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Help why is my milk drying up??

(17 Posts)
GoldAlmond Tue 01-Dec-15 20:00:03

I'm expressing as baby doesn't latch well on breast. He's 3months old and recently started refusing breast most times so only goes on breast approx once a day. I use a tommee tippee electric single pump and express every 4-6 hours (usually at 5am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm, 11pm). Used to get 150ml off each breast, now struggle to get 120ml despite pumping for 2hours sometimes!
What can I do to increase supply? It seems like my letdown isn't happening much esp on left breast.

TheChocolateDidIt Tue 01-Dec-15 20:30:37

Check out kellymom for your baby not wanting breast there is some useful info there. Expressing can be very hard and far less can come out than when the baby feeds. Perhaps he's uncomfortable so try propping him up on cushions higher than you would think or changing the hold to rugby rather than across your chest. Lots of tips on kellymom. Oats are also good for supply so a nice big bowl of porridge everyday is good. Have a look at or deliciouslyella for some nice porridge recipes. I hate porridge with cows milk it love it with water or almond milk and fruit. Also, consider if you need to drink more fluids. Hand expressing may also be more fruitful than machine. Good luck smile

Duckstar Tue 01-Dec-15 20:40:41

Could it be your pump? I expressed for 6 months with DS2 and started off with an electric pump I picked up from John Lewis. After a couple of weeks noticed declining supply. I realised pump wasn't as powerful. I don't think a lot of electric pumps are designed to be used several times per day. I hired a hospital grade pump from Medela. Much quicker and faster. Nct also does hire of hospital grade pumps and some hospitals do as well.

ChorusLine69 Tue 01-Dec-15 20:41:45

Fennel tea and fenugreek tablets are both meant to be good for milk supply - you can get them from holland and barrat.
I used both when trying to increase supply

blushingmare Tue 01-Dec-15 20:51:35

Poor you - expressing like that sounds awful!

Im sure someone more knowledgeable will be along soon as I'm not very, but didn't want to read and run. You might get more help if you post in infant feeding though.

A few thoughts.....

I know that a pump doesn't produce as much as a baby so it might not be as effective as feeding "direct", and therefore not stimulating your supply enough.

At that age my DCs were feeding every 2 hours, so if you're trying to simulate breastfeeding with the expressing, you probably need to be expressing more frequently.

I think I'm right in saying that to increase milk production, it is not the amount of time you feed/pump for, but the frequency, and swapping between boobs regularly in one feeding/pumping session.

There is something you can do to do with breast compression that is supposed to increase supply, but not sure what it is - maybe google it.

I found a book called "Making More Milk" - can't remember the author, sorry, helpful when I had some supply issues.

Why does your baby have latching difficulties? Have they been checked for tongue tie? Are you not feeding because of pain or because you felt they weren't getting enough? Are you not feeding at all from the breast?Could you try again with putting baby to breast and trying to get more that way (see above about babies being more efficient than pumps, although I understand the latching trouble)

What you are doing sounds really hard work and to the outsider, not very sustainable (but I do understand the strong desire to to keep breastfeeding). It must be sapping all the joy out of having a new baby. Can you get some help in RL - seeing a breast feeding councillor at an NCT group or talking to one of the BF telephone helplines? It sounds like you need someone to look at the latch and baby and help you with that to get the original problem sorted out.

Hope things improve.

GoldAlmond Tue 01-Dec-15 22:03:48

Thanks ladies,

I'll try a medical-grade pump, there's a local NCT BF group so they might know where I can hire one. Will try oats and fenugreek too!
Don't want to resort to FF yet so will try anything to keep up supply.

I put baby to breast several times day but he usually pulls back and screams until I give in and give him a bottle. He also thrashes side to side, hitting his open mouth against my nipple as though frustrated. Not sure what this means?
He latches better with a nipple-shield but usually gets impatient and once he starts thrashing the shield goes flying! Occasionally he'll accept breast and feed for 40mins but he's hungry again within an hour, whereas after a bottle (150ml expressed milk) he's satisfied for approx 3 hours.
No tongue tie.
For some reason he usually accepts breast when he's in the baby-carrier, especially if I'm outdoors walking!!
I'd like to get him back to BF but not sure if it's too late now he's used to bottle.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Tue 01-Dec-15 23:05:11

Mine is nearly 5 months and feeds every 2-3 hours so not sure pumping every 4-6 hours would be enough to keep supply going. Maybe try pumping more often throughout the day and night.

Weebeastiebaby Wed 02-Dec-15 07:51:57

Ive heard that alternating between an electric pump and a manual pump can help. You can pick up a manual pump for around £10 so might be worth a shot.

blushingmare Wed 02-Dec-15 19:35:34

It definitely sounds like you could do with someone knowledgable watching you feed. NCT should be able to put you in touch with someone.

Have you tried feeding in different positions? Try the rugby ball hold (body under your arm, so reverse of the classic position), laid back (you reclined, him on top of you), lying down (you on your side, him facing you) or the dangle (him on his back - you dangle boobs over him!!).

Also, try expressing a bit to get your milk flowing and then latch him on?

Slings are great for settling wee ones, so if that works use it plenty.

Sometimes you have to resort to strange things to get it all working out, but once it's working then can "normalise", so just because you're feeding like that now, doesn't mean you'd always have to.

villainousbroodmare Wed 02-Dec-15 19:38:36

I have much more milk at night. I wonder whether you need to get in another night pumping session?
You must be very tired. I hope things get better soon for you.

Daffydil Wed 02-Dec-15 19:38:40

That TT pump is awful. I had one, and had a manual Lansinoh one, and for far more from the manual than the electric TT one!

Hope you can get it sorted x

jennifer86 Thu 03-Dec-15 16:01:01

Hi. I expressed exclusively until my DS was 6 months then reduced gradually and stopped very recently at 8.5 months, so I can empathise with what you're going through. I never got back to breast feeding, which is a shame but I don't feel too bad about it as expressing worked for us, whereas breast feeding hadn't.

At 3 months I had just dropped down to 6 times a day (whereas had been 8x daily prior to 3 months), and was still expressing once overnight (probably around 2 or 3 when DS woke for a feed). I had a double electric pump and I pumped for 20 minutes each time. I occasionally had to give formula, and that is ok. I think it was important for me to come to terms with this to avoid the sometimes-pumping-for-two-hours that you mentioned in your post. Obviously it's very personal and your decision, but please don't fall into the trap of 'punishing' yourself if you can't supply enough milk. I found my production dwindled after around 20 mins each time, so I felt happy spending the rest of the time cuddling DS, and if there wasn't enough milk for his next feed then he had formula.

Another thing worth checking - my supply suddenly dropped at one point and DP kindly took the pump apart to find it had a big tear in the diaphragm that creates the suction. So it would be worth making sure it's not something similar!

jennifer86 Thu 03-Dec-15 16:10:36

Sorry for the epic post and also realised I didn't really relate the points to your situation! I would advise increasing the number of times you pump, including maybe one at night if you could manage it, but to only pump for a set time each time (such as 20 minutes). If you're thinking you obit continue for a while then a double pump is definitely worthwhile, and definitely check the pump isn't broken before assuming it's your supply! HTH

GoldAlmond Thu 03-Dec-15 16:30:34

Thanks for the advice and support...

I've just ordered a hospital-grade double pump (Spectra S1) it's arriving Saturday so hopefully that will make expressing easier! It's got to point where I'm exhausted and feel like I'm spending all day attached to pump. Luckily I froze some milk when supply was plentiful so I've been topping up with that. I'm on pump at mo, 1.5hours into session and only got 90ml whereas I used to get 150ml easily within 30mins! I use manual compression while pumping otherwise the milk doesn't flow it just drips.

Ideally I'd like to get baby back on breast and reduce expressing but think it's too late for that. He prefers the bottle and often refuses breast. When he does take breast he gets hungry again within an hour (and screams until I give him a bottle) so I worry he's not getting enough milk.

I've been doing more skin-to-skin and keep him in carrier or sling most of the day.

Quick question for ladies who express, how much did you feed your 3-month old and how often?

spanisharmada Thu 03-Dec-15 16:38:53

Mines been doing the shaking his head from side to side at the breast, fussing and now slurping really loud too! It's so frustrating.
I was told you need to feed at night as thats when the hormone that encourages milk flow the next day is about (or something similar but much more scientific) could you sneak in a quick feed about 1am? Doesn't sound very tempting I know but might be worth a try.

spanisharmada Thu 03-Dec-15 16:40:22

Sorry pump not feed sleep deprived

jennifer86 Thu 03-Dec-15 20:03:49

By 3 months DS was having about a litre in 24hrs, spaced over about 8 or 9 feeds, which stayed the same until he was about 6 or 7 months. Have a look at though, there was a lot of good advice on there including this sort of thing. I think DS drank more than average from what I remember.

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