breastfeeding & pumping: used meds to up milk?

Elizabeth - posted on 05/15/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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i am working full time and have been able to pump enough to have back up milk and milk for my daughter during the day at daycare. i feed her in the morning, go and feed her at lunch and then at night we co-sleep and on most weekends she is feeding from me as much as possible. she is now 7 and a half months...started some solids at dinnertime but seems to be having a growth spurt and i am concerned that i am not going to have enough milk (pumped) to provide for her during the daytime when we are apart. we have been pretty steady at her eating 13 ounces a day in addition to my feeding her in the morning, at lunch and then at night.

so, i think i have a good supply it is just i can't pump enough...i know if we were together during the day it would be fine but i am pumping every 2 hours (sometimes 1.5 hours when i can at work) and have been making it work but with this growth spurt or whatever it is she seems to need 5 more ounces a day so 18 ounces total pumped milk a day and i just don't think i can swing it .

so, my question is...have you used herbs/meds to up milk production? if so, what was your experience like?

thoughts? suggestions?

many thanks.
elizabeth

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Lynsey - posted on 05/16/2009

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be cuatious go to your doctor for advice or health visitor using extra help you should always check it out and make sure. But and this is only my opinion is that using herbs and meds will filter through to your milk and if it was me id be cautious i would not do it at all. But my advice go and see a doctor / health visitor or maybe a dietician/nutrionist. good luck x

Sarah - posted on 05/17/2009

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I have tried various supplements while nursing all three times I have had babies and each time have had a full time job. I have tried fenugreek which I didn't really think did all that much - also tried alfalfa pills which really didn't give me an increase either. The only thing I have tried that REALLY did work was Reglan. I am a nurse and we use Reglan where I work all the time - so I felt safe trying it. Problem is that with Reglan you only get that increase while you are taking the drug and once you stop taking it your milk production tapers back off. My advice would be to take Reglan for a short amount of time (maybe 2 weeks?) and pump like a crazy woman!!! Freeze all the extra milk to supplement what you are not pumping fresh each day to get you through this growth spurt. The other thing I have done towards the end of nursing each child is to buy a small amount of formula and mix my milk 50/50 with the formula at one or two feedings a day to stretch my supply. I didn't really want to give my kids formula, but honestly as long as your baby is getting the benefit of your milk in some volume with each bottle than be thankful. You should be extremely proud of yourself and never lose sight of what a great gift you have given your baby for this long!! Coming to these "nursing humps" or even the end of nursing should not be a stressful or sad period - it merely opens the door to the next phase of your relationship with your baby. Good luck and hang in there!

Leah - posted on 05/16/2009

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I used fenugreek in the past- I'm in the same predicament now. I'm not able to pump as much at work either. The best solution is to quit! LOL! In the meantime I will probably start taking the fenugreek again. 2 pills, 3 times a day. There were no side effects for myself or my daughter when I've taken it in the past.

Marie - posted on 05/16/2009

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I'm back at work 2.5 days a week. My little guy is now 1 year old (Monday). At about 7 1/2 months your milk supply will start to decline naturally even if baby isn't ready to stop nursing. My guy has been getting solids since 6 months, we've both been sick and he's been teething since 10.5 months. My milk supply had dropped to the point I could only pump 2.5 oz maybe 3 for an entire day at the office pumping at approx the time of day when he would normally nurse.



I'm in Canada so am able to get a prescription for domperidone. I tried fenugreek and brewers yeast, upped my protein intake and fluids, but the natural method only worked for about 2 months. In the US Reglan is the only med available (that I'm aware of) that helps with lactation but the most significant side effect is depression, so Reglan users only use the product for up to 6 weeks (otherwise short periods). Domperidone has no side effects to the extent that Reglan does.



I've been using the domperidone for 2 weeks now and am producing milk to the point of ache if I don't get baby to nurse. He eats solid foods twice a day - 9 tablespoons of cereal with apple sauce at 1pm, and solid foods (mommy and daddy foods and jarred 8 months + foods) for dinner. He nurses in the morning, twice in the evening then as needed during the day. No idea how much he's getting when he nurses but daddy gives him a bottle of 4-5 ounces about 2 hours before his solid feeding (around 11am) then a small bottle with his dinner.



You may find you can pump more around those times of day when your LO would normally nurse (if you have "regular" intervals). I found that even pumping every 2 hours did nothing to increase my supply. You can always try pumping for an additional 10 minutes after baby nurses (additional to when flow into the bottle stops) to see if that helps increase your supply - I did that in addition to taking the domperidone and now I have ample supply.



At the end of the day (evenings) you have less supply than you do in the morning and that's where the worst of my same issue showed itself.



So from personal experience, I hope you find some piece of assistance from all my notes above. Good luck.



PS. How long have you been back full time and how are you handling it emotionally? I'm trying to figure out how and when I should take back at least one of my days off to get more hours (I'm self employed).

Chrissy - posted on 05/16/2009

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Call a lactation consultant. I used Fenugreek and it worked ok for me. My sister-in-law used Reglan which was prescribed by her OB. She said it works great but I guess it can have some side effects in some people so be careful! I fought and fought with trying to keep up my milk and decided it just wasn't worth the agony anymore! I too work full time and was pumping 3-4 times a day when I was away from him. My son is 8 1/2 months and we have been supplementing with formula for the last few. He still nurses about 3 times a day but my milk is so low that it's just not enough. Pumping just can't keep up your milk like your baby can! Good luck...I know exactly how you feel!

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Elizabeth - posted on 05/18/2009

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thank you all soo much for the advice and the support. i worked to pump and feed baby girl all weekend and so i think i will have enough milk for this week. i guess i will take it on a week by week basis at this point. i appreciate all the suggests and will def. as my lactation consultant about reglan, fenugreek and domperidone. i have some history of depression so i am not sure the reglan will work out. i am very interested in the other two. again, i really appreciate the support and the encouragement! thank you. elizabeth

Lynsey - posted on 05/16/2009

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I wouldnt use meds and i would be VERY careful about what herbs etc. Dont forget whatever you put into ur body the baby has also go to someone in the know like a dietician/nutritionist to be on the safe side also ask your doctor they might have some answers have you asked your health visitor for their advice ? good luck x

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