Solids and milk supply

Arianne - posted on 10/12/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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I am encountering 2 issues. I am in school so I have to pump a couple times a day. I am not getting as much milk as I used to. I know he is eating more bc he'll take 6 ounces easy from a bottle. I don't know how to keep my supply up. I feel like I pump and get nothing. I know it takes a while to get the supply up, but my breast milk supply is starting to thin out. I don't want to give him formula and he is not taking solids. We have tried solids twice. We tried avocados and breast milk then we tried avocados, bananas and breast milk. He cried and didn't take anything. I don't know what to do. I want to keep breast feeding but I feel my supply is running short of what he needs. He will be 7 months on the 22. I even started adding an extra pump before bed. How long does it take to see results?

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Shruti - posted on 10/17/2010

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hi..tyry pureeing everything to a runny consistency. i am unable to pump at work and i am away from 8am to 8pm. i can nurse my daughter (7 mos old) only between 8pm and 8am. i have an additional prob of my daughter not taking a bottle and didnt like eating solids either. but when I puree solids to a runny consistency she eats it just fine. so this is what i tried and its working so far: (though it has resulted in DD waking up more often at night to feed). this way i am able to substitute atleast 2-3 feeds a day with pureed solids. i make my own baby food, so i only make stuff thats quick and easy - lentil soup, pureed apple, pureed pear, oats (i grind them to fine powder before cooking and sometimes grind it again after cooking), pureed papaya, mashed banana. Also, since my daughter does not take a bottle, i add lots of milk to all her pureed feeds. adding milk to her pureed feeds means she gets a wholesome meal at one go. she feeds every three hours in the day.

Julianne - posted on 10/17/2010

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You are doing sooo well still breastfeeding while going to school and expressing and for 7 months! The more you offer him the bottle and other foods also the dummy the less he will take off you. You may try letting him suckle for longer, even when the breast is empty for comfort. This will still stimulate your milk supply and also at night. Also for the 1st yr of baby's life breast milk is the most important food. He will quench his thirst with it as well as use it for food so he really doest need water or juice. Always offer him the breast before solids. Don't be quick to think your milk supply is dwindling, your breasts settle down in size after a while and sometimes its easy to think your milk is running out but as long as baby is having a good number of wet nappies daily and is gaining weight regularly and is happy don't stress. See if you can get your hands on a book called, "Breastfeeding and Natural Childspacing" by Sheila Kipley it is absolutely fantastic. I was a young mother and had never had anything to do with babies before I had my own and this book educated me and gave me the complete confidence I needed to breastfeed successfully for 9yrs all up with 3 children (sounds a bit freaky) but obviously my milk didn't dry up and I had 3 premies. The last one was 2 months early so I know how hard it can be to keep your milk supply up, but it can be done! You will succeed, I know! All the best to you and your bubby!

Sally - posted on 10/16/2010

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Is he also nursing or only getting pumped milk. How much you can pump is really no indicator of your supply especially if you have limited pumping time or are stressed out while doing it. If he's still eating from you, he is much more effecient than even the best pump. Possibly nursing more often when your are home will get him enough milk.
If you want to get more with the pump there are several things that might help you make more milk. Eat oatmeal, drink mother's milk tea, stay hydrated (carry water all the time and drink more than you are thirsty).
Pumping can be hard especially if you are in a hurry or otherwise stressed. If you have time take as long as you need to get the amount of milk you want. Before you hook up the pump, think about your baby (maybe look at a picture of him or smell one of his shirts) and massage your breasts for a minute or two. That can help your let down. The most important thing you can do for your let down is to RELAX and let it happen.
Good luck

Laurie - posted on 10/16/2010

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From my experience, you need to pump/feed frequently, pump until you are completely empty and if feeding directly then pump directly afterwards to fully empty yourself. Get a double pump and gradually increase the suction levels - your breasts will be tender at first so don't over do it but you will find that over time you can increase the strength gradually and it will not bother you but will dramatically increase the flow rate/cut down on the time required to empty. Drink water until you think you are going to dissolve and eat something in between each pumping/feeding session. I found that relation helped - watching TV while pumping for example tended to produce more. Also- what Anjali said - you are not empty until it has been a few minutes after the last drop as you will have multiple let downs - it will appear to be done and then all of the sudden it will gush again for a few minutes more and you might get an extra ounce on each side. Phyiscal stimulation/massage while you are pumping will also help with let downs and getting the milk out of any blocked areas. Massage gently towards the nipple from the outside. Heating pads applied a few minutes before hand will also help dilate the milk vessels and improve flow. Supply should increase in a matter of days and if you are pumping/feeding to empty every two to three hours (not possible at school probably but try it on the weekend Friday night to Sunday night as often as you can and you will be amazed. My son was up to probably 40 ounces or more a day and I pumped all of it with double pumps. I could get 500mls in one go (15 ounces or so) pumping in the morning after an eight hour sleep and I was so full at that point it hurt. Once you get the supply up you will be able to gradually cut back to four or five times a day. I would also start increasing solids - anything pureed really smooth and runny until he gets the hang of eating off a spoon. My son and daughter both love bananas - I'd puree them in a blender and add a couple spoonfuls of cereal to thicken it up once they started gobbling it down. They would both eat a whole banana within a few weeks of introducing it at 6 months or so.

Brooke - posted on 10/13/2010

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Are you only pumping for a set amount of time? Don't pump by the clock (easier said than done when you're at school, I know). You need to be pumping until empty. You need to have multiple letdows. I usually have between 4 and 6 letdowns during a session. The number of letdowns is what stimulates milk production, not how much milk you are removing. Bring pictures of your baby and maybe some clothes they wore the day before so you can smell the baby. I have to see my daughters pictures to have multiple letdowns. Also, you need to make sure to drink PLENTY of water during the day. You need at least 64oz a day to stay hydrated. If you don't drink enough you will not make enough. If you can, you need to add an extra pumping session when you're away from the baby. Even if it's just a five minute session, that's another 1 or 2 letdowns you could have to stimulate more milk production. Honestly, I don't pump at work anymore; I hand express. For me, it's quicker and I get more milk. The pump didn't remove my milk well from my breasts at all, so I could always hand express another 1-2oz after pumping. I don't know if you already do this, but I express right after my DD's first feed of the day. I'm full from making milk all night, so I usually get between 5-7oz extra to send to daycare. Even on the weekends I express after the first feed to keep my supply up. There are herbs you can try called fenugreek. Take 3-4 pills a day 3-4 times a day until you smell like maple syrup. Then you know you're on the right dose. If it's going to work, you should see results within a week or so. Then you can wean off one pill a day until completely off. Or you can try More Milk Plus by Motherlove. I use the liquid drops. You can get this at a health food store or Fenugreek at GNC. Really though, try to add at least another pumping session during the day while away from baby to see the best results (even if it's only 5-10 minutes). Your supply is lowest at night so you may not see the best results from just that. Good Luck!

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Rebekah - posted on 10/20/2010

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it took me 2-3 days to get my supply up for my daughter and i had to pump every hr..to every 2 hrs..cuz she wasnt getting enough....mothers milk tea is good to get for helping the milk supply come in stronger also tho

Tania - posted on 10/18/2010

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keep at it girl! hard work, but well worth it!
I'm all for baby led eating, which involves little mashing/pureeing etc, this way, your baby will eat when he is ready. you do need to research good beginners foods and watch your baby vigilantly though. So, don't stress about food intake yet, your breast milk can sustain him for at least a year while he learns about food, texture, tastes etc (don't worry about what his friends are up to!)
As for breast milk - your body works! It's SO effective at milk production and getting the supply just right that you no longer feel the fullness you did in the beginning, you'll be getting a little bit of sag if you're anything like me! it's all good! the consistency of you milk will change too. When a baby is small, often they bulk up a little, and then as your milk changes into more brain food than bulk food the bub seems to thin out a little, get longer and probably start moving around more too. all babies are different, if he's not lost weight (some weight plateau's are ok if there is growth - steady or otherwise- between) mama love...
PS - pumping isn't my forte' cant' get a drop - gimme a baby and i'll fatten it up! LOL

Jesica - posted on 10/17/2010

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try just rice cereal and breastmilk. If the baby won't eat solids it might because they might not like avocado. Also you might wanna try some fenugreek or some of those assisting remedies

Sara - posted on 10/17/2010

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you may be having a problem with let down when not around your baby. a few things may help you while pumping, record your baby making noises (crying, gurgling, or laughing) and play it while pumping, another thing that helps is a picture of your baby to look at while pumping babies can actually go 8 hours without eatting they may just breastfeed more at night. good luck!

Kalila - posted on 10/17/2010

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I have exactly the same problem when I go to work, I really don't seem to get much in the bottles. As long as your bubby is still gaining weight you have nothing to worry about, my daughter just seems to eat more in the evenings. As for giving him solids, relax, take it easy and then he will feel more comfortable eating. Maybe even join him for a meal. Pear is very bland but very sweet so give that a go.

Laura - posted on 10/17/2010

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from what i understand and have seen in others, milk production goes down as a baby gets older naturally due to a decrease in demand. and don't use a bottle to gauge how much a baby drinks, you have no way of knowing how much he takes from a breast. as far as pumping goes, i know that not looking while i pump helps alot. if i watch every drop as it comes out i start to get anxious about not getting much, which hinders let down so i see less, so i get more anxious, which hinders letdown more ect ect. i normally close my eyes and think of a special memory with my daughter. she has alot of hair and it would tickle my nose when we snuggled, so i think of that. everything i can, the song i was singing, the way she smelled, the noise she made, everything i can. normally by the time my timer goes off i look down to have 4-8 ounces! hope this helps!

and keep trying different foods! smooth, chunky, veggies, grains, keep trying till you find something!

Renee - posted on 10/17/2010

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There are several things I found that helped me, try and be relaxed ( hard I know), I used to have a warm shower (not too hot or cold), drink at least 2ltrs water a day, eat foods to help boost milk supply. Look at my babies photo. Google "foods that boost breastmilk supply"if you are not eating or drinking enough you might be dehydrated. Too much caffiene can affect supply too.

I started my girl on homemade apple or pear first I used to peel, slice and stew fruit then strain and puree in blender until smooth. My girl liked it but a bit unsure about rice cereal, babies have so many taste buds around their whole mouth, Advice i got was to try the same food for a week even if only a spoonful and try a little more each day,. She also loved puree potato, broccoli, carrot and sweet potato all mixed together. And now at 20 months still likes her vegies pureed no lumps! Good luck

Diane - posted on 10/16/2010

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Go to The Leaky B@@b on facebook and try their recipe for lactation cookies, they have oatmeal and brewers yeast which both help to increase milk supply. It's a start anyway, good luck.

Keira - posted on 10/16/2010

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When i had trouble with supply with my first son, the nurse put me on maxolon tablets, which did help. I've also been told drinking fennel tea can help.

Whitney - posted on 10/16/2010

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I would say you need to drink lots of water and try eating oatmeal. This has helped me. Right when my daughter hit 6/7 months, my supply went down. I started eating oatmeal and my supply came back up within a week. I would nurse in the mornings and then pump three times a day while at work and then nurse in the evenings. Good luck and great job to be nursing this long!

Anjali - posted on 10/16/2010

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Also my daughter loves oatmeal infant cereal with breast milk. have you tried that? I mix fruits as well.

Anjali - posted on 10/16/2010

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Try Fenugreek seeds or leaves from any indian store. That seems to help. Also I read somewhere that you should keep pumping 2 min extra after the last drop.

Anna - posted on 10/16/2010

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I needed about a week to increase my supply. Because it was critical that I do, I went back to using a hospital-grade pump, plus drank lots of water. Rest helps, too, but often not practical. Pump every 3-4 hours if you can, even overnight.

Brooke - posted on 10/13/2010

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A couple of other things I thought about. Have you heard of Power Pumping? A lot of women swear by it. You'll want to do it several days in a row maybe right before bed. You pump for 20 minutes. Stop for 10. Pump for 10. Stop for 10. Pump for 10. That is supposed to simulate a baby's growth spurt. You could also try adding a pumping session for a week or so from 1am-5am. That is when your prolactin levels are the highest and you make the most milk. I did that for about a week several months ago and did see an increase in my overall supply.

Jennifer - posted on 10/13/2010

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I think it's about 3 days of extra pumping to get the supply up. At least that's what I've read the trend is with growth spurts. In the beginning when I was trying to get my supply up I pumped after a feed and before my bed time. I also noticed that as the months went on my breasts didn't feel as full in between feeds. I read that it's because you're body is making it more on demand and less in advance. Pumping never worked very well for me (other than to increase milk production), it was like 20 minutes on both breasts to get maybe 2oz. My son was far better at getting the milk out although not helpful for your school schedule.

Is your son wanting for more food after a feed? Is he still gaining weight?

Avocados and banana (although super tasty) might be too chunky for his liking. Maybe a thinner puree. I made my own baby food but he didn't like peas and a few others until I started really straining them well. Then within a month or two I stopped having to do that and now he's a great eater. Good luck and hang in there.

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