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Struggling Hard To Feed Breastmilk

Discussion in 'Breast Feeding' started by RealisticMe, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. RealisticMe

    RealisticMe Junior IL'ite

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    Hi,
    My story is very long. I have a 4 month old baby and a 5 yr old.

    I could not breastfeed my 5 yr old due to ignorance. So this time around, I was really determined to breastfeed my newborn. Her birth weight was 6.7 lbs. She was given BM + formula in hospital and i started pumping also since she would sleep while feeding. After we came home we continued with BM + formula for the first week. Then after reading a lot about Formula trap, i stopped formula cold turkey. She was latched for very long time periods during the day, on demand. She would cry and i would latch her again. She would keep trying and crying sometimes since there would be no milk. In the next visit (1st month visit), her weight gain was not enough. It was 6.14 lbs. And her wt percentile dropped to 1%. So the doc suggested to supplement with formula. I was very guilty for doing this to her. I felt that she cried and i did not feed her enough, only because i wanted to breastfeed her and i thought demand and supply is the only way to go.

    Finally i realized and accepted that my supply is less. So now she is on BM and formula. I joined back work when she was 2 months old. I am still struggling to provide her as much BM i can. And i breastfeed on demand as well.

    My weekday schedule (on a best day):
    8am - breastfeed the baby
    10am - pump at work (~2 oz)
    12:30pm - pump at work (~2 oz)
    2:30pm - pump at work (~2 oz)
    6pm - breastfeed the baby
    9pm - breastfeed the baby
    1am - breastfeed the baby + pump (~2 oz)
    5am - breastfeed the baby + pump (~3 oz)

    + On-demand feeding whenever required

    With this crazy schedule, i was able to leave 10 oz for the baby for the next day. My inlaws take care of her during the day. They would feed her 10oz refrigerated BM + 3 oz formula during the time I am at work.

    I come back from work and breastfeed her but She would still have to be supplemented with formula (~3oz at 7pm)

    So, she gets formula twice everyday (~3 oz each time).

    Since I am nursing and pumping all the time, I am exhausted and stressed. Nighttime pumping especially is hard since i spend the whole day at work and evening with older kid and family. Sometimes, i cant wake up 2 times in the night and feel really guilty about leaving her less milk for the next day.

    I get help at home but its still not enough with 2 kids and work. I try to sleep early, but some days it works and most of the days it does not. Weekends are hectic due to older kids activities.
    Husband is very understanding and takes care of most of older kids stuff.

    I dont want to give up on whatever breastmilk i am able to provide her. But for that i need to wake up twice in the night to pump, only at that time i have extra milk, during the day the milk is less. But lack of sleep is taking a toll on me now.

    I have already tried galactagogues like lacation cookie, fenugreek, mothers milk tea. And they have not really helped a lot.

    Please dont suggest to supplement more formula than what i am already doing.
    Please dont suggest to take a break from work, its not possible.

    Please suggest me ways to give her as much breastmilk i can.

    I feel the need to change my schedule to below to maintain sanity, please suggest if this will hinder my milk supply.

    8am - breastfeed the baby
    11am - pump at work (~3 oz)
    2:30pm - pump at work (~3 oz)
    6pm - breastfeed the baby
    9pm - breastfeed the baby
    5am - breastfeed the baby + pump (~4 oz)

    Open to suggestions and questions. Looking for words of support and encouragement.
    Please be kind and thanks a lot for all the help!

    ~Struggling mom!
     
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  2. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @RealisticMe First off, you are not alone. Unfortunately there are far too many women dealing with low supply issues than most people realize. I dealt with it with both kids. At the time the guilt and pain were overwhelming. The predominant feeling was that of failure, as a woman, as a mother. The feeling that your body had betrayed you, that you were incapable of doing something that comes naturally and easily to every other woman, that perhaps you were not meant to be a mother was soul crushing. My youngest is four now. With the luxury of hindsight I can promise you that it will be okay. You will be fine and your little one will thrive.

    Your schedule is tough but if you want to build your supply you will have to maximize the utility of night pumping sessions. Since you said your supply goes up overnight, I suggest you convert the 9 pm pumping into a power pumping session. Feed the baby, then pump for 40-60 minutes. Details are at the linked website. You can put on a show you like and put your feet up for an hour. Keep the rest of your schedule as planned. Between 10 pm and 5 am get uninterrupted sleep, meaning DH should handle all night time waking and diaper changing. You need that rest.

    Have you tried the Motherlove tincture for increasing your supply? This is a very hit or miss product. With my DS my supply increased by 3 oz 2 days after I started. With my DD there was no change. I'm mentioning it in case you want to give it a go. It is quite expensive too. The first review on Amazon gives a homemade recipe for the stuff though with so much on your hands I don't know if you have the energy to make potions. : )

    I tried nursing and pumping for the initial 3-4 months but eventually shifted to exclusively pumping for each of my kids, and though I never made more than 70% of their needs, I don't regret a minute of it. If your daughter is not a good nurser then try thinking about EP. Once I shifted to EP, it took a lot of the pressure off me and I actually saw my supply improve a little. I managed to pump for close to a year, something I doubt I could have done had I kept struggling with nursing.

    Eat well, rest, drink lots of water and remember every drop of milk you are giving your baby girl is worth its weight in gold. It is not an all or nothing situation. Don't measure your motherhood by the ounces of milk your body produces. What you are doing for your child, pumping and feeding around the clock while working full time, are feats of a supermom. Don't ever short-sell the sacrifice. I have tomes of research on low milk supply. I will write more if I think of something else. Take care of yourself and cherish your little one. They grow up too fast!
     
  3. jillcastle

    jillcastle Gold IL'ite

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    Hugs to you OP! My baby just turned 1 and I can understand how overwhelming pumping and nursing can be. Above poster kind of wrote all I wanted to say. Just wanted to add, nothing works better than supply and demand. I once did power pumping boot camp, basically you do a power pumping session for 3 of your feeds per day. I noticed an increase in supply in 2 days. Its very demanding cos you may feel like all you do is pumping or cleaning bottles, but it is so worth it.

    Power Pumping Tips

    Also wanted to add, instead of stopping formula feed cold turkey, you could slowly start reducing the quantity little by little. Let me share what I did. I was giving 2 oz formula twice a day. I started pumping in addition to nursing for 3 feeds. Then for the sessions that I would give formula, I'd first nurse, then offer pumped milk and only if baby demands more, I'd offer formula. Slowly I could wean off formula totally in 2 weeks.

    Drink lots of water. I used to have 10 garlic pods everyday and I think it helped me. I'll write more if I remember of something else. Best wishes to you!
     
  4. Laks09

    Laks09 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    I totally get this. I had a baby in the NICU for whom I was exclusively pumping and the nightime pumping and then going to the NICU to spend the entire day with him took it's toll. I did start skipping the mid-night pumping around 5 weeks postpartum to get some rest. For me, by then my supply was established enough to not tank.
    In my culture, we are given beetle leaves postpartum. I love eating it so I ate it everyday to help with supply. Since I had a preemie, everyone around me gave tips for increasing my supply including @Induslady.

    Here are some of the tips I got -
    1) Get enough of sleep, you don't sleep, your supply tanks.
    2) Get enough calories. Unfortunately for me, if I didn't consume upwards of 2100 calories a day my supply tanked. Some people can produce BM on restricted calorie diets but I could never do it.
    3) Consume tons of water.
    4) Mushroom stir fry (plain with onions and peppers).
    5) Drum stick leaves (dal or stir fry).
    6) Oatmeal everyday
    7) Fenugreek dosa (1 cup rice, 2 tsp of urad dal, 1/2cup fenugreek soaked and ground) mid morning. I added a lot of shallots to it. Shallots are good and use everywhere instead of onions. Fenugreek tablets didn't give me the same effect that eating 2-3 of this dosa gave.
    8) water with saunf leaves boiled in it or saunf leaves in subzis, dals etc. Basically a ton of saunf leaves.
    9) Cosleep and nurse through the night. This is my tip, i was lazy to wake up and sit up etc. As soon as both of my babies were a good size and could nurse without chocking, I did this. I got my sleep and babies got bm.
    10) Onion rice - shallots/saunf leaves(can skip)/garlic(can skip)/mushrooms (stir fry) and then add cooked rice. Eat this instead of regular rice or make a small quantity with lots of shallots. It's supposed to be good.
    11) All stir fries/dosas etc with a good amount of sesame oil/ghee combo.
    12) Protien laddos(neighbor made so no idea of ingredients but apparently its a common Andhra prep).
    13) North Indian lactation ladoos(another neighbor made, but you can google).

    I think I got my supply up by just consuming all these additional calories :)

    Breastmilk never stops being beneficial. The composition changes over time but the benefits continue. Extended nursing past one year can give her a lot of benefits. I nursed both of my kids for 28 months. No regrets. Only regret stopping my son at that point.

    This sounds reasonable in my opinion. Power pump before going to bed and sleep through the night. You may wake up to better supply.
    I could never pump all that much milk but my son could get me to produce enough(once he started latching). I eventually had oversupply because of his latching. I did start pumping after nursing to have some stash in the freezer for future uses.

    You are doing such an amazing job. She's going to be perfect!
     
  5. jillcastle

    jillcastle Gold IL'ite

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    Oh yeah one more thing I remembered. Its easy to overfeed a bottle fed baby cos baby does not control how much milk he wants. So make sure you follow paced feeding. Babies generally may get used to the continuous flow of milk from bottle and may refuse to latch or cry at the breast. So its advised to follow paced bottle feeding a breastfed baby. Video attached:

    Paced bottle feeding: How to Do It and Why You'd Want To

    Pls ignore if this doesnt apply to you.
     
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  6. Brevity

    Brevity Gold IL'ite

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    I breastfed my DD1 while working in India where I had no option to pump in office. So I had to wake up at 1 and 3 in the mornings to pump with my small battery operated pump while she fed.

    What helped me was to pump simultaneously while my dd breastfed on one side. By 4 months she wouldn't doze off while feeding. So she would extract whatever she required by repeatedly offering alternate breasts. Feeding times were longer though. But I managed 2 6 ounce bottles almost everyday and I would come home for an afternoon feed. I never had bountiful supply. Just managed and compensated with formula when I lacked.

    There were days when I felt too tired to pump in the night (I got chicken pox when dd1 was 5 months) and I topped up with 3 ounce formula bottles.

    You are doing an excellent job. I don't know how you manage this rigorous pumping with an older child. Please listen to your body and give it enough rest. Eat high protein diet and drink plenty of water. Transfer the pumping time to feeding times at 9 PM and 5 AM feeds in addition to office pumping. Try to sleep through the night and breastfeed only on demand at night times. Keep water next to you in the night and drink it if you wake up for feeding. You can start feeding without waking up much once the baby starts to rollover comfortably to both sides and has good head control.
     
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  7. RealisticMe

    RealisticMe Junior IL'ite

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    Thanks for the suggestions, i will start following these.
     
  8. RealisticMe

    RealisticMe Junior IL'ite

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    Its hard, i am barely managing. Thanks for your suggestions. I am going to drop 1am pump session and follow other suggestions and see how it goes. Thankyou!
     
  9. kavikuyil

    kavikuyil Senior IL'ite

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    All of the above suggestions are great and i’ve followed most of them.

    - I ate soaked and cooked steel cut oatmeal mixed with ground organic flax meal (and wheat germ for feeding my older daughter.) I added milk and virgin coconut oil just before I ate it. This combination increased my milk supply a lot. For my second daughter, I skipped the wheatgerm and cows milk and added coconut milk - due to my food allergies.

    - I drank fenugreek tea a lot. To make the tea, I boiled 2 litre water (big bubbles)and then added 2 -3 tbsp fenugreek seeds and closed and slow boiled (small bubbles) for another 10-15 mins and then let it cool down during the night. In the morning, I’d filter it and drank 2 cups first thing in the morning and then the remaining 1 litre through the day. This 1 litre was stored in fridge.

    - Another tea that I drank is 1 tsp saunf and 1 tsp jeera boiled in 3 cups water in closed container for 10 mins, then I let it cool down and drank it. This tea cannot be left through the night. Both teas helped me.

    - I ate drumstick leaves (you can get the powder if you can’t get fresh leaves) and oily fish.

    - I also ate lots of good fat - avocado, soaked almonds, ghee and virgin coconut oil - preferably raw. Breast milk has a lot of fat and we need to keep replenishing it to keep producing it.

    - Do also eat protein (meat if u eat meat and plant protein - no soy) with every meal to keep your blood sugar and mood balanced so you can be relaxed and the more relaxed you are, your supply will increase.

    - Breastfeeding while lying down in the bed helped me and my daughters. This was very relaxing and did not disturb my sleep.

    I did not worry about my weight and focussed on weight loss only after I stopped breastfeeding.
     
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  10. YoGirl

    YoGirl Gold IL'ite

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    I have a 11 mo old DS. Second kid.

    Things that helped me:
    1. Oatmeal with whole milk twice a day.
    2. Lactation capsules 4 a day
    3. Pumping at 4 hr interval in the daytime.
    4. Direct breastfeed only in the night.
    5. Slow flow nipple(comotomo bottle and nipple) which helped baby not to get nipple confusion.

    In the schedule that you are following, I would suggest to replace daytime feeding with pumping. Works lot better since you have a set time and you dont have to worry about the kid availability, etc. pumping also increases supply. Morning start pumping with 5am or 6 am timeslot.
     
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