Boosting Milk Production


#1

Any suggestions? I am so disappointed as it appears I don’t have enough to feed my baby. I give her what I can but end up having to give her a bottle at times as well. The last two days she did great on how much I had, however prior to that and now again today I have had to give a bottle.

Bothers me, as I feel like I have failed. I couldn’t give birth to her (17 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing only to end in a c-section), and now it appears I can’t even feed her.


#2

Keep nursing, the first two weeks are important to establish your supply, something with prolactin. Also make sure you are eating enough (you need like 500 additional calories a day) and drinking a lot of water.

In any event, fenugreek and blessed thistle are supposed to help. The lactation consultant who leads the breastfeeding support group I go to says you have to take 3 fenugreek 3 times a day to see any difference, she said if you smell like maple syrup, you’re taking enough. I’ve also heard oatmeal helps (even in cookie form).

Another suggestion I have heard is “power pumping.” This is where you watch an hour long tv show and pump during the show and take breaks during the commercials. Even if nothing is coming out, you keep pumping because the nipple stimulation is still sending messages to your body.

Also, don’t skip nursings or cut them short if you can help it. Baby should be eating about every 2-3 hours around the clock at this point (although I’m pretty sure mine was every hour for an hour so it felt constant to me!).

I would really recommend you call or see a lactation consultant or find a support group. My local hospital has a “warm line” for breastfeeding questions, yours might as well. I think you can also call the La Leche League – or go on their website for assistance.

One last thing – it’s not failure to supplement. You’re getting your baby fed. And you got her born. You’re totally succeeding!! Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re doing great.

Good luck!!


#3

[SIZE=3]Do not stress over it! I was so upset the first two weeks and did not help that the *****y lactation consultant made me feel so sad!

Keep pumping/breastfeeding. It will come. It took me good two weeks to build the supply (you’re lucky you have a singleton) :slight_smile: I started with miserable 20-25ml per pump (both breast!) and now I do 80-100ml (per pump- both breast).

Definitely eat well and drink tons of fluids. I’m taking Fenugreek herbal supplement (you can get it at GNC) and Mother’s Milk tea (Target has it as well as GNC).

Enjoy your baby…the most important thing!

There are gazillion babies brought up on formula…it’s not the end of the world!

You are doing an amazing work!!!

XOXOXO
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#4

[B]bluesky: [/B]Try not to fret - I know, easier said than done. I have been having milk troubles myself and the suggestions [B]essemkay[/B] has given are all good. I have had to talk to the lactation consultants while I was in the hospital, as my milk seemed slow to come in (though all the nurses said it takes a while some times) - it was extremely frustrating. Then a couple of days ago I hit a “milk slump” where my supply dropped off. I had a 1/2 hr consultation with the hospital’s lactation consultant (my baby is in the NICU) and she showed me some hand expressing techniques to stimulate hormones and get my production back on track.

Some things I learned that I never would have known: since my baby is in the NICU I pump most of the time, everyone has decided that the pump is NOT my friend, it does not take out all of the milk that is in my breasts (hence the hand expressing); I needed larger breast shields for the pump - the ones that came with the machine were too small & weren’t stimulating the ducts; I needed to stay on the pump every 3 hr schedule or my supply was dropping off.

Since my milk wasn’t coming in, I also needed to supplement with formula. While it makes me feel a little bad, as I want to produce for my baby, I also want him as healthy as possible. If it takes some formula to supply him what he needs to grow, so be it. I was watching a breastfeeding show on the newborn channel in the hospital, and it was saying any amount of breastmilk is beneficial. If you are unable to continue breastfeeding, even just a week is very beneficial. So try to cut yourself some slack, and try to get some help - you are doing the best you can for your baby.


#5

There are a couple of medications that you can take to boost your supply as well! I have PCOS so I am on Metformin. Also, Reglan is supposed to help boost supply a lot. My OB said that sometimes the Reglan can even double your supply!

I have twins and am having the same low supply issue so I am on both of the medications that I mentioned. I don’t think that the Reglan has doubled my supply but it has helped.

Just know that you are not alone with all of this! I struggled a lot in the beginning with not being able to feed my babies but I have faced the fact that I can only give them what I can give them and that has to be enough. The pediatrician said, “Formula fed babies go to college too.” LOL. That really put it into perspective for me I guess.


#6

Well im pretty sure its a lost cause for me. I started pumping 3-4 times a day after feeding Mya per what I was told to do. All I got was sore boobs and a hungery baby.
The most I was able to pump at a time was 15ml total.

Today I pumped after 3 hours of no feeding or pumping. Mya was sleeping and I decided to let her sleep as she had been up most of the night and morning. Poor little girls eyes were purple she was so tired. Anyway, after 3 hours I only was able to get 7ml total. My production is dropping instead of increaseing.


#7

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.


#8

I’m a big fan of breastfeeding, but the truth of the matter is that if you’ve tried everything and it’s not working, then it’s simply not working. don’t beat yourself up over it.

What’s truly important at the end of the day is that you baby receives a whole lot of love, snuggling, and plenty of holding. She will do splendidly on formula, (I’m sure), and will adore you with all her heart.

But two quick questions before you give up entirely:

  1. Have you been using a hospital-grade pump? (Which someone else mentioned). It can make all the difference in the world.

  2. Are you staying really well hydrated? That can also make all the difference.


#9

I have been pushing more water and food in hopes that helps. I take the Fenugreek(how much should I take).

I do have a hospital grade pump. Its a medella(sp?) and came from the pharmacy. Pretty much like the one they had in the room for me to use.

The other night I managed to get 20 ml from each breast after 3 hours of nothing being done to them. However, typically its only 10, and when I pump after she feeds I normally get none to not enough to measure.

I also can never feel when she has emptyed my milk supply nor can I feel the milk come in or let down.


#10

bluesky, I have the same issue with not really ever having had the milk come in in one big rush. If I don’t pump for 6-8 hours, then I’ll have mild engorgement, but it’s certainly nothing like you hear about from people with better production.

Honestly, I think the 20 ml is promising. With my son, I started off, like lily, only getting 5-10 ml when I pumped. Then it got up to about 8 oz total per day. I did eventually get up to about 16-18 oz./day when I was doing the supplements and hospital pump. This time I’m only getting 12-14 oz./day because I can’t do every 2-3 hours with a three year old running around. I think if you are getting to 20 ml, you can probably get up to about that level of production per day. I don’t know if it will get up to all the milk you need, and you have to decide if it’s worth it to you if it’s half the milk or something like that.

Since you are supplementing, you might want to pump an hour or two after your DD eats rather than right after.

I’d hand express after feeding instead, since it sounds like she’s probably getting most of it and the tiny bit that’s left is hard to pump out. You go back and forth from one side to the other, three on the right, a couple of the left, back to the right, back to left, etc. Even after pumping for 25 minutes and getting out 70-80 ml, I get 20 or so more doing this for 10 minutes. I bet you could get the same after feeding. It’s also easier on your nipples than pumping.

This is all only if you really want to do this. There’s a different level for everyone to make the time and effort seem worth it. If I were getting six ounces, I’d probably quit. Even with where I’m at, I’m not going to do it for that much longer. I may quit at two months, which is in less than two weeks. I really decide each time I’m going to pump if I can manage to do it. Otherwise it’s craziness inducing.

Oh, and with the fenugreek, they say you should take enough that your sweat/pee start to smell like maple syrup. This never happens for me, which may be why I’m not sure if it works for me. I take 4 capsules 4x day, which is a lot.


#11

One thought that popped into my head this morning – have you done a before and after weighing with your DD to see how much she is actually getting on the breast? Maybe she is just super-efficient and is getting you really empty. I was talking with two friends yesterday who said that their babies only needed to nurse for 5, maybe 10 minutes, and could get a full 4 ounces in that time. If she’s gaining weight appropriately, has wet/poopie diapers as she should, then she’s getting enough, even if you aren’t able to pump afterward. And even if you do still need to supplement, the before and after weighing will let you know how much breastmilk she is getting.


#12

I met with the lactation lady yesterday after Mya’s 2 week check. She is back to her birth weight so that is good.

Normal production at this point would be 2-3 oz a feeding. I am lucky on a good feeding to get 1.5 oz, most of the time its more like half an oz.

I am doing the before and after weight thing on Tuesday as they didnt have time to do it yesterday.


#13

i am taking the domperidone that was mentioned and it literally doubled my supply, plus i rented a hospital lactina pump. but my twins are now 70/30 breat milk to formula, which with dd 2 years ago, i never came close to that. good luck, you are doing a great job!!