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No milk at all

(10 Posts)
Joshjunior Tue 14-Dec-04 21:11:58

ds is now 13 months. I had a really awful time trying to breast feed him which resulted in him spending a week on a drip in SCBU with severe dehydration and weight loss. We could have lost him it was that bad. I never did produce any milk and had to formula feed him. I'm thinking of trying for number 2 but want to know if there is anything I can do to help produce some milk this time. I really didn't have any. I tried over the counter medication which was pretty useless. Any ideas anyone?

tiktok Tue 14-Dec-04 21:25:06

Oh, jj, what a sad tale....it must have been very frightening for you.

Just occasionally, one reads in the literature of mothers who appear to produce no milk at all, so although it is vanishingly rare, it does seem to happen very very occasionally.

However, to be honest, it is far more likely that you produced milk but your baby was not able to access it effectively for some reason, and this led to the dehydration.

If you can, give us more information. Did your milk come in? Did your baby look as if he was feeding, but in fact wasn't? What about wees and poos? Were you sore? was there any indication that he wasn't 'on' right? How often did he feed? Was he very sleepy?

Joshjunior Tue 14-Dec-04 21:32:17

thanks for your questions. I was advised on SCBU to express which I did. After a week I managed to get a drop after 15 mins of trying - no joke. The best I ever managed at 14 weeks of expressing was 15 mls. My boobs never changed shape or felt heavy etc. I now know that 1 almost wet nappy in 24hrs was not right but the midwife never asked me if he was weeing despite the fact that she came in every day. I'm not really convinced he was latching on as I was never sore just so tired I can remember falling asleep with him on the boob. He never really cried belive it or not but I was told this may have been more because he was slipping into a coma. Makes me sad to think I could have been so dumb looking back on all the warning signs that something was amiss.

phatcat Tue 14-Dec-04 22:09:01

josh - that sounds so very scary. My own experience with ds1 was similar, though not as extreme - according to the midwife we were a day away from him having to be admitted for rehydration, so I ended up formula feeding too. My problem was him not being able to latch but I never really realised anything was amiss - he was sleeping more and more and complaining less and less and I thought that's because he was content. It happens to the best of us - please don't feel dumb. You will know for next time.

Regarding the milk supply issue - no advice as such, but I have a (midwife) friend who says she had no milk for her first child and she has just successfully mixed fed her third child. In the same way that every pregnancy is different maybe every bf experience is. I'm assuming that you haven't had any breast surgery which might have cut the milk ducts?

tiktok Tue 14-Dec-04 23:50:22

jj......the midwife should have told you that every nappy should be wet from day one, and explained how to tell if a disposable has been weed in. Maybe you were not expressing often enough - to build up and maintain a supply, you need to do it round the clock...eight times, really, in 24 hours with a pump that works properly (some pumps do not). By the time he was in scbu, it may have been too late to rescue your milk supply without long term round the clock expressing. Maybe he had not been feeding effectively for some time...how old was he when he was in scbu?

It could be significant that you never experienced any changes in your breasts, though. Have you had breast surgery? Are your breasts 'tubular' in shape?

Levanna Wed 15-Dec-04 01:16:44

joshjunior, I'm really sorry to hear that breastfeeding went like it did first time 'round. You said
^"Makes me sad to think I could have been so dumb looking back on all the warning signs that something was amiss."^
But, it seems as though you didn't know what those signs were, due to no-one taking the time to tell you! You are far, far from dumb! Tiktok has asked you some really pertinent questions. It really is rare for a lady to have too little milk, for no reason. There are one or two contidions that can lead to low or no milk production though.
With DD1 I had too little milk, but it was due to latching on problems amongst other things. (My daughter went on a nursing strike so my supply dropped, her weight dropped, so on.) Anyway, with DD2 it has gone extremely well, I do have enough milk.
I have found fennel tea fantastic for giving my supply a boost, but the top trick for me is definitely positive thinking. It's extremely hard following a bad or guilt ridden experience, but my Dsis said to me (she's a peer supporter) .... ^"It's in your mind".^ (If anyone else had dared, I probably would have booted them hard and fast out the front door!) But, what she meant was that I was allowing the negativity of my previous experience to encroach on my second breastfeeding experience. I was tense and fearful and it wasn't making for happy relaxed feed times, or an abundant supply.
Sometimes ladies with even an abundant supply can't express effectively. Sometimes the Marmet technique (a method of hand expressing which is really quite gentle) can be quite effective. It's interesting that you felt no soreness, I know one lady who had a very similar experience to you and she didn't get sore, whereas most ladies I know who've breastfed have encountered some sort of discomfort (usually sore nipples) during the first week or two.
Tiktok has fantastic knowledge about breastfeeding, I'm sure she'll be able to help you .

Joshjunior Fri 17-Dec-04 19:46:43

Tiktok I haven't had any breast surgery but I do have very odd boobs! One is very round and I was able to get him onto this one without much of a problem I think but the other one is very conical in shape and I never did feel that he was on correctly.

tiktok Fri 17-Dec-04 23:02:43

jj, that's interesting....it would have been possible for you (with support and good info) to have fed him on one side only, if the problem with the 'other' breast had been spotted (if that was what was the difficulty). What happens sometimes is that everyone thinks bf is going just fine, or mothers are told to 'persevere' if things aren't going well, and then a crisis happens and the baby is dehydrated....when in fact things have been going downhil for some time before hand.

I'd be interested in hearing more about what happened - see Qs in my first post.

cheekychops03 Sat 18-Dec-04 00:29:43

Hi Joshjunior
Gosh, what an experience. I can only imagine what you must have gone through. You absolutely must not think of yourself as dumb. As the other ladies have said, if you don't know what to look for.........Us Mum's spend too much time beating ourselves up for things we have no control over.
I would really reiterate what Tiktok has said. Have you considered talking to a brestfeeding counsellor? National numbers are as follows and they can usually put you on to someone locally:
NCT 0870 444 8708 (8am-10pm)
Breastfeeding Network 0870 900 8787 (9.30am-9.30pm)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0870 401 7711 (24 hr)
La Leche League 0845 120 2918 (24 hr).
Also, it may be an idea to see if there are any breastfeeding grouos in your area. You may be able to meet Mums in your local area who have been in similar positions. I know of a few in S.London if that is anywhere near you.
You CAN do it!!!!
GOOD LUCK!

Joshjunior Mon 17-Jan-05 20:46:25

Sorry for the long delay in replying Tiktok, Xmas and all that! To give you some more details - ds was 17 days late. He was an emergency section, my waters breaking 30mins before I was due to be induced, labour lasted 4 hrs before section. I always had problems getting him onto left boob, just felt like the wrong shape if this makes any sense. I didn't get sore at all. I wasn't sure how often to feed so did it about every 3 hrs or so, he never really cried that much. He was quite sleepy on the breast which I thought was satisfaction of a full tummy. I never had a 'let down' feeling as it was described to me and don't think my milk ever came in. Bobbs remained the same size from conception to the present day! Hope this info is of some use. TIA for any help you can give me.

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