First of all, do NOT beat yourself up over it. I have had low production with both my kids and end up about 50/50 formula and breastmilk. With the first, I had a lot of the same feelings you did – he was small, so had to come out a little early. My induction was a disaster and I ended up with a super-emergency c-section (run down the hall to the OR, husband not allowed in, vertical incision emergency.) I felt like I hadn’t been able to give him what I needed when I was pregnant, I hadn’t been able to deliver him, and then I couldn’t feed him. So I have been in your shoes.
However, this time, I am able to step back and recognize that I’ve given my daughter (and gave my son) a lot. There is MUCH more to mothering than the type of food your baby gets, and I’m sure you are a great mom. As my awesome lactation consultant puts it, any amount of breastmilk is a gift, not an obligation. Following is my own experience.
If you do want to try to bring your supply back up and think it won’t make you crazy, then here are some things you can try. There’s a good list on this website also: kellymom.com :: What is a galactagogue? Do I need one?
Herbal supplements: fenugreek, blessed thistle, goat’s rue, shatavari. There’s a brand called Motherlove and they have More Milk Plus and more Milk Plus special blend that has the goat’s rue. I order it off of amazon. Not sure any of them really make a difference for me, but I have friends who swear by them.
Rx meds: Reglan, which was mentioned, has scary side effects, including depression/anxiety and tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements). I would keep away from it, given the things you are already feeling. There’s another drug called domperidone that does similar things (suppresses dopamine, since dopamine inhibits prolactin > resulting rise in prolactin is supposed to help production.) Not FDA approved, but you can get a doctor to send a prescription to Canada, you can order online from overseas w/o prescription, or you can get it compounded by a specialty pharmacy with a prescription. I have done all three.
Hand expressing: This may work better for you than pumping. I do it after I pump and get out another half ounce to an ounce, which isn’t much, but since I only get 80-100 ml or so, 20 or 30 is a significant part of it. Here’s a video on how to do it – actually by my pediatrician: Hand Expression - Newborn Nursery at LPCH - Stanford University School of Medicine
Try a hospital grade pump (medela Symphony or Lactina) if you have not. With my son, this literally doubled my production, from an ounce or so per session/8 oz a day to about 16. I was still not able to exclusively BF, but it was at least enough to seem worthwhile.
Do hands-on pumping, where you massage your breasts and work on any harder areas while you pump – these are milk ducts and it helps work the milk out.
Moist heat on your breasts for 10-15 minutes before pumping/bfing to help with letdown. Pump after a bath or shower, or get microwaveable heating pads to stick in your bra for a little while before you pump.
Oatmeal is supposed to help, as is beer.
Things that didn’t work as well for me: acupuncture, the Supplemental Nursing System or SNS, the “nursing vacation” (oh, just get in bed with your baby skin to skin for the weekend and feed all the time. Whatever, this just made for a starving baby…)
But really, if it is making you miserable, it’s not worth it. Only try these things to the extent that they aren’t making you obsess about it. You are a great mom if your baby is well fed and well taken care of, regardless of the type of food.