Help! First time mom with breastfeeding woes

Lauren - posted on 02/04/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My son Henry is almost 10 weeks. He has been exclusively breastfed (other than occasional pumped milk when I was away from him) until our las pediatrician visit. The doctor says he is not gaining enough weight and that we have to supplement him with formula (1oz each feeding). I was crushed!!! I'm doing everything I can think of....I pump after each feeding to increase my body's response. I eat regularly (as possible with a newborn) and drink water all day long. I'm taking 3 Fenugreek capsules 3 times daily (just started after the doc visit). What else can I do? The only time my breasts get full enough to leak is in the morning after his big sleep. By the night time my supply is real low.

Henry IS a lazy eater, he nurses for 30-45 minutes every 2 hours and it is a constant struggle to keep him awake. I MUST conquer this, I refuse to give in to the formula monster... but what else can I do?

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Stephanie - posted on 02/04/2009

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There is this wonderful book called "The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk" by Diana West and Lisa Marasco



I have been having the same problem, i wasnt making milk a few days after my baby was born and he was extremely jaundiced..i had to start with formula. We quickly got off of that after 2 weeks and i have been supplementing with Goats Milk. Its a great alternative and (i think) is much better than formula feeding. I have been supplementing with the goats milk for well over a month he has had no side effects or problems. It was recommended to me by a La Leche League president. It isnt good for feeding your boy only goats milk and since your doc said 1 oz per feeding, should work just fine. I supplement about 2 oz. per feeding and my son is 8 weeks old.



www.motherlove.com has some great tinctures that can help too. I was taking fenugreek, blessed thistle and nettle leaf religously, now i am trying the "more milk plus" tincture to see if i get a better result. I heard that goats rue can help production for up to 50%.



hope this helps.

Amber - posted on 02/04/2009

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First of all...you are doing a Great Job!!!



My first son was born 3 weeks early and was also a lazy eater. I was going to a pediatrician and they told me the same thing. Not gaining fast enough, not enough milk, need to supplement. I also was crushed. Here I was a first time mom and trying so hard and they made me feel like a terrible mother and a failure. BUT.....I wasn't having that. I researched any and all info I could find on the net.



At his next feeding I put him in the football hold with his head in my hand facing me and his feet facing behind me. (You can get a better explanation on the internet). Anyway, he started gulping the milk so fast he could barely get a breath in. He gained 6oz in 3 days and we immediately switched to a family doctor, which we absolutely love soooooo much. Our family doc treats each child as an individual and not some "cookie cutter kid" that has to meet exact guidelines or something is wrong. My first son is now 27months old and healthy. I breastfed him for 12 months. NO FORMULA and he did just fine.



Please Please whatever you do don't give up breastfeeding. You are on the right track and the payoff is so fantastic. You need someone in your corner helping you, not your pediatrician encouraging you to bottle feed. You can go to the Le Leche League website and find a league in your community.



Please visit http://www.llli.org//webus.html to find a local Le Leche supporter.



God Bless and Good Luck....You are a great mom!!

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Lauren - posted on 02/05/2009

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Thank You-- I felt so stupid crying at the Ped's-- it was like someone punched me in the stomach!  Its embarassing-- my inlaws and family found out we were supplementing. 

Amber - posted on 02/05/2009

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Quoting Hallie:

i have a 4 monthe old and i didnt want to use formula...i have has mastitis 3 times and my girl was loosing weight .... i tried the formula and its ok i think to use charlie has it maybe 2 feeds a day and it has been good for her....
i hope it gets better



Just a heads up in case you get a clogged milk duct. The best way to unclogg and avoid full blown mastitis is to breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. Start your baby on the side that is clogged until it gets better. Also between feedings apply a rice heat pack. You can make one at home with a sock and some rice and just heat it in the microwave. Worked for me everytime.

Hallie - posted on 02/05/2009

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i have a 4 monthe old and i didnt want to use formula...i have has mastitis 3 times and my girl was loosing weight .... i tried the formula and its ok i think to use charlie has it maybe 2 feeds a day and it has been good for her....

i hope it gets better

Gemma - posted on 02/05/2009

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The charts used by health visitor for plotting baby's weight were made from a study of formula feed babies. Breastfed babies are naturally smaller. There is a chart that has been plotted now using breastfed babies, it might be helpful to plot your child's weight on there and see were he is. I think you should be able to find it online if you try a google search or you could ask your health visitor if she could get one for you.

There is also a drug that is very effective in increasing milk supply if you really do think your supply is low called domperidone (or something like that) it is of course safe for mums and babies and is so good it is even used with mothers who are adopting babies but want to breastfeed. Ask your health visitor about it.

It could also be that he is not positioned in the most effective way and so it takes longer for him to get the milk to flow, try calling the NCT or La leache league and ask if there is someone in your area with experience in breastfeeding who can help you out.

But all this said, the chances are he is absolutely fine, and he is just a smaller but equally happy baby, try not to get too obsessed with how much weight he has put on (I know it's hard) and use your own judgment as to whether you feel he is thriving. ;-)

Amie - posted on 02/04/2009

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Consult another doctor! Preferably one who is VERY supportive of breastfeeding. If you don't know of any in your area, contact your local La Leche League group and ask around. BF'ed babies don't gain weight at the same rate as formula babies. A doctor with a background of supporting BF'ing will know more. Besides, not all doctors agree; its always good to get a second opinion! Trust your body and hang in there, he could be a bit slow to gain weight (my youngest was - didn't gain any weight for months 4-8)

Holly - posted on 02/04/2009

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My pediatrician said this to us as well... I'm SO angry with Ped's. They just don't get the emotional hit that a new mom takes when they tell us that immediately we need to go to formula. You are doing EVERYTHING right. Believe me, please. When my Ped. told me this, I cried for atleast a week. My son still eats for 40 minutes to sometimes an hour and a half, and while this is excessive, I've learned to cope and how to do things differently. Keep pumping, get up in the middle of the night and pump to keep your supply up, (set the vibrate timer on your cell phone and put it under your pillow), this will give you more storage in the fridge too for when he doesn't seem satisfied... so you can supplament with breast milk.



If all else fails, then there's a prescription that your midwife, doctor can write for you. But above all... it's when I relaxed and stopped worrying so much, that my supply seemed to really increase.



Many hugs! Keep going! You're doing GREAT!

~Holly

April - posted on 02/04/2009

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I had the same problem with my DD. She lost one pound after birth and it took a whole month to gain it back. My doctor's gave me the choice of hospitalization or supplementing and I finally gave into supplementing. Unfortunetley I never produced enough milk no matter how much I pumped and took fenugreek. Once she went onto solids at 4 months I had to supplement less. I hated having to give her the formula but I finally had to decide that her gaining weight was more important than me not wanting to give formula. I was happy that she at least was getting more of my milk than the other stuff. Good luck with nursing and don't give up. I ended up nursing for 13 months in the end and wouldn't change it for the world.

Kasey - posted on 02/04/2009

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Hey, don't give up on it because it does get easier. Raw peanuts are good for your milk flow and yea just try and stretch the feeds out as far as possible so baby is more hungry.

good luck and don't give up!!!

Stephanie - posted on 02/04/2009

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There is this wonderful book called "The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk" by Diana West and Lisa Marasco



I have been having the same problem, i wasnt making milk a few days after my baby was born and he was extremely jaundiced..i had to start with formula. We quickly got off of that after 2 weeks and i have been supplementing with Goats Milk. Its a great alternative and (i think) is much better than formula feeding. I have been supplementing with the goats milk for well over a month he has had no side effects or problems. It was recommended to me by a La Leche League president. It isnt good for feeding your boy only goats milk and since your doc said 1 oz per feeding, should work just fine. I supplement about 2 oz. per feeding and my son is 8 weeks old.



www.motherlove.com has some great tinctures that can help too. I was taking fenugreek, blessed thistle and nettle leaf religously, now i am trying the "more milk plus" tincture to see if i get a better result. I heard that goats rue can help production for up to 50%.



hope this helps.

Gemma - posted on 02/04/2009

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Hi, I had a similar problem with my first. She was not a hungry baby and was slow to gain. I was constantly being told that she wasn't gaining enough and maybe i should put her on to formula so that they could monitor her intake more.

I refused to give in to this just to make their lives easier. My daughter was happy, alert when awake and was doing everything expected for her age and more. I wanted to ensure that the milk she was drinking was the best.

They did worry me to the point that I would do anything to get her to drink- dancing around, singing and getting my partner to make silly faces over my shoulder to get her to stay interested in feeding for longer. I too would express at the end of the day, not stopping until I had got 6 oz! Which could take hours (just to prove that I still had milk and that I could at least know that she had drank that much !!) I would get her weighed twice a week, just to make sure she was still growing!

She is now 7 and I realise she was just a small baby- she is still small. If I look back at her baby charts I can see that although at times she was only just above the pink section she was also in that section for her length, so she was actually perfectly in proportion. She is still following the same line now and eats brilliantly.

I would say try not to let them worry you. Weight is only one facter in assesing weather a baby is failing to thrive. If he is alert when awake, doing what is expected for his age, is not loosing weight and gerally seems happy then he is probably getting all the milk he needs. Why not check his lengh and see if it compares.

Most womens milk is low in the evening esspesially if your baby is not a big feeder, as your body only makes what your baby demands. If your still worreid you could try waking him in the night to feed if he is'nt already, as feeding during the night usually stimulates your body to make more milk.
Hope this helps, and good luck. It sounds like your doing a great job!
My son (15mths) has also been a small baby, but with my experience from last time I am not worried at all, he is a happy, healthy, smiley contented little boy and I'm just making the most of the fact that he still looks like a little baby!

Mahnaz - posted on 02/04/2009

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I have a 7 month old and I exclusively breastfed him for 5 months. My son was the same, he was not getting to the good fatty milk hence he is slowly gaining weight. Try undressing him his he falls asleep or tickling his feet or rubbing the palm of his hands. and dont feed every 2 hours.. try and stretch it out to 3 hours Just coz he will be more hungry & feed for longer.

Good Luck!

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