Just not a good milk producer?

Tiffany - posted on 06/24/2012 ( 35 moms have responded )

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My baby is now four weeks old, and I just barely recovered from having the flu. I've been struggling to breastfeed the entire time and because of the recent dehydration it seems my milk has gone down drastically but I haven't been able to produce much in the first place. At most I was able to pump an ounce from each breast but now it is barely an ounce combined. I know he gets a little bit more when he nurses but I'm not sure how to increase my breast milk. He has no problems latching, we nurse each breast for at least 15 minutes if not more, I never go more than four hours without nursing and I pump in between as much as possible, and I drink tons of water and have tried mothers milk tea, and massaging and warm packs and everything google told me too (haha) but still have to supplement formula at least every other day if not every day I obviously haven't been able to make a freezer storage. Need help I just can't seem to produce! What else can I do? I really really do not want to use formula.

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Celeste - posted on 06/24/2012

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OK, please answer these questions:
How are you determining that you aren't producing enough?
How are his diapers?
Are you nursing on demand or on a schedule?
Do you let him come off on his own or do you time his feds?

Also, pump output is not an indicator of supply. Average output is 1/2 to 2 oz combined. So, it doesn't sound like there's an issue there.
Generally, the more you nurse the more you will make-supply works on supply and demand.. I'd stop the formula. Supplementing with formula can impact supply because you're taking away that demand.

Celeste - posted on 06/24/2012

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OK, if baby's diapers are good, your supply is fine. That is how you can tell if baby is getting enough. It's totally normal for babies to be hungry all the time. It's important to nurse instead of giving bottles, even if he's still hungry. He's trying to increase your supply. It doesn't sound like you have a supply problem but giving too many bottles can cause one down the line.

As far as weight gain, what's his weight history? Starting with the *LOWEST* weight (as it's normal for babies to lose weight)

Dove - posted on 06/25/2012

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He's doing great. If he still wants to nurse after being on both breasts.... put him back on the first one. Gaining two pounds in a month is good. :)

Kellie - posted on 07/12/2012

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It most certainly isn't a myth, I had low supply with my 7 week old in the beginning. And yes it was definitely a low supply issue as she is a textbook picture perfect born to breast feed baby. She kept losing weight (she ended up losing 15% of her birthweight), by day 13 if she hadn't put any on they were going to send her to hospital.

I had to top up with formula to get her to start putting weight on after every feed, once she started gaining I stopped the day feeds and went to topping up once at the end of the night then once overnight. When I saw she was still gaining I stopped the night top ups, we have now been exclusively breast feeding since Monday :)

I took Domperidone, drank nursing tea, made lactation cookies, gave her boob if she even so much as glanced at them lol and we made it.

Sounds like you are doing fine :) eat oats too, they help :)

Casey - posted on 07/10/2012

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I nursed my daughter for 9 months. When she was 1 week old I stated pumping after her first morning feed around 8am usually) as you tend to hav more milk in the morning (bc of hormone levels I think). At first I only got maybe 1/2 oz to an oz combined, but I just kept at it. When she was 2 weeks old I introduced a bottle once every other day, and pumped while my hubby gave her the bottle to replace the feeding. My daughter nursed about 45 min- 1 hr every hour and a half in the beginning, stretching to 2 hrs, then 2 1/2 hrs by 9 months. It sure seemed like she was always hungry! For th first month or two sometimes she would finish nursing and 10 minutes later want to nurse again. I just let her nurse anytime for as long as she wanted, switching sides every 15 minutes.

I found it difficult in the beginning too. It really does get easier! As long as he's filling his diapers I would just let him nurse as much as he wants and not supplement with formula or pumped milk (except maybe to replace a feed so he will be used to bottles- but pump so your body doesn't miss the feeding. Also, make sure when you pump, your pumping both sides at the same time. It helps stimulate more milk. I also always squeezed my breast while i pumped to make sure i got as much milk out as i could. I went back to work when my daughter was 3 mo and was panicked bc she was drinking more than I was pumping. But my body got used to pumping/ I gradually made more milk and pretty soon I was pumping far more milk than she was drinking. So rally, it gets better!

Sorry that was so long...

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Tiffany - posted on 08/01/2012

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Oh yeah he is doing much better and I now have a backup supply in the freezer just in case I want to go see a movie or something :) . I found that if I pump one side while he is feeding on the other I get more milk out, and it keeps up the stimulation. It is helping dramatically although he has been sleeping less lately and he has also not wanted to eat as much I panicked until I realized he is just finally getting enough from one breast. If he doesn't quite get enough I use the bottle of freshly expressed milk I just took while he was eating the other side. My doc appt got moved, let you know next Wed. :)

Kris - posted on 07/29/2012

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I had a very hard time getting my supply up for my twins for a variety of reasons--it is NOT a myth that some women have a harder time getting the supply up at all! It is also TOTALLY doable, although it can be hard.

I don't have time to read through all the details previously listed so I apologize if I have any repeats. Short list, though:


Use a hospital grade pump. It makes a BIG difference! Pump after each feed if you can, PITA though it may be. Skip one at night so you can get that block of sleep.

Drink lots of water.

Sleep! (This was hard for me because of pain and, well, two of them, but if you can get at least one 3 or 4 hour block it ups your supply a lot!)

Supplements and diet--oatmeal in any form and brewer's yeast were my two big ones (I had a dark beer a few times a week and took the yeast pills). I also had some of that mother's milk tea--I can't remember the names of all the herbs in it, but it's very easy to find online.

Finally, call your lactation consultant (there should be at least one on staff at your hospital). She will know a lot more than I do! They are usually quite helpful, and questions about supply are very common. I lucked out; my stepmom is a lactation consultant and stayed with us for the first month, helping with all those things I listed. Sleep was the biggest thing with her--and she was right. The more rest I had, the better the supply.

Hang in there! Sounds like you're doing fine, actually. It took me several weeks to get my supply up, slowly shifting the balance from mostly formula to mostly (and eventually all) breast milk. Get your support, keep trying, and most of all know how much good you're doing getting even a little breast milk in there! Go, rock star mama, go!

Lori - posted on 07/29/2012

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Amal - it sounds like you're doing better. Being a new mom can be so frustrating. i remember when my first was 6 weeks old and I was just at my wits end because of her crying and not sleeping well, and even though she breastfed well during the first part of the day, by evening time she would just scream and scream. She wouldn't nurse wouldn't sleep, wouldn't play. Technically she was colicky. But as many new moms I wondered if it wasn't because there was something wrong with my milk. I had a friend remind me that not all crying is related to food. I know it sounds kind of silly now, but when you're in the midst of the baby crying and being sleep deprived you don't always see the whole picture. Fast forward to her at 3 months old. Most of the colicky crying was done, but then I felt that she was constantly hungry, my breasts didn't feel full anymore, and almost no one I knew had breastfed past 3 months. The only thing that got me to keep breastfeeding was that the local hospitals Lactation Consultant happened to make a follow up call to me. She assured me that it was my body adjusting to making milk and not being swollen anymore, and a typical time for a growth spurt. And she invited me to her monthly meeting. I started going to her meetings once a month, and just being with other moms who breastfeed, and hearing of their struggles and getting to ask my questions that I wouldn't have called a dr. about made things so much easier. I not only made it to my goal of breastfeeding for 1 year, but I ended up breastfeeding my daughter for 23 months. My 2nd daughter is currently 20 months, and I still breastfeed her.

It's hard to remember when you're in the midst of it all, but sometimes all you can do is take it day by day. Get through one day, then get through the next. Keep working on it with your daughter, and you'll see progress soon.

Celeste - posted on 07/29/2012

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Lori is awesome :) Ditto everything she said..

Though, I do want to point out this:
"nd I try to feed her every two hours even before she cries but less thn two hours wont work cause there wouldnt be much milk so she'd start fussing again "

Think of breasts like factories, not storage facilities. Milk is made as baby is nursing. There's no waiting to "fill up" or anything like that.

Keep working with her!

Amal El - posted on 07/29/2012

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thx a lot Lori :) .. a couple of days ago I was so frustrated with her crying every time I try to feed her and everybody is telling me she"s hungry! and I almost gave up and decided to completely switch to formula ... Now I'm working on it again ... I'm trying to feed her after she sleeps when I feel she"s gonna wake up soon so she's a bit sleepy and not so fussy and I try to feed her every two hours even before she cries but less thn two hours wont work cause there wouldnt be much milk so she'd start fussing again ... sometimes all of this works and she nurses and sometimes she'd just cry out loud and won't settle down unless given a bottle... first i gave her bottles all the time .. now I'm down to 2 bottles a day .. and trying to get rid of those too, when she refuses to feed I try to pump for 10 mins even if nothing comes out ...
her diapers are ok .. but she can't fall asleep without her pacifier .. she'd throw it out later on ..
I'm also drinking boiled fenugreek seeds three times a day ... and tons and tons of water I go to the toilet like every half an hour .. and ...let's just wait and see! I hope I get my supply back!

Lori - posted on 07/28/2012

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Ama - you may want to try to get your milk flowing either with hand expression or with a pump before latching her on. That way she gets milk as soon as she latches on.

The best way to stimulate milk production is by nursing your baby more, 2nd best is by using the pump frequently. Every time you give her formula it's signaling your body that your baby doesn't need that amount of breast milk. If you supplement with either pumped breast milk or formula, and you want to keep your supply up, you HAVE to pump to make up for the lost feed.

Take a few days, or a week to spend purely focusing on breastfeeding your daughter. Spend as much time skin to skin as possible. You without a shirt, her in just a diaper. Cuddle like that, let her latch on whenever she wants/ or is willing to. Don't offer a pacifier. And only offer the bottle after she has nursed. Since you are supplementing already, you don't want to cut the supplements cold turkey. Try cutting down on the formula by 1/2 to 1 oz. for a day or two, if she's still getting enough wet diapers (5 or 6 wets) then cut down another 1 oz. Continue this process until you wean off the formula.

Amal El - posted on 07/27/2012

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hello everybody your posts are really helpful ... I have the same problem and I'm making every thing mentioned here yet if my baby cries whenever she"s on the breast ... she'd nurse for a few minutes and start crying and fussing! so how can i increase stimulation if tht happens! how can i get her to feed when shed only feed when my breasts are engorged and full of milk, now tht she's 4 months old tht stopped happening and she's very fussy all the time tht i had to supplement with formula as she wasnt gainng weight as well ...!! wt can i do to get her to nurse and stimulate milk production again! my milk is rly rly low now :(

Lori - posted on 07/25/2012

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How'd your appointment go?

I found after the first few weeks with each of my 2 daughters that most feedings they were fine with just nursing one side. We'd nurse one side at one feed, then the other side at the next feed. Only during growth spurts or other high nursing days did my babies nurse both sides at one feed. If baby doesn't want to latch on to the other side, it's perfectly fine to just let your baby nurse from one.

Tresca - posted on 07/24/2012

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oh, and do not time feedings. supply and demand means they determine when they're done. if you're timing it, you're not going to make enough

Tresca - posted on 07/24/2012

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drink tons of water until you don't feel dehydrated, rest as much as at all possible (you will make more milk when you're asleep than when you're awake). I take a combo of fenugreek, mother's milk tea, and a fabulous supplement called Gaia Herbs Lactate Support I found on Amazon. Milk flooded in. Power pumping is great too. Pump 20 min, 10 min break, pump 10 min, 10 min break, and pump 10 more. Takes an hour but really helps. If I'm really exhausted and milk is low, I nap laying next to her propped on a pillow so she can nurse while I rest.

Tiffany - posted on 07/20/2012

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he is actually off formula hasn't had it since I posted my milk is doing much better he doesnt seem as hungry as he used to be so i wonder if he gets enough from just the one side now. We see the doctor next tuesday so moment of truth there. He only stays on for maybe 20 min per side but i have over active let down and he nurses every 3-4 hours if not less.

Roxana - posted on 07/19/2012

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I pumped and gave it to my DD at the very beginning. my maternal nurse was already advising me to think of suplementing with formula because my DD lost too much weight in the first few days. she was latching correctly but it didnt look like I had much milk at all.I would have her finish a feed , wait about 15-30 min and than try to pump. it was exhausting!!! luckily I didnt do it for too long. My supply increased fast and my DD was putting on more than enough . I was a SAHM too so i was happy to let her nurse as long as she wanted as often as she needed and she was nursing for about an hour every 1 and a half hours for the first couple of months. just before she turned 1 year old i went to work , casual , and a i had a 4 hour shift. when id come home she was pretty desperate for her milk even though she was full on solids and she liked soy milk so she would have some of that while i was missing. she never had any formula after all.A... and yes, make sure you eat enough and drink lots of water. i was so weak after giving birth and just didnt feel like eating...is when I started eating properly I noticed my supply increasing .

Melissa - posted on 07/19/2012

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Is your baby gaining weight? How much milk you can pump doesn't correlate to how much the baby gets at the breast. Can you get the baby to nurse every couple of hours for a few days? That should help increase your supply. If you are a smoker that can decrease your milk supply. Is the baby peeing and pooping? Some babies only gain 1/2 oz a day.

Cáit - posted on 07/19/2012

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Tiffany you do not need to supplement with formula or pumped breast milk. Breastfed babies gain roughly an ounce a day or between 4 to eight ounces a week. This is not exact as sometimes they will gain none for 2 days or so and the gain 3 in one day, it varies from day but an ounce a day is a rough guide for when you have a weigh in. If your baby is 4 weeks he should have gained roughly 28 ounces. 7.3 to 9 is 29 ounces. Your doctor is misinformed and you have plenty of milk

Terra - posted on 07/12/2012

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Elizabeth it's not a myth it's just very, very rare (much more rare then society would like us to believe). I have a dear friend that has insufficient glandular tissue in her breasts (diagnosed by a doctor and lactation consultant) so no matter how much she tries or how many supplements she takes she just has to supplement. She still breastfeeds as much as she can though she just doesn't make enough milk to fully breastfeed either of her children. We have to be careful telling women that it is a myth that women can't produce enough milk but instead should let them know that unless there is an underlying medical issue the chances of it happening are incredibly slim. It is much likely that a mother had a huge lack of support or was given bad advice from someone that was not properly educated in breastfeeding. Not all doctors, nurses, or even lactation consultants have had the proper education which is why it's so important to make sure you are seeing a certified lactation consultant so you know that they have been through several years of actual breastfeeding education and know what they are talking about.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/12/2012

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Keep nursing and drink lots of water. It is a myth that some women don't produce enough. Your body WILL produce all that your child needs. Just keep very hydrated and nurse nurse nurse! Soon you will be making more than you can freeze!

Terra - posted on 07/09/2012

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You've gotten some really great advice! I don't have a lot more to offer but wanted to give you a few websites to look at that have tons of great, accurate, breastfeeding information and advice. Also, "The womenly art of breastfeeding" is an amazing resource for breastfeeding mothers.

www.kellymom.com and www.askdrsears.com

I highly suggest going to those sites and reading as much as you can about breastfeeding. You will feel so much more confident when you know more about how breastfeeding works. Keep up the good work mama!

Kristie - posted on 07/08/2012

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I never produced much with my 3 and each child is 2 years apart. I was told to drink a bit more than I normally do. I ended up switching to formula after 3 months. I even pumped when they slept and got maybe an ounce.

Susan - posted on 07/07/2012

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I alternate between pumping and breastfeeding and find that I don't always pump alot and then sometimes pump quite a bit. I always am wondering when bf if my daughter is getting enough!

Emma - posted on 06/26/2012

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Had the same problem. I drank more whole milk. Mainly because of the fat content. Ate some nuts too, because they are high in fat, but the "good" kind of fat.

Angela - posted on 06/26/2012

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Concentrate on you right now. Get rehydrated eat plenty of food.

Pump every 2 to 3 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Every 4 hours overnight. Don't skip any pumpings.

After you are back on your feet, try something herbal to increase milk production. A good one to try is Breastea from http://www.breastea.com

Tiffany - posted on 06/26/2012

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Ok, just overly worried I guess. I haven't used any kind of bottle since posting this and he seems to be getting more satiated. :) Thanks

Lori - posted on 06/25/2012

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It really does sound like you're doing great. I'd cut out the formula completely though. It doesn't sound like he needs it at all. If you want to pump milk and feed him from a bottle on occasion that's perfectly fine, but you don't HAVE to do it. Just let your baby nurse as often as he wants. If he's showing hunger cues, put him to the breast. When he's done, let him be done. If he wants to nurse again 30 minutes later, let him... rather than trying to top him off with a bottle after you've just nursed him.

Celeste - posted on 06/25/2012

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Oh yeah, you're doing MUCH better than you think are. His weight gain is fantastic. Don't look at baby's behavior or pump output to judge supply. Look at diapers. As long as he's getting plenty of diapers, your supply is fine.

Janice - posted on 06/24/2012

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Breastfeed as much as possible and make sure to let your son empty your breast. If your son keeps suckling on an empty breast it will signal your body to make more. I dont get much when I pump either, it's normal so dont worry much about that.

Tiffany - posted on 06/24/2012

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Yeah I'm just worried. With my daughter she was born premature and was in the nicu for over a week on oxygen so the nurses let her have those tiny bottles and by the time I actually got to nurse she would not latch and I dried up within a week after she came home. This is my second child but I've never breastfed so I'm new at this. I guess I just have higher expectations how this is supposed to work. His weight is just over 9lbs, and he started at 7lbs3oz when we left the hospital. So I guess I should just be worried less and keep it up?

Tiffany - posted on 06/24/2012

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He always is still hungry after feeding and I use extra breast milk as much as possible. He can eat at least an ounce after feeding from both breasts most of the time. He eats on demand and he comes off on his own. I only use formula when I'm out of milk from the freezer, which isn't often I usually take the little bits I pump in between feedings and combine them, plus he only gets it after he has nursed the full time. His diapers are good so my pediatrician isn't worried about dehydration or anything he just isn't gaining weight how he is supposed to, he is gaining a little, but not much.

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