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Low Milk Supply in Afternoon and Evening ...Tiktok ???!!!!

(130 Posts)
lovinit Mon 25-Jul-05 07:49:48

Would it make sense for me to use a formula feed at 5-6pm and then express for the 10pm feed once milk supply has built up ?

Also, DD2 is 4wks and seems to only take 10-15 mins for day feeds and night feeds. Is this OK ? She never sucks for longer unless it is to soothe in the eraly morning. I guess that I am hopign Tiktok is here to answer this !

throckenholt Mon 25-Jul-05 07:54:45

In the early days it is really best to feed whenever the baby wants it - particularly if you think you have low milk supply. It is the feeding that stimulates supply.

It really doesn't help in the early days to give bottles of formula and express - can lead to nipple confusion.

Often babies have a feeding fest in the early evening where they just like to feed - doesn't mean your supply is low - it is just what some of them like to do. I often used to eat my dinner precariously balnaced beside me while feeding at that time of day - and used to spend most of the early eavening feeding (but only for the first few of months). Sometimes I would feed for 40 minutes have 40 min break and then another 40 minute feed.

Some babies only ever feed in short bursts (must be good at getting the milk out), others can take an hour - they are all different

lovinit Mon 25-Jul-05 09:36:26

Today at 2pm, after her last feed was around 10:30am, she seemed to only take 15 mins. I do worry when the breast does not feel heavy that there is no milk.

Is it really true that a soft seemingly empty breast has enough milk ? Uusally I feel the let down , but today I did not so assumed that there was very little milk ...

starlover Mon 25-Jul-05 10:07:15

i wouldn't bother expressing. expressing doesn't stimulate the breast like a baby sucking does, and you are likely to not get as much milk expressing as you do feeding your baby

so... i would just keep feeding her as much as possible. at 4 weeks you are still establishing bf and the more you feed the more milk you will make.

and yes.,. it is true true true that soft breasts still have plenty of milk! if your baby is happy, pooing, weeing plenty, putting on weight then you are FINE!

throckenholt Mon 25-Jul-05 10:14:09

practically all new breastfeeding mums think that.

Honestly - almost all babies get enough milk if left to feed when and how they want.

Usally once breastfeeding is established your breasts won't feel full, unless you are late with a feed, and probably first thing in the morning. You may not feel the let down because you were thinking of something else, or maybe you are so used to it now you don't always notice.

You can usually tell when the baby is getting milk well because the sucking patern changes - fast and shallow to begin with and once the milk starts flowing fast then the suck is deeper and slower.

Trust your body and your baby and just breast feed for a few more weeks - don't bother with expressing or formula.

Aragon Mon 25-Jul-05 10:16:05

lovinit - I'd just keep to breastfeeding for now (unless you were planning to introduce a bottle at this stage anyhow). At the moment your breastfeeding is still establishing itself. I'm guessing that you are finding DD quite unsettled in the afternoon hence the question about milk supply (or am I completely wrong ). Most babies have a time of day when they are quite fussy and unsettled and seem to want to feed non-stop.
10-15 mins a feed is fine if she's weeing, pooing and gaining weight (although weight can fluctuate a bit in the early weeks).
Also it's quite right that soft breasts still have plenty of milk - your body has just got better at guaging how much is needed and is not flooding you like before.

robinia Mon 25-Jul-05 10:32:36

Re. soft breasts - with one of my babies my breasts always seemed to feel soft. With the other three they were often quite full feeling. I don't know why the difference, except that the one who gave me soft breasts is a completely different body type/build to the other three (not so fat, more muscly) so perhaps didn't feed so heavily and breasts didn't need to store so much milk BUT there was still plenty for him and he carried on putting on weight in the "approved" fashion.

lovinit Mon 25-Jul-05 12:49:08

Tks ... If she feeds for 10mins then seems to be disinterested, shoudl I keep encouraging her to feed again as they tell you when you are still in hospital ? By 4 weeks, she should be awake and strong enough to not tire out during a feed right ?

hoxtonchick Mon 25-Jul-05 12:57:40

my dd is the same age as yours lovinit. my breasts never feel particularly hard, though they do ache a bit if she hasn't fed for a while. my dd seems to be an efficient feeder, rarely spending more than 2o mins on the breast. she does pop off half way through for a good burp though! i'm feeding her atm and can really hear the milk glugging down - is that how it is for you?

i think that if you give a bottle in the late afternoon you'll actually decrease your supply as the baby won't be sucking any more. hth.

tiktok Mon 25-Jul-05 13:51:34

lovinit, the short answer to your question 'Would it make sense for me to use a formula feed at 5-6pm and then express for the 10pm feed once milk supply has built up ? ' is no

In fact, not only does it make no sense, you are reducing the amount of milk available to your baby.

I have explained a few times (more than a few!) how this works - the longer the gap between feeds, the less milk you make.
This is how weaning works - what are women told to do, if they want to switch from breast to bottle? To replace a breastfeed with a bottle, and then after a few days to replace another bf with a bottle, and so on.

At first, a dropped feed (in your case, the 5-6pm one) will lead to a fuller feeling at 10 pm. This is all it is - a feeling. There may be a bit more milk there, but not a huge amount. After a few days, this 'bit more milk' will cease. Having a 'bit more milk' does not mean your baby will take any more. Why would she? She will take what she needs.

It makes even less sense to express at 10 pm. You are then risking less effective stim. of the breasts. The baby is better at this than the pump.

The time your baby is on the breast is normal.

lovinit, you don't have a problem with supply (though you will if you start dropping feeds). You have a problem with confidence in your milk supply.

If you need more explanation of how frequent feeding leads to more milk, and how lessening the frequency leads to less, then look back at the other threads. I don't know how I can convince you any more!If your confidence is not there, you ain't gonna believe it!

slim22 Mon 25-Jul-05 13:55:54

Don't have anything to add to good advice already given.
Just hang on, you'll be fine.
Hugs and kisses

Mojomummy Mon 25-Jul-05 14:33:44

Hi, are you eating enough good quality food ?

I had a small lunch one day & that affected my milk supply. Suggest trying to ensure you have a good protein for lunch, ie tuna/egg/chicken/cheese sandwich & then having a good snack about 3-4pm. Nice piece of fruit cake & a decaff latte should do it

Would also definetely avoid the expressing at the moment.

tiktok Mon 25-Jul-05 14:45:04

mojomummy.....your advice is well-meant, and it is fine if you think it helped you, but having protein for lunch will be irrelevant for lovinit, believe me. Fortunately, breastmilk supply is not so much on a knife-edge of uncertainty that having a small lunch one day (or ever) is going to make a difference

larlylou Mon 25-Jul-05 23:31:07

Tiktok, I don't know if you could help me with some advice. I have a dd2 who is 3 weeks old. I breasfed my ds1 without any hitches at all but this time I just don't seem to be getting it together and I feel dd and I are getting into a pickle. I try to get her to feed plenty during the day - first feed (approx 7am) is best feed but come evening she rarely feeds well and is wanting to be fed much more frequently and never seems satisfied. I check that she isn't using me as a comforter (of which she does too sometimes when overtired or trying to settle). When my boob becomes soft after a feed and I have winded her she becomes fretful and finds it difficult to latch back on often either gagging or pulling away or trying to latch but it not working (sometimes it does though) but as soon as I put her onto the other fuller boob she is off and away guzzling merrily. She only feeds for about 10 minutes (my milk flow is very fast so she has to guzzle fast to keep up with it). I worry that she isn't getting enough hind milk and too much fore milk...could this be the case. Why does she need to feed so much more during the evening to feel satisfied (tonight she fed 1/2 to hourly from 6-10.30pm) and has only now gone to sleep (on dh shoulder as the other problem we have is she won't settle in her crib and wants constant comfort from either of us). Your help would be hugely appreciated. My health visitor suggested that I express from the boob that I don't feed from at my morning feed and keep this back as a top-up if needed in the night time and if worst comes to worst give a bottle of formula as a top-up to see if this will satisfy dd. I have sterilised everything in readiness to do this tomorrow morning - would this be the right thing to do?

hunkermunker Mon 25-Jul-05 23:36:55

larlylou, IMO, no, not the right thing to do - let her feed in the evenings. It's called cluster feeding, it's really common, and it's supply-boosting for you (even though it doesn't feel like it!).

Introducing formula or expressed milk into the equation is self-defeating as, as Tiktok has said further down this thread, you are reducing the amount of access your baby has to the breast.

There's a link here that describes exactly your situation} Please don't bother faffing around with sterilising and expressing or formula - just feed and it will settle as your supply becomes established.

Hope that helps a bit xxx

tiktok Mon 25-Jul-05 23:51:44

I agree with HM....your baby is behaving normally. I despair at the HV who instead of telling you that you and your baby are doing great, and that this pattern of feeding will not last forever, comes up with a load of hassle-some nonsense that makes it sound as if something is wrong.

There is nothing wrong.
You are doing nothing wrong. Instead, you are coping really well. Your baby does not need to be on the breast for any specific time by the clock. You are responding to her needs by putting her on the breast she seems most content on, and accepting her normal need to 'cluster' feed.

Your life will not be made any easier by messing about with expressing and as for giving formula - what's that all about, eh?

And what is wrong witn being a comforter for your little baby? What a lovely thing to be Three weeks ago she was inside you. She was surrounded by you, close to your voice, tasting you and aware of your presence 24/7. Why would she prefer the crib to being close to you (or her dad)? She is learning to communicate this need to you, and this is her way of 'talking' to you. Your job is to listen, and respond, and to feel good about doing so - you are teaching her that the workd is a good place, and that she has loving parents who are there for her.

I don't mean to sound bossy. But believe me, you are not in a pickle, except for having poor health visitor advice ....

larlylou Mon 25-Jul-05 23:56:46

Thanks Tiktok and Hunkermunker for your advice. Its very reassuring. All I need to do now is find out what cluster feeding is all about as that is new to me.

I don't want to introduce formula as to me for someone who wants to breastfeed is a downward spiral personally so I will carry on as I am doing so and just go with the flow of her needs.

Thanks for making it all sound so much better. I think lack of sleep makes you look at things in an odd way and what with a toddler to deal with also it seems impossible at the moment to catch 40 winks to make up for the long awake periods we have during the night.

larlylou Tue 26-Jul-05 00:03:47

Just read about the cluster feeding and only wish that she was storing all her food for a longer sleep as this doesn't appear to be the case for her/us...she sleeps 2 1/2 hours religously between each night time feed - she will start a night time feed, fuss, feed, doze, feed and before I know it its time for her next feed and so it goes on before she zonks out to sleep (she will always zonk after the 7am feed after only 5/10 mins of feeding... but sleeps no longer than normal).

Aragon Tue 26-Jul-05 07:30:51

tiktok, your comments which I've pasted below are lovely - am going to remember them. I totally agree regarding cluster feeding - it's very common and nearly all breastfed babies do this. Unfortunately it's often seen by parents (and sadly by uninformed professionals) as a sign that there's "not enough milk".

And what is wrong witn being a comforter for your little baby? What a lovely thing to be Three weeks ago she was inside you. She was surrounded by you, close to your voice, tasting you and aware of your presence 24/7. Why would she prefer the crib to being close to you (or her dad)? She is learning to communicate this need to you, and this is her way of 'talking' to you. Your job is to listen, and respond, and to feel good about doing so - you are teaching her that the workd is a good place, and that she has loving parents who are there for her.

tiktok Tue 26-Jul-05 08:50:01

larlylou - she is three weeks old. We don't want her to go a long time between feeds at night. Waking up means good stimulation of the breastmilk supply for you, and a well-hydrated, well-fed baby on her part.

Cluster feeding is sometimes explained as a way the baby 'stokes up' for the night, and this may well be part of it, especially with a baby beyond the newborn stage (which yours isn't, yet). She might wake up more often without it. It is such a common experience, though, it really doesn't matter why they do it (comfort, hunger, thirst, wakefulness....???). It is normal and it passes

Tinker Tue 26-Jul-05 10:16:59

larylou - my baby is now 9 1/2 weeks and 6 weeks ago she was feeding just as you describe. But, 6 weeks on, she sometimes even sleeps through! (Hope I've not tempted fate) There is light at the end of the tunnel. It will pass very quickly.

Mojomummy Tue 26-Jul-05 10:42:23

Hi Tiktok, not sure why the eating advice is irrelavant for Lovinit or anyone who is BF ?

My DD feed for ages one evening - she would always do the cluster feediing - & she emptied both breasts, but was still hungry & for that time only, I had to give her formula. She took a couple of ounces & was satified. Of course my boobs were ginormous the next morning ! I made an effort to eat a better & we didn't have the problem again

Yes breast milk is produced by sucking HOWEVER, if one doesn't take in adequate food themselves, the milk maybe not be as rich & therefore satisfying as it could be.

I know I'm not the only person that has suffered from this problem, so I think it's a bit rude to dismiss someone elses advice ?

tiktok Tue 26-Jul-05 11:43:52

Sorry if I have offended you, mojomummy.

I acknowledged your experience as being helpful for you.

But it is unlikely to be helpful to lovinit. Nothing she says indicates she needs to eat more, and nothing she says indicates she has a supply problem. That's why I said it was not relevant.

You said :if one doesn't take in adequate food themselves, the milk maybe not be as rich & therefore satisfying as it could be."

This is incorrect - I don't want to offend you again, sorry, but it's just wrong

Mothers' breastmilk does not increase or decrease in richness and satisfying-ness (?) according to diet. I am not sure where you have heard or read that it does, but whoever said it or wrote it has it wrong.

If you want me to direct you to places on the web where this is explained with research evidence, then let me know, or else do a search on MN with my name and with breastfeeding diet as your keywords.

squigglesmum Tue 26-Jul-05 12:25:06

Another question for Tiktok if you don't mind? I've picked up from your previous posts that you're a bf counsellor and I wondered who you did your training with? I'd love to do the NCT course, but can't / don't want to give up the time for the daytime tutorials as I have two under-twos. I'm thinking about doing the ABM course instead which is nearly all correspondence. I'd value your opinion?
Thanks too, incidently for all the advice you've posted over the last ocuple of years. I haven't had many problems with bf-ing my two which haven't had useful solutions posted on MN, and you've often been the source of them!
A million apologies for hijacking the post, btw, I've asked this question previously but not had any responses, just thought I'd try to catch tiktok when she was around.

tiktok Tue 26-Jul-05 12:29:46

I'm with NCT, sm. I have a high opinion of the training of all the vol orgs, in fact, so in my view, go with the training that suits you best! Many NCT bf tutorials are in the evening, though - it depends on the tutor.

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