Cannot keep the breastfeeding supply up to the kid!!!

[deleted account] ( 26 moms have responded )

Well, where do I start. My little one seems to be constantly hungry, and not a little bit. I was breastfeeding her and then expressed topups afterwards (milk really took a long time to come in in hospital). Tried not to do the top ups and just offerring the breast time and time again but this ended up with unhappy child and unhappy mother. She would go from feed to feed with no sleeping, not content and really looking for more food. That was fine but after an hour of breastfeeding (and then expressed topups as extra), me then having to express and then trying to put her to bed, it was taking too long. At that point I already thought my milk supply seemed to be dropping. So, after many conversations with hubby, decided to just express and give those to her, saves me some time and frustration and bub seemed more content and started sleeping. Then, again my milk supply seemed to decrease. I have tried everything to increase the supply with nil results.

At this point, I am going to have to start supplementing with formula as I just dont seem to have enough for her. For a little one her size, she should be having somewhere between 60 - 120mls per feed (as per the back of the formula tin) but with the expressed milk, she is having anywhere between 100 - 150mls per feed. I can maybe express 80ish, sometimes 100mls so hence the constantly hungry!!!!

What have your experiences been???


Carolyn - posted on 02/01/2011




sounds like a growth spurt.

the best way to up your supply is by putting baby to breast. growth spurts are natures way of increasing your supply to meet baby's needs.

The first few months of breastfeeding can be very tiring, but it will be less tiring by just putting baby to breast when she is hungry, than pumping and making bottles and washing pumps etc.

many young babies will cluster feed, it is normal and it is great for the milk supply. We often think that babies should be eating on a schedule, this might be easier with formula because its harder to digest and might last a bit longer, but breastfed babies will most often feed more often as it is more easily digested.

the thing to remember is that we are not milk storage units, but factories, you are producing milk as baby eats. So until your supply regulates, you will feel full, sometimes engorged etc, but as you progress through breastfeeding, your body will only make as much as baby needs, so you eventually stop leaking, and stop feeling so full. So when breast feeding dont be alarmed by soft breast, so long as baby is getting 6-8 dirty diapers a day, it is getting enough.

I would recommend putting baby back to breast, and keep her nursing on one side as long as she will tolerate it to increase her hindemilk intake. this is the good fatty stuff that we produce later in a feed. this will help baby be satisfied for longer too. You can use breast compressions to help with the flow of milk to increase the odds of her staying on that one breast. When she aint having it anymore, the switch her to the other.

Breastfeeding is hard and tiring, but it does get easier. Try contacting a Laleche League Leader or Lactation consultant to work at getting baby back to breast and feeding well.

Use the growth spurt to increase your supply and latch her ;)

[deleted account]

re the growth spurts, Kate - here is the current info from the ABA site:

Between six weeks and six months, it is normal for babies to have fussy periods from time to time, when they ask to feed more frequently than usual. You may wonder if your milk supply is still meeting your baby's needs. These times used to be called 'growth spurts' or 'appetite increases', however studies have shown that exclusively-breastfed babies' intake of breastmilk does not increase significantly between one and six months of age. Although it is not known exactly why babies have periods like this, it is a very common event that may be linked to their development. It does not mean that you don't have enough milk. If you follow your baby's lead and breastfeed more frequently for a few days, you will probably find that your baby soon settles down again. Hot weather may also trigger an increase in a baby's feeding frequency.

The suggestion is that what is happening is not necessarily a growth (none of my babies ever actually grew much!) but perhaps making sure the milk supply keeps pace with development.

And from the LLL site:

The LLLI book, THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, calls these "frequency days". It is not known exactly why breastfeeding babies follow this pattern. Research has established though, that the best way to maintain your milk supply is to breastfeed following the cues your baby gives you.

New research is always happening.

Alison - posted on 02/02/2011




Jenna, I would like to share my experience with you and I hope it will help you in some way.
My first baby was born at 40 wks at a very healthy weight and had an excellent latch from the start. My milk came in after about 24 hours. Then at 2 weeks, I was trying to breastfeed her and after sucking for a minute or two, she refused to put the breast anywhere near her mouth. She continued to cry like she was hungry, but would no longer nurse. After trying to console her for awhile, with the help of my gifted and very experience mother, we decided to see if she would drink formula from a bottle. She totally guzzled it down! After that, I had similar episodes every few days and continued to give her formula every time she refused the breast. I felt very discouraged and didn't find any truly helpful advice. I tried taking Fenugreek and BFing teas. I tried drinking Gatorade and relaxing, visualizing the let down. I think these efforts did improve things some, but did not eliminate the problems entirely.

At her 3 month check-up I spoke to her doctor about this. The doctor told me that if my goal was to breast feed exclusively, I just needed to keep her off the bottle for 72 hours and the milk supply would adjust naturally. She assured me that my baby was healthy and strong and that she would be fine if she was a little hungry for a few days. She lead me to believe that if I did not do this, I would have less and less milk to give her. So I followed her advice, which was very difficult. I felt so bad seeing my daughter suffer, knowing she was hungry. Then after 72 hours, my cup was overflowing! The doctor was right... but I had way more milk than I knew what to do with, and my supply went right back to where it had been after another 72 hours. So I decided to stop feeling guilty and beating myself up over a few bottles here and there. I fed my daughter when she was hungry, either with the breast or the formula. And I continued to bf exclusively to 6 months and continued part-time bfing until 15 months!

So, I wanted to let you know that you may be stressing out much more than you really have to. That people may be putting more pressure on you than is necessary. I'm pretty certain that mostly breast is almost as good as exclusive breastmilk, and it definitely beats having a hungry baby.

Don't give up, but most importantly, don't beat yourself up.

Emily - posted on 02/01/2011




Anytime you are pumping rather than nursing directly, you risk hurting your supply. Pumps simply can't stimulate the milk production like a real live baby. How old is your baby? It's REALLY normal for a newborn to seem to eat constantly. I can't stress this enough.

Have you seen a lactation consultant? I think that might be a good idea. Also, has your baby been checked for tongue-tie? It's not that common, but if your baby has it, this can cause inefficient nursing.

The biggest thing I can suggest is simply to nurse, nurse, nurse. Stop pumping and just nurse. Pumping can make you crazy, and will mess with your head!

Also, most babies will drink more from a bottle than from the breast. This is because milk comes out faster from a bottle. VERY easy for a baby to overeat. So the amount your baby is drinking by bottle may actually be more than she needs.

Elle - posted on 02/01/2011




I have twin boys and have been breastfeeding them since birth. I did have some trouble at the start as my milk didn't come in until day 4. Ever since it's been great. However I do feel like sometimes I don't quiet have enough for both of them, so my friend gave me this lactation cookie recipe. I have tried it and it does wonders! I have about 4 cookies a day and I end up expressing, as I have too much milk!!

this is the recipe :
Lactation cookies:

* 1 cup butter or marg
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons linseed (flaxseed) meal*
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups oats, thick cut if you can get them
* 1 cup or more chocolate chips
* 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast* (be generous)


Preheat oven to 180C. Mix together 2 tablespoons of linseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream margarine/butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir linseed mixture and add with vanilla to the wet mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to wet mixture. Stir in oats & chips. Scoop onto baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Serves: 6 dozen cookies (a huge batch)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

*Linseed and brewers yeast can be found at any local health food store, or health food aisle. Flaxseed is just the American name for Linseed.
*NOTE* IT MUST BE BREWERS YEAST, NO SUBSTITUTIONS, can be found at health food stores too. Bakers yeast will NOT do - it must be brewer's yeast. Or try a bulk food store.

If you have 2-3 smallish ones a day it balances out supply but if you need to boost the supply eat more

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Jessica - posted on 01/25/2017




My milk supply was low and I was producing barely one or half oz of breast milk. Once I started drinking Healthy nursing tea my supply increased up to 5 oz per session.

Sarah-Jane - posted on 02/07/2011




Hi Jenna, I had similar problems with both my children and I ended up supplementing both of them with formula. My second child, my daughter, is 3 months old and I top her up after every feed except the first two of the day when I feel I have the most milk. Without the top-ups my daughter was losing weight and was constantly crying which is not good for anyone. I was doing everything I could to increase my supply - I was taking mottilium (still am), blessed thistle, drinking nursing tea, loads of water and expressing when possible. After my husband went back to work I could not express as much as needed as I have a 2.5 year old to care for too.
Some experts put a lot of pressure on me to stop the formula top-ups for fear she would reject the breast, but instead I did some research and found some tips to prevent this such as giving the bottle at room temperature and not warming it up.
I would try to breast feed where possible instead of expressing as your baby is the most efficient at removing milk and that will help with supply. Now that my baby sleeps through at night I express before going to bed (which also helps with my comfort) and I give it to her as a top-up before bed the following night.

You may feel terrible guilt for giving formula top-ups (I know I did), but at the end of the day they are still getting breast milk and you can start to take some pressure off yourself and spend some more time with your baby and getting much needed rest. Otherwise you may be a risk of PND as I suffered with my first baby. Good luck, and you are doing your best!

[deleted account]

Well, just an update as I have learnt a few things.

Nurse Nurse Nurse is NOT the answer. Found out the more I nursed her without express afterwards, the more my milk supply dried up. And yes, confirmed that I was drying up. Turns out I am one of the people that the nipple shield does affect milk supply with so the more I nursed without expressing, I wasn't getting enough stimulation. Was still getting all the signs like the letdown feeling and the refill feeling but it was essentially weaning my poor bubba. So, she definately was hungry.

Seeing she is older now, seem to be able to get her to latch on a bit better without the shield. Still a challenge to get her to open her mouth wide enough but she definately has a stronger suck. I have been spoilt with the nipple shield though and am going through the new breastfeeding pains all over again. Hurts when I first put her to the breast for the first 30 secs when she does the mass suck to get the milk letdown but after that it feels fine. She has gone back to her normal feeding routine which is during the day, feeding for 40 mins or so every 2 to 3 hours and at night maybe every 3 to 4 hours. What I think is, trust your intuition. I had to do some mass expressing to get my supply back up but it seems to have worked. Now have a content baby most of the time who has gone back to actually sleeping properly!!!

Thankyou so much for all the helpful advice from everyone too, I have learnt quite a bit.

Erin - posted on 02/04/2011




I also wanted to add that nursing for an hour every 2 hours is totally normal for the first couple of months (probably longer for a preemie!). My son was born at 38 weeks and nursed EVERY HOUR around the clock for the first 2 1/2 months and then every 1-2 hours until around 4 months where he regulated to every 2-3 hours with the occasional longer stretch. This is NORMAL. I was spoiled with my daughter who would nurse every 3-5 hours from birth and sleeping through the night by 6 weeks, so I researched it when my son was eating so often and discovered this is totally normal and it was my daughter that was abnormal! hahaha

[deleted account]

I wud suggest see a lactation consultant asap. If Ur baby was born within last 28 days and u live in aus like Mandy said u can access the public service , it is free! Was Ur baby a big baby? History of gestational diabetes? preterm babies r likely yo have sucking problems . It is easier for them to drink from the bottle. Ensure with a lactational consultant that the latch is appropriate , have plenty of skin to skin contact, if u supplement formula it rill unfortunately affect Ur milk supply but I understand it is hard if bub is hungry. Also consider galactogues like Domperidone to increase Ur supply . Ur lactation consultant can arrange a script for u. Have you weighed the baby yet? Check if she has put on weight. Persevere and all these issues will hopefully settle... Good luck

Rhiannon - posted on 02/04/2011




I managed to solely brestfeed for a month but after that i just wasn't producing enough milk. So i put her on to formula and supplemented her with expressed breast milk i found that by doing it that way she was far more content and she was still haveing at leat too bottles a day of breast milk :)

Also i didn't feed on demand i fed her reguarly every four hours and i found that doing it that way not only did she sleep longer through the night but my breast milk had more time to replenish. sometimes babies just want to suck for comfort x

Barbie - posted on 02/03/2011




Hi, Jenna,

I now have 4 children. Breast feeding has been a bear with all 4 children. Needless to say, when it gets good, there is nothing that fulfills your little heart than your child looking up at you and smiling from the breast. The first child, Jessica, I had so much milk and fed, fed, fed. My daughter was caulicky(SP) and I did not know I was over feeding and she would projectile vomit. Being a new mom, I did not know better and would re-feed her. Anyways I thought she was a monster. I fed a lot because the nurses told me to give both breast. When I finally just gave her one side she was no longer Caulic and I finally stopped getting mastidedes (SP) The second child, my son Austin ate in 5 min. I was so afraid he was not getting enough. I called and had a lactation consultant come help me and she weighed him before he fed. After I fed Austin, she weighed him again and said he drank 4 oz. in 5 min, I was shocked. The third child, Samantha, was so gentle with her latch on that I never seemed to feel a very good let down. I did not get help and I supplemented when I felt she was not getting enough. I should have got help. I still nursed, but supplemented when I could not relax to get the milk down. Now, I have Gordon, my toughest yet, who is 5 months and I do not seem to have enough milk. In the beginning, he would suck so hard that not only did I crack, but a chunk of my nipple was missing and when he burped I notice blood in the spit-up. He did this to me 4 times and more blood than milk in the spit up. Well, I am still hanging in here. I still have one breast that did not get damaged and am able to pump 4 oz. The other one has healed, but when I pump, I can only get 1 oz. I have tried to put him to that breast first, but he looks at me with a raised eye browl that cracks me up, like he is saying Mom, this one is just not working for me. Then after he tries for about five minutes gives up on that one and starts to cry, so I put him on the better breast. After that, if he still seems unsatisfied I do give him a 4oz. bottle. Sometimes he drinks only 2 oz. of formula and other times he will drink all 4 oz. I was too emotional with this one when I could not feel a let down in the beginning and he would just suck so hard. The breast that was damaged, I wished I would have tried to express a little to get it started before I put him to the breast. Or I should have hand expressed it. I believe I was a bit more patient than Gordon. For my sanity, I feed Gordon when I am full and when I am not, but if the milk is not coming I make sure I have formula supplement by my side.

All the advice you have been given, has been excellent. I am going to try the 72 hour one and see if I can increase my milk. The hardest part is relaxing with 3 other children and finding a quiet place in the house. With this baby, I like to hear if he is swallowing. If I do not hear that I know my supply is low. If Gordon is patient and I calm myself eventually I will finally fill a let down. I have not tried mothers tea or other suggestions. I have been to prideful call and get help because sometimes I just feel embarrassed being a mom of 4 and I still can not get breast feeding right. I am hanging in for my benefit and for the hope of keeping him healthier. I also just hate to give up on something when I know I have not sought out help or tried the suggestions. It is just hard sometimes to take time to think about just me when there are others needing you.

Thank you for posting. You helped me. I just need to make the call and have a coach to keep encouraging me. This is my last baby and I want to enjoy every moment to the fullest! I say you this is important to you, do what makes you happy but don't hesitate like I have and get help. I think we all need it with every baby and should not suffer alone. You are brave, just follow through with the help and I bet you will surprise yourself that you will be successful. Even though none of mine were easy, I am still hanging in here, trying to make it successful for the both of us.

Melody - posted on 02/03/2011




First of all I apologize for not responding earlier. I joined the group, this is my first time perusing the site. Meanwhile, relax. I breastfed my son for 22 months, and my daughter for 20. When you notice the times your milk comes in, you need to feed or pump. If your milk comes in when you do not want it to, hold your left breast with your right hand and your right breast with your left. Cup the nipple area and hold until the sensation goes away. Beware of the foods you eat. If they are gassy, you can pass that discomfort on to the child. So along with a little due diligence, you will find that God has equipped all women with breasts to nurture their young. Relax because it is a natural process that will occur. Just make sure you stay hydrated and eat healthy. Leave the rest to the man up above. I hope this information did not come too late. Be well, Melody

[deleted account]

I breastfed twins. What helped me was to bring the babies to breast and let them feed til they were done and then pump right after. I did this every time I fed them. Also as time went on and my supply dropped of I started taking the supplement Fenugreek. It worked fabulously!

Good luck! ;)

Amanda - posted on 02/02/2011




My son was 4 weeks early too and an awful feeder. He would take me an hour to feed and then be hungry again an hour later, soooo frustrating. I knew I had enough milk because I was leaking through a breastpad, my bra and tshirt every feed. I breastfed for 6 1/2 months then went back to work full time and expressed till he was 10 1/2 months. I was feeding morning and night and expressing around a litre of milk in between.
Expressing did make my supply drop but I think if you really want to breastfeed just stick it out. Even after 10 1/2 months of breastfeeding my son was still taking around 1/2hr to feed. My daughter was totally different, 5 mins each side from a few weeks old and she was done. All babies are different but I do think that being a premmie can effect the time it takes them to feed

Emily - posted on 02/02/2011




Not true that there's not much more you can do. At this point I'd work on weaning from the nipple shield. I totally get where you're coming from, as I had a preemie (30 weeks) and had to use a nipple shield for quite some time. But you are right in that it can start to hinder milk supply. I would work with a lactation consultant to get the latch down without the use of the nipple shield.

Even so, nursing for an hour every 2 hours is NOT abnormal. That sounds VERY normal for a baby who is just now term.

Melissa - posted on 02/02/2011




yes I forgot to say what kate said I got so damn dehydrated breast feedsing when mine was a newborn it takes everything out of you. I refuse to have caffeine while pregnant or breast feeding stay clear of that and alcohol cause it does cut down your supply. And I dont know if its true kate I just found it interesting and I guess Ill never know whether the groth spurt theory is right or what this lady said but its the first I have heard otherwise

Stay strong Jenna do what youfeel is right . If your baby isnt happy top up if you need to. Your doing all the right things your putting in so much work your a great mum

[deleted account]

Bub has been checked and isn't tongue tied. She was born at 36 weeks and has a really weak suck and I have put her on the breast constantly. I am talking hour long feeds every 2 hours and still she is constantly hungry. We aren't talking a growth spurt here or if we are it has been several weeks long (not a few days). I have always had to use a shield with her as she had a lot of problems opening her little month and actually latching on so whether or not that has hindered my milk supply who knows (according to lactation consultant - it affects some and others fine). I drink heaps of water and I dont drink anything else. I am not stressing out about it as formula these days is much better than in the past. She is 4 weeks old now so has really only just hit her due date.

I still feel the refill and let down feelings that I have had in the past. I have spoken to a few lactation consultants and even had one visit around home. Still hanging in there but nothing much more that we can do.

Kate CP - posted on 02/01/2011




Who at the ABA told you that? Because that's a load of hogwash. Babies go through growth spurts and demand more feedings to increase milk supply from mom.

Anyway, you will feed less by volume and frequently if you feed formula because of the way baby breaks it down. If you want to continue to nurse I would suggest you put baby to breast as often as you can, drink TONS AND TONS of water (try to limit your caffeine intake as this can dehydrate you and decrease your milk supply) and even try some supply increasing herbs like Mother's Milk Tea or something similar. Stay hydrated, try to stay calm and relaxed, and let baby nurse as often as she wants. A baby can get more milk out of your breasts than even the best pumps in the world.

Melissa - posted on 02/01/2011




btw I just thought Id add, I was very surprised when ABA (Australian breastfeeding association) told me there is no such thing as growth spurts and it has now been proven that babies take the same amount of milk betwen 6 weeks to 6 months of age per feeding. I cant even remember the reaons I was given for why they do the continuos feedings and fussy days I think it was due to them getting older and apparently when they learn to do something new lke rolling or whatever and waking in the night is for the same reason and that we have sleep cycles and babies will sometimes go back to sleep and sometimes wake, for no reason. Anyways What she siad made sense but surprised me. Its nice to find out new things :)

[deleted account]

The being tired part I can agree with. I was in hospital, breastfeeding, expressed topup, formula topup, then trying to express some milk and then if I was lucky, get in a quick nap before we started all over again. We were able to finally drop the formula topups at 1 and a half weeks of age but either way, she is exhausted and so am I.

[deleted account]

I am expressing twice to her one feed to try and up supply but I have no idea how long that might take to kick in. Either way I had to formula supplement tonight as there after two expresses was just not enough for her. She is growing quite rapidly and will be interesting to see how much more she has grown in the next few weeks. She would be out eating a formula fed baby in mls hands down. She is taking on huge amounts per feed and still feeding like a breastfed baby every 3 hours so I am hoping it is just a growth spurt.

I would be supplementing probably 150 - 200 mls a day, possibly more. But like I said, my two expresses to her one feed is still not satisfying her. I dont mind either way, as long as she is a happy healthy baby but seeing I find expressing really easy, I would love to keep up the breast milk for as long as I can.

Melissa - posted on 02/01/2011




ps my bub is now 6.5 months I cant believe I ever wanteds to give up Im so happy feeding and now have to introduce bottles since Im going on holiday next month and that seems like the hardest thing ever now she doesnt remember them. For me it worked out but for some breast feeding just doesnt work

Melissa - posted on 02/01/2011




sounds like your from Australia as I am. I have heard you cant compare how much they take off breast milk to formula. Formula is much harder to break down and they need alot more of it, breast milk a baby does tend to take less and feed more often. Sometimes what your describing can be just a growth spirt or something just being a newborn mine did this maybe til 6-8 weeks or so or it could be she really does need formula top ups. Advice to me was top up the night feed iwth formula 20 mills or so if you dont want to lose your milk you can use a max of around 50-60 mills of formula per day, I found expressed milk went in seconds to I gave the breast feed then bottle of expressed milk so much milk that takes ages to pump and then its gone and I needed to use formula. Obviously I cant say without seeing your baby but it might be something she can make it through and you can continue feeding or it might be better on her to give her formula as well to help her be contented. To up your supply try expressing as much as you possibly can between feeds after feeds whenever. I was so stuffed at night time breast feeds then pumping. If you have your heart set on feeding then get some advice from professionals around you breast feeding lines or child nurse but I would reccomend at least some formula top ups.

Sammie - posted on 02/01/2011




I simply could no keep up with how much my daughter needed. My breatmilk wasn't getting time to replenish before she wanted to feed again. I put her on formula at around 10 weeks. She started sleeping thru and my milk was sufficient during the day. I woke up one morning, about a week later and had no milk at all. Just dried up. Neither my mum nor her mum were able to breastfeed so I was happy to last 10 weeks. Baby #2 is arriving in 6 days so it'll be interesting to see how I go this time around :-)

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