nursing with hypoplasia

Amanda - posted on 01/27/2011 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I had trouble nursing both my first and second sons. I wasn't producing enough milk and had to supplement with both. With my first, I got maybe half an ounce, with my second, I hardly ever got more than an ounce. A lactation consultant has now suggested that I may have hypoplasia. She said that makes it harder to nurse, but not impossible. Have any of you experienced this? What have your results been? I really want to be able to nurse this one, but I don't want to stress about it like I did with the other two (and let's face it, if it is really hard to do, I'm more than likely going to give up, since I'll also be chasing after a 3 year old and 1 year old...).

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Nicole - posted on 02/01/2011

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First, I want to say to please post this question in the Breastfeeding Moms (http://www.circleofmoms.com/breastfeedin...) group, too! You will probably find women there who have had your same issue or have breastfed following reductions (the results and problems are usually similar) and many more who are a wealth of knowledge with breastfeeding. You will also find great support there, too.



Okay, about hypoplasia... I don't know if that's what you have since you are not my client and I haven't been able to view and investigate your breasts. Hypoplasia can not be diagnosed without a full breast exam since hypoplastic breasts are the result of little to no milk producing breast tissue. This does not mean small or flat breasts (those can still produce lots of milk) and it can not be determined by the inability to pump large or efficient amounts of milk. Pumps are never a good indication of milk supply. And neither is how often a baby eats or how little your breasts feel full. Anyway...



With that being said, if you have true hypoplasia (insufficient glandular tissue), you will have a good chance to struggle with breastfeeding. Some women can never breastfeed (this is that 1-2% of the female population us lactivists refer to), some are able to breastfeed, but have to supplement and then others may (depending on the severity of the hypoplasia and whether it is just one breast) are able to successfully breastfeed with some work. If you have hypoplastic breasts and truly want to breastfeed, but find that you have to supplement, then I recommend using a supplemental nursing system, this will give you and the baby the bonding from breastfeeding while getting some breast milk, but the baby is still getting the nutrition he/she needs from the supplement. This may help you to build and create a supply that will eventually suit your baby's needs and then you can breastfeed exclusively. Ask the LC about getting a SNS (supplemental nursing system) and go from there. Once you turn 37 weeks, start breast massages and continue throughout your nursing experience. This can help with supply, too. Start the supplements and herbs as soon as you can to get started and nurse very often in the first few weeks.



I hope, should you have true hypoplasia, that it is not severe and that you will have success with breastfeeding, but I am hopeful since you had previous success with pumping. Albeit, small. That is actually a GREAT SIGN! Message me personally if you have any other questions.

Heather - posted on 01/30/2011

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It sounds like your LC may be right. But DON"T GIVE UP!!! This can usually be rectified. There are several natural things that you can do, as well as medications that can be prescribed. So, starting from the basics: 3 drivers for a good milk supply are, Endocrine (hormones), Anatomy of the breast & Autocrine (milk removal). : Offer the breast all of the time, exclusively. No pacifiers or bottles. Your breast need all the stimulation they can get. Keep your baby skin to skin as much as possible, this has a physiological effect on you, your baby & your milk supply. Relax. Emotions can effect your supply. Once you are doing all of those things then you can move on to other ways to boost your supply. Try boosting your prolactin levels in a natural way. You can use Fenugreek, Goats Rue, Blessed Thistle, Fennel, Raspberry leaf, Oats, alfalfa, Shatavari & more. Then there are medications that you can take, but there are some risks to be considered when taking these medications. There are a lot of details I can give you, but I would be typing 3 pages. If you would like, give me your email address & I can scan some pages to you. If you don't want to give that info out here, you can contact me through my site www.yourbayareadoula.com I would love to provide you with more information that you can consider & ask your doctor about.

Jessie - posted on 01/27/2011

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I don't have experience with this but I do suggest you post this on the breastfeeding moms forum, I always found them helpful. And just so you are aware, the milk you pump from your breasts is not an indicator of supply. If you have to pump to leave your baby with someone it could be a problem but more often then not baby gets plenty of milk nursing from the breast

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Stephanie - posted on 02/06/2013

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As long as your baby is fed, that is what matters. I understand peoples' passion about breastfeeding but if your body isn't equipped to do it, no amount of water, pumping, herbs.. or even praying will help you produce more. I know because I'm on pregnancy number 4 and I've tried EVERYTHING with the past 3 and NOTHING worked. My body just wasn't equipped with the right plumbing to be able to breastfeed successfully. It's something that is VERY HARD to accept, especially with sisters-in-law who produce like cattle and have freezers full of breast milk.. but it really is just important that your baby is taken care of, regardless of how you feed him or her. You're a good mom. And so am I. Even if we can't breastfeed.

Janice - posted on 02/04/2011

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Pumping is a terrible indicator of supply. My daughter breastfed with no issues yet I could barely pump anything after the initial engorgement subsided. Anyway if you really do have supply issues there are many things you can try to up your supply. Some really simple ones are eating oatmeal and drinking lots of water. I'm sure you can get even more advice on th breastfeeding forum. Good luck!

Ruth - posted on 02/02/2011

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I have found the following very successful in increasing your supply & maintaining the maximum milk you can produce.
4 hourly pumping with a double electric pump (e.g. Medela Swing); Motilium ii 3 times a day;
Breast compressions while feeding;
Adequate diet & sleep for mother (very hard with toddlers!);
fenugreek tablets; Skin to skin contact with baby:
Supply Line SNS..
The most important of these is pumping no more than 4 hours apart usually for a few days. The pumping is done for 10 minutes each side (double tubing halves the time) whether milk is being express or not. You are telling you brain it needs to produce more prolactin to produce more milk. Demand & supply.
N.B. pumping must be done after a feed, within one hour of the start of the feed, otherwise you are taking milk from the next feed.
This milk can be then given via a supply line while baby is still sucking at the breast.
Hope this helps

Sue - posted on 02/02/2011

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Well I could not feed properly(not enough) and as I did not want her starving I gave up trying and also gave up the guilty feeling.

Jonellyn - posted on 02/02/2011

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hi there, I did not experience that but I can tell you of two things that helped me produce milk, I did not produce any milk till 5 days after giving birth and even then it was a small amount BUT then i took these NATURAL teas and WOW I nursed till she was 18 months, the first one is FENNEL TEA, it doesnt taste bad and its also healthy for your stomach, the second was Mothers Milk ta from WHole Foods, though I think it was the fennel that made the difference 3 cups a day and it helped me ALO! I hope that helps you

Ellen - posted on 02/02/2011

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I don't know what you call it but I NEVER got my milk in like normal [day 3 or 4]. I tried with all 4 of my babies but the first 2 it was a failure. The firs babe I ended up having my Gallbladder out by the time he was 4 weeks old. I was Very ill before that so at day 9-10 I had put him on the bottle. Baby 2 had surgical issues and I could not feed him. 4 years later I had a little girl 9lb 9oz Breach. I was DETERMINED to b/feed. I would feed her 10 mins one side then on the other side I'd just let her suckle as long as she wanted. I was her human dummy.
I would go to 'clinic' after feeds so they couldn't do a test feed. Her weight was gradual but constant. about 300 gms a week. [1/2 lb] She was about 5 weeks old before she would go 4 hours between feeds and was 5-6 months before she slept through the night.
I took her off the breast and without realizing ovulated twice in that month and was pregnant again.
All through that preg I had small amount of 'whatever there'. I still didn't get my milk in in any rush BUT by the time the new baby was 3-4 weeks old I had a good supply of milk.
One little 'trick' I would 'Rob_the_bank'. I believe a baby can get a LOT more milk out than any hand or pump. So when she would latch on and my 'let-down; reflex had cut in, I'd have somebody take the baby, then I'd express all I could from that side. Sounds mean but supply will meat demand. It DOES build your milk supply up.
Give it your best and
Good luck.

Tillie - posted on 02/01/2011

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I successfully breastfed my son for 13 months but I could never express much more than an ounce. The breast pump didn't trigger my let down reflex. There is plenty of resources out there about breastfeeding don't stress too much that would effect your success I personally have only heard of hypoplasia as a condition affecting childrens teeth good luck. breast feeding takes commitment

Amanda - posted on 02/01/2011

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I was told (by a lac consultant) that pumping too early after birth can actually reduce your supply! The breast recognizes the pump as an artificial latch and it doesnt let down as much as if the baby were eating directly from your breast. Good luck!

Cary - posted on 02/01/2011

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i don't have experience with hypolasia, but i have experience with nursing three babies. 1st and 2nd borns were tough. I last 6 weeks on the first, and 4 months on the second. Magic number 3 I nursed for 13 months and enjoyed every minute of it. I researched ALOT more..pumped more...was almost obsessed with getting enough milk in the freezer to withstand any length time away from me. it was like liquid gold :) I drank mother's milk tea, ate lots of oatmeal, and drank a bunch of water. Plus, while i was working, i pumped for twenty mins twice a day and drove to her daycare during lunch to feed her..so i had her in a schedule since day 1.. basically i nursed her before i went to work, pumped mid morning, nursed her on my lunch, and pumped mid afternoon and nursed as soon as i got home. A chore? You betcha! but well worth it! read up, join threads, follow the wives tales (some acutally work) and enjoy! good luck to you!!!

Chelsey - posted on 02/01/2011

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I am a firm believer in fenugreek. But I don't like to swallow pills, I always forget. I went down to and east indian super market and got the fenugreek seeds ( you might be able to find these in a regular store too) soak a teaspoon full, or more, in water overnight or during the day, and then eat them.
Also make sure you are drinking LOTS of water. I find I need at least 8 - 8oz glasses a day but 10 -12 is better. If I don't drink my water and take the Fenugreek, my milk supply drops for the next 2 days.
Oh and I don't get anything with the pump either, but I can hear him getting milk when he is swallowing.
Good luck with everything!

Amanda - posted on 02/01/2011

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Thanks for all of the suggestions! With both my sons, though, I did take Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, and Reglan (prescription), but none of them really helped. Everyone told me my milk should double with Reglan, but it didn't. I'm going to try again this time, just like I did last time. What's the worst that will happen? I have to use formula instead?
They did weigh both my sons before and after feeding - the last weight check that way with my second son showed he only gained something like a tenth of an ounce, though. I'm hoping & praying things go better this time!

Nancy - posted on 02/01/2011

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Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle were AMAZING!!! Kaiser actually recommended it when my son was in the NICU for 6 weeks and being away from him caused me to produce less milk. It doubled in the first 12 hours! Then doubled again in the next 24! I'm a huge advocate of herbal remedies and this one worked like a charm!

Teresa - posted on 02/01/2011

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Some women cannot nurse and that is how it is. I struggled with each of my 5 to breastfeed and made it as long as 6 months one time and to me that was success. Yes I would have preferred a year or more but with not producing enough milk, I felt 6 months was greatI tried it all, fenugreek, domperidone, pumping, nursing constantly..nothing helped. My best advice is to give your babe what you can from the breast and supplement the rest. Do not stress over it. It doesnt help.

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Amanda, breast feeding, though lovely and convenient does not make you a great mom...taking care of your baby's needs does...whatever works for you and the baby is right...don't feel pressured...just pray and do what you think is right for this baby....

Lee Anne - posted on 02/01/2011

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Hi Amanda...I experienced this with both of my girls. My breasts are two different sizes and could never produce a full supply no matter what I tried. I was on Domperidone, fenugreek, blessed thistle, pumped to increase supply etc. I have since learned that I have Low Progesterone which caused my breasts to improperly develop during puberty which means that they have insufficient glandular tissue. I ended up supplementing by tube at the breast w/ additional formula for the first for 11 months then went on to nurse for comfort for many years after that. For my now two year old, I supplemented at the breast by tube with donated breast milk for 1 year. We are still comfort nursing. That is the reward for me as I am then able to nurse without any supplies, just the way it's supposed to be! It's worth hanging in there just for that!

Kris - posted on 02/01/2011

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#1 it's possible that you just need a second (or 3rd) person to come distract and entertain your other kids so that you can have full letdown of your milk. if you're measuring how much you can express either manually or by a pump, let's face it, nothing is as efficient as your baby in pulling that milk out. Was your baby weighed before and after nursing? (I hope.) What age was each baby when you were checking the half ounce and ounce expressed?

2 ideas: #1 I believe you can nurse this one and you should try visualizing yourself sitting down, putting on something to occupy the kids (music, or a movie, if no person is available to help you, it's only this year that you'll be nursing) and think, if there's any kind of conflict that arises needing your attention, I've seen in my own 3rd daughter this yr, momentary interruptions in nursing are fine to handle siblings and to get a burp out.

#2, each baby /pregnancy/ nursing experience is different. My first 2 kids were the same size at birth, but my 3rd is much bigger. draw your own conclusion there. I have faith in you. You should too.You've done this before and know where you'll improve your technique so you will, by that confident knowledge alone, be more relaxed and capable in all things. Your body will increase milk production if you nurse often and keep at it after your breast softens- very important, because it might not be filling you up but going right into your baby as your body produces it. There's also some herbal teas that can help increase your milk supply but use these with caution as recommended by someone helping you, b/c herbs, like pills, are just as potent if not more so.

Heather - posted on 02/01/2011

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I don't know if you tried the mother's milk tea with either of the 2 before, but it helped boost my supply when I started to get low. I don't think I ever pumped more than 4oz and my son did fine with that he quit when he was almost one. And I'm sure I did not have that to begin with. I would just breastfeed exclusively until the pediatrician said to suppliment.

Amy - posted on 01/31/2011

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I tried to nurse my son & only stuck with it a couple of weeks. I was inexperienced, impatient & just gave up. With my daughter (who is 3 yrs younger than my son) I knew I wasn't going back to work so I needed to nurse, if for nothing else, then to save money. When she was born, she took to nursing like a champ, but I didn't produce much. She is now about to turn 2. I nursed her for 20 months. The most I ever produced was about an ounce an a half at a time. She nursed ever hour to 2 hours & I had to be with her all the time. She never took a bottle so it wouldn't have done me any good to pump. I say just stick with it & if your son continues to grow & thrive, you have nothing to worry about. Moms know when something isn't right. If you start feeling like that, then you might think about changing. I had many visits to the doctor's office & many sleepless nights, but it was worth it!! Good luck to you!

Heather - posted on 01/31/2011

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It's not easy, but it's possible. I didn't manage to
nurse my first past 3 months, but still nursing my second (with some supplementation) at 8 months.

I have a blog that has stories of both my sons on it, as well as how we managed and how we're doing now: http://countingounces.blogspot.com/

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I think Heather is right on with her tips and advice... and the first months, especially, first weeks and even more importantly the first days of breastfeeding are so imortant when it comes to stimulation...if you don´t use em you loose em! tee hee hee.

One more comment... one of the posts stated that pumping isn´t an indication on supply, which I fully agree with and would like to add an anecdote. A friend of mine didn´t produce large amounts of milk at each feeding, but she did have to feed her son more often (constantly actually). Although there are some norms in breastfeeding, milk production can vary greatly in quantity and consistency, You may just have to have a baby constantly attached to you! sorry! but enjoy...they´ll never be at this age again ;-) I wish you the best! you are an awsome mom for trying to give your kiddos the best nutrition while facing such challanges!

Mia - posted on 01/30/2011

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Hi Amanda, it seems to be a very common problem. Not one I've experienced but several of my friends have. Many had trouble pumping & could never get enough for even half a feed but they used fenugreek & some domperidone (motilium) which isn't natural and you need a script from a gp to get. But as some of the others have said don't give up but also don't beat yourself up about it. The more stressed you are the worse your supply will be. My second baby was an awesome feeder but my supply wasn't as great as I had a toddler to run around after. Find yourself an awesome LC, they're worth their weight in gold if you find a goodie! Many supplemented until they introduced solids at 4months.

You'll know by your baby if they're getting enough milk, enlisted the help of you LC right from birth to help give your supply a kick start from the beginning. My no. 2 son was premmie so I didn't bf until he was nearly 3 weeks only but pumped every few hours and had a great supply when it came time to feed him. They deliberatly get you to have more than enough for your baby that way while they're in special care.

Good luck!

Kimberly - posted on 01/30/2011

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My girldfriend had this problem with her first and a midwife told her to pump and pump and pump to stimulate milk production and she took fenugreek supplements and within 3 days she had MORE then enough milk and went onto nurse her baby until 2 years old. She has 3 children and had this problem with all but the pumping right form the get go to stimulate milk production and the fenugreek capsules really helped. The midwife said to her dose until her sweat smelled like maple syrup, haha then she knew the dose was right..I hope this helps you.

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