Low supply? LOOK HERE FIRST!

Celeste - posted on 07/26/2012 ( 23 moms have responded )

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HOW DO I KNOW MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH BREAST MILK?
If your baby is getting enough diapers, your baby is getting plenty and your supply is fine.

Wet diapers -- A newborn should have one wet diaper the first day of life, at two days old, two wet diapers and so on until 4 days old. A baby 4 days and older should have 4-6 sopping wet diapers in 24 hours. The colour of urine is also a good indication of adequate hydration. A baby that is transferring milk well, will have light, pale urine. If it is dark (like apple juice) with a strong odor, seek the help of a professional.
Stools (bowel movements) -- If your baby is younger than 4-5 days old, she will have tar-like stools (meconium). Usually at 3 days old, the meconium starts to thin and by 5 days it should be yellow (sometimes green), watery and seedy. Babies younger than 4 weeks usually have several bowel movements in a 24 hour period.
Weight gain -- It is normal for an infant to lose weight in the first few days of life, but most babies are back to their birth weight by 2 weeks old. If your baby is 2 weeks or older and gaining weight, this is a good sign that your baby is getting enough. REMEMBER: Scales can vary and growth charts don't always include breastfed infants (they are usually based off of formula-fed infants). How your baby will gain weight can be due to genetics. As long as your baby is GAINING WEIGHT STEADILY, how ever much (or little) weight that may be, is what is important.



let's discuss what does *NOT* mean low supply
"My baby is fussy all the time! Could my supply be low?"

Crying does not mean low supply.There could be many reasons why babies cry that is not related to supply.

Taken from kellymom:
http://kellymom.com/parenting/parenting-...
"What causes babies to be fussy?

If you feel that your baby’s fussiness is not normal, it’s never a bad idea to get baby checked by the doctor to rule out any illness. A common cause of fussy, colic-like symptoms in babies is foremilk-hindmilk imbalance (also called oversupply syndrome, too much milk, etc.) and/or forceful let-down. Other causes of fussiness in babies include diaper rash, thrush, food sensitivities, nipple confusion, low milk supply, etc.

Babies normally fuss for many reasons: overtiredness, overstimulation, loneliness, discomfort, etc. Babies are often very fussy when they are going through growth spurts. Do know that it is normal for you to be “beside yourself” when your baby cries: you actually have a hormonal response that makes you feel uncomfortable when your baby cries."

Another reason why baby may be fussy is overactive letdown:
http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-w...
Does your baby do any of these things?

Gag, choke, strangle, gulp, gasp, cough while nursing as though the milk is coming too fast
Pull off the breast often while nursing
Clamp down on the nipple at let-down to slow the flow of milk
Make a clicking sound when nursing
Spit up very often and/or tend to be very gassy
Periodically refuse to nurse
Dislike comfort nursing in general
If some of this sounds familiar to you, you probably have a forceful let-down. This is often associated with too much milk (oversupply). Some mothers notice that the problems with fast letdown or oversupply don’t start until 3-6 weeks of age. Forceful let-down runs the gamut from a minor inconvenience to a major problem, depending upon how severe it is and how it affects the nursing relationship.


"My baby is nursing frequently, could my supply be low?" Or "My baby is never satisfied, could my supply be low?"

It is very normal for babies to nurse frequently. Babies need to nurse AT LEAST 8-12 times a day. You can never nurse too much, but you can nurse too little

Babies will also go through growth spurts where they will nurse often.

Taken from kellymom:
http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spu...
What is a growth spurt?

During a growth spurt, breastfed babies nurse more often than usual (sometimes as often as every hour) and often act fussier than usual.

The increase in baby’s milk intake during growth spurts is temporary. In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months. As solids are gradually introduced after six months, baby’s milk intake will gradually decrease.

Physical growth is not the only reason that babies may have a temporary need for increased nursing. Babies often exhibit the same type of behavior (increased nursing with or without increased fussiness) when they are working on developmental advances such as rolling over, crawling, walking or talking. Mom’s milk is for growing the brain as well as the body!

When do babies have growth spurts?

Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less). Babies don’t read calendars, however, so your baby may do things differently.

Growth spurts don’t stop after the first year – most moms notice growth spurts every few months during the toddler years and periodically thereafter on through the teenage years.

How long do growth spurts last?

Growth spurts usually last 2-3 days, but sometimes last a week or so.

What is the best way to handle a growth spurt?

Follow your child’s lead. Baby will automatically get more milk by nursing more frequently, and your milk supply will increase due to the increased nursing. It is not necessary (or advised) to supplement your baby with formula or expressed milk during a growth spurt. Supplementing (and/or scheduling feeds) interferes with the natural supply and demand of milk production and will prevent your body from getting the message to make more milk during the growth spurt.

Some nursing moms feel more hungry or thirsty when baby is going through a growth spurt. Listen to your body — you may need to eat or drink more during the time that baby is nursing more often.



"My breasts seem softer and empty now, could my supply be low?"

Soft breasts are working breasts. Full breasts slow down production. Read this article, it explains how milk production works.

http://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bf-prep/mi...

Also, around 3 months, supply regulates meaning your supply is right where it needs to be. It has responded to your baby's needs. This is also normal!

"I can only pump 2 oz, does this mean my supply is low?"

No, never judge supply by pump output. Please note that average pump output is 1/2 to 2 oz from BOTH breasts. Also, it is normal for pump output to decrease over time. This doesn't mean supply is decreasing.

Also, babies are much more efficient than a pump.

Finally, if your baby is getting plenty of diapers, your baby is getting enough:
Go here on more information about diapers:
http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-w...


If your baby is not getting enough diapers, here are ways to increase supply (taken from kellymom)

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-w...
OK, now on to things that can help increase your milk supply:

Make sure that baby is nursing efficiently. This is the “remove more milk” part of increasing milk production. If milk is not effectively removed from the breast, then mom’s milk supply decreases. If positioning and latch are “off” then baby is probably not transferring milk efficiently. A sleepy baby, use of nipple shields or various health or anatomical problems in baby can also interfere with baby’s ability to transfer milk. For a baby who is not nursing efficiently, trying to adequately empty milk from the breast is like trying to empty a swimming pool through a drinking straw – it can take forever. Inefficient milk transfer can lead to baby not getting enough milk or needing to nurse almost constantly to get enough milk. If baby is not transferring milk well, then it is important for mom to express milk after and/or between nursings to maintain milk supply while the breastfeeding problems are being addressed.
Nurse frequently, and for as long as your baby is actively nursing. Remember – you want to remove more milk from the breasts and do this frequently. If baby is having weight gain problems, aim to nurse at least every 1.5-2 hours during the day and at least every 3 hours at night.
Take a nursing vacation. Take baby to bed with you for 2-3 days, and do nothing but nurse (frequently!) and rest (well, you can eat too!).
Offer both sides at each feeding. Let baby finish the first side, then offer the second side.
Switch nurse. Switch sides 3 or more times during each feeding, every time that baby falls asleep, switches to “comfort” sucking, or loses interest. Use each side at least twice per feeding. Use breast compression to keep baby feeding longer. For good instructions on how to do this, see Dr. Jack Newman’s Protocol to manage breastmilk intake. This can be particularly helpful for sleepy or distractible babies.
Avoid pacifiers and bottles. All of baby’s sucking needs should be met at the breast (see above). If a temporary supplement is medically required, it can be given with a nursing supplementer or by spoon, cup or dropper (see Alternative Feeding Methods).
Give baby only breastmilk. Avoid all solids, water, and formula if baby is younger than six months, and consider decreasing solids if baby is older. If you are using more than a few ounces of formula per day, wean from the supplements gradually to “challenge” your breasts to produce more milk.
Take care of mom. Rest. Sleep when baby sleeps. Relax. Drink liquids to thirst (don’t force liquids – drinking extra water does not increase supply), and eat a reasonably well-balanced diet.
Consider pumping. Adding pumping sessions after or between nursing sessions can be very helpful – pumping is very important when baby is not nursing efficiently or frequently enough, and can speed things up in all situations. Your aim in pumping is to remove more milk from the breasts and/or to increase frequency of breast emptying. When pumping to increase milk supply, to ensure that the pump removes an optimum amount of milk from the breast, keep pumping for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk. However, adding even a short pumping session (increasing frequency but perhaps not removing milk thoroughly) is helpful.
Consider a galactagogue. A substance (herb, prescription medication, etc.) that increases milk supply is called a galactagogue. See What is a galactagogue? Do I need one? for more information.

Who to contact if you suspect low milk supply?

If you’re concerned about your milk supply, it will be very helpful to get in touch with a La Leche League Leader or a board certified lactation consultant. If your baby is not gaining weight or is losing weight, you need to keep in close contact with her doctor, since it’s possible that a medical condition can cause this. Supplementing may be medically necessary for babies who are losing weight until your milk supply increases. If supplementing is medically necessary, the best thing to supplement your baby with is your own pumped milk.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

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I could probably ace the IBCLC exam after everything I have learned through this journey, but alas I am not a breastfeeding professional. It is always best to seek out an IBCLC when you are having breastfeeding problems.
Lactuca Virosa. This is a homeopathic remedy that works really good. Way better than Mother’s Milk tea. It was the first remedy I tried and saw increase within 24 hours. This alone gave me an additional ounce each breast.
Mother’s Milk tea and pills. I took a pill or drank a glass of tea at least once a day, I think it was probably two the three times a day in the very beginning. I always taking this in conjunction with other things, so I don’t know how well it performs on its own, but I sort of viewed it as my baseline standard. As long as I was pumping or nursing, I would drink that tea.
Sprouted Fenugreek. Lots of women take fenugreek herbs, but don’t see a big increase or having trouble digesting it. I experimented with sprouting it and eating it with meals and salads and saw a big increase. I saw an increase of 1.5 ounces the very next time I pumped. Blessed Thistle, and alphalfa are other herbs to try as well.
Domperidone. Or as I affectionally call it, DomP. This is a prescription drug I highly, highly recommend. If you have tried everything, and can afford it, this is your big guns. It is not FDA approved for increasing milk supply, but let me tell you it works. I took this for several months in the beginning. I probably didn’t need to take it, but I was such a nervous wreck that Penelope would some how have an enormous spike in her intake and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. It was normal, irrational, new mother fear. You can get a prescription from an open minded Dr and get at a local, compounding pharmacy or you can buyt it online.
Good Nutrition. The better I ate, the better my supply and fattier my milk was. If your iron is low, this can effect your supply. So eating red meat, prunes, spinach and cooking with a cast iron skillet are all good ways to increase your iron stores. Also, stay hydrated, it takes liquid to make liquid.
Oatmeal. There is not any scientific evidence about oatmeal increasing milk supply, but it is an old wives tale. Some think it works because it increases iron stores. I did see an increase when I started eating oatmeal for breakfast. I would eat it with blueberries and a side of bacon. I used packaged/instant at first and then started soaking my oatmeal overnight in water and a little whey to make them easier to digest. You can also get oatmeal in some yummy lacation cookies, these cookies also have brewer’s yeast which is also known to help.
Sleep. A couple of nights, before Penelope started nursing at 5 months, my husband would do an entire night shift and I would sleep upstairs to get some rest. I figured well, I better take advantage of this whole bottle thing and get some rest. It literally happened all of three times, but boy was my milk supply better the next day! And I wasn’t pumping in the middle of the night anymore by this point, so it’s not like it was just an increase from being extra full from not pumping. With rest, your body has more energy to make more milk, period.
Pump like Crazy. That was the golden advice given to me in the first week of Penelope’s life. I still think back to the day my friend dropped off the book Making More Milk, a recipe for Lactation Cookies and handwritten note that said just that. She said the receptors for making milk in your brain are made within the first two weeks of your baby’s life. The more you pump in those early weeks, the better chance you have at protecting your supply for the long haul. Increase your pump session time. I found that for me, the standard 15 to 20 minutes of double pumping, was not enough. I started pumping 3o to 40 minutes, and later over an hour as I dropped pumps, to keep my total time pumping even. This worked for me, in part because I have larger boobs and I needed that time to fully empty and thus send the messages to my brain to make more milk.

Once last note, if I had to do it all over again, I would have pumped less. Even if it meant having to supplement with a bit of homemade formula. I look back and think about all those hours I pumped and how much life I missed out on, and how bitter it made me while I was in the middle of it. I would have been easier on myself and given myself more of a break. I would have not tried to be so damn perfect.

So if at the end of the day, if you have done everything you could, or as much as you can and or as much as you are willing, be kind to yourself. Any amount of breast milk is a gift to your child.

Diana - posted on 09/18/2013

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When I had my first daughter I was very frustrated and started to get a bit depressed because I was not producing enough milk for her. My mom went to a nutritional store and they recommended a tea from bell lifestyle products, it worked for me. I remember seeing my milk production increased, it was an amazing feeling knowing that I was being able to have more than enough milk for my daughter to eat.

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Lactation Cookies

Ingredients
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 C butter very softened
4 tbls water
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 C flour
3 C oatmeal
4 Tblsp flaxseed meal
2 Tblsp brewer's/nutritional yeast
1 cup chocolate chips, or raisins or chopped almonds, or all three!

Instructions
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.Cream sugars and butter
3.Then add eggs, vanilla, and beat well
4.Add remaining ingredients, mix well
5.Form into 2" balls then flatten each ball onto a cookie sheet
6.Bake 9-11 min or until edges are browned
7.Cool on cookie sheet


Here is a gluten-free version:

1/2 coconut oil melted

1/3 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds

1 tablespoon anise seeds

1/3 flax seeds

1 cup almonds

1 cup mix of dates and prunes

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup almond meal

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon powder

5 eggs

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or mix of both

1 cup chocolate chips


grind seeds, almonds, dates and prunes in a food processor. Mix everything else together in a bowl.

scoop out a heaping tablespoon of batter and put on cookie sheet.

bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

makes 4 dozen cookies

freezes great.

soak almonds and dehydrate before using.

soak oatmeal in acid before using.

Celeste - posted on 06/07/2013

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Shea, soft breasts are working breasts. I think I posted a link about soft versus hard breasts and why not having hard breasts doesn't mean that supply is an issue. Hard, engorged breasts actually slows milk because milk isn't being removed. And also, leaking has nothing to do with supply. Again, milk supply is supply and demand-more milk is removed, the more is made.

And if you see above, pump output is not an indicator of supply. Average output is 1/2 to 2 oz TOTAL. And some mothers don't respond well to pumps. I got maybe an ounce but I was able to nurse twins.

Check out the links I posted :)

Kristi - posted on 10/16/2012

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Thank you for this! My little boy isn't gaining what he should and I was worried my output was too low. I've been taking fenugreek and drinking like crazy (almost drinking to the point where I am sick from it) but when I pump I don't get much so this is very reassuring that you usually don't get much when pumping. I've also been worried because my breasts feel soft and not hard and full! I'm going to try the going to bed for 2-3 days with him and see how we do :) This is some of the most helpful advice I've seen/heard thus far! Thanks again!

23 Comments

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Rose - posted on 05/18/2016

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I ordered it on Amazon. I think you can also get it from their website secretsoftea.com

Rose - posted on 05/17/2016

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Hi Aricka, I have been taking healthy nursing tea that helped me producing more milk. Try it.

Aricka - posted on 05/16/2016

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Hi I'm a new mom to the circle and I have a question my daughter is 4 months old today and she has been in daycare (her grandmas house ) since she was 3 weeks old I have been sending formula and nursing her at night but my milk is really drying up anything I can do I truly want to nurse her I already feel guilty I went back to work so soon.

Rose - posted on 05/14/2016

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I used to drink healthy nursing tea that helped me a lot to increase my low breast milk supply.

Jennifer - posted on 10/04/2015

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I have been having to supplement like you are.but I have started eating fresh carrots and peppers and lots of water and that helps increase milk supply and when my baby doesn't nurse I pump. Try pumping every 45 minutes .whole oats,not the instant oatmeal.i make mine with peanut butter, hershey chocolate syrup.because. I don't care for any kinds of oatmeal. So that changes it up. When I go to get groceries I am going to look for milk tea.i hear it is good for milk supply.my milk has gone down because of a super lot of stress. And lots of stress takes milk away.and the postpartum depression doesn't help at all.

Katelin - posted on 09/27/2015

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I have tried all of the suggestions above and have been working with an LC trying to help my baby's weight gain. I have been pumping both sides after each nursing to keep my supply up and then supplementing in a bottle afterwards. My baby just seems to not want to eat or nurse. He is sweet and content- 3 months- but does not poop regularly unless getting the bottles and his weight gain has improved to 1oz per day the last several weeks. I worry he is starting to prefer the bottle now but i feel that I do not have the choice and would rather stunt our nursing relationship than stunt his growth. I am really confused. the first 2 months he would nurse for a very long time and I had to use a nipple shield because of his poor latch- we had his lip tie revised and that seemed to help him nurse and we ditched the shield. But then his nursing time decreased too dramatically. I thought maybe he was becoming more efficient but he basically just nurses ever 2-3 hours on ONE side for JUST my letdown. I thought maybe since I heard a ton of swallowing that he could be getting a few ounces from just one side. But he does not nurse long enough to truly drain my breast and when the LC weighed him before and after a couple different feedings the scale showed he only ate about 1.5 ounces on that one side. He will absolutely not take the other side or relatch on the first side once my letdown is over. Once he is done...he is done....but he will take a bottle. I even try waiting 20-30 minutes after each nursing session and offer the other side but he still is not interested. I don't know what else to do but right now I have 2 kids under 2 1/2 and every 2-3 hours I am nursing (for 4 minutes) then bottle feeding and pumping! It is not sustainable, I am miserable, but I dont know how else to get my baby enough to eat when I have tried everything to get him to keep nursing or take the other side. Has anyone experienced this?

Audrey - posted on 06/18/2014

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Hello all! I am new here to the site, however I do have four chidren ranging from 14 y.o. to my youngest being just a little bit over 1 y.o. as his birthday was May 31st.

Out of all four of my babies, he and I seemed to have a wonderful breastfeeding system working for us both and I felt at the time things were going rather well... or so I thought until when he one day he flatvout refused to try to even latch on to either side. I need help from experienced moms (no offense gentlemen :-} )Any helpful please pass along my way. He has a hard time when it comes to his tummy being able to handle anything aside breasrmilkcatvthis stage even thought he is a year old, he was born quite tiny and early, so I was warned this may be an issue for him for a little while. Should I continue to keep pumping every chance I get to keep my "udders" haha stimulated? My doctor is no help since I needed an emergergency c-section and he flat out said, sick or not, if a baby is hungry, he will learn to handle the formula. I was not too happy to hear such lack of compassion for the well being of my pre-term baby.

So please, I need help and have found no one around my area who seems to care to help at all. Thank you for your time and patience listening to my concerns. I would appreciate any ánd all helpful suggestios. -Audrey-

Celeste - posted on 09/18/2013

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Please be aware that while supplements do help with low supply, to make sure that there is a supply problem in the first place. Many many times, moms think that they have a supply problem, when their supply is actually fine. Read the thread on how to tell if baby is getting enough. If mothers take supplements unnecessarily, that can lead to oversupply which is NOT a good problem to have.

In addition, please be aware that in order to help supply, it's important to nurse on demand in addition to supplements, *IF* it's needed. More times than not, nursing more often will help better than the supplements.

Michelle - posted on 09/14/2013

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I have an extremely sensitive baby,and I tried fenugreek to help bring in my milk faster because I had a c section and a bad reaction to the anesthesia.

come to find out, fenugreek is in the peanut family... another known trigger for sensitive babies. once I stopped taking it, her excessive spit up stopped( sometimes vomiting!) and so did the rash on her face. gone!

if you have a sensitive baby. my recommendation is to take brewer's yeast. Wal-Mart sells a bottle of 250 pills for less than $5. plus, I guess it was on the dr.oz show( love him). he said to take those instead of b vitamins. the first couple days, for both me and baby, we were just passing a little more gas ( but nothing unbearable!) immediately, I had more energy and I was MUCH less cranky! also, I only take one pill twice a day. even though the bottle instructs 2 pills up to three times a day. I wanted baby to get a feel for it first before I decided to commit.

if you're opposed to any supplement, eating oatmeal helps too, but not significantly. I've heard dark beer, but I didn't want to risk anything. so I tried malta goya. it's a non alcoholic malt beverage from Mexico. it's not for everyone, so I'd advise a six pack to start. I like it, but it's definitely not like anything I've tested lol very sweet. but if you like the dark malty sweeter beers, then you will probably like this too.

I've also had a problem with uneven supply. my right breast always makes more than the left. I tried just getting her to nurse from just the left, and ended up with a mestasis on the right :(. alternating has been the best method for me so far. I also try to pump the left a couple extra minutes, even after the milk has stoped. they are about as even as it gets now lol

Shea Lynn - posted on 06/07/2013

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yes this all is very helpful. thank you. And Kristi. I just wanted to quickly say that you may not be eating enough for supply to build up for your baby. If your breasts are soft and they don't leak even while feeding your baby then yeah, I'm thinking you're not eating enough to supply. Also especially if your baby isn't gaining weight. Wait how many weeks old is your baby? I had the same problem for the first two weeks tho too. I could only pump a few ounces and now my baby is 7 weeks and i can find myself pumping a good 4 ounces on one breast while he is feeding off the other. It's crazy and i don;t even eat all that much. So when I'm done giving him my first breast, I put the milk i pumped on the opposite breast into a bottle, the tommee tippee which i recomend buying. Anyways i give him that then go back to sleep and or burp him.

Lesly - posted on 05/15/2013

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My baby,gulps all the time on my breast and she coughs often as well while nursing but she never really pulls of my breast unless she dozed off. She sometimes
clamps down on my nipple but I fix her latch and shes ok...she almost always
makes a clicking sound when nursing and some days she spits up but she never refuses my breast and she loves comfort nursing. My question is, is it still bad to have an overflow of milk or a very fast let down when my baby enjoys her feedings and doesn't seem to be effected by this?

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