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Anxiety affecting milk supply?

(22 Posts)
LuchaGarcia Thu 22-Oct-20 03:55:27

Hi all,
I'll get straight to the point- DD had a significant tongue tie which got out BFing journey off to a rocky start. I was then told I had low milk supply and was advised to supplement with formula while I built my supply up. Poor choice of words from one of the midwives "your baby has been starving for the last week" really triggered my anxiety and now everytime I BF or pump (currently pumping after every feed) I can't help but think and obsess about whether I have enough or not...which in turn doesn't help my milk production and let down etc. I try and distract myself during feeds and pumping sessions but nothing truly takes my mind off it. I was wondering if anxiolytics or something similar might help, or if there is anything else I can do to just relax enough to produce properly.

OP’s posts: |
Arrowcat Thu 22-Oct-20 04:18:34

Are you still combi feeding? Can you go back to this to take the pressure off.
I had a horrific breastfeeding journey the first time and any time I just couldn't cope with feeding or we were in a place I couldn't I gave a teeny tiny bottle of formula. It meant that I never reached the holy grail of EBF (and boy did I get stick for choosing not to try) but it meant we were both happy and I breastfed for a year. But I was so anxious and stressed that now pregnant with my second and I know I will not do it again if I end up in the same state.
Honestly - we don't live in a third world country, by the time they're 5 you'll never know who had formula and it's not a competition.
Do what's right for you and ignore everything else.
(Also fenugreek and oats to get supply up if you want).

Sciencebabe Thu 22-Oct-20 04:45:37

Lots of water to drink - LOTS. Home made oat flapjack. Sugary things to eat. Lots of skin to skin. Honestly, go to bed for the weekend with baby and stay in bed doing skin to skin - you don't even need to wash! The chemicals released between you two touching is a calling sign for your body to produce milk for baby. Let baby on to your breast all the time, even when it's not feeding time. They go on the breast for comfort, closeness, food, and to order their next quantity and quality of milk. Your breasts change milk/cell contents depending on what chemical signals they receive from baby i.e, if they sense baby needs more fat or if baby is ill and needs an immune boost.

footprintsintheslow Thu 22-Oct-20 04:54:44

The thing to focus on your is breasts are glands not bladders. They aren't there to hold a reservoir of milk. The baby stimulates the supply, put your baby to the breast as much as possible. Skin to skin, go to bed with them, don't be out a lot for now and don't have too many visitors.

This book is a very quick read and will give you faith in your own ability and body.

Why the Politics of Breastfeeding Matter (Pinter & Martin Why It Matters: 6): 1

Don't be out of by the title and it's only £7.

Remember women in war torn countries with extreme poverty make milk. Women in Auschwitz made milk.
In western societies we are not supported enough and there is little expectation on us to succeed with breastfeeding.

The only reason you shouldn't breastfeed is because you don't want to which is a good enough reason in itself. Other than that you can do this!

LuchaGarcia Thu 22-Oct-20 07:42:50

Thanks all for your responses. I really do want to take your advice of just staying in bed for a few days with sounds blissful. However I feel like feeding has become 3 times as long for me- I BF, then top up with formula as advised, THEN pump for 15 mins while someone else deals with DD. I have been advised by HV and midwives not to take DD off the formula until my supply has caught up (I have no idea how I'm supposed to know when this is). I think it's because they were fixated on her weight- she took a little longer than they'd liked to reach her birth weight again. I was convinced it was because of her tongue tie but the midwives insisted it was my supply, and now I truly regret listening to them.

OP’s posts: |
Time2change2 Thu 22-Oct-20 07:53:44

OP I had almost the same experience as you 10 years ago minus the tongue tie (sorry to see times have not changed) My MW said on day 2 by baby looks skinny and was starving. She insisted we got formula there and then and send my DH out. She then fed my baby with a cup whilst I was sobbing. It literally jeopardised my whole bf journey and I realised too late how wrong she had been. My DD didn’t stack the weight back on like other babies and they kept constantly on at me.
What I should have been advised was, it’s fine if baby is at the boob all day in the early weeks. That is normal and natural. Whack the lanasoh on and have her sucking whenever she likes.
I have done the whole Bf then formula top up then pump. I did it for months.
It’s hard because bf needs you to have confidence in your body- you can’t see what’s going in to baby and pumping is no indicator whatsoever of how much milk you have.
If I were you, I would aim to put her to the breast more and slowly reduce the formula top up amount. Also get in touch with a breastfeeding / location consultant or phone a BF helpline for advice. They are fantastic at giving confidence and assuring you.

NameChange30 Thu 22-Oct-20 08:05:26

I'm sorry you've had such bad advice from the midwives. Sadly they have little to no training on tongue tie and other feeding issues.

The fact is that the tongue tie will have caused your low supply, because it prevented baby from feeding effectively, and that's what triggers milk production - it's supply and demand. So once you got the tongue tie divided, feeding should have improved (I assume it did?) which means that your supply would have increased naturally. The problem is that if you continue to supplement with formula, this will have a negative impact on your supply. There's nothing wrong with mix feeding if that's what you want to do, but if you actually want to exclusively breastfeed, you should stop the formula top-ups. This is assuming that your baby is producing wet and dirty nappies and is now gaining weight. If there were significant concerns about baby losing weight and not getting enough milk then you'd need the advice of a lactation consultant about how to reduce/stop the formula.

Do contact the National breastfeeding helpline for advice, they have a website with various ways to contact them. You could also Google breastfeeding support near you as there may well be local groups offering support via phone / video call or maybe even F2F.

NameChange30 Thu 22-Oct-20 08:10:04

Lots of helpful info and advice here

LuchaGarcia Thu 22-Oct-20 08:30:03

Thanks for your responses. It's sad to hear how many people have had similar experiences sad
Yes i immediately felt a difference after the tongue tie division- BFing was suddenly pain free and still is. I really look forward to BFing now but just cannot be bothered for the formula and pumping afterwards. I've now been pumping for 2 weeks but not sure if I've made any progress.
I'm about to book a consultation with a private lactation consultant as I'm desperate and really don't want to give up

OP’s posts: |
NameChange30 Thu 22-Oct-20 08:58:53

If you can see a lactation consultant I'm sure they'll be helpful.

Out of interest, how old is your DD, what did she weigh when she was born and what does she weigh now?

LuchaGarcia Thu 22-Oct-20 11:09:19

@NameChange30 she's a month old. She weighed 3.08kg at birth and only lost 2% of her birth weight initially, then she lost another 3% (still not very much). But because she didnt get back up to her birth weight within 2 weeks, they insisted on the formula top ups. She's now back up to 3.5kg

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footprintsintheslow Thu 22-Oct-20 14:08:28

Pumping is a massive ball ache.

I can't see how your supply will increase if you are formula feeding too. Are you able to access professional advice by actual bf'ing experts as opposed midwives?

Keha Thu 22-Oct-20 21:02:38

Sorry you've been through this. I also combi fed after being told baby had lost too much weight. In my case it was a delay in my supply, which seemed to catch up quickly. I did take fenugreek for a bit. I stopped pumping as it was stressful and tried to keep baby attached to the boob as much as possible and just slowly reduced formula unless she seemed really upset after bf for ages. I had a bit of a light bulb moment after a few weeks. I'd been easily feeding her through the night with no top ups of formula and I just thought well my boobs can do the same in the day and then I felt much more relaxed about it. Good luck and remember formula is not the end of the world.

Chickchickadee555 Thu 22-Oct-20 22:40:29

@LuchaGarcia I'm sorry you're having such a tough start and the awful way you were spoken to is affecting you like this.
Can I ask what you're doing with the milk you've pumped? If LO really still needs topping up (and I'd get a second opinion on this from a lactation consultant), why are you using formula when you have the expressed?

LuchaGarcia Fri 23-Oct-20 00:02:33

Recently I have been giving the expressed milk to her as top up but I still don't express enough to ditch the formula altogether.

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Chickchickadee555 Fri 23-Oct-20 00:58:16

Ok. How much are you topping her up with and how often?
Have you spoken to a lactation consultant or bf counsellor about a way forward here? Because what you've got at the moment is the worst of all worlds and must be so exhausting. You need a plan to move on from this and get back to full breastfeeding, if that's what you want to do.

Ellax Fri 23-Oct-20 14:37:35

I had a really similar problem and it’s so upsetting isn’t it. I’m still in the midst of it but I have noticed my supply has gone up. I don’t think it’s 100 percent yet but it’s definitely gone up. I had the problem of my baby always signalling to be hungry so given that I had a drop in my supply I’m always convinced that he’s hungry and I’m starving him.

It’s really tough doing all three things: breastfeeding, pumping, cleaning everything, doing the formula. At one point I was just ready to switch to formula because I found doing everything was so overwhelming.

Don’t allow yourself to stress. Firstly because you don’t need to stress, and secondly because stress will effect your supply. So just don’t do it! I just forbid myself from worrying about my supply.

I don’t think you need to pump after every feed, I was told by midwife to do this too but it’s too tough. Given that milk production hormone is higher at night I pump twice at night (and you’ll see you’ve collected way more milk) and then I’ll pump if I feel like baby didn’t thoroughly empty my boob during the day.

I also just found that being calm and prioritising a bit of rest for me over that extra pumping session has made a difference.

You could buy some baby scales? And that way when you begin to reduce the formula you’ll be reassured that baby is gaining and you’re not depriving them. I know bottle is so much easier because that way if they’re fussing after a feed you know that it’s definitely not hunger.

Im hoping I can soon return to EBF baby is 6 weeks today. Have faith! We’ll both get there! Feel free to message you if you like xx

LuchaGarcia Fri 23-Oct-20 15:50:06

@Ellax it's nice to know I'm not alone! Our situations sound very similar...I can't believe how common this is!

I finally had a private lactation consultant come over today. We made minor adjustments to my positioning which helped. But after going through the numbers (how often and how much I'm expressing), she didn't seem to think supply was a massive issue. She reckons I have enough milk but would just have to feed more frequently, with one or two pumping sessions as you suggested. I'm feeling much more optimistic and will update my progress here smile

I'm also wondering if my baby's digestive issues might improve a little if she feeds smaller amounts but more frequently...fingers crossed!

Thanks everyone for your kind replies. They were really helpful smile

OP’s posts: |
footprintsintheslow Sat 24-Oct-20 07:00:46

@LuchaGarcia that's really positive to hear. I think having faith in your body's ability is very important.

fabulous40s Sat 24-Oct-20 08:45:33

I had similar and by week 6 I had enough milk to stop the formula. As others have said, I stayed in my pjs, in bed, my mum and DH were great in keeping everything else going for me. I watched videos of my baby when pumping. You’ll get there, be kind to yourself and be patient, you’ve been through a lot

fabulous40s Sat 24-Oct-20 08:48:31

Also are you looking at Kelly mom, la leche league and breastfeeding support groups in Facebook? Liverpool BAMBIS is very good. Great place to ask questions throughout your time breastfeeding and great place to learn

LuchaGarcia Tue 27-Oct-20 14:17:54

Hi all,
Just thought I'd update here. It's been up and down (I think sleep deprivation plays a big part) but I'm definitely seeing a gradual increase in my supply. Still having to top her up a few times a day but I guess these things take time. I've been BFing LOADS...literally at every opportunity but when she just won't settle, I'm topping her up. Previously I used to put it down to gas, and while that might be an actua issue, I've realised it bothers her less when she is full.

Really hoping we turn a corner soon thlsmile

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