Help - my milk supply is going down!

Christy - posted on 11/20/2008 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I am a stay at home mom, and my baby never truly latched on properly. I have seen lactation consultants, and we just all agreed, that it might be best for me to just pump. I have a Medela swing pump. I used to get 16 oz. in the morning, but recently, I am getting between 7.5-10 oz. My milk supply has gone down from about 40 oz per day to 28-29 oz. Is this normal? How do I get my supply back up? I have been pumping more often trying to get it back up, but so far, I haven't had much luck. Does anyone know what might be causing this? I don't want to switch, or supplement my baby (4 m) with any formula. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

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[deleted account]

Ok without going through pages of chatting, I found this one mommy is taking domperidone and it does give her a headache (which you can take Tylenol for) and dry mouth. However, when she's on it and doesn't miss a dose, her supply is really good. If she misses a dose, within 24 hours she noticing a dip in her supply. I also noticed she said she's using the Baby Wise method (which I HIGHLY discourage and totally disagree with) and said that impacts her supply, which I would have guessed. The idea behind that method is getting all feedings in during the day so you can sleep through the night. But, early on this is a mistake when it comes to your supply. If you are not emptying the breast at least every 4 hours your supply will take a hit. PERIOD. So I suggest trying the suggestions first, get good water, nutrition and if you can take fenugreek, along with nursing every 2-3 hours around the clock and see if your supply increases. If you are still having issues, then I would personally consider taking domperidone. I am one that likes to be all natural, but I am pregnant w/my second and morning sickness and general throwing up has been SO bad this time. I had to get on Zofran to stop the sickness. It worked well, but gave me headaches, which I took care of with Tylenol. Eventually that went away though and then I started suffering from constipation. So then I started having to take Colace, but eventually took Zofran less and less to avoid that and put up with throwing up 1-2 times instead of 4 or more. So it was a lesser of two evils type thing. Best wishes!

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[deleted account]

You have been given a lot of great advice. I would just like to share my knowledge real quick. I had latch problems with my third baby, but I kept at it and she is almost 2 and still BFs. I know how hard and frustrating it can be. Putting baby on the breast is really the best way to keep up your milk supply. Are your nipples large? If so try putting ice or a frozen wet cotton ball on your nipple for 5-10 seconds. Usually it works like a charm. Sometimes pumping first and then BFing after you are done works. If you decide to supplement it most likely will exaggerate the problem not help. It is all about supply and demand. If you (or baby) are not "demanding" the breastmilk your body will not produce it.

I would like to also suggest tea--there are numerous teas on the market that support healthy milk production. One brand is called Mother's Milk.

A double electric pump may work better for you. The Medela Pump and Style is amazing although expensive.

Oh, and Nicole, I feel your pain. My third made me so sick I lost more weight than I gained!

Good luck to both of you!

[deleted account]

Yes, I know about that drug. I use to chat with some mommies on a site called mommylounge.org and a couple of them have used it successfully. Let me see if I can find more info on that for you. Remember too, most Drs. are not real supportive or even knowledgeable on breastfeeding, so you do still need to do your own research and follow your own instincts. Nurse like crazy, get good water and good nutrition, calories and you should see an increase in milk production. Also, call around to some other LC's, I found many will be willing to chat w/you for free on the phone. Especially when you can tell them everything you have done, research you have already done, but need more ideas.

Crystal - posted on 11/20/2008

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awesome suggestions, i'll try them .... and not supplement, if i were to choose supplementing though , and i hope i wont have to, w it cause any problems for baby ... like constipation or upset stomach ? I tried making a doctors appointmet but they cant see us stil monday, i saw a lactation consultant and she didnt shed any light on it at all, she jsut suggest a drug called domperidone .. and info on that ?

[deleted account]

Yep, I agree with Mary and actually when you're not getting anymore, I would actually suggest doing the massaging as she says, but I would actually keep the pump on there and going. I found if I did that for like 10 mins I wouldn't get anything, but then all of a sudden if I kept that pump going after like 10 mins, here came some more milk.

Mary - posted on 11/20/2008

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Okay...with pumping, how to get what you have...Before you pump take a warm shower or put a warm compress on your breast. While pumping, massage the breast in downward motions all around. When you can't get anymore, stop pumping and just massage all around harder than you were earlier (don't hurt yourself though). Then try pumping again. This can help getting an emptier breast than you were getting. Also skin to skin contact can increase milk production, and your pumping exclusively you're not getting that. So have some topless cuddle time with your little one. Take a bath with your little one or just snuggle. You are using a good pump. Medela or Ameda are the only brands that I would reccomend using. Keep pumping more often until you see progress!

[deleted account]

The harm is supplementing with formula is not giving your body the demand it needs to increase it's supply. When you supplement that is a feeding of even only a few ounces your body is never being "asked" to produce. So therefore it will NEVER produce that amount of formula you are giving the baby. If you instead nurse your baby, even if they are not getting much, they will still be sucking, demanding the body for the milk and if you keep this up every day, within 2-3 days your body will be supplying that babe with those 3 oz. of milk that you would have otherwise been giving through formula. Supplementing while breastfeeding, when you're actually available to breastfeed, is a BIG MISTAKE! My son is 23 mo. and a growing, thriving child and I have NEVER had to supplement. I just nurse more when needed and my body then produces more. Again, it's all about supply and demand. If you do not demand it of your body because you are providing it through formula, your body will never supply it!

Crystal - posted on 11/20/2008

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i have the same sort of problem, but i honestly believe the baby isnt getting enough , what kind of harm would toppin the baby off with a few ounces of formula after nursing just to guarntee the baby is getting enough cause ??? I havent done it yet but i'm considering it. in the meantime i've been drinking lots and pumping after every feed to try and increase. In the last day it seems its helped a bit.

Jovanne - posted on 11/20/2008

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Breastfeeding is a use it or lose it kind of thing. The baby is the only one who can fully empty the breast to get the thicker, hind-milk that often puts them to sleep. To increase you milk supply, you have to fully empty the breast. I constantly felt like I was coming up short on milk when my daughter was about 2 months old. I read a good tip to feed her three times in a row on one side and then three times on the other side. And never feed her closer than two hours apart. This gives 6 hours for the other side to fill up with plenty of milk. All of a sudden, you find yourself with way too much! I never had to supplement her or anything. If she cried sooner than 2 hours, I would give her water. This may seem wrong, but she is a huge baby and in the 110 percentile of height and weight! Another thing - babies eat more during growth spurts, so your milk supply isn't always the same. During a time when I could tell she wanted more milk, I would pump for 5-10 minutes after she completely emptied a side. To teach my daughter to latch on, we used silicone nipple covers with a few drops of formula to get her to start sucking. But that was before my milk was in. If you plan to keep pumping only, try to pump longer even if it seems like nothing is coming out. Plan to pump 5 to 10 minutes after you see the milk stop flowing. Eat and drink a lot! Good luck!

[deleted account]

Nursing is all about supply and demand. Keep nursing a lot (high demand) and if you are getting plenty of water, calories and overall good nutrition your body will increase its supply. Try nursing every 2 hours during the waking hours at a minimum, if not even through the night. Also trying nursing every hour in the evenings (cluster feeding) from say 4-8pm or 5-9. Nurse on each side for while and then even go back to the original side. Or try this per an LC - nurse on the first side (this is dinner), nurse on the other side (this is dessert) and pump both for leftovers. LOL! Again, do this every 2 hours during the waking hours. Within 3 days your supply will increase. Best wishes!

Christy - posted on 11/20/2008

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Thank you all for your suggestions! I truly appreciate it. I probably won't try the fenugreek, b/c like Amy, I am also hypoglycemic. My baby is 4 months today, and I just seem to need more and more milk to keep him satisfied. I really appreciate all the suggestions. I will get some oatmeal, even though I hate it, and I liked the dark beer suggestion :)

[deleted account]

I also tried fenugreek and it worked too well. Every time I took it, I would get plugged ducts. I theorized I had a supply problem in the early months, but everything turned out to be fine in the long run... Anyway, when I worked with a lactation consultant, to get my supply up, I pumped right after the baby was done nursing for 2-3 days straight. I had to do this on a weekend with my husband's help. It worked, but it is a pain. I also had a dark beer every evening, which supposedly works, or maybe it was just a placebo effect of being more relaxed. Good luck!

Amy - posted on 11/20/2008

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I just wanted to say something about fenugreek...I tried fenugreek with my first and it did not help me, in fact it made me sick, and I found out later that fenugreek is used to lower blood sugar in diabetics. Being hypoglycemic that was making my blood sugar get to low, most people don't know about this and if you are like me it could pose a problem. Fenugreek also has traces of caffeine and nicotine in it and if you are trying to stay away from those then you might not want to use the fenugreek. For me personally it did not help, but I know people who it has helped a lot. The oatmeal and water is a great suggestion, the oats are high in calcium (which we all need lots of) is a great milk promoter and a nerve relaxer! Herbalists such as Susun Weed, and Aviva Jill Romm have great suggestions, too. You can just do a google search and find lots of stuff by them! Good luck!

Heather - posted on 11/20/2008

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make sure you drink plenty of water, eat oatmeal, and take fenugreek. Make sure to pump every 2 or 3 hours. How old is your baby?

Jennifer - posted on 11/20/2008

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Well, I was told that the breastpump is not as effective at emptying the breast as your baby is, so that may be why you are noticing a decease in your milk supply.

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