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How do I increase my milk supply

(17 Posts)
Mollydolly124 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:04:52

Hello All,

My little boy was born 7.5 weeks early, he was tube feed my breast milk for 4 weeks then I started to breast feed him properly.

I always expressed off both sides but once I introduced the beast to him he could never get attached to my right breast and it started to get really soar, I tried a breast shield and that made my breast bleed then after that I just became terrified to feed him.

So I stopped using that side and have only really feed him on my left side, in doing this I have always ended up giving him 1 bottle feed a day - expressed milk until I ran out, now he is on formula.

I can never seem to satisfy him and the problem is only getting worse, I HATE formula milk and would love to just feed him myself but have not been able to so far.

I have had a lot of help with this, the right side is a def no no as I have an awful pain in my breast tissue when I feed him and have decided I can not do that.

I am giving him more and more formula every day which I need to stop.

I feed him on the left side only but once my supply seems to have gone he just starts to suckle fast again and he makes my nipple hurt.

I have tried creams but he does not like them and then refuses to latch on?

Do I get some herbal tablets or keep letting him suck and just put up with the pain?

I am so lost and I am not going to have a choice soon if I dont do something about this ASAP!!

Please help.

Massive thanks in advance.


IAteDavinaForDinner Mon 22-Sep-08 21:09:36

I think you need some specialist advice, but people will need to know his age, weight, whether his weight is increasing and whether you're getting lots of wet and dirty nappies. Then they will be able to help more.

In case you haven't got them, this site lists the breastfeeding helpline numbers on the right side of the main page.

Sounds like you've done incredibly well so far, especially in the face of a tough start - well done

RedHead81 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:26:48

congratulations on getting so far!
it sounds to me as if the latch isn't quite right. with bfing, you should be able to feel some tugging, but if the latch it correct, past the first week when the nipples are adjusting, it shouldn't be painful. this is a great video to watch for latch.

have you tried lying down to feed - some research has shown that babies tend to latch on better when the mother is lying down.

can you express off the right breast and give this to your baby in a bottle? also kellymom is great with advice on anything to do with bfing.

to increase milk supply feed as often as you can - express as much as you can on the side you are not feeding on - as much stimulation as possible.

on the plus side, it is quite common for a baby to prefer one side to the other. my ds1 only fed from the left side - until he was 15mths and my friend fed her baby only from one side too - so rest assured, it can be done (you will be a little lopsided though!) my advice is feed feed feed - as often as you can and try to reduce the formula srtaight away. have a good look at the video though and reassess the latch - alternatively, speak to a bfing councillor or see if there is a bfing group near you.

good luck and keep up the great work! well done!

RedHead81 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:28:33

oh and i forgot - for sore nipples, use some of your milk on them and aloow them to air dry - as much air to them as possibe really if you can.

Mollydolly124 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:42:39

When he was born he was 4lb 6oz, he is now 9 weeks old and is 8lb 4oz, which is great but thats only because I give him formula to fill him up.

I get plenty of wet nappies a day but again this is only due to me topping him up!

I offer him the breast 6 out of 8 feeds a day but top him up at least 3 of them feeds!!

The reason I dont offer him my breast all the time is that my breast feels very empty and also that he has sucked that much he has made my nipple very tender and soar!

Bless him, it's not his fault but I wish we would crack it. xx

IAteDavinaForDinner Mon 22-Sep-08 21:50:08

Your breast may feel empty but it is continually producing milk - so don't feel you have to end the feed because of this.

The sucking is your baby's way of increasing your milk supply, and I know from experience it can be uncomfy becaue they suck really aggressively for long periods sometimes, but I really think you need some specialist help to make sure you are doing the best thing for your baby and for your BFing.

Please do check out one of the BFing support organisations - they will be able to put you in touch with a councillor

RedHead81 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:55:56

I agree - an empty feeling breast does not mean an empty breast - DS2 is now 20wks and apart from the first feed of the day, mine feel empty the rest of the day. If it starts to hurt, take your baby off and reposition for the rest of the feed - some babies loosen their latch when they get tired, so by taking them off and latching them on again, this helps to stop nipple soreness.

MillBill Mon 22-Sep-08 22:00:03

Hi, you're doing really well. I remember being so sore with my first child and wincing when I fed, but also relief as the breast emptied. Your breasts do not have to feel full to have milk. Mine feel empty most of the time, unless I've gone a really long while without feeding (second child is 13 months so doesn't feed as often).

If you top up with formula, you're not using your breasts, so you're missing an opportunity to make milk. The way to make milk is to keep feeding. I don't know if you've got other children to look after, but if you can take a day out to just feed, you'll start to get on track. The breastfeeding group Le Leche are really helpful and would support and help you.

Tryharder Mon 22-Sep-08 22:01:01

Hi Mollydolly, I am no expert - far from it -but don't worry if your breast feels empty - your baby will still get milk out. You also say that you offer the breast 6 out of 8 feeds a day which sounds a bit like you are trying to establish a feeding routine with a set amount of feeds (apologies if I have misconstrued your post). TBH, I would offer the breast as many times as you can bear and forget the routine for the time being as your lo is still very, very young. At 9 weeks, my DS2 was bfeeding nearly every hour throughout the day.

I had a very problematic start and got loads of help from bf councellors at La Leche League so can recommend them if they are in your area.

I would like to add that my DS2 still gets the odd bottle of formula from time to time and like you, I felt bad at the start for "failing" at breastfeeding. But the odd bottle of formula isn't going to hurt and if the majority of your lo's feeds are breastmilk then you really have nothing to worry or feel guilty about. And there's certain advantages to your lo being able/willing to take a bottle in the event you want to return to work, fancy the odd night out or even want an afternoon off to get your hair cut or something.. I know giving formula is looked down upon on here to some extent but you have to look at the positives...

I am sure a bf expert will be along later to give more advice if you need it but I just wanted to offer some support!

madmouse Mon 22-Sep-08 22:06:11

Wow what a fab weight gain. That is not all down to formula top ups!

It does NOT AT ALL sound like all his wet nappies are down to the formula top ups. Sounds like most of them are down to feeding from you!

Sorry you are struggling. You have done amazing.

Try to wipe off creams before feeding and apply straight after.

It would be good to find out what is causing the pain in your right breast, as it will be easier to have two sides to feed on.

Can't reiterate enough that soft breasts do not mean no milk. Once established your breasts are mostly soft.

You could do with finding out whether there is a baby cafe or breastfeeding cafe near you. You can just sit there with a cuppa and feed your lo while an experienced woman checks how you feed and offers advice and help. They certainly helped me reassess the way i was feeding ds when he was growing and I still tried to feed like a newborn.

SamJohnsMum Tue 23-Sep-08 08:28:49

It sounds to me like you are doing a fab job to me - I found breastfeeding really hard for quite a while, too. I had really painful nipples and let down can be quite painful at times, too. However, my DS is now 15 weeks old and it's so much easier, so please stick with it!

I have had help along the way from so many places - my HV (who is great with breastfeeding although I know other HVs that aren't so supportive) and also La Leche League. Please do contact people as others have suggested on here - it really is worth it.

I had a complete panic when he was about 6 weeks old because I thought my milk was going, but it is around this time that your supply evens itself out and my boobs just didn't feel so full anymore. A boob that feels completely empty to you will still produce milk for your baby - even if you can't express anything at all, your baby will still get milk. In fact, the less full your boob seems, the higher the fat content of what comes out. If you look on the internet to find out how your boobs work, this will make sense.

Also, I don't think your baby suckles fast when your supply has gone - in fact, it usually means the opposite - they've done such a good job at suckling that your milk has kicked in again and they're trying to drink it all in!! I see this happening with DS all the time.

I still have worries about breastfeeding all the time - it's not easy and any mum will worry about whether their baby is getting enough. But do contact LL or another breastfeeding counsellor - it's worth it!!

Keep up the good work!

SamJohnsMum Tue 23-Sep-08 08:31:52

Oh, one other thing - you say you've tried creams, so you may well mean Lansinoh, but if you haven't tried it yet then do. It is rather expensive, but it was the only thing that helped me - other than putting breastmilk on my nipples as someone else has suggested and letting air-dry. In fact, I often sat topless at home in the evenings!! I also used this nipple protector things from Avent - they let air circulate around the nipple and even collect milk that you 'drip'. You can always add this to the formula if you do want to continue giving top-ups and this will help them digest it more easily.

mummyclare Tue 23-Sep-08 08:58:40

You can take fenugreek tablets - eg from Holland and Barrett. Take 9 600mg capsules a day (ie 3 more than stated on the packet) because in high quantities it increases prolactin production.

If you really want to stop using formula altogether you can try using a supplementary feeding system which you can get from This allows you to give formula whilst baby is still stimulating your left breast.

If sterilising pumping equipment fills you with dread and stops you getting round to pumping between feeds you could consider pumping and dumping for the sake of your supply.

Here are some great videos which show you how you can tell when baby is getting milk

And here's one for support for women struggling with breastfeeding

mummyclare Tue 23-Sep-08 11:44:25

Difficulties with breastfeeding can cause huge emotional upset. Remember that you are trying to do the best for him and that's all you can do. By caring so much about it you are proving yourself to be a great mother no matter what the outcome.

Mollydolly124 Wed 24-Sep-08 10:28:21

Massive thanks to everyone for all your advice. I am trying my best to put him to the breast for every feed but as always, a new problem, I seem to have some soarness on my nipple now, like blisters!! Any advice on this one?

I've started to put the cream on again and I'm having to have a good wash before feeding time as Lewis does not like it but I think it will help heel?


fishie Wed 24-Sep-08 10:35:38

mollydolly you are doing really well but i do agree with iatedavina, you need to speak to someone in real life.

have you tried any of the helplines? do ring them it is what they are for. i know it is a bit daunting but they really are so helpful, saved me from giving up.

Aitch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:41:01

hello love, my dd2 was born three weeks ago at 33+6, so i get the profound desire to bf. (brilliant weight gain btw, definitely NOT all due to the formula).

sounds like you have latch problems, though, definitely phone the NCT for some help so you and ds can go from strength to strength. and remember, if it doesn't work out, formula is a brilliant lifesaving product. i used it with dd1 from 12 days, mix-feeding, and she's as strong as an ox. smile

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