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Does a retained placenta affect milk supply?

(11 Posts)
Tryharder Fri 22-Aug-08 23:26:35

I have had a number of problems with bf which have resulted in me having to top-up with 2 bottles of formula every day (have come to terms with this now, dont feel guilty about it anymore). DS2 is latching on better now but one of the problems from topping up is that supply is affected. I have tried to up my supply (fenugreek, putting baby to breast all the time etc) but nothing really works.

When DS2 was born I had what they call a ragged placenta which meant I had to go into theatre afterwards to have the remains taken out manually). I was still bleeding at 9 weeks after the birth and after much faffing around by GP, was referred to the hospital for an ultrasound and was told that a little bit of the placenta lining was still there but that it would come out by itself and no action needed to be taken. That's fine but I had read somewhere that a retained placenta can affect the hormones needed for milk supply (or something). Is this true? I asked the gynacologist who examined me and he said that it wasnt true and then advised me to drink a litre of cows milk a day to up my supply.

Any advice or experience of this anyone?

bethoo Fri 22-Aug-08 23:30:40

i cant believe your gp implied drinking milk would top up your own! that is an old wives tale!

LackaDAISYcal Fri 22-Aug-08 23:52:14

OMG at your gynaes "advice" shock and sorry you are having a hard time getting excl BFing re-established. I would suggest a call to one of the BFing helplines for some one to one support on getting things back on track. Phone numbers are here

I'm just having a look on kellymom for you but can't find anything at the minute.

Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge will be along soon smile

LackaDAISYcal Fri 22-Aug-08 23:57:04

I've found one reference on LLL's website but it doesn't elaborate enough. I'll keep trying for you smile

DaisySteiner Fri 22-Aug-08 23:57:52

Yes, retained placenta can prevent the fall in progesterone levels which are necessary for milk production. Would recommend speaking to one of the helplines.

tiktok Sat 23-Aug-08 00:25:51

Tryharder - your gynae has it very wrong, and it is ridiculous to suggest you need to drink a litre of milk a day to up milk supply.

To up your supply you need to feed more often, and to feed from three or four or more 'sides' ('switch nursing') when you can. Night feeds are important, too.

Tryharder Sat 23-Aug-08 22:56:40

Thanks for your advice everyone. I knew already that drinking cows milk to up my own supply was crap - can't believe that doctors who specialise in women's reproductive health can think that. I have mentioned the placenta/milk supply thing to about 4 doctors now and they have all denied it's true and just roll their eyes if you say you saw it on the internet. But since the hospital wont take out the remaining placenta theres not a lot I can do about it and I lack the energy/time/will for a fight with the NHS.

I am breastfeeding like a good'un at the moment and still doing between 3-4 night feeds (DS2 cosleeps so it's not as hard as it sounds). I will try the switch nursing though. It's hard as DS2 is feeding like a newborn - compared to my SIL's baby of the same age who had one bf lasting 5 minutes in 6 hours when i last saw them and sat contented in her carseat for the rest of the time..

However, for the first time in ages tonight, DS2 went to sleep without needing a topup. Ive only given him 3oz of formula today plus 4oz of EBM which is much less formula than normal (was giving 10oz). If I sort this bf thing out it will be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I\m probably jinxing myself to hell by saying this but I really believe that i am starting to turn a corner!!!

Anyway, thanks again everyone. Mumsnet has been very, very helpful to me.

PinkTulips Sat 23-Aug-08 23:05:30

i had a retained chunk of placenta that only came out after my milk came in and it didn't seem to affect supply, i went from empty to engorged in 30 minutes, it was like watching one of those blow up bras inflate grin that said the placenta came out itself not long after the milk came in so not really similar to your experiance.

i found cluster feeding was the best way to up supply, spending hours switching from side to side, letting baby sleep for 20 mins and then when they woke another hour or so of switching from side to side, 20 mins sleep, etc........

i'd just plonky myself and baby in front of the tv in the evening and do this until i went to bed myself at 11/12

lizzytee Tue 26-Aug-08 11:32:09


If you do summon up the will to argue further with the hospital, you can quote the following paper as it seems to be the one most other sources (eg LLL, midwifery journals I've found) refer to:

Neifert et al (1981), American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun 15, 140(4) 477-8. Failure of lactogenesis associated with placental retention.

cmotdibbler Tue 26-Aug-08 11:40:45

I bled for 12 weeks, only stopping after a small lump of placenta came out - I had no problems with milk supply though.

Unfortunatly some babies like to feed more than others, and some are more efficient than other - comparing to your SILs baby prob isn't the best thing to do. Yours sound more normal to me though.

Great job in reducing the top ups ! Switch nursing is really effective, and not only helps your supply, but makes feeding more effective, so is well worth a try

sfxmum Tue 26-Aug-08 11:42:45

hi I am not sure it is much help but like you I had a retained placenta removed in theatre, dd had to spenf the first night in SCBU and developed jaundice. I always thought this was the main reason for the problems I had BF but after the first few days mainly on formula in hospital I went on to BF exclusively for nearly 6 months and then continue BF until she was well over 2yrs old

no idea how the placenta might have played a part sorry

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