Help a friend of mine...(6 Posts)
My girlfriend has had her first baby three months ago. Breastfeeding was a mare to start - started mixed feeding but giving formula first and then boob as baby was losing weight - then advised to do boob first and then formula top up. For a while her son would latch on and feed on and off for about half an hour but now it's got to the point where he latches on and then pulls off very quickly, obviously distressed. By the look of it she has hardly any milk - I've just seen her try and express to help supply and there was only a dribble. On top of things, she had a breast reduction seven or so years ago and was told that she might not be able to breastfeed - so don't know if that is to blame. But the fact that she seemed to be doing ok for a while has confused things - it would have been easier to work out what to do if she had had no joy at all. Baby is doing fine on formula and looks really well and healthy - but she wants to know if there are there any really obvious things she should be doing to increase milk supply before she gives up completely. She has got this far but is at the point where she is getting really stressed out by it all and is inclined to just call it a day. I think this might turn out to be the best thing for her - but she rightly wants to make an informed decision. Help please girls!
Dunno about the breast reduction thing, but generally, I was always told to drink loads. hth
willow, what were the initial problems? i'm not a qualified b/f counsellor as you know, but my gut reaction was dump the formula entirely - surely frequent feeding would re-establish the supply?
sounds like the baby doesn't like making the effort to suck the milk out of the breast (much harder than from a bottle). It may not be that your friend has no milk - although by now she may not have much because the baby hasn't been demanding much.
She could try expressing - it would take a while (weeks maybe) to build up supply but it can be done. I would be hard work and she would have to be bloody minded to stick to it in the early days to get things going.
If she wants to try that, CAT me - I expressed for 9 months and can give some pointers.
If not - then she should accept that breastfeeding didn't work out this time round, and not berate herself for it. And get on with all the other things required to be a mum.
After three months of formula, and now, from what you say, mostly formula, her supply is likely to be right down. The only way to inc it is to stimulate it - either by the baby feeding effectively and often from the breast, or by expressing often (8 times a day), or both.
Nothing else she does - drinking, eating, resting - will have anything like the effect of stimulating the supply. If she doesn't stimulate the supply in this way, she will have no milk at all very soon.
The milk can be brough back, but it does require a lot of dedication and committment and time.
It's not an easy situation, but those are the biological facts!
I had a similar problem to your girlfriend, but much earlier on.
My DS refused to breastfeed and was given formula. Due to lack of advice in the hospital I did not express enough and my milk supply began to dwindle.
BUT! not one to give up, I hired an electric breastpump, like I had used in hosp and took it home with me.
My milk supply was up and running within a week.
This is NOT easy though. I had to express every 3 hours. And to begin with it seemed hopeless. I was producing less than 5ml at a time... but gradually it DID build up.
I am sure you are aware that b/f is supply and demand... the more you do it the more you make...
A week after I returned home I was managing around 100ml a go... and it increased further.
That is when my son finally decided that actually he liked booby after all. I think because the milk was plentiful, and was coming easily.
A couple of times he got frustrated, and I just expressed a bit to get it flowing before offering to him.
She really doesn't need to give up. If she wants to b/f then it is certainly possible!
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