I just couldn't get any milk!

by sam

Okay. I must comment on this one. I had a normal delivery without even an epidural. Hence breastfeeding never seemed like a task to me.... I was sadly mistaken.

I just couldn't get any milk! In the hospital, I sat and fed my baby for 45 mins on each breast. The nurses gave my daughter a kind of formula that helped a bit. But whenever I would try, my nipples would get so sore and painful and start bleeding. Besides my sutures hurt when I sat on them. I also had loose motions because of some antibiotics.

I was so sad depressed and fatigued. To add pain, my sutures started opening up because of constant pressure while I fed my baby. I was put on everything that could increase milk flow. I tried hard so hard. To the point I started developing hard boils due to the heat.

My mother and especially my mother-in-law made it very difficult for me. My Mom-in-law told me that I was not drinking enough milk to stimulate the flow. I was so depressed all the time. Finally, I even bought a breast pump; it was then that I realized that I was able to pump only 1-2 ml at a time. No wonder my poor hardworking baby sucked for hours.

My heart went out to my daughter. My husband bought NAN 1 on the 3rd day. Problem solved. I never looked back. My baby just gobbled up the milk hungrily. I still would try feeding her the 1-2 ml that I would pump. She was majorly only on NAN1. Finally two months down the line I had completely STOPPED! I am glad I made that choice.

I realized that other mothers had their baby on each breast for 5-10 mins and they were done whereas I would sit for nearly 90 mins only to sit back to breastfeed in another 15 mins. Trust me it is just not worth it making yourself feel less of a woman trying this. I did go through a very bad phase where I blamed myself. Then one fine day I felt that this attitude was more damaging than the problem itself.

Producing milk doesn't make me a better mother. Loving my child makes me. I wiped my tears and grew confident in my new found assurance. So please girls don't kill yourself over this.... I also feel that women are the worst...instead of supporting you, they make you feel bad. My baby was healthy, happy and less irritable because she was well fed. My first month with the baby was painful and depressing! I can't believe I went through all this. Now I make sure I can support other women.

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Sep 06, 2013
breast hypoplasia
by: Anonymous

Have you ever heard of breast hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue? I had similar issues trying to feed my first child, and when I had the same supply problems with my second, I did some research and discovered breast hypoplasia. There are specific physical markers to look for in your breasts. Look it up- it might be the answer to your question of what's wrong, but unfortunately, there is no easy or sure solution.

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Could not breastfeed.

by Kristy

I had my first child eight years ago and could not breastfeed. I couldn't even pump more that an ounce.

I have some insight into why now a few years later. I came across an article that examined the effects of Polycystic ovarian syndrome and underdeveloped breast sacs.

I suffer from POS, and now I am 38 weeks pregnant with my second. I have such anxiety about being in the hospital, and the nurses made me feel like a bad mother for giving up the first time after my first child lost a whole pound in 4 days as they refused to let me supplement.

I have to have a c-section with this child and will be in the hospital for 3-4 days.

I am dreading the guilty looks and smart-ass comments from the maturity nurses. I wish they would understand that this is not a choice but a need. If any nurse is reading this, please don't judge just understand and get off your soap box I don't need you making me feel inadequate.......

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Mar 08, 2012
Hormonal Disorders
by: Mrs. G

Things like PCOS and diabetes have a direct impact on your ability to breastfeed. Milk production relies on certain hormones being released by the body at the right time. When you have a disorder that affects your hormones, of course, you will have issues with breastfeeding (not that anyone bothered to tell me that. Try googling diabetic and breastfeeding... the only links you get are ones that point to the relationship between breastfeeding and preventing type II diabetes later in life).

There should be more education for expectant moms and the medical community about this... setting someone up for failure because they don't take other health factors into account is mean-spirited at best.

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Just COULDN'T breastfeed

by Caroline

I can't describe how it feels to finally come across other women who just COULDN'T breastfeed and to see so many similarities in our stories.

I had always planned to breastfeed my baby and was excited about what I thought would be a unique bonding experience.

During my pregnancy, I noticed no real swelling of my breasts but didn't overthink it. Our son Luka was born in July 2011 naturally, with no interventions. I am Irish living in Brazil where there is a huge rate of planned cesarean births (up to 90% in some hospitals) but a really strong culture of breastfeeding until at least two years of age.

After the birth, I produced very little colostrum and Luka wasn't sucking well, and the only way I could get anything into him was squeezing out the little colostrum I had and putting it on his tongue with my finger. Despite reassurances that babies are born with "a reserve" and that my milk would come in "any day now," on day three my husband had to go and get milk from the nearest milk bank an hours drive away.

Luka survived almost entirely on other women's breastmilk for the first three weeks of his life as when my milk did come in there was very little of it.

I was getting advice and support from doulas, lactation consultants, my obstetrician, and four different pediatricians. I tried breast shells and nipple shields. I was on every conceivable type of homeopathic remedy, tea, supplements, milk-producing foodstuffs, even using synthetic oxytocin before each feed to try to increase my supply.

Luka's tongue was also positioned far back and seems almost glued to the roof of his mouth, so I wasn't getting much stimulation there. So I did breast massage, using a breast pump, even getting my husband to try to nurse on me so I would make more milk.

My breasts were starting to get bruised from the pressure of my thumbs trying to make the milk flow better for Luka.

I used to spend ALL day trying to get milk out of me and into my baby. I nearly killed myself trying and had to give up in the end. Even so, I ended up with full-blown postpartum depression which I am still treating.

I felt overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and failure, I felt less of a woman and less of a mother and believed that my body didn't work the way it's supposed to.

It drives me crazy that I have to explain myself EVERY day here to strangers on the street as to why I am not breastfeeding. As I said, the breastfeeding thing is huge here, and people (men and women) you don't even know have no qualms about asking intimate questions about your nursing and enjoy telling you that they or their partner had floods of milk.

There seems to be little or no awareness out there that sometimes it is just not possible to breastfeed, no matter how much the mother wants to. There IS such a thing as not producing enough milk.

It's still very painful for me that I couldn't breastfeed my baby. I hope someday it won't hurt any more. I am finally getting my confidence back as a woman and mother. I am discovering that there are other ways to be just as close to my baby: talking and singing and holding him close as I bottlefeed him, giving him little massages, carrying him in a sling and letting him hear my heartbeat, sleeping with him by my side and trusting in my instincts and in what feels natural - as opposed to what I "should" or "should not" be doing. Breastfeeding or not we can still be fantastic mothers with wonderful, close, nurturing relationships with our babies.

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Nov 29, 2011
Well done!
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry to hear that you are unable to breastfeed, but I want to tell you that you are one awesome mama and doing a great job! Babies do need more than just nutrition to survive and thrive, and by doing all the other things you do, you are truly giving him the best start in life. You go!!! (",)

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I breastfed for as long as I could...

Breastfeeding was something that was important to me. I'm an RN, so I know all about how the nutrients from your breast milk benefit your baby. My planned birth of a natural delivery turned into a medically scheduled c-section so I figured at least I could breastfeed as planned.

Unfortunately, I struggled greatly with milk supply. I was pumping on day one and had to supplement with formula within three days. I cried when she first took the bottle.

She wouldn't latch naturally and suck, so I had to use a breast shield to breastfeed her. But I persevered.

My daughter is now six months old, and I have pumped three times a day for 10 - 20 minutes each time. By doing so, she took the breast in the morning and received about one bottle a day of pumped milk- the rest was formula.

This was the best I could do, and I wanted her to get whatever I could give. To add to my challenge, I couldn't take any medications for increasing milk supply for my health reasons. Therefore, it was a pump or nothing.

So here I am, and it is so hard. She is now on solid food, and I don't have the time to take care of her, feed her, make food and pump, so I'm putting the pump away.

My goal was initially one year before starting to breastfeed, then four months and I made it to 6. I never worked so hard at anything in my life, and I should be proud of myself.

I do fear being judged for giving formula, but I did my best.

I have many friends who were unable to produce enough milk to feed their baby, yet you never hear about this. We need to support mothers, including their choices on how to feed their child.

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Could not Breastfeed my children

Wow, I feel so relieved now, knowing that I am not the only one who could not Breastfeed her children.

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Couldn't Breastfeed ended up using Formula

Been there, got the T-shirt. It's devastating to want to breastfeed and not be able to.

I wanted a natural birth and had to have an emergency C-section. I wanted to breastfeed, and at the 10-day checkup, my baby was still losing weight from her birth weight. The doctor said to feed her as much of your milk as you can (which was very little, sadly) and supplement with as much formula as she needs.

The aim is that our babies are healthy, develop, and grow. Instead of focussing on the negative, maybe we should be grateful that we live in places that have formula milk available with which we can feed our babies - imagine having nothing at all to give them.

I have a happy, healthy baby and for this, I feel profound, deep and humble gratitude - every day.
May I never become complacent enough to forget this feeling.

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Tried to breastfeed but couldn't

by Renee

For all of the mothers who tried to breastfeed but couldn't please do not feel discouraged.

Your children love you, and you love them, that's all that matters : )

I have a beautiful six-week-old son, and I went through the same thing. My milk never really came in, the most milk I produced from pumping was only 10 ml total!

After discussing with my Dr. and lactation consultants, no one knows why I'm not able to produce.

At first, I was saddened by this fact, but after seeing my son satisfied with bottle feeding, I'm over feeling down about it.

I may not be able to produce breast milk for reasons unknown....but I'm still able to be a great mom to my wonderful child. So ladies, please don't be depressed, or feel bad you still are great moms. God bless : )

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Milk protein allergy/could not breastfeed

by jennifer
(north carolina)

My daughter was born through an unplanned c-section. I was not able to breastfeed her until 4 hours after her birth due to all the medication I was given.

I was shaking too much to even hold her for the first 2 hours after she arrived. I was not told that the c-section might affect my milk supply, and the first day I brought her home from the hospital, she screamed in hunger for hours because I had no milk. At 3 AM I went to a 24-hour Walgreens and bought her formula, and finally, after eating a bottle of formula, she fell asleep.

I was so relieved. Even though my milk came in eventually, I never produced very much, and after feeding her for hours all day long, she would begin crying by 4 PM every afternoon in hunger.

All the breastfeeding websites said to keep trying and not give her formula, or my milk supply would drop even more, but my baby was crying and hungry so that I would give her a bottle of formula. Then at one-month-old, she began to have bloody mucous in her diapers.

My pediatrician diagnosed her with a milk protein allergy and suggested an elimination diet along with supplementing Nutramigen as she was not gaining weight quickly enough.

For one month I pumped seven times a day around the clock, including at 1 AM and 5 AM to keep up my milk supply while I waited for the milk proteins to leave my milk.

Every time I tried to give her my milk, however, blood and mucous would appear in her diaper immediately after. No matter what foods I eliminated all dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, etc.-she reacted to my milk.

Every time I changed her diaper, I felt afraid to see flecks of blood. When I gave her only Nutramigen, the blood and mucous cleared up. In the meantime, my left breast stopped producing milk.

After a month of pumping only a few ounces of milk per day, which I could not give to her I decided to quit.

I am so upset after hearing for so long breast is best and how my baby will be obese and have low IQ and get sick because I cannot give her my milk. I miss being able to nurse her, but I do not know what else to do.

Since receiving only Nutramigen, she looks very healthy and has gained weight. She is starting to have chunky legs and a baby belly, which she did not have before. She also has normal diapers. Even though I feel guilty for not being able to breastfeed her, I want to do what is best for her. I want her to be healthy. She is seven weeks old today.

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Yet again I am unable to breastfeed

by Zoe

My heart is crying today, this is my third baby, and yet again I am unable to breastfeed. My milk never comes in my babies always end up losing weight and never gain it properly.

With each baby, it seems to have gotten worse. This time round I couldn't get enough milk out at all. With the other two I did combined feeding, and I could deal with that.

This time around I has to give full formula. I'm sick of everyone saying all women can produce milk it's all about supply and demand.

My breasts didn't work the way they should have. It would make me feel better if something was diagnosed to say some women can't produce milk — a reason. Instead of you didn't feed properly or you didn't try hard enough. I feel like a failure

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Oct 01, 2014
Be kind to yourself
by: Christie

I completely understand and feel your pain. Too often we hear that women should be able to breastfeed and if it isn't working right, obviously it must be something the mother is doing wrong.

My question is, is there any research being done to see what might cause some women not to produce? I agree it would be nice to hear an actual diagnosis.

Please stop making moms feel horrible for things not working correctly. I say, after three children and similar experiences, love your children. We love our children and do the best we can every day; this is what we can do for our children, and they will grow and flourish, with or without breastmilk.

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Thank You Everyone for Sharing - When breastfeeding didn't work

Thank God! I thought I'm a freak. Everyone else is going on and on, and on how easy it is to breastfeed and here I am, producing less than 1 tbsp of milk from both breasts.

Tried everything from modern medicines to alternative medicines. Didn't work. And it doesn't help when there you are having baby blues + breastfeeding problems, people telling you what a bad mother you are that you couldn't breastfeed your child?

Thank you to each and every one of you for your entries. Thank you.

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I thought this was support, obviously not

by L

I thought this site was about supporting mums who can't breastfeed, all I can see is that you are telling people that all problems can be solved. As a mum who was suicidal over the inability to breastfeed and received no help at all, this is not helpful at all and makes me feel even worse.

You should include information about women like myself with breast deformities and acknowledge that some women, whatever they do, cannot breastfeed.

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Mar 18, 2011
by: Tracy


I'm sorry you feel that way, but what made you think that this site was only for moms who couldn't breastfeed?

If I can help those moms who have problems breastfeeding, why not? It prevents them from becoming depressed and feeling like less than a woman.

I do have information on my site on breast abnormalities and support for those moms who cannot breastfeed...

- Moms who cannot breastfeed (read the comments)

- Hypoplastic breasts

I also have a lot of info on my low milk supply page, for moms who do not produce enough milk, it explains the different things that could be causing this, which helps for understanding why some woman cannot breastfeed.

If you have suggestions on something that would make you feel like you have more support on this matter...please do suggest, I would love to help more moms on this subject...because I was one of those moms that failed with breastfeeding the first time around.

No hard feelings ;-)

Feb 21, 2012
I actually found this a comfort.
by: Anonymous

I'm currently breastfeeding my 2nd child. She is five months now. With my son, I breastfed until nine months then went straight to goats milk, then later to homogenized milk.

I stopped at nine months because I was at the point where I was exclusively feeding my son from my right breast, (for months) because I lost my milk in my left breast due to poor latching. My left breast has an inverted nipple. Pretty painful.

Now, with baby #2 I'm worried about the same problem occurring. So I've forced myself to feed more on the inverted nipple.

I was so sore, bleeding, and crying too at times while feeding just after she was born. But I purchased nipple shields to get me through a couple of weeks, then discarded them. the guards and cream helped me heal enough to continue but threw them out knowing they would jeopardize my milk supply if used too long.

So now, five months later, I have more milk in one breast than the other, but the situation is better this time around. It's tough, but I'm glad it's worked out so far.

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Without formula, I don't think he would have made it...

by Moria
(Columbia, MD)

I had a c-section in March and wanted to breastfeed my baby boy. We spent four days in the hospital with the nurses and the lactation specialists stopping by every 3 hours to check on me and my baby.

On the 3rd day, he'd lost 10% of his birth weight, and they brought me formula to supplement the feeding. I felt like such a failure. The lactation consultants did not help with that at all.

I was close to tears every time they talked to me because his latch was great, but I was not producing. They even brought in a pump to try and help. I never got much out of either breast. Before pregnancy, I was in between a B and C cup. My nipples got bigger, but the breasts never really did.

Then a week after the birth we went to my son's pediatrician. While getting dressed I put on my normal bra and was dismayed to see that that not only did not fit, it did not fit because my breasts were maybe an A cup! I burst into tears.

Barely holding it together, my husband went with me to the appointment. Our son still getting supplements, he and I talked about going to formula exclusively - to make sure our son got enough to eat! When the pediatrician walked into the room - he took one look at me and said "There is a reason that they make formula to be the best it can be, and as close to breast milk as they can.

Feeding your child formula is not a problem, and I've seen it many times in my 30 years of being a doctor. You are doing great with the formula, and he is doing fine." It was the best thing I could hear, especially coming from a doctor. We stopped and got bottles and formula on the way home and have not looked back.

Other people are surprised when they hear my breasts shrank - I am not sure if it is because I am overweight or if diabetes played a role, but I am GLAD they make such great formula out there. My son is almost five months old, and he is 15 lbs and 1 ounce. Without formula, I don't think he would have made it...

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