Listen to your inner voice! There is rarely a true supply problem

by Malissa
(Indiana)

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.

At. 2.5 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.

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Poor supply due to inhalation of sage essential oil and few other factors


(Cambridge )

I read online that mother milk or nursing tea will improve my milk supply.

It's been great up until I began a herbal remedy of inhalation of sage essential oil among others for fighting depression. Also I was consuming too much coffee... up to three cups on any given day and for the two weeks preceding my shortage, I had started consuming a ounce of two of Irish cream in the mornings. That in addition to having my menstruation as well all added up to reduced supply.

I got nervous and thought that supplementing w formula was a good idea until I researched it out, unfortunately after feeding my breastfed baby of 4 & 1/2 months 80 mL of Emfamil A+.

I read that even just one bottle of formula before "gut closure" at 6 months is a big no-no because of how it affects the gut flora.

Now it will take up to 2-4 weeks for my babies gut flora to return to that of a breastfed baby. And I have also researched the connection of healthy gut flora on mental health.

Turns out it isn't only the brain that produces serotonin, but the guy as well. And it communicates to the brain via the vagus nerve. Healthy gut, healthy mind...

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my breast became small and very soft

by maja mallari
(kuwait)

my child is now 3 months old, i am breatfeeding her all the time. but since i go back to work last 3 weeks ago, i make sure that 1 hour before i leave home i have to feed and pump milk so that even while away she still feeds my milk. but i am so concern of my milk supply, i only pump 3 oz per pump and sometimes 4 oz.

i usually pumped 3 times a day, morning, afternoon and evening. do i need to worry about this? i mean is this really low supply? by the way my cup size is B.

i used to have full breast after 3-4 hrs but now even at longer time i couldn't feel its full but soft but good thing whenever my baby nurses me, milk comes out and seems she's happy with it.

hope to hear some comment on my post so i can relate some mums out there. God bless

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Nov 15, 2013
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Supply
by: Lyssa

It is not unusual for a mother's supply to regulate well after 6-8 weeks. It is usually a good thing, that your body has regulated to make only enough milk for what baby eats.

A baby usually eats about 1-1.5 oz for eery hour between feedings. This means that 3-4 oz every 3 hours is right on target and very much within normal range.

It seems your body and supply are right on track and unless there are other problems I wouldn't worry. :) you are doing great, mama!

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induce lactation for adopted 5 month old

by britney churchill
(stanberry,mo)

Hi

I am trying to induce lactation to start feeding a 5 month old, I'm nervous cause everyone thinks I'm wrong cause she isn't mine biologically.

Also, I was wondering, how did u get yourself motivated to pump every 3 hours, please let me know my email is [email protected]

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Aug 21, 2012
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Re-lactating
by: Zelda Behr

You go girl a lot of mom's don't even want to try to breastfeed their own babies, you deserve a medal for just thinking of this!!!!

Well it can be done and has been done here is a very inspiring story...

Successful re-lactation

Surround yourself with people who support you to get encouragement this is not a easy thing. Pump as much as you can and try some of these natural remedies to increase milk supply...

Galactagogues

Nipple stimulation, breast compression and breast massage helps.

When you do start lactating, rub some of the milk on your nipple and try to get baby to latch and nurse even if it is for a few seconds, there is nothing that ups milk supply like time with baby at the breast.

There are also loads of food you can add to your diet to help as well...

Lactogenic foods

And last of all good luck and happy breastfeeding.


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Can I once again start to produce breastmilk?

by New mom

Thank you for such wonderful info!

I exclusively breast pumped until she was 2 months old. Supplementing once or twice a day with formula as it is tedious!

My baby never took my breast. My baby is four months now, can I once again start to produce breastmilk? I would really want to feed my baby my milk once again.

Thankyou

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Oct 21, 2011
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Breastfeeding again
by: Tracy

Hi

That's wonderful that you stuck in there. If you are still producing milk, you can definitely start breastfeeding again. Even if you where not producing milk, but this could make it a little more difficult.

You will have to just try getting baby to latch on, it might be a struggle in the beginning because now baby is accustomed to the bottle, the bottles flow of milk and so forth.

Using a supplemental feeding device can help get baby on the breast (read more about this here)


some mothers start breastfeeding their babies at 6 months. So it is possible. If you really want to do this, you can. It takes time and patience, but is worth it in the end.

Please let me know how it goes.

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Premature birth and no milk

I am glad to find this site, I am feeling very depressed and alone. My baby came 10 weeks early- it was very sudden and stressful and my inability to breastfeed has been a constant source of pain for me.

When I went into labor, I had not yet produced milk but wasn't worried since it was so early in the pregnancy. I had always planned to breastfeed and since he was premature he REALLY needed the antibodies. In addition, the hospital told me that it "was the only thing I could do for him" so I was very determined.

My water broke without warning and I had an emergency c section after a few days of anti contraction medication. I had complications and lost a lot of blood. The baby was also in critical condition and was taken right to the NICU and I could not see him right away. I was, however, given no medication for the pain so that I could pump and was placed on a three hour pumping scheduled with a hospital grade pump.

After one week my milk still had not come in. I got a few drops occasionally and tried to give all of them to the NICU although several nurses ridiculed me that there "was nothing there to give."

I saw several lactation consultants who all told me that if I "really wanted to breastfeed" it would come. They tried to hand express, but could not get any milk. My breasts did not enlarge or become sore at any point. In fact they shrunk a few days after the c-section to their per-pregnancy size.

Still, I refused to accept that I had no milk- I pumped every 2-3 hours and at the most got a couple of drops in the nipple cups. I was then told to sleep more and relax... Being sick (I stayed in the hospital myself for a month with complications) and having a very ill baby in the NICU (that I tried to stay with around the clock) made relaxing difficult but I tried everything I could- pumping longer, pumping more often, teas, and several herbal remedies.

I had my hormones tested and my thyroid levels checked and met with several lcs. The baby couldn't suckle due to his early birth but I held him on my chest and pumped either by his side or next to his picture.

It was then thought I may have retained some placenta so that was taken care of, despite the fact that I was told that the amount of placenta that could be in there was not enough to stop milk production.

I was then told my milk would come in once I came home with the baby and "relaxed." Once the baby was home, I would "nurse" him at my empty breast, feed him a bottle of formula and then pump (with a hospital grade pump) with the goal of making enough for 1/2 to one feed a day. I did this for 2 months and never got more than 5 ccs a pumping session. My son started getting frustrated and no longer tried to nurse- instead he would scream when placed at the empty breast.

During this time, his pediatrician told me that he "really needed breast milk," that "all mothers can breastfeed" and "if I really loved my child I would find a way."

I was devastated. In order to try to increase my production I took to pumping any time I could for as long as I could. This did nothing to boost my production, but did give me a severe infection. I let the pain go on too long without seeking help because I had false hope that the severe pain was my milk coming in at last. When I cut back on pumping session to address this issue, my milk disappeared entirely.

I am now forced to confront the fact that I will never breastfeed this child who so needs it. It does not help that strangers have lectured me on my "laziness" in stores where I have spotted purchasing formula. Nor does the well meaning advice of friends who tell me that there is no such thing as "low supply" and that there is no excuse for not breast feeding since "in reality everyone's milk comes in."

Thank you for this site- this is the one place I found that didn't tell me this inability was "my fault."

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Apr 06, 2016
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Sorry for your pain
by: Anonymous

You sound like an amzing mother to me xxxx

I wish you had more support

Apr 17, 2016
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Same situation
by: Anonymous

Don't worry, you are a wonderful mother. I had a wonderful lactation specialist, who, after sending me home with a mechanical bull of a breast pump, told me the chemical in my brain simply hadn't told my breasts to produce milk. Ignore others and do only what you can, formula is not the devil. You are doing great

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breasts not changing during pregnancy

by beverly thomas
(trinidad)

I had my first child at 20 and my second at 30 my breast milk came in when I was five months, but am 36 now and eight months and my breast show's no sign that I am pregnant.

The doctors tell me to wait it will come in after the birth, so am just playing a wait and see game and I hate it.

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Apr 07, 2012
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breasts during pregnancy
by: Tracy

If you have breastfed successfully once, you will definitely be able to do it a second time around, your body will produce milk. Why are you concerned about it?

Apr 09, 2012
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How Milk Production Works
by: Anonymous

When you say your milk came in at 5 months, I assume you mean that you think your milk came in when you were 5 months pregnant?

Maybe you felt changes to your breasts at this time in your pregnancy?

The placenta produces progesterone which actually interferes with the receptors in your breasts. That is why milk usually comes in about three days after birth... once the placenta is out and the breast kick into action.

Maybe you are not feeling the same 'pain' that you did during your first pregnancies as your breasts have done this before and are more set up now for next time.

The main thing that sets up your milk supply is breastfeeding frequently within the first 48 hours after birth. Do not worry if you do not feel your milk has come in... it should not do this until after birth. Hope this helps!

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concerned that my breast are not big enough to produce milk

I am currently at 34 weeks pregnant and four days. I'm wanting to breast feed for the first time just concerned that my breast are not big enough to produce milk as other woman with bigger breast...My cup size is 36B not very big but I am wanting the best nutrition for my baby girl when she is born just don't want to be disappointed.

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Breasts not leaking?

by Amy Jukes

How can i tell i have enough milk if i don't leak.?

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Apr 30, 2011
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Milk supply and breasts leaking
by: Tracy

Hi Amy

Thanks for your question.

Milk supply has actually nothing to do with whether you are engorged or have leaking breasts. Many moms have ample milk supply without ever leaking breast milk.

If you are worried about whether your baby is receiving enough breast milk you can read our page on "how to know if my baby is getting enough milk"

Also read our "breast leakage" page for a better understanding on that.

Hope this helps! ;-)

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Keeping track of feedings

by Kim
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

I'm a mom of 2 and I've been using an iPhone app, Smallnest, to track feedings and diapers. It's been great for me and everything's been "normal". I heard about it from a friend who had low supply, and had to supplement with formula for a while. When she switched back to breastmilk she had to track wet diapers carefully to make sure her baby was getting enough.

Now I use it every day because it's so helpful to remember the last side I nursed on and how long my LO has been awake. My hubby uses it too, it all syncs in the "cloud".

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problems breastfeeding

by Janet
(Taylor mi )

I need someone to help me with breastfeeding. I had a baby 5 weeks ago.

I have birth at 36 weeks premature. 3 days later he became jaundice and was taken to nicu under the uv light for 48 hours.

They would not let me breastfeed. He was bottle feed in hospital. My plan is to breastfeed exclusively but I was told I have to supplement.

I breast feed then bottle feed formula. Baby drinks what he gets from me which is about 2 oz then I give him about 2-3 oz every other feeding. What can I do to eliminate supplementing formula??

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balancing hormones with the cysts?

by Alyse
(Canada)

Hi

My name's Alyse and I am a doula with extra training in lactation, however, my friend has come to me with concerns and I feel I can't offer her the support I know she deserves.

My friend had a emergency ceserean birth for her first baby and consequently was unable to breastfeed. She tried absolutely everything including seeking out advice from Dr. Newman. While she was able to get a little bit of milk it just wasn't substantial enough (about 3 oz for an entire day of pumping).

Now that she is pregnant with her second child she is worried about taking the same path. She wants to try for a VBAC or at least allow herself to labor before going in for another ceserean.

While, my other friend had the same predicament with the first and then an ample supply with the second I know that every situation is different. This particular friend of mine has cysts which was the reason for her first c-section.

I was just wondering what your thoughts are on helping her prepare to breastfeed this second time. Should she pump before birth to encourage milk supply? Are there suggestions for balancing hormones with the cysts?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

Sincere thanks,

Alyse

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Oct 11, 2011
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some advice
by: Tracy

Hi Alyse

Have patience with me if I repeat a few things that you already know?

I have had a VBAC as well, for the same reasons. I struggled to breastfeed after the c-section but have succeeded the second time around. I think that the natural birth alone will increase her chances of being successful tremendously.

Babies who are delivered via c-sections have been found to be lethargic and less enthusiastic at sucking for up to two weeks after birth and this could also be one of the reasons why she produced so little milk.

The second time around your milk will usually come in much faster since the breast tissue has grown with your first and second pregnancy.

Ladies with PCOS are usually less likely to breastfeed because of the production of male sex hormones during pregnancy. There are many mothers who breastfeed right through their pregnancies, so I dont see why she cannot start pumping during the pregnancy. Some moms worry that this stimulation during pregnancy will cause early labor, but the oxytocin that is released during pumping/breastfeeding is not enough to cause the cervix to open immaturely. Uterine contractions are experienced throughout pregnancy with exercise and even with orgasm, so there is nothing to worry about there.

Women with PCOS induced insulin resistance can increase their milk supplies by taking Metformin. Many women with PCOS take metformin during pregnancy regardless of their insulin levels and have excellent results breastfeeding.

Other than this she can try Domperidone after pregnancy or if she wants something natural, I have used sacred tea for breastfeeding mothers which is great.

If all else fails, using a SNS is a great way to get a mom to still benefit from the bonding experience even if mom has no milk at all. Moms milk supply is stimulated even while baby is being supplemented. This way baby is still receiving breast milk, even if it is just small
amounts.

Hope this helps

Oct 12, 2011
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great information
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your quick response. I believe this is great information for her and thank you for sharing a little bit of your own story.

My greatest appreciation,

Alyse

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taking hormones for lactation

by Ailaht

What kind of DR can I ask about taking hormones for lactation, I want to produce for my baby but all I let out is drops.

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Feb 25, 2017
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lactation consultant
by: Tracy

Hi

You need to get hold of a lactation consultant in your area. She will give you the best advice for your specific situation.

Other than taking hormones, here is a page with loads of helpful information...

Not producing enough milk.

Hope this helps

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Decreased supply

Should I be concerned that my supply has gone down due to having thrush? Should I try some supplements to increase it?

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Feb 25, 2017
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Decrease in supply
by: Tracy

Hi

Yes, a decrease in milk supply is a common occurance during a thrush infection.

You can try the following...


- Start pumping in between feedings. Using an electric double action, hospital grade pump will help increase your supply faster.
- Start using breast massage to increase supply.
- Drink plenty of water and eat well...this can really make a big difference in supply.
- Use breast compressions while breastfeeding.
- The use of herbs and lactgenic foods can do wonders...Foods that increase milk supply.



Hope this helps

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Great supplement for boosting supply

by Susan Frank
(NY)

The very best way to boost milk supply is letting your baby suckle as often and as long as s/he wants. No pump on earth can best a suckling babe.

Oatmeal (not the instant or quick varieties) and a tea boosting supplement healthy nursing tea. I had great support with these two things and continuous nursing.

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Low Milk Supply

Hi,

I am breastfeeding my 5.5 month old little girl. But my milk supply is low.. I tried pumping and took galactogogues for the last one month. But until now I see no effect.

I was able to pump only 40 ml around every 2 to 3 hours. And milk flow is slow. I am giving formula for her after most of the feeding session.

She is crying a lot when I take for breastfeeding. She just try to push me away. I feel like I am failure and Im rejected by my little baby girl.

I wanted to breastfeed her at least for 1.5 yrs.

Is there any possibility to increase my supply???

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Jul 02, 2017
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Increasing your milk supply
by: Tracy

Breast milk supply works on a supply / demand basis. If you give your body the signal to increase supply, it will. You give it this signal by removing more milk from the breasts.

Power pumping is a great way to increase supply. Power-pumping

Allowing your baby full access to your breasts 24/7 with skin to skin contact will not only increase your supply, but has many other benefits too...

Kangaroo-mother-care

There is also the SNS option, which is when you allow your baby more time at the breast even whilst supplementing.

You use a little device called a "lactation aid" Its a little bottle filled with your supplement that is attached to a tube. The tube is placed in the corner of the baby's mouth while you breastfeed.

This will stimulate the breast by increasing the time spent at the breast and will eventually increase your milk supply. If this seems too much you could used paced bottle feeding instead...

Paced-bottle-feeding

Once all or some of these are put into place you may also consider a combination of lactogenic foods...

How-to-increase-breast-milk

When your milk starts to increase you will want to look for the signs that your baby is drinking enough...

baby-getting-enough-breast-milk

Lastly I would just like to leave you with some information about how important breast milk is to gut health and immunity...

gut-protection-through-breast-milk

infant-immunity


Hope this helps.

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Fennel essential oil

by Ladie_Bugg

Hello, Websites I've visited have suggested taking a break from applying the fennel topically every 10 days or so. No one indicates the length of the break. Should it be another 10 days break or would a 2 day break (for example) be sufficient?

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