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milk supply - how to tell if OK

(16 Posts)
theansweris42 Fri 30-Oct-09 11:32:49

hi again
yesterday I started this link
about DS and slow weight gain. I rang LLL for some support and they were nice, we discussed supply. She asked if I felt mine was OK. She asked if my breasts feel softer and emptier than before. They feel the same to me and when DS fed a bit less cos of a cold they were bursting.
But maybe I do have a supply problem. Is there another way to know how supply is?
thanks for any help

theansweris42 Fri 30-Oct-09 12:11:03

am bumping, just cos quite worried and not sure what to do next really...am desperate not to use formula top ups, but if he isn't growing...

luciemule Fri 30-Oct-09 12:20:16

Yep - number of wet/pooey nappies. Have a look at the colour of the poo and get HV to give you a poo chart so you know if he's dehydrated etc.
Your baby will be having around 8-10 wet nappies a day if supply is ok and I mean wet that you can tell, not just a dribble.
Just read some of your other thread and noticed what you said about weight charts. They should now be BF charts since about 2005 so perhaps double check.
Your hv sounds like she's not on the right lines about the carbs thing. He seems like an active baby.
I would try to feed more more frequently so he stimulates and increases your supply. You will know in a day or so whether your supply has increased as your breasts should feel fuller.
The hv asking how empty your breast feels doesn't necessarily mean anything as once a baby has got into a fab feeding pattern, he takes al he needs and the breasts regulate exactly the amount of milk he needs; therefore you won't get a very full feeling and your breasts may always feel soft.
Double check he isn't tongue tied or have a problem attaching (to rule that out) and then carry on as you are but keep having him weighed regularly to make sure he doesn't drop off the scale.

luciemule Fri 30-Oct-09 12:21:44

ps - nothing is worth feeling traumatised about; if it means you resort to ff, don't think you're failing. Call the BfN or similar and ask for a supporter to visit you at home to watch you feed if you likesmile

theansweris42 Fri 30-Oct-09 12:27:29

hi thanks for your post.
It was the LLL lady who asked whether or not my breasts still get the full feeling.
I will persevere - I know there's nothing wrong as such with ff but I did want to bf for at least six months....
I have felt he does have enough nappies but I will start actually counting them
thanks

luciemule Fri 30-Oct-09 12:33:48

If he's almost 6 months, the HV is trying to say you don't catagorically have to wait until exactly 6 months before you start weaning. Does he seem to reach for your food etc?
If your breasts feel a lot 'emptier'(they are never actually emptied by the baby) than they normally do and you're used to having a large supply, then it could be your supply dwindling a bit. If you're worried, you could also try expressing a couple of feeds to see how much you can express (bear in mind though that it probably be as much as your baby would get as the milk is pumped out, not drawn out like the baby does).

theansweris42 Fri 30-Oct-09 12:39:00

He reaches for everything in sight! Yes I know she means I could start slowly now, I just felt she wasn't really giving me the right advice about the slow weight gain. She might not see it as a big problem.
I can pump 2 - 4 ounces at once, ocasioanlly less, sometimes 6! Consistently 2 or 3 each 5 or 10 minute session. Does this consistency indicate resonable supply do you think?

luciemule Fri 30-Oct-09 14:44:47

I would think that was great. I had a huge milk supply with dd1 and managed to pump about 4 oz after 10mins so sounds fine. She certainly wasn't underweight.
Does/has he had any attachment probs? Have you had mastitis at all?
If he's been consistantly losing over a long period, I would take him to GP and ask about tongue tie. 1 in 10 babies have the condition.
On the other hand, many babies do drop a few percentiles then go back up to where they were born.
Think there are quite a few reasons as to what it could be.

theansweris42 Fri 30-Oct-09 17:24:25

OK, I will investigate one at a time. He's not losing weight so hopefully I can just get him to gain a bit more in line with expectations for Bf baby
thanks

tiktok Fri 30-Oct-09 18:30:19

I have looked at your other thread, theanswer....I can't see why your HV is concerned, on what you have written there.

Yes, on the new charts he has gone from 25th to 9th and this would be a reason to check all is well - it is not a diagnosis of anything or an alarm bell, but simply a sign for whoever is looking at the chart to make sure the baby is healthy, the mum is feeding often enough (no daft scheduling, for instance).

There is no 'poo chart' I'm aware of for a baby of this age - am I missing something, luciemule?
A baby of this age would not be dehydrated - not without showing serious signs of being ill.

Expressing is not a good idea at all - tells you nothing useful.

Fullness of breasts is a poor guide, too.

And checking for tongue tie - why? This is a baby of 5 mths - no
indication that he is tongue tied, is there?

If you want to give your baby more calories, OP, or at least to offer them, then feeding more often, and giving more 'sides' on each occasion, would be the easiest way. Solids would not be a massive 'risk' but I don't see the advantage of them - they are unlikly to inc. calorie intake better than more breastfeeding

luciemule Fri 30-Oct-09 21:45:41

The Bfn I think have a leaflet with lots of different types of baby poo (yes, for that young) which indicate colour and texture of nappy contents. This can then help mums to recognise if their baby's poo is abnormal; thus providing an indicator if something is wrong.
I am merely pointing out a few reasons as to why a baby may consistantly lose weight, however in her last post, OP clarified that he isn't losing, just slowing down.
Pumping can be useful; if OP had been originally expressing and suddenly couldn't express much at all, then that could mean her supply had decreased. Also, by expressing a full feed, she could give that EBM to DS, giving her reassurance that he's feeding well.
Tongue tie is quite common and is often missed until DCs are at school and having speech probs. Doesn't eman that he's not getting any milk but it could mean lack of stimulation and therefore less supply - I was only pointing out a few options to think about and as a BF peer supporter have come across quite a few mums with BF probs, such as tongue tie, mastitis, weaning etc. Tiktok, I had only made some suggestions to support OP, not advise her.smile

tiktok Fri 30-Oct-09 23:17:54

luciemule, I don't know of a BfN chart, sorry - the NCT's is only for new babies, not for babies of 5 mths. Poo colour in a baby of 5 mths can vary a lot Means not very much.

I don't agree about pumping - if a mother suddenly cannot express, after a period of expressing just fine, the least likely reason for this happening is a serious drop in supply.

I agree TT can be missed. But TT would not explain anything about the OP's situation, which is one of a baby who is apparently well-nourished and with no feeding problems of any sort.

I know you were making suggestions rather than giving advice; I was countering them, I suppose, by pointing out the downsides

luciemule Sat 31-Oct-09 08:40:58

Tiktok - just looked - nope it was the NCT chart. For a baby who is completely breastfed though, you'd expect his poo to be of a certain consistancy and colour and any changes might imply something was wrong.
Are you a bf supporter by any chance?

tiktok Sat 31-Oct-09 09:17:28

Yes, I'm a breastfeeding counsellor with NCT.

The chart we have is not intended for a baby beyond newborn and would be misleading beyond this stage.

In an older, healthy, exclusively bf baby, poo colours and consistencies can be many and various In the absence of other symptoms, I don't think it tells you very much about the feeding.

leapyearbaby Mon 02-Nov-09 01:53:58

Dare i say it.... stop weighing him all the time? If he's gaining, happy and healthy continue as you are. I have two friends who breastfed and were worried sick by their HVs attention to bubs not racing up the chart. Both ended up being referred to nutritionists and one was encouraged to top up with formula hmm. Both are now on their second children and are far more relaxed and not padding down to the clinic every two weeks. It's not necessary, they just had small but otherwise very healthy babies,and frankly i'd rather have a baby at the lower end than the upper end, though anywhere on the chart is normal. You are ebf, you would know if your baby wasn't thriving. Keep up the good work xx

ps my bubs was born in 2008 and we have the substandard formula chart in our red book, i was under the impression the bf charts were only just being put in now

pps i can't express to save my life - if it was any indicator of my supply my bubs would not be the big tall strong chap he is now. and finally, the notion that waving arms means give me carbs really amused me - that suggestion would make me take everything she said with a bucketful of salt.

ha, sorry one more thing, to my right is a pop up for cbeebies with a little girl waving her arms - give her a baked spud quick!grin

theansweris42 Wed 04-Nov-09 16:39:29

thanks all - I've no ben abel to get on for a day or two
Tik Tok I have read your info on threads before and I value your input - I have decided to feed feed and feed some more. I feed on demand and when he isn;t even asking!
he is 23 weeks now, I've just ordered a book about BLW so can start that slowly in a week or two.
thanks again

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