicative of something wrong, feeling that the worry is 'killing' you.....

Go to the doctor but don't go with the idea that there is something wrong with your baby, your milk supply or your feeding. It sounds to me that you are very anxious and a proper chance to get help and support would be a good idea.

tiktok Mon 16-Oct-17 18:29:39

Feesh what did doc say?

feesh Mon 16-Oct-17 19:04:36

Hi folks.
Saw both my lactation consultant today and paediatrician (we live in the Middle East, but paediatrician is a Brit from Kings College London).

Lactation consultant knows me well and knows how sensitive my supply is - as I said before we have been through this before when my mum was ill. She checked my boobs out (I have a milk bleb that needed looking at) and said I clearly had milk as she could see it coming out, and she observed a feed and said he's clearly getting milk but she agrees with me/believes me that my supply is not what it was and he's not coming off as satisfied and dripping with milk as he once was, and she agrees that all the things I have done wrong have led to my supply dropping. Particularly 3 weeks or so ago when I started trying to stretch his daytime feeds out to every 3 hours - when I was doing this quite frankly stupid thing, my boobs were filling up and getting a bit sore between feeds, as I'd previously been feeding every 1.5-2 hours. Hence negative feedback led to reduced supply. Also I wasn't looking after myself eating and drinking and had forgotten to take my Motilium a lot....perfect storm.

Anyway she said to keep doing what I'm doing and she's confident my supply will get back up. And to make sure I don't let my boobs go more than 4 hours overnight without some sort of stimulation (feeding or pump) just while we work to get my supply back to what it was.

Paediatrician was a bit more concerned, as DS's weight was exactly the same as it was 4 weeks ago when I last saw him for DS's vaccinations. Incidentally, his hospital scales weighed EXACTLY the same as my ones at home, as I checked DS's naked weight as soon as we got home to double check I'm not going mad.

He also believed me that it had gone up 200g and then gone down 200g again in those 4 weeks, but he said that as DS looks like 'a happy chappy' and that I have seen some increase in weight since Friday when I started feeding feeding feeding, pumping and topping up, that we don't need to panic yet - he just wants me to carry on doing what I'm doing and if that doesn't work in a week we will need to think about adding formula in, but obviously that's not ideal as it won't help my supply. So the main focus for now is to restore supply and hope that in turn boosts the weight gains.

So, there we are. I don't know why people don't believe me about the weight loss! My scales are really high quality ones, I always weigh him naked just before bedtime (so just before the last feed of the day) and in any case his weight has often fluctuated plus or minus 40 grams or so on a daily basis throughout, so 100g certainly isn't out of the question, although it is alarming. Maybe because most (normal, sane) people don't weigh every day they don't see these sorts of variations. He has also been known to gain 100g in a day quite often. After all, it's only the weight of one single feed.

I'm feeling a bit more positive now and I think that is actually helping my supply (which is ridiculously sensitive to my moods). I pumped 100ml after his bedtime feed, which is a big improvement on previous days.

feesh Mon 16-Oct-17 19:14:52

Tiktok I feel a bit offended by your post, but I will try and answer some points.

I know all of the stuff you have said....I know soft breasts are normal (mine normally are soft except at night and in the mornings -because his night feeding is still so random, I very often woke up with extremely swollen and leaky boobs in the morning or early hours - that stopped completely last week). I know not pooing every day is normal (but twice a day was normal for my son until last week). I know fewer wees are normal. I know all of this.

But what is weird is that everything happened at once. So while any of those things on their own are normal, when it all happened pointed to something having gone wrong. I'm not stupid or paranoid or uninformed....quite the opposite. When I realised his weight loss was real and not an error or coincidence on Friday, I looked back at the week and suddenly realised.... he's not been having wet nappies, he's not been pooing (and ok that could just be a change in his bowel habits, but it's also a coincidence), he's not been coming off full and happy, he's been quiet and grouchy, it was only when I looked at everything together that I realised that something had definitely gone wrong over the preceding days.

The domperidone usage over months isn't weird. I've been reducing it very slowly, by one tablet at a time over the last few weeks. It's because I've read loads of horror stories about women having serious withdrawal symptoms upon stopping it. My plan is to stop it slowly as he goes onto solid foods. Also as I have said, his weight gain has ALWAYS been precarious and worrying and I didn't want to do anything to jeopardise that.

In turn, my supply has always been very precarious. I have been to hell and back trying to get breastfeeding going this time around and it's nearly finished me off! If I have a couple of weird crutches like taking domperidone and weighing obsessively, I think you'd understand if you knew what I'd been through. I feel really proud of myself.

NameChange30 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:20:59

I have no advice as it sounds like you know your body, you know your baby and you have a good lactation consultant and paediatrician. Just keep doing what you're doing, you're doing all the right things. Easier said than done but try not to panic. And remember to look after yourself flowers

tiktok Mon 16-Oct-17 20:21:38

feesh, sorry if I offended you.

I was sharing information and of course I acknowledge the limitations inherent in Internet forums. Trustworthy informed face to face real life help is always going to be valuable, especially when someone is worried and when there's been a history of concerns over milk supply.

Having said that, nothing you've said in your subsequent post makes me think anything is really wrong; you and your baby, and your feeding, sound fine smile

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