Can, But Not Enough

I have exclusively breast fed my baby for 6 months.

My supply has not kept up with her, however, and I've used almost all my emergency frozen milk to supplement her.

I have tried it all, everything. Pumping more, nursing more, eating more, eating oatmeal, drinking more, taking herbs, new bras, no bras, no exercise. I even called the dr who told me to call the lactation nurse, whom I'd already spoken to 5-6 times.

I rented a hospital pump from her anyway. NOTHING has made my supply increase to keep up with my daughter.

I can make milk but it's roughly 2/3 of what she demands during the day. Even when I'm nursing, not pumping, she will cry wanting more.

I've had the panic of dry overnight diapers and FTT pediatrician appointments. I have been so so torn up about giving her formula. This weekend after nursing her 3 times in less than 3 hours I went and fixed her a bottle. And then another one. She drank 8 ounces and didn't utter another cry the rest of the evening. I pump 4-5 times and only get about 8-10 oz in a whole day at work.

My heart soared and broke at the same time. Finally, my little baby wasn't upset and hungry but I was so sad that I couldn't provide that comfort to her.

Plus I had kept her hungry for so long trying to do what all these experts say anyone can do. "You just have to try harder. Nurse, nurse, nurse. And relax." ??? Suggestions to nurse do not help when a) I'm already doing that and b) she's not getting anything when she nurses.

Sometimes she's so upset from being hungry she won't even try to latch and just screams. I am still upset about supplementing but I will be truely supplementing, not substituting. I'm going to have to find some peace in that.

I plan to still pump and nurse as much as always but give her formula also while I'm at work. It is not what I wanted but I have learned that sometimes happens in motherhood. My pregnancy wasn't what I wanted but I didn't miscarry. My delivery wasn't what I wanted but I had a healthy baby. And I plan on keeping her that way by whatever means necessary.

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Apr 11, 2012
I Know How You Feel
by: Michelle MOLESWORTH


I totally understand how you feel. People telling you supply = demand is not helpful when it is not true in your (and my) case!

I gave birth in May 2011 and always planned to breastfeed. 3 days after giving birth, I was breastfeeding at home and the pain became excruciating. I rang the hospital were I gave birth asking if I could come in and get some advice on attachment but they were hopeless saying they were busy with their own patients and go somewhere else.

It was late at night and nothing was open so I ended up at their emergency dept. They admitted my son and put him on formula. I was so devastated. I went home in the early hours of the morning without my son and couldn't stop crying.

I went back later that morning to pick him up and they were giving me instructions on giving formula. This isn't what I wanted! So I went home and just tried to breastfeed.

I saw a lactation consultant who said just breastfeed & don;'t give formula. But my son started losing weight. Interestingly, before I went to hospital my milk was just starting to come in. So I wonder if getting so upset shut down my milk supply?

I bought an SNS and breastfed, while topping up with formula through the SNS for three months. But it was not enjoyable. Other mothers in our mothers group were enjoying exclusive breastfeeding, while I needed to tape the SNS tube to my nipple to supplement... I felt like an abnormal person who needed a prosthetic boob to breastfeed when so many experts tell me supply = demand and I should be able to do it.

Like you, I tried everything, I expressed between feeds-7-8 times day and night and would get 5 to 6/1/2 oz in 24 hours. I ate oatmeal, took herbs, spent lots of money on specialists and breastfed using the SNS to keep my breasts stimulated.

Nothing worked. So after 12 long weeks, I changed to bottle feeding. I found this website very helpful as most say that supply = demand and that made me feel more alone as that was not the case for me!

On this website, other women have posted their similar stories and while I am still emotionally traumatized by not being able to breastfeed like I had dreamed, I now know I did the best I could.

So I hope my story helps you not feel alienated and alone. I am now trying for baby no 2 and have a long plan on tips for successful breastfeeding.

Too much to list here! So feel free to email me ([email protected]) if you or anyone else would like someone to talk to or if I can offer you any other tips I have learned in my research on low milk supply.

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