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supply question (sorry me AGAIN :()

(44 Posts)
starlover Sun 08-May-05 14:50:02

yes, it's me again.
I am beginning to despair of ever feeding DS again myself. And it makes me so sad.
I am SO angry at myself because I was exclusively b/f him, and I only started mixed feeding because the thrush was so bad that I couldn't bear to feed him myself.
I should have just done it anyway. I should have taken the pain, because now it's all gone wrong.

3 weeks of expressing and I am STILL only getting around 40ml a go.
I am expressing every 2 hours with an avent isis hand pump. My medela mini electric doesn't seem to help either. And I tried hand expressing but didn't get on very well with it.

Surely my supply should have increased by now???

DS takes around 150ml a feed, so I am nowhere near making enough for him.

I have tried getting him to feed but he point blank refuses. He might suck for maybe 2/3 minutes on each side and then he just screams because there isn't enough. So I end up giving him formula.

I don't know what to do. I do not want to bottle feed him, and I don't want to mixed feed forever because I can't do with all this expressing.
I want to breastfeed him again SO very badly, but just can't see it happening.
I am taking fenugreek too, but that doesn't seem to be helping.

Is there something really obvious that I am doing wrong?
Am thinking about hiring a big hospital pump to see if that makes a difference....

please tell me this will get better????????

hercules Sun 08-May-05 14:51:41

Are you expressing at night as well?

starlover Sun 08-May-05 14:53:17

Yes, Once during the night.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 15:01:04

Have you tried just giving him lots of skin-to-skin? Taking a bath with him, anything like that?

Expressing is all very well, but getting him to feed directly will be simpler, and better for both of you.

Kellymom have some good tips: Here . Here's them on pumping .

Have you seen or called any breastfeeding counsellors? They may be able to help, too.

I hope you can make this work. Don't blame yourself for stopping because of the thrush, I'm sure anyone would have done the same, and you didn't know it was going to end up like this. Take a deep breath. If you really want to make bf work, you can do it, it just make take some time.

starlover Sun 08-May-05 15:03:50

yeah, tried spending the day in bed with him a while ago. But he just gets hungry and then he gets SO cross because there isn't enough milk.
So what can I do other than giving him formula?

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 15:13:03

Can you try to always get him having some of each boob at each feed, directly? Then some formula? Then reduce the amount of formula/feed, over time?

There's also a complicated system where you have tubes running down to your nipples ... only seen it in What to Expect, though, so it may be rubbish?

starlover Sun 08-May-05 15:17:20

the thing is, that now I am paranoid that my milk will go comlpetely
So, am scared of feeding him in case he hardly has any and I won't know!

starlover Sun 08-May-05 15:51:22

any other thoughts? anyone?

tamum Sun 08-May-05 15:54:16

I'm not an expert in this, but could you try and keep him at the breast for longer? It seems to me that it's possible he's getting frustrated not because your milk has run out, but because it's taking a while for your let-down reflex to work, and the milk hasn't actually started yet. I hope someone with more knowledge comes along soon to give you more help, but I would definitely try longer if possible.

chipmonkey Sun 08-May-05 16:31:13

Starlover, you have the opposite problem to me! ds3 is refusing the bottle. however, if i withhold the breast for long enough he does eventually take it. Could you try the same? Withhold formula until he HAS to take the breast? tough, though!

starlover Sun 08-May-05 16:37:41

he screamed the other day until he was nearly sick!

i just don't know what to do.

I would have thought that after expressing for 3 weeks my supply should have gone up! shouldn't it???

When he is VERY hungry he refuses breast point blank, presumably because it doesn't start straight away.
If I catch him before he is too hungry he might have a little, but as soon as it starts to slow he is not interested.

As I said before, the thing with b/fing him is that I have no idea how much he has had, and how much formula top-up to give him!


I just don't know why I am not making more milk!

I am thinking of doing the following:
Try and get him before he gets too hungry and see if he will go on boob. If he does then let him feed as long as he wants before giving him formula top-up. Then, express to see if there is still some more milk/to make it seem like he is still eating!

He usually takes around 150ml a feed. I usually express around 40ml a time. So, if he has boob and then I top him up with say, 90ml formula....
that should be enough to keep him going, but not too much formula that he isn't hungry again...

does taht sound sensible???????

Spoo Sun 08-May-05 16:53:19

Dear Star

I know that breast is best and everything, but it seems you are under a lot of stress to perform. From what I understand the more stressed you are the less likely you are to produce milk. I tried breast feeding but really struggled with my DS. I feel that you should not deem yourself a failure if something happens to stop you from being able to breast feed. I am not starting an arguement between bottle versus breast as I know I will lose, but you have to ask whether this is this really worth the heartache and stress that you and your son are going through?

Hopefully you can sort this all out, but if it does not happen - please do not beat yourself up!

hercules Sun 08-May-05 17:20:26

I have to say I would probably think to myself that my ds has had bm and I havent done the exclusive thing anyway so would not put myself or him through it anymore and would turn to ff. You have no reason to feel guilty and should be enjoying this time now.

starlover Sun 08-May-05 17:25:25

but I don't think I am putting him through anything...
if he screams when I try and feed him then he gets formula.
If I give up b/f now I know i will feel awful about it. It is something I have done for him before, and desperately want to go back to...

hercules Sun 08-May-05 17:28:20

Have you spoken to a bfc?

moondog Sun 08-May-05 17:32:19 poor thing. You've had a really tough time.
I think one of those industrial dual hospital type pumps could do it (!!) You can hire them through the ABM (so sorry but contact number not on me,but it will be on their websit)and you could talk with them too.

Have you had some input from a b/feeding counsellor?
Have you tried those tricks of having the baby near you/looking at his picture while you do?
How long are you expressing for? Sometimes i would be at it for 20 mins until the milk started to flow (no idea why!)

Shall we keep bumping in the hope of catching tiktok or mears?

hunkermunker Sun 08-May-05 17:48:44

Can you express until letdown, then latch him on? Can you try expressing from the other side while he's feeding (hold him rugby-ball position), then top him up with that milk after he's fed from the other side? Give him the side you've expressed from first too, maybe, and express from the side he fed on first?

That's off the top of my head - I hope that it settles down for you soon and you're doing an amazing job xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

hunkermunker Sun 08-May-05 17:49:17

Also, what you can express is no indication of how much he is getting, so don't get overly hung up on that.

tiktok Sun 08-May-05 18:21:51

How often are you expressing, SL?

Being stressed will not affect your supply, BTW.

starlover Sun 08-May-05 22:11:43

i am expressing every 2 hours, although sometimes it is nearer 3 if I have to go out or something.

I express until nothing more is coming out. Letdown is usually quite quick and I get most of it out quite quickly before it slows down.

tiktok.. I am ignoring your comment on being stressed!.. have told DP that I musn't be stressed and need to sit down a lot while he does all the housework

I think I do need to make more effort to get him back on the boob, and see how we go from there!

spod Sun 08-May-05 22:20:14

dont know if this works... but what about trying to dream feed... ie when hes really asleep, get him to latch on and he'll just suckle... may help improve supply? dont know? but thats what i would try. hope things work out.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 22:34:25

I'm not an expert expresser, but I did often find I would have more than one let-down. If I could express and just watch telly or whatever, and ignore the pump, more would come.

Can you feel your let-down? Can you hear DS swallowing? It sounds as if you might be having slow let-down, I know stress slows mine. Yoga breathing, and visualisation exercises make it come faster. Maybe try visualisation and calm breathing while pumping, see what that does.

You can certainly keep pumping after it stops flowing, as it will drip for a while, and then flow again, if you're anything like me. Even if it doesn't flow again, you're telling your boobs "hey, the baby's really hungry", which will improve production.

hunkermunker has some good ideas, too. Oh, and spod's dreamfeed idea could work, as well.

hunkermunker Sun 08-May-05 22:40:42


And would definitely agree you can have more than one let-down. Try expressing from one till the flow slows down, swapping the pump, then going back to the first breast once the second one slows down. Then swap again. I used to swap several times per express, making sure I'd expressed to let-down and beyond each time.

tiktok Sun 08-May-05 23:12:57

HM is right....good technique

starlover Mon 09-May-05 12:01:31

ok... thanks for all the tips!
I do swap sides quite often, but I think maybe I am just giving up too soon!

Tried DS on the boob again this morning and he did have some, but not much. He seemed quite cross that I was making him use a bit of effort! But will carry on as I know he can do it!

We're going to hire a hospital pump again which is what I had when he was born and wouldn't feed. I think I'll probably be more inclined to keep going with it if I don't have to sit and manually pump

will keep you updated!

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