Breastfeeding at 4months and a low supply?

Ashley - posted on 01/06/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

22

24

0

Ok so I have pretty much exclusively breastfed my now 4month old son. Occasionally I have had to give him a formula bottle due to not being around and not being able to pump extra to store. My Dr. said that he is fine but he is 4 months old and only 12 lbs and 24 in. I just don't feel that he is getting enough to eat. I gave him one of the few pumped bottles that I had the other day and then pumped and only got an ounce and a half. I know that he can get a lot more out then the pump can but I feel my supply is going down. I do not want to formula feed but what do I do? He is very strong and seems to be advancing fine but gets hungry pretty often. However at night he does go to sleep at 9 or so and wakes up between 1 and 2am the again 4am and 6am. So any advice would be helpful. Keeping in mind that I want to continue to breastfeed. Am I just over thinking the situation?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Sarah - posted on 01/07/2010

6

0

0

Think carefully before you give cereal. Current guidelines suggest waiting for solids until 6 months. Some people feel comfortable giving solids sooner. Some studies say that solids do not affect how much babies sleep. I'd do some reading first.

26 Comments

View replies by

Bernice - posted on 09/11/2016

124

0

1

My supply went down all in a sudden when my LO was just 8 weeks old. I tried lots of remedies and nothing came in until I started drinking healthy nursing tea.

Amber - posted on 01/28/2010

26

5

1

Is his pediatrician concerned about his size? Some babies are just small or have later growth spurts! I would just nurse as often as possible. Maybe try power pumping for a few days too. kellymom.com has good ideas and tells how to power pump effectively. Has he started solids at all? If not, I would try some rice cereal too. I used to get more pumping than I do now, but I was told that can happen at any time because babies are more efficient than pumps at emptying the breast. If he still seems hungry after nursing, you could supplement with a small formula bottle. You may feel less full now since your supply should be balanced to meet his needs, so don't let that bother you. Good luck to you!

Jessica - posted on 01/12/2010

10

57

1

I had the same problem, though it was when my son was 7 mos. old, but I pumped the whole time because he couldn't suck due to a cleft palate. I tried fenugreek, but it didn't seem to work. My doctor actually told me to drink one beer every day (for the hops, I think), and did help a bit. Of course, you'd want to ask your doc before trying this, but it's worth asking about, and maybe try fenugreek, and breastfeeding more regularly. Good luck! If nothing works, don't get down; at least you gave as much as you could!!

Dawn - posted on 01/11/2010

2

0

0

My son is 6 months and exclusively breastfed (though he does eat solids now too!) I too had a few spells with low milk supply- sometimes I think his appetite fluctuates which affects the supply. Whenever my supply went down, I found it helped to feed him more often for a few days, as well as pump whenever possible. For me it was true that increased demand= increased supply. Also, now that he eats solids, I pump sometimes and mix my milk with his cereal, which also helps the supply. Recently I got an double electric pump too, which is much more efficient than the hand pump I had been using. Hope that helps... be persistent, best wishes! =)

Ellasyn - posted on 01/10/2010

26

8

0

remember stressing too much about it can hurt your milk supply too so try to stay calm. as long as you can get the little one to eat something, the baby will be just fine so try to relax and keep on trying. but all you can do is try. its not the end of the world if it doesnt work out. the first week home for us was hell. he wouldnt latch on, my nipples hurt soo bad and my boobs were soo swollen. i started developing mastisis too. and i cried every night becuase my son was hungry and i could feed him. they say not to pump for 1 month until your milk supply is steady but after that week i broke out the pump and slowly it started coming out and i just fed him the milk in a bottle. we kept trying to breastfeed and we are doing fine now but i felt much better just knowing he got to eat and it was me.

Amy - posted on 01/10/2010

1

10

0

Wow....there are some great tips in here from you moms. I stopped breastfeeding the week of Christmas (then one month old) because she wasn't latching on correctly and my nipples were sore and I got mastitis, etc. Now that I feel better physically, I want to start again. I am exclusively pumping but trying to get my supply up has been less then FAST. So I am going to try some of your suggestions and see what happens. Thanks again everyone.

[deleted account]

First you can breastfeed and provide solids. My mother-in-law nursed 5 years with her 2nd child.

I had difficulties providing enough for my children, very active 9+ lbs babies. Yes to the eat well and drinking lots, yes to the providing as often as possible. Mine slept through the night (8 hours) early, but I still got up every 3-4 hours to pump for comfort and to keep it going. Unfortunately I still didn't have enough. Once I was "dry" and there wasn't any to spare of the pumped milk, I would provide formula if they were still hungry. At 8 months they refused to nurse, even though they were getting more from me than the formula, and went straight for the solids.

Keep trying, something may work for you, but don't stress about it. You won't do yourself any favors. Remember this is for the best of your child. If you can increase your production, nurse as long as you can. If you still have problems I would opt for supplementing with formula instead of going to solids early. Good luck!!

Ellasyn - posted on 01/09/2010

26

8

0

just drink drink drink the water. make usre you drink milk too for calcium. keep the caffeine and alcohol to a minimum, and feed or pump every 2 hours. you should be back up in a few days. my sons feedings are irratic. so my milk supply is always going up and down and i worry like crazy but it always comes back so far. make sure you keep taking vitamins too.

Michelle - posted on 01/08/2010

17

0

1

You are being perfectly normal but as long as your baby not losing weight don't worry and the more you feed the more you produce "water" works wonders trust me make sure you get your eight plus i breast fed three and they came out just fine keep up the good work!!!

Alicia - posted on 01/08/2010

8

10

0

Don't worry about being confused, all mothers feel like that at some stage...okay we feel like that alot!!! Yes it can be because he is very active and due to a fast metabolism, my son is also very active and has been ever since he was in my womb. You can also start with solids between 4 and 6 months, I starte A at 4,5 because he had such a great interest in everything I ate, and started trying to eat with me. You can continue nursing as long as you want, and milk is the main food source up untill 1 year eventhough ur baby also takes in solids. I started A on butternut once a day, just a little bit pureed mixed with the water it was cooked in so it was almost runny, I read up about it alot and found that it's better to start them of on something like butternut rather than rice porridge. You can keep him on butternut for 2-4 wks before introducing a new food. You can buy babyfood also, but I found that he enjoyed the freshly made food much more than the bottled food. While doing this, keep nursing on demand. Hope this helps!!!

Ashley - posted on 01/07/2010

22

24

0

So it could be a fast metabolism? I mean he is a VERY active baby! He is very alert almost all the time! He is always kicking squirming majorly! My family and friends can't believe how active he is for only 4 months old. He is always happy and started to push himself backwards a little bit already. But how do you feed solids(baby food) and still nurse? I thought that once you started that they didn't nurse anymore? I'm soo confused.

Alicia - posted on 01/07/2010

8

10

0

My son also gained weight very slowly and wanted to nurse alot, everytime I took him for a well baby checkup I was bombarded with questions about nursing on demand, having enough milk etc. it was only after he started eating solids at 4.5mnths (and boy can he eat) and he still picked up weight very slowly that everybody believed me when I said that it's just a fast metabolism. I only stopped breastfeeding at 19months (expressing when at work) and now at 20 months I still have a healty, smart, very active kid that is still small for his age. So don't be discouraged with slow weight gain, as long as he gains weight, and also if he has 8-10 wet nappies a day he should be fine. Breastfeeding will always be the best food for your baby, and if you eat healthy, drink lots of water and use any of the above mentioned methods to up your supply, there shouldn't be a problem!!

Connie - posted on 01/07/2010

6

22

0

a woman who had real healthy kids told me to drink drink drink. have any kind or drink with you at all times. you are deciding if the baby is getting skim milk, 2 percent or whole milk or the best cream. in the talk of like cows milk. I tried it with my second baby and wow it really did work. you will feel like all you do is drink but never be without one by your side and drink a lot. it makes the milk better and the baby will thank you for it. It might take a little while to get it going but then the baby will be happy. water,juice,milk, it don't matter what you drink as long as you keep drinking.

Amy - posted on 01/07/2010

6

13

0

I would try giving him cereal before bed and see if that helps. When I put my son to bed I nurse him and offer a formula bottle, maybe 3 oz. or so. This really fills him up and probably helps him sleep better.

Sarah - posted on 01/07/2010

6

0

0

Note that the tea is much less strong than More Milk Plus, which contains the various herbs (fenugreek, blessed thistle etc) that are recommended.

Laura - posted on 01/07/2010

14

0

0

I've seen herbal teas at the health food store that are formulated to improve a nursing moms supply of breastmilk.

Sarah - posted on 01/07/2010

6

0

0

Ashley, from what you're saying it doesn't sound like there necessarily IS a problem. If you let your baby nurse more often, and offer your boobs more often, if he's hungry, he'll eat more and stimulate your supply. Don't listen to folks who say "he shouldn't" or "don't do that." It's a symbiotic process and some babies are so chilled out that they won't fuss as much as others will and so you think they're not hungry when they might be, a bit. It is absolutely natural to feel like you don't have as much because by now your boobs are old pros at lactation and don't need to puff up so much or leak or what-not. But they WILL respond to increased demand. So DO drink up your water (not soda!! not caffeine -- at least not too much!), herbal tea, etc, and I think you'll be fine. If you look online you can find growth charts which do show a slowing after the first few months...so be calm, but also experiment a bit with offering more, drinking plenty, maybe eating some oatmeal and other supportive foods. But he sounds super-great and HARDLY in trouble. Gaining only 11 ounces in 3 weeks would be pretty normal for a 4-6 month baby: see my beloved Kelly Mom website: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/gro... .. having had an ounce a day before, you got used to a greater gain, but you're well within normal on the rate of gain now. As for his weight, he's a bit on the small side but also well within normal; http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/gro... One question would be if he seems distressed or has badly fallen off his former rate and percentile...but remember to look at the baby not the chart for your real understanding... Hope my meanderings help. DO contact La Leche League; they are sooooo helpful and reassuring and nice!!

Carina - posted on 01/07/2010

3

3

0

Hi Ashley

I am also going through the same situation as you, my Dr told me that it is quite normal to feel as you have depleted supply of milk at this stage.
Also not all women are able to express large quantities of milk so please do not take this as a sign of your milk decreasing, just mother nature! However if you want to make sure of this you would need to have your baby weighed for a month just to ensure that your son is getting enough (I did this, I found out my daughter was putting on exactly 150grams a week which is perfectly normal) She is 12and half pounds but very long.
My daughter currently wakes up at 12am, 2.30 and 5 am for feeds no matter how much formula top ups I give her. DR advised me to try and mix some baby cereal with breast milk making it a runny consistency and see if this helps with the fuller feeling. I have done this once and on that night she only woke up once at 2 am and then not again until 6.30 am. So does it work, it seemed to. However consult your Dr first in order to ensure that your bubs would be ok with one feed of cereal a day. Good Luck and keep smiling as it sounds you are doing a great job.

Ashley - posted on 01/07/2010

22

24

0

Yeah we don't have a problem with the spitting up. He maybe spits up maybe once a day. Also it's never more then like a quarter size. We always burp in between boobs(hehe). My mom says I don't need to nurse him that often but he is such a happy baby and never spits up so I contribute that to the extra burping. I tried the blessed thisle and it didn't seem to work for me. I am going to try to increase my water in take some more and see if that helps. Also I'm a stay at home mom so he really isn't on a schedule so he nurses whenever he asks. But I will keep trying to off more and more. He is really the best baby ever and never really fussy... It like I said is just the weight gain for me. He was doing soo good gaining like an ounce a day and now the last time we had gone to the dr. in 3 weeks he had only gained 11 ounces. I know that the weight is supposed to slow down. But that much? I am a first time mom so I know that I may just be stressing too much and will try to stop that as well.

Sarah - posted on 01/07/2010

6

0

0

I've had some luck with More Milk Plus (available online at amazon.com and elsewhere) for stimulating milk supply; also nutritional yeast (which I dump on salad), barley malt (a natural sweetener), and drinking huge huge quantities of water. And, yes, nurse a LOT! Trying to rest and destress is important, too. We actually still wake our son at 10-11pm after he goes down at 7 so that he nurses one more time, but he is much older -- nealry 11 months and still nursing 5x/day plus eating 3 meals a day (purees and some finger foods, plus lots and lots of cheerios; but we didn't start on solids til after 6 months). Is there a nursing clinic where you are? They can be super helpful. Also La Leche League are GODDESSES who may be able to offer some support and encouragement. Are you getting a lot of spit-up/painful gas at all? If so, you might try cutting "raw" dairy (milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, cheese unless BAKED) out of your diet and see if you get less spit-up (and thus more food kept in and digested = more weight) after 36 hours. I had an issue with that and the difference between eating dairy and not eating dairy for my son, who was somewhat reactive to the bovine protein, was significant -- when doing well, he gained 2 ounces a day, when not doing well and when I ate dairy, he gained only a quarter of that. But this probably isn't your issue since you didn't mention it. Anyway, keep your chin up and remember that even SOME breast milk is MUCH MUCH better than none, keep pushing all the fluids you can stand AND THEN SOME and don't keep him on a schedule (don't delay nursing)...keep offering the breast and trying to get him to stimulate you. And try not to worry or stress out. OK now I'm repeating myself!! Good luck.

Danielle - posted on 01/06/2010

125

4

4

Quoting MICHELLE:

i too wanted to continue breastfeeding, but she was continually hungry....it seemed as tho i just got done and she wanted to eat again!!!! i also noticed too that the feedings would take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and then she would end up falling asleep....my milk supply was not enough for her, and as much as i wanted to breastfeed, it just wasn't happening and i had to accept that. if you're worried that he's not getting enough, you should quit~ it's a Motherly instinct that you should go by.....


I'm sorry and I don't mean to be rude but this is VERY BAD advice.  There are PLENTY of ways to increase your milk supply before you should just quit.



I don't mean to be crass but how often do we tell our children not to give up and to keep trying and then you're advising this poor mama to just quit?



Again, there are plenty of options- quitting is not necessarily the best course of action.  I would try the things I suggested earlier as I know first hand that they work- I helped my cousin's wife induce lactation a month after her son was born.  Her milk was ENTIRELY gone as she never intended to breastfeed and had just spent the past month formula feeding her babe.  She changed her mind and I helped her get her milk to come back.  It CAN be done.  Furthermore, adoptive moms breastfeed their babies too without ever having been pregnant so if bringing forth milk from nothing can be done, increasing a low supply can most definitely be done :)



Oh also- a good way to find out if they're getting enough is to check the diaper output.  If your babe is getting 8-10 wet diapers a day and gaining weight then he's getting plenty ;)  The weight gain seems to be your concern so I would try increasing your supply and watch the diapers and see if he starts packing on the pounds!



Good luck!!

MICHELLE - posted on 01/06/2010

4

6

0

i too wanted to continue breastfeeding, but she was continually hungry....it seemed as tho i just got done and she wanted to eat again!!!! i also noticed too that the feedings would take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and then she would end up falling asleep....my milk supply was not enough for her, and as much as i wanted to breastfeed, it just wasn't happening and i had to accept that. if you're worried that he's not getting enough, you should quit~ it's a Motherly instinct that you should go by.....

Kristen - posted on 01/06/2010

100

42

15

I agree with feeding him as often as possible. Also make sure you drink HEAPS of water & eat well...That's what works for me!

Danielle - posted on 01/06/2010

125

4

4

Nurse, nurse, nurse! If you nurse him as often as possible, the supply may increase all on it's own due to the increased demand. Oatmeal is great for increasing supply if you really feel he's not getting enough. It doesn't have to be anything special either- granola, oatmeal cookies, instant oatmeal (though the kind you cook on the stove works better), just about anything with real oats in it :D If the oatmeal doesn't work you can try some fenugreek and/or blessed thistle- both of these can be found in healthfood stores, GNC, or even www.vitacost.com (it's much cheaper there). They also make a tea for boosting your milk supply. I wish you the best of luck!!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms