how do you get breastmilk to come in better

Krista - posted on 07/29/2009 ( 47 moms have responded )

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when i first started breastfeeding it took a week for my milk to get in. i was then able to pump around 4 oz. but now its like i can only pump around 2oz. my daughter isn't satisfied and i breastfeed every time she's hungry. she's 6 weeks and i've now had to put her on formula cause she isn't getting enough breastmilk. what can i do?

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Erica - posted on 08/05/2009

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I had an 8lb baby boy and he was doing great and then my milk had a claritin problem and he dropped to 6.5lbs after 2 weeks. It was shocking and horrible. The pediatrician had me bring home a scale to track his weight and give him 1oz formula supplement after each feeding. My lactation person also had me pump for ~20mins after each feeding and had me take Fenugreek 3 times a day and drink at least 64oz of water a day. She also had me eat fatty dairy foods for a few days to help boost (and to not take claritin at all while breastfeeding). When I first started pumping, i would only have .25oz to show for it after 20 mins. Each time though it seemed to slowly creep up.



After a week and a half of cutting back on the formula and using my expressed milk as the supplement, I was finally able to feed him completely with breast milk. It was a LOT of pumping and I still take fenugreek to help (he's almost 6 months old) and pump after my morning and evening feedings to keep up supply. I then use the expressed milk for mixing with rice cereal and other first foods. He was on breast milk only until 2 weeks ago and he's doing great. You can do it!!

Ellie - posted on 08/05/2009

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You can take fenugreek pills or teas. When my daughter was about 6 months old, she decided that she wanted 4-5 6 oz bottles a day AND solids, and I was having a hard time keeping up.
I spoke to my pediatrician and she gave the following suggestions.
Drink fenugreek tea - you need like 4-5 cups a day to make it really effective, although even 1 or 2 will make a difference. And if you are desperate, you can drink Guiness beer or another dark malt. There is something in the beer that makes this work like a charm - even better than the tea. And as long as you have it with food, the alcohol won't be an issue.

The last suggestion I was given was just to pump or nurse more often. It's not important how much you pump each time, it's how many times your milk comes in.

Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 08/03/2009

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I was sure my milk was coming in just fine...my son was satisfied, many wet and messy diapers, yet the pediatrician was worried he wasn't gaining enough weight. She asked me to pump for a few extra minutes after each daytime feeding, and to take a supplement called Lactaflow...it seems to be working. Lactaflow tastes awful and can be pricey, but is worth it in the end. My son is also 6 weeks old and certainly seems to be fine, happy and thriving well to me.

Michele - posted on 08/03/2009

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Feed more often it's all about supply and demand. Your body will respond. Get a good pump (I had a Medela and it was around $300 but I used it for both of my kids for 13 months each and then my sister used it along with two other friends. It serviced a total of 7 babies and it is still going 10 years later) I know this goes against what you may have been told but Don't switch breasts at every feeding. Nurse off one and pump the other at the end of your session until your milk comes in really good. Stay well hydrated!!!!! Keep it up-you will be so proud of yourself and your kids will be smarter and healthier!!!

Jodi - posted on 08/03/2009

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I had real trouble with my first son, even with all the demand feedingmy milk was never enough for him, I had help of an excellent LC and we got it going with the use of Mothers Milk tea. It typically has milk thistle, fenugreek etc. With this son I took fennel caplets or drank a couple cups of fennel tea the first few days. It helped, try to put baby to breast as often as possible and try the fennel! GOOD LUCK!

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Angela - posted on 08/03/2009

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When my son was born I was having issues with him being satified as well. What I did was I made sure I fed him every two hours like clock work. I would wake him up if needed to make sure I was stimulating my milk. At the times where he seemed to be unsatified and crying, I would give him formula to top him off. I oly allowed him to have half and ounce to one ounce. This way he got more milk but I could ensure that he would nurse when I wanted him to nurse. Eventually, I did not need to "top him off" anymore and he seemed very happy with my supply. Just make sure you are drinking enough water because that effected me big time. Also, there is a tea out there call "Mothers Milk" made byTraditional Medicinals. They sell it at natural food stores and in some grocery stores with a natural section. I tried this and it worked really well for me as well. Good Luck!

[deleted account]

I agree with the above - heaps of water - I'm guzzling 3 litres a day by drinkig 500-600mls at each feed to feed my 6 weeks old twins. We're also trying to get rid of needing formula. The other things that have worked for us are pumping after feeds and heaps of protein at every meal, including breakfast. I'm also on a drug at the moment called domperidone which is for stomach problems but the side effect is more prolactin. The hormone prolactin which produces milk decreases as you become more tired too, so try to put your feet up through the day to help milk production at night. Here in Australia you can get a fair bit of help trough the health system, I spent a whole day yesterday at a one-on-one feeding clinic, so see what resources are available such as lactation consultatants and child health nurses. Good luck!

Melanie - posted on 08/03/2009

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I am new at this, only 5 weeks, but found that pumping from one side while bf on the other, I could pump more (more than 4oz at a time) and even stocked up. Drinking lots of water helps too. Just need to know what else can I drink, as I am a little fed up with just water. Any suggestions?

Lauren - posted on 08/02/2009

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I've heard that the herb Ginko Biloboa (spelling?) can increase milk supply. Did u decide to start formula on ur own or did Dr. recommend?? Also specify why you think she's not satisfied. I've been told a lot that the most efficient way to get our milk supply to increase is to put the baby there more often/pump more often. Also, pump after nursing. I started pumping at 5wks old 2 get ready 2go back 2wrk and have milk stocked up, but mine was already sleeping thru the night so from 6wks-6mos old I would wake up around 5am (95% of time before he woke up) and pump my engorged boobs-both of them, then go back to sleep till he woke up. It's easier for me to pump full ones than after he's ate off them and his suction is much better than a pump so I know he still gets milk out and actually the hind would fill him up better, fattier so more filling than the thinner stuff that comes out 1st.

Valerie - posted on 08/02/2009

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Drink lots and lots of water!! Also, the more you nurse, the more milk comes in. If you don't keep it up, it will diminish. Don't give up!! You CAN do it!!

Jaime - posted on 08/02/2009

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beer is really good for milk production, i'm not saying go get drunk! but 1 or 2 beers will make you produce more milk. there are other foods that help too. here is a link to la leche league web sight, you can get some answers there too.



http://www.llli.org/

Jennifer (Elle) - posted on 08/02/2009

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Krista,

First - congratulations! You have a 6 week old! I know it's a whirlwind and a lot of recovery and it can be very overwhelming at times. Also - congrats on choosing to breastfeed - it can be very, very challenging but it is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself (hormonally and to shorten the duration of your recovery) and your child (the health benefits are wild!)

I'm sorry that no one told you that it takes a week or so for your milk to come in. During that first week you produce a substance called Colostrum, it's very high in fat and perfect for your baby (who only gets and needs about a tablespoon per nursing). After about a week you have "let-down" when the milk begins to flow. It can take sometimes even three months for you to really establish a milk supply and begin to feel some ease and confidence when nursing so hang in there!

Here are some things to think about;
1. Pumping is NOT a good measure of how much breast milk you produce so don't use that to evaluate if you're producing enough milk. The only effective way to evaluate your milk supply is to see how your baby is doing. Now - within a week of birth your baby should have lost 10% of her body weight. She should have gained this back - and then some - in the first few weeks. At around 6-8 weeks she'll go through a significant growth spurt. (this may be what you're experiencing now) and she' double the amount of milk she wants. It may be a week or so before your milk production increases to keep up with her demand so she may appear fussy, dissatisfied, and forever hungry during that time. As long as she isn't loosing weight there is nothing to worry about here.

2. The most influential factor in making sure that babies eat enough is how effectively they latch on to your nipple. Are you sure that she's latching well? You know she's latching on well when her mouth is wide and covering not only your nipple but a good portion of your areola. She'll start by sucking very fast and then after a few minutes she'll slow down to a more rhythmic sucking motion. She'll appear rested and soothed and she won't generally thrash and fuss or cry (unless she's got indigestion).

If her latch is correct then the absolute best thing to do is to just keep nursing and nursing until your milk supply catches up with her demand. (Being relaxed, well fed, well rested and warm compresses also all help with increasing supply). Do not put her on forumla. I know you are afraid that she's hungry but breast milk is a "supply/demand" situation - the less she sucks - the less you'll make, until you stop producing it altogether. This can be avoided!

I hope this is helpful, feel free to contact me privately if you need more help.

Good luck and hang in there!

Best,
Elle Taviv
Birth/Post Partum Doula (Lactation Counselor)
Pregnancy/Relationship Coach

ChCarra - posted on 08/02/2009

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I did a lot of reading through my pregnancy & saw that the best way to do that is to feed little & often. Pumping in between feeds or after your baby takes a short feed have also helped me. Good luck!

Morgan - posted on 08/01/2009

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always nurse and dont stop until your baby stops ....trust her she will stop when shes full . dont stress because it could lead to a decrease in milk. Good luck.

Anne - posted on 08/01/2009

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i had the same problem, then i realised that he was in fact getting enough if i latched him onevery time he cried for milk, eventually you make just enough milk for the little guzzle chops lol, i would't worry too much, your doing great :) your little girl looks so healthy x

Keara - posted on 08/01/2009

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Eat well, drink water, and nurse (or pump) often. There are also natural medications you can take to increase your milk flow if you want. They are sold over the counter at most drug stores. Just ask a pharmacist. Hope this helps.

Jennifer - posted on 08/01/2009

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It is normal for babies to eat about every 2 hours. Breastmilk digests much faster than formula does so the babies will not be satisfied as long. Also, the baby is able to get much more out than a pump will. If your baby is gaining weight than all is fine. Also, baby will experience growth spurts and eat like crazy for a few days before backing off again. Your breasts will adjust to the amount of milk the baby is eating so they will feel softer and not as full. If you are still worried, you can rent a hospital grade breast pump and pump when the baby is not eating. The double stimulation increases milk production. Good luck!

Beth - posted on 08/01/2009

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I know a lot of mommies believe in Fenugreek and I too think it works to help boost supply, but I wanted to give a word of warning. If your baby is gassy at all, it tends to make the baby even more gassy. I took the supplement for a couple of months and it took me awhile to realize that the Fenugreek was causing my daughter to have severe gas. I boosted my supply, but made her miserable! Drinking lots of water and eating healthy, balanced meals will really help with the supply. There is also truth to oatmeal boosting your supply. The only other thing I can suggest, which others have already said, is continue to put baby to breast. The more she nurses, the more you'll make. Good luck!

[deleted account]

well what i did was went to the vitamin cottage and got some herbal tablets called"fenugreek". They helped out a lot, my milk is still good and my son is 7 months old now..

Robyn - posted on 07/31/2009

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DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!!! Lots of water!!! I think the first 6-10 weeks is SO hard! Keep nursing..don't give up! Be patient..your little one will let you know.

Sheila - posted on 07/31/2009

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Take a day or so of breastfeeding holiday where all you do is rest and feed your baby when she is hungry. There are also herbal things, such as fenugreek, and mother's milk plus, etc. that might be helpful. You can go to a healthfood store and talk with them. Are you eating and drinking enough? Keep trying to breastfeed and supplement as little as possible, to keep yours and her sanity. It is supply and demand. She must demand or you must pump to increase supply. There are also medications, you can talk to a pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy or your OB/GYN doctor.

Tari - posted on 07/31/2009

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The more you nurse the more the milk will flow. You want to increase the supply then pump more often of feed your child more often. Your body will always create more.

Amanda - posted on 07/31/2009

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I am going through the same problem right now. I am returning back to work, so nursing her during the day is out of the question and I don't feel like I am pumping enough. Luckily, I had frozen the excess in the beginning so I am able to use it when I need it. I do not think I am pumping enough during the day, because I feel so uncomfortable pumping at work. I am determined to continue breastfeeding, however, so I know I will work through it. Some people have told me to take a hot shower before I pump at night or before I leave for work in the morning. I think this may help a little.

Julie - posted on 07/31/2009

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get the aromatherapy oil Dill and rub it all over your chest a few times a day until you feel like your milk has come in as much as you desire.

Heather - posted on 07/31/2009

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Stop the formula suplementing, that is the worst thing you can do for your supply!!!! Feed her at least every hour or two and wake her to eat if you must. Drink lots of water (64 oz daily), rest, eat right, and continue to take a prenatal vitamin and your milk should flourish!!!!!!! Babies are much better at emptying the breast than pumps! I have a 5 mo old and am still breastfeeding and I didn't think my milk was going to ver come in, but man did it ever!! Give it some time, relax, close your eyes, take deep breaths, and think of water flowing and that will help your let down reflex, too! Hang in there and you can do it! When you think she not getting enough just let her eat as often as she wants even if it was just 30 minutes ago. Babies process breast milk very quickly and their bodies are able to break it down much faster so they get hungry sooner and more often! Talk with a lactation consultant and make sure your latch is correct to prevent sore nipples, too! If it hurts just relatch and try again! If she falls asleep rub her head gently or her back and strip her to her diaper is she keeps dozing off! Good Luck and hope this helps!

[deleted account]

Blessed Thistle tablets (from health food shop) and LSA (ground Linseed, Almonds and Sunflower Seeds usually available in supermarket) are also meant to help. I found fenugreek came through my breast milk and baby didn't like it. I'm in exactly the same boat as you and trying anything to get my milk up. Feeding clinic have advised me to feed my baby every three hours (or more frequently on demand) without fail for a while (week or so) to increase the stimulation by baby's suckling.

Stephanie - posted on 07/30/2009

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Drinking lots of water and eating every two hours has helped me, I keep a granola bar or a bag of raw almonds in my diaper bag at all times. Don't give up!

Cassie - posted on 07/30/2009

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My milk came in the first night I stayed in the hospital because my brestfeeding consultant had me to start pumping every 3 hours immediately after my c-section, that included through the night! I was pumping around 4 and 5 oz every 3 hours which was more than enough for a newborn baby! You can try and herb thats completely safe and you can get it anywhere, its called fenugreek, its supposed to help you up your milk supply, also try pumping every 3 to 4 hours day and night, just remember it may take a week or longer to see it make a change! Good Luck

Kimberly - posted on 07/30/2009

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Definatly pay no attention to the amount you are pumping. My son is 11 weeks old and I am bf him exclusively. When I pump, I am lucky to get 2 oz. But he gets all he needs. If it seems you are constantly bf it is probably a growth spurt, my son went through one at 6 wks. It lasted about a week. He fed like crazy for a couple of days and then had a wacky sleep pattern for a couple of days. He actually going through another one now. They happen at about 3 days, 3 wks, 6 wks, and 3 mos. Each one has been easier than the last, just b/c you know what to expect. Pull back on the formula and nurse like crazy!!! You are doing the right thing! Best of luck!

Natalie - posted on 07/30/2009

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Drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals regularly... If you don't eat, your milk will not satisfy baby for very long! Now is not the time to not eat. I tried that... didn't work. Staying hydrated is very importent also! Hope this helps.

Marla - posted on 07/30/2009

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I am experiencing similar issues. My baby is 13 wks tomorrow, and so far I've made it without supplementing but I'm having trouble pumping enough for her to be away from me while I work. It's so so frustrating but I believe in it and I refuse to give up yet. I'm taking some herbal stuff and the Mother's Milk tea, but I'm still behind. Any particular tricks to get them to give up more to the pump?

Teresa - posted on 07/30/2009

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Formula will make less milk because the baby will go to the breast less. Breastfeed on demand. More milk will come in if you are breastfeed everytime she is hungry. Pump one breast while feeding on the other...then switch!

Stacy - posted on 07/30/2009

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The best way to establish a good supply is nurse when your baby is hungry, your body regulates your supply based on your babys' needs. If you supplement with formula you will not produce enough milk and the problem will be exacerbated. How do you know your baby is not satisfied? At six weeks it is still quite normal for a baby to want to nurse every couple of hours. If you do find that there really is a supply problem there are herbs that can be taken, but I have to warn you to use them carefully, they can be very mood altering! Check out this site: http://kellymom.com/ it is a great resource for all your breastfeeding questions and concerns. Good Luck!

Gloria - posted on 07/29/2009

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Fenugreek really does work. You can take it as a tea (they they boxes called Mother's milk) and in pill form. The tea tastes like black licorice (sp?) and the pill make you burp lots. But it really does work.

Bronwen - posted on 07/29/2009

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Keep nursing, and pump too, after the baby's done. It will empty your breasts and tell them to make more. Your body determines how much to make by how much and how often your baby is eating (or your pump is pumping). If you're only feeding the baby formula, you're losing your milk. I have no idea how it works, but it does. I find that the amount I pump fluctuates. Last night I wasn't getting much but I pumped anyway. This morning I woke up leaking like a hose and pumped ten ounces in fifteen minutes. I'm pumping again right now, and there's hardly anything coming, and I've been doing this for almost four months. Your body just knows, and it will make as much as baby eats. If you haven't already, see a lactation consultant. Even if you just go for one consultation, it's worth it. They can help you with anything.

Jennifer - posted on 07/29/2009

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oh i forgot... the WIC office told me to use fenugreek.... but i never did so im not for sure if it works....

Cindy - posted on 07/29/2009

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Agreed. You must let the baby try to nurse even if you think your boobs are empty. They actually will make a little bit of milk "on demand" so the baby will get a little something anyways. This is how they get signaled to make more milk faster. If it's painful use a warm wet cloth to soothe them and don't wear a tight bra.

Jennifer - posted on 07/29/2009

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if u supplement with formula u will make even less milk... but any breastmilk is better than no breastmilk... from the picture she looks very healthy... trust your gut... sometimes it helps if you pump after she is done eating...

Jeannie - posted on 07/29/2009

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The reason you were able to pump more is your body at first may make excess amount of milk but begins to regulate at a few weeks and not all women's bodies pump large amounts. I have never been able to pump more than an ounce or two unless I had a baby nursing on the other side at the same time. I also have nursed all of my 5 babies without supplements including a set of twins. I would not be able to pump much at one sitting especially 4 oz. Definitely stop the formula, it will decrease your supply. As the previous ladies have said it is all supply and demand. And newborns can nurse every hour or two and she may also be going through a growth spurt which would make it seem like she was not satisfied but is actually her changing your milk to more calories for her growing needs. totally normal.

Rhiannon - posted on 07/29/2009

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Nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, and then nurse some more. She's probably going through a growth spurt - have faith in your milk!

Minnie - posted on 07/29/2009

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The best way to ensure an adequate supply is frequent and unrestricted access to your breast for your baby. Nurse whenever baby wants it, even if you just nursed half an hour.



What you can pump is no indication of your supply.



Stop giving the formula- that's going to set you on the road to a reduction in supply.

Leigh - posted on 07/29/2009

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Drink LOTS of water and I also heard that eating oatmeal can help your milk come in more.

Nadine - posted on 07/29/2009

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Try to breast feed as often as possible - the amount that you pump isn't a good indication of how much your baby is actually getting at the breast. Your baby will get more milk and it will come in faster if the baby is actually put to breast. Also, try to avoid giving formula. she may want to feed every one or 2 hours until your milk is really established but it will get better. It does not mean that she is not getting enough - this is just how it goes... If she is gaining weight and having wet diapers then she is getting enough. Try to stick with it, it will get better!

Angel - posted on 07/29/2009

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i forgot to add that the more you nurse/pump the more it'll come in... supply and demand1 you're body will make enough for your baby! and keep it up- you're doing great if still nursing at 6 weeks!

Angel - posted on 07/29/2009

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completely normal to have more breastmilk when it first comes in... 4 oz is what i was getting as well, but it does slow down... still keep nursing though- i would just switch breasts and if still hungry go back to the first one... and feed more often if you think she's not satisfied. and talk to the to see how much she should be getting at 6 weeks old

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