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Help, how do i increase supply? struggling already [stressed emotion]

(66 Posts)
justjules Wed 16-Jul-08 23:18:54

day 7 and i am struggling,

i have found it hard since day 1,

dd lazy to feed and i want to encourage her to carry on, she latches well, sucks for a while (like 5/10 mins) and then either falls asleep or cries,

tried all sorts in hospital, breast feeding, hand expression in to syringe, cup feeding, hand pumping,

dd lost too much weight, the hospital were unhappy about her growth and i was worried so resorted to giving her a small amount of formula to top up,

day 4/5 went well, milk came in, dd was breast feeding every 3 hours and then suddenly she seemed to struggle again,

i have since topped up with formula (after offering the breast first) and yesterday i decided to buy an electric pump as my boobs were very hard and sore and i really want breast feeding to be a success,

pumping went well and i got 60mls off first go, since then i am only able to get about 30mls and i am finding it hard going,

i am worried about dds weight dropping even more and i would rather not give her formula if i can avoid it,

how can i increase supply so i can either breast feed her successfully or get enough off from the pump to bottle feed with breast milk,

thisisyesterday Wed 16-Jul-08 23:21:27

the absolute best thing you can do is to feed her as much as you can.
rest as much as poss (ie, go to bed and get dh to look after you) have lots of lovely skin to skin with baby and just keep offering the breast.

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 16-Jul-08 23:23:41

Keep pumping and keep feeding. Sounds like you are doing well - you've got to day 7 already smile

Lots of skin to skin contact, or feeding her whilst in the bath could help stimulate her to feed.

Joolyjoolyjoo Wed 16-Jul-08 23:24:39

I agree- keep putting her to the breast as often as possible and/ or pumping. Doesn't matter if you aren't getting a lot out, I think the stimulation leads to increased supply (or so I was led to believe!)

tiktok Wed 16-Jul-08 23:25:16

justjules - what a difficult first week

First off - you're clearly motivated and keen so that's a good start!

can you give more detail about weight and weight gain, and info about poos and wees?

Your supply is not the issue, from what you say - it's getting it into your baby that's the main thing. So frequent feeding is important.

Can you hold your baby skin to skin for as much of the time as possible, use biological nurturing positions (google it), and be very responsive to early feeding cues?

(your dd isn't 'lazy' - just finding feeding a bit hard at the moment. 5-10 min feeds are fine, by the way - offer both sides each time, and do it often. Sounds like she has been messed about quite a bit, so it'll help to do 'back to basics' skin to skin )

Speak more tomorrow.

liahgen Wed 16-Jul-08 23:27:50


I'm sorry to hear you are having a hard time, it's miserable isn't it, when everyone else seems to be sailing along.

First of all, looking at what you have pumped is not a reliable way to gauge how much milk you have, babies are much better at emptying breasts that machines and hands are.

I would try breast compression,

I still use this on my 14 mth old when i want her to drink more, it really does work.

Also, when you start topping up with formula, you will affect your own supply, as breastfeeding works on supply and demand. The more you put baby to the breast the more milk your body will make.

Maybe your let down is fast and causing baby to get a bit stressed at the breast.

However, day 7 is very early to be introducing bottle sof expressed milk if you want to bf successfully, drinking from a bottle is much easier for a baby and so if you are offering the 2, most babies in the early days will happily take bottles more often, leading to poor supply etc etc.

Golden rules, the more you offer breast and baby takes some, the more milk your body will make.

Only about 2% of women, (it may be even less) are GENUINELY unable to bf due to having insufficient milk supply.

Hope it gets better for you. x

justjules Wed 16-Jul-08 23:28:18

i am offering her the breast first,

should i try skin to skin before feeding then?

it is really difficult to time it right when they are so tiny,

she goes from sleep to starving and back to sleep so quickly,

vv, when you say in the bath, do you mean the both of us?

i have tried stroking/rubbing the breasts before and during feeding,

dp has even had a go (stroking and rubbing, not feeding) grin

thisisyesterday Wed 16-Jul-08 23:30:54

yep just cuddle up in bed naked with her. feed as soon as she cues to feed- before she cries for it.
and bathing together is great too.

these should help you increase the frequency of her feeds

Joolyjoolyjoo Wed 16-Jul-08 23:31:20

Oh- someone once told me that if you massage the palm of their hand it encourages them to start sucking again! Not sure how true that is, but it DID seem to work for mine when they were sleepy at feeds.

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 16-Jul-08 23:32:18

Yes, and yes.

liahgen Wed 16-Jul-08 23:34:16

yes, palms of their hands and soles of their feet too.

Run a deep bath, nice an dwarm and both of you get in, this will help milk flow and baby will be naked next to naked mummy, best place in the world.

As much skin to skin as poss, keep her undressed to nappy, and simply have her on your chest, as someone else said, as soon as she starts making feeding cues, ie rooting, sucking lip/hands, stirring, offer breast. Crying is often the last feeding cue.

justjules Wed 16-Jul-08 23:38:09

tt, she lost 13% in the first 3 days,

the hospital put the fear of god into me about this 'figure'

i was so worried i gave her a small amount of formula,

i know that it all went wrong from there really,

she clearly 'likes' feeding from a bottle, i guess it makes life 'easier' for her,

i have battled to get the routine back since then sad

i wish i had stood my ground in hospital, but i didnt, and i cant take that back now,

wees lots, poops are now yellow (after being black, green etc) she is alert, happy and content otherwise,

she also hiccups lots, (she did this daily in the womb) is there anything i can do about it, do i need to do anything about it?

justjules Wed 16-Jul-08 23:41:03

bath sounds good,

i will try that tomorrow,

i have expressed again about an hour ago so i will feed her that in a few hours, offer the breast over night and have a lovely bath in the morning,

back to basics for us,

LackaDAISYcal Wed 16-Jul-08 23:41:06

jules.....hi lovely and sorry you are having a hard time. IT is sooo difficult in the early days, especially with a first one, but it sounds like you are doing a great job. You've had loads of advice here, but I will reiterate the importance of skin to skin and biological nurturing.

tiktok asked about her weeing and pooing; is she having lots of wet and lots of pooey nappies per day? you haven't said either how much weight she has lost; remember some weight loss is normal, but they usually look to them regaining their birth weight by around day 14.

Can you just take to bed tomorrow, you naked and DD just in a nappy and let her feed as much as she wants to (and get a semi naked DH in there too, tis lovely to all cuddle up together smile)

expressing is hard, especially in the early days when you might be a wee bit sore and your supply is still getting established. Pumps are nowhere near as efficient as a nursing baby, so try and get her to the breast as often as you can. How often is she feeding now? Can you up the frequency at all? If she falls asleep on the breast, try tickling her cheek or her bare feet to see if this wakes her up, or changing her nappy might get her interested again.

sorry for all the questions; I hope you are still around.

liahgen Wed 16-Jul-08 23:41:44

don't worry about hiccups, they are not harmful.

Don't worry TOO much about what happened in hospital. Lets get you back on track now.


Shit sorry,

Red books are based on formula fed infants and so are not entirely accurate for bf's.

If baby is weeing, pooing regulkarly, alert and content when awake, (i know thats not often at this age), then you are doing all the right things.

Don't beat yourself up about things that have gone.

NorthernLurker Wed 16-Jul-08 23:43:11

Ime (3 babies) hiccuping is very, very normal and you don't need to worry about it. It doesn't seem to bother them but it's alarming when you see someone so small doing something that seems so violent. I would echo what everyone else has said about offering the breast as much as possible and just spending lots of lovely cuddle time with her. Your heartbeat has been her constant soundtrack for the past few months, she does feel safe and happy with you and you are doing a great job!

thumbwitch Wed 16-Jul-08 23:45:43

JJ - if you are really concerned about your supply, you could try drinking fennel tea (Dr. Stuart's teas have one, available in Waitrose). Make sure your own fluid intake is high enough as well. A friend of mine used to have about 2litres of fennel tea a day - I have 1 cup; you could try 3 cups maybe? It's good cold as well as hot.

My DS hiccuped all the time, took him to a cranial osteopath (for other things) and that helped to settle it down.

I also found that tickling the inside of DS's ear with my finger helped to get him sucking more as well.

Expressing is hard work and I also found that it only works really well for me when my boobs are really full, otherwise it is a nightmare to start and rarely completes satisfactorily.

morocco Wed 16-Jul-08 23:47:42

hiccups are fine, don't worry, they stop eventually

all sounds really good on the nappies front - how many wet/dirty nappies overall a day do you think?

when you say she was feeding well, every three hours, then started struggling - what was it that changed?

LackaDAISYcal Wed 16-Jul-08 23:49:44

oops, cross posts.

of course you struggled to stand your ground in hospital; it hasn't exactly been a walk in the park for you these last weeks and battered and sore after a section and hormonal to boot makes things difficult from the off sad. You seem pretty determined about it though, and that's half the battle I think.

tiktok will have more on the weight thing tomorrow, but I would think (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong) that as long as she is gaining now then she and you are doing fine.

has she been weighed recently by your cmw? and of course you have to bear in mind that her scales will be different to the hospitals.

Is there a baby cafe or any other support group close by that you can access? It might be worth popping into to someplace like that as they usually have trained BFCs on hand for support.

If it's just a chat you want, email me on daisybump at yahoo dot co dot uk and I'll give you my number smile

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 16-Jul-08 23:50:14

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StarlightMcKenzie Wed 16-Jul-08 23:52:11

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LackaDAISYcal Wed 16-Jul-08 23:54:45

liaghen, I'm pretty sure the red book charts are for a mix of babies, both FF annd BF. some authorities are using the new WHO charts, but not all smile

agree the expressing can be quite demoralising though, so best to try and just let baby do all the work for the minute.

and hiccups are normal, and can look quite funny. DD used to look so surprised by them, like she didn't quite know where they were coming from smile

I hope you both have a good night {{{{hugs}}}}

justjules Wed 16-Jul-08 23:55:42

i agree about the red book thing now but at the time i paniced,

anyways, several nappies, 6/7/8 at a guess,

the only thing i could think was something i had eaten (thai prawns)

i have since eaten bland food for 2 days to see if there is any difference,

that and the fact dp has done a few feeds, (expressed or formula) which i think she likes as he has a lovely calmness about him (has 2 dds already so previous baby experience)

will try lots more skin to skin tonight,

justjules Thu 17-Jul-08 00:02:48

i dont know about the current weight,

she is due to be weighed again this week,

i think she is gaining now,

the doctor had a look over her and says there is no apparent physical reason for weight loss,

she was born at 37 weeks by section due to pre eclampsia onset at 35 weeks, i was in hospital for the duration, they gave me tablets and steroids to get me to 37 weeks,

i think the fact she is only little is not making things easier for me or her,

thankyou all for your help smile

LackaDAISYcal Thu 17-Jul-08 00:08:34

jules the amount of pooey nappies sounds fine, and your DH sounds like a gem smile

get him to bring you food and drinks tomorrow and enjoy your babymoon.

You have had a right old time of it and it'll take time for both you and her to recover from that. Take heart in lots of MNers having shaky starts with feeding, but getting there in the end smile

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