Listen to your inner voice!
I have three children born in 2006, 2012, and 2014. I started breastfeeding my daughter at birth, but quickly succumbed to the doubts from the doctors that I was not producing enough.
I tried putting her to the breast as often as I could, but ended up with split nipples and she still was only gaining the minimum.
After struggling with perceived failure, I eventually supplemented her around 3 months because I knew her health was more important than my maternal pride.
The doctors offered no support, other than pushing formula from day one, and I eventually stopped altogether when she was ten months old.
In 2012, I was older and wiser, and no longer dealing with military doctors. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed as long as my son wanted.
It went ok, but there were still struggles. He gained a little better after the first month, but I was always reassured bigger babies take a little longer to get the milk supply up for, and his Dr. Was always pleased with his progress.
For the first 6 months I felt like he was always attached, but refused to give in no matter how sore I was. We made it for a little over a year, until I became pregnant with my now 3 month old.
He began refusing the breast a couple months into my pregnancy, I assume due to hormones changing the flavor, and we both felt ready to stop. He can't talk very well, even now at almost two, but he just stopped coming to me when he wanted a drink and began pointing to his cup.
Now with my youngest, I knew from the start something was wrong. I didn't have any soreness, even though he was on me just as frequent as the other two, but he wasn't gaining hardly any weight.
I searched everywhere for a cause, since I seemed to have an extra supply this time. I was getting so full, I was leaking all the time, and even after he ate I would have to pump between feedings to keep from spraying everywhere.
I talked to his Dr., which was new for our family once our pediatrician retired after 40 years and two generations with us, I got the standard it takes longer for big babies to catch up. I questioned even further because I didn't feel it was a supply problem.
months I took him in to get weighed. I could tell he had lost, and I was still pumping an extra ounce out of each side after he finished eating. They weighed him and he had gone from the 95th percentile down to the 5th in just 2.5 months. Finally they listened!
The certified lactation consultant took one look in his mouth and discovered he was tongue and lip tied. They were unable to clip him because it was so thick, but got him scheduled with the dentist that does the laser in our town within a week.
I began pumping and feeding every meal, after exhausting my freezer stash, and limiting his time at the breast to conserve his energy. He gained 9 oz before his procedure, and has gained over a pound in the week since.
Upon researching tongue tie that first night, I discovered it went undiagnosed because I didn't have pain and I was leaking enough for him to keep him gaining slowly.
I learned that it is so common they used to check every baby at birth and clip them if needed, but with the decline in breastfed babies, they only checked when the mother reported a painful latch, and the baby failed to gain weight on schedule.
I also found that if left untreated it can restrict speech, my two year old is still not talking! They checked his mouth the next day when I went to pick up the hospital grade pump, and he had them both just as bad.
He will be getting the procedure in two weeks after his baby brother is back up to a healthy weight and I'm no longer pumping after each feed.
I found your site during my tongue tie and exclusive pumping research. I wish I had found it sooner, so maybe I could have done their job for them and my baby wouldn't have been 11 lbs at almost three months, just a pound over birth weight!
My advice to all mothers, whether it's your first or your fifth, trust your instincts. There is rarely a true supply problem, and don't be afraid to meet with a lactation consultant.
Even just letting them watch your baby feed can be enough to diagnose and correct a latch problem. They can also properly fit you to your pump which makes a world of difference! Stay positive and go with your gut.