Once I stop it's really over

by Karen

I had twin baby girls 2 months ago. They came early and by c-section and spent 2 1/2 weeks in the nicu.

The doctors asked if i was ok with them getting formula as be breast milk had not come in yet. I decided it was best for the babies to get the formula and helped that my breast milk would come in shortly.

I took 8 days to get anything. All the nurses and doctors said that it would come in and to just keep pumping.

I pumped every 2 hours for the first week and a half. It almost killed me. I was getting no sleep and was stressed about my babies health and not being able to produce milk.

They stayed on formula with me giving them what milk i got. After 3 weeks my milk just stopped. I pumped and pumped and got only drops.

I am now taking herbal supplements, pumping and putting the babies to the breast as often as I can, but am only getting about 4 ml a day. I am crying all the time and feel horrible that I can't provide for my babies.

I want to hold them to me and feed them, but the milk just isn't there. They are still small and on a high calorie diet to help them but on weight, so I worry about tiring them out by having them suck on a breast that can't give them nutrition.

My husband is very supportive of an decision I make, but I feel stuck. I don't want to stop trying to get milk. Once I stop it's really over and I'm not sure how to deal with that.

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Dec 08, 2015
I understand low milk supply
by: Michelle

Oh, I know just how you feel. All through my pregnancy I just expected to breastfeed and it was quite a shock when that was not the case.

I have several nurses giving bad advice in the hospital

- nurses taking him from me after birth when I asked for help to attach him, saying that I needed rest,

- nurses not knowing about correct attachment that I later learned from a lactation consultant and instead giving formula when I said it was painful (which I didn't want to do but felt bad saying no to the 'experts')

As I result, my son lost weight when I exclusively breast fed.

I would only get about 20-25ml each time I expressed. I never got engorged. I felt awful and was in tears all the time.

Your title describes exactly how I felt - that it was emotionally distressing trying all sorts of herbs and supplements and pumping around the clock, but not wanting to stop because then it was all over.

I don't know if this is something you are familiar with or is a helpful suggestion, but I personally used a supplemental nursing system (SNS). It is a bottle that can filled up with formula but instead of a teat, it has a two thin tubes coming out of it that is taped to the end of the nipple so that baby is happy to breast feed because they are receiving milk, and at the same time, is helping stimulate supply from the baby sucking. I did this for three months and perhaps is something you might consider if you don't feel ready to call it quits.

I am now expecting baby number two and am planning to get off to a much better start.

I recently went to a breast feeding class in preparation and learned that the most milk is made while the breast is being stimulated from feeding feeding/expressing, so it is important to pump for 10-15 minutes regardless of whether the breast is still releasing milk or not. There are supplements and medication that you can take to help supply.

Whatever path you take, I can reassure you that while I felt guilty at the time having to supplement my son with 'second rate' formula and felt guilty when I decided to move on to bottle feeding, I now look back at that time and am quite proud of myself for the effort I put in when I had such a difficult start (still resentful towards the hospital for making it an awful start - but that's another story!)

If you want any more support, feel free to email me [email protected]

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