Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Milk Supply Issue- Midwife making me feel like crap

DS was born with a blood sugar issue and my milk was not coming in at all.  I had to formula feed from the start, although he wanted to nurse and is great about it.  He needed to be fed so much to keep his sugars up, but was eventually put on an IV as well.  He's fine now, but I still can't keep up with his needs.  I'll nurse him for an hour and my breasts are drained and he still wants more.  He'll then drink 2 or 3 ounces of formula.  He's eating every just about every 2 hours as well. 

 My midwife is really pushing me to breastfeed, but honestly it's so much easier and less stressful to give him a bottle.  When I pump, not after nursing or anything, I only get about 1 ounces combined from both sides.  Any advice?  Should I keep trying to nurse and be frustrated or go with the bottle?  I'm feeling way conflicted about it and want to do what's best for my little guy.

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Re: Milk Supply Issue- Midwife making me feel like crap

  • To be truthful, I have BFing. But I know that its good for lo. & that is why i do it. So if I were you, I would just pump, when your not BFing lo you get more from the pump. I also heard that if you eat oatmeal it helps with your supply. ot check for the milk cookies.

    Good luck.

  • quit listening to the midwife and do what is best for you and your LO. The more your stress the greater the impact it has on your supply. Give him BM whenever you can and pump as often as you can to help increase your supply. Make sure that you drink lots of fluids as that helps as well.

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  • Drink a beer. Just one. That helped my milk production significantly. Unfortunately I dried up after 4 weeks when I got a cold. But it helped, and my DR is who suggested it.
  • Have you seen an LC?  There are MANY things you can do to increase your supply....more protein, more water, oatmeal, brewers yeast, and several herbal supplements are available.

    I'm guessing he's pretty little, they will eat a LOT and will eat constantly at this stage, there are several growth spurts that are increasing your supply.  Pumping only an ounce or two is normal at this stage.  I would see an LC and have him evaluated to see how much he's taking in at a feeding with pre and post-feed weigh.  You could have an unseen latch issue or weak suction that can be fixed.


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  • My story is much like yours---my daughter had low blood sugar, 3 days in NICU, formula from the start, etc.  I understand it may feel less stressful now to give a bottle, but my advice would be to stick w breastfeeding as long as possible. You may not get much breastmilk in the beginning, but it is so important to keep nursing and pump if you have to to get your supply up. Pumping sucks. I almost exclusively pump and supplement w formula (she will breastfeed every once in a while). I wish I could go back in time and nurse and occasionally supplement with formula.  I have serious supply issues and I totally blame it on not nursing her more in the beginning.  

    Of course if nursing will seriously affect your quality of life- stop.  It's not worth it.

    Good luck! 


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  • Can't you do both? If you end up not breastfeeding it will be ok. It's not for everyone and the more stressed you get about it the harder it will be. As many ppl say, happy mom makes a happy baby. If you did still want to BF can't you pump or BF at least once or twice a day and supplement with formula?
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  • I'm going to try to speak with a LC today.  I feel like I spend all my time feeding him right now since when he nurses, it's close to an hour and a half and then I have to give him a bottle as well.  He's fine for 30-45 minutes, and then he's hungry again.  DH had to go back to Alaska for work so I'm totally on my own right now.  Things are just way stressful and his eating habits are not helping I guess.

    I'm going to try to continue with the BFing and see how it goes.  

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  • We had a very similar situation, DS was in the NICU with blood sugar issues for a few days. I had a really hard time getting my supply up, really, hard. But, I essentially let him nurse all day for the first few weeks, and it improved. Now, I love our BF relationship, and he's happy, healthy and I don't have any concerns about my supply. 

     I cried a lot, and wanted to quit many times, but I was surprised how quickly things improved (at about 7 weeks, there seemed to be a switch and everything was much less of a struggle). Oh, and FWIW I can still only get an ounce or 2 at a time when I pump, but that's not a signal you're not producing enough, just that you may be less receptive to the pump than others, but in my case LO is still clearly getting enough (85% for weight)

    That being said, do not force yourself to BF if it's too much of a struggle. It's much worse for your LO to have an unhappy mama. I just wanted to share my story to maybe give you some hope and encouragement looking forward. Good luck with whatever you decide! 

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  • I had the same problem at first.  I would only pump about 1 or 2 ounces total, but you have to realize that the baby is getting at least one additional ounce out of you just by sucking.  It's really stressful the first few weeks and I almost gave up, too, but I'm so glad I didn't.  If you have to supplement with formula for now, it's not the end of the world.  We still have days occasionally where DS is unusually hungry and I can't keep up with him, and then we'll feed him a little formula after he breastfeeds. 

    It's REALLY important to make sure that you're getting enough to eat and drink, and getting as much rest as possible.  This helped so much with my supply.  Eat more than you think you should - really.  You're still technically eating for two, and I've had to eat even more than I did when I was pregnant, and I've still lost all of my baby weight and an additional 12 lbs.  I agree with PP about the beer.  This helped me, too.  If you don't like beer, have a glass of wine.  I try to do this once a week or so, and it makes a difference.  Also, you're supposed to drink twice as much water when you're breastfeeding.  So instead of 8 glasses a day, you're supposed to drink 16.  I'm a huge water drinker, and I still struggle getting all of my water in, but the more I drink, the more milk I produce. 

    Remember that it takes 6 weeks to establish breastfeeding and build up your supply, so remember that there is an end in sight.  I know it feels like forever, especially at this point, but if it's important to you to breastfeed, it's totally worth it.  It's so much better for your baby, but don't stress yourself out about it, either.  There are tons of people who both breast and bottle feed.  If you're not getting the support you need from your husband or midwife, it can be tough, but you have to decide what is going to be best for you and your baby.  It gets easier, I promise!  Have your DH feed the baby a bottle, and you eat a snack, drink some water and take a nap.  I guarantee you'll feel 100 times better and you'll have more milk.

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  • Do whatever you feel is best for you and your LO.  If you want to BF there are things you can try to do increase your supply.  If you don't want to BF don't feel bad about it,  you have to do what makes you happy.
  • I am in the exact same situation as you.  I am trying to increase my milk supply without much luck so far.  It is really hard/time consuming to feed DS and then try to pump, especially since he always needs to be held (awake or sleeping).  We are bottle feeding breast milk when we have enough and formula the rest of the time.  I am pumping as often as I can, though that only happens anywhere from 3-6 times a day.  My lactation consultant recommend a tea called Nursing Time Tea to help increase milk production. 

    This situation is very frustrating.  I wish I could BF and wonder if there would have been anything else I could have done differently.  But it is what it is and we are doing the best we can.  You should do what you think is right for your family.  GL!

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  • I had the flu for two weeks after Peyton and I got out of the hospital and it dried up my milk supply, the nurse I was seeing was making me feel like crap about it as well but we had no choice but to switch to formula, it was hard and I felt like I was a terrible mom but it is much easier and I can actually sleep now! Do what is best for you and baby.
  • I went to a lactation consultant who weighed the baby, let me nurse for five minutes, and weighed the baby again. He was 1.5 ounces heavier. So I knew he was getting plenty of milk and just crying. Now I make more of an effort to calm him after nursing instead of feeding him more. But I understand that's very stressful. You don't want to feel like you're starving him. Also, people either pushing formula or breastfeeding make the stress worse. Ask them to do the weighing thing so you know it's alright.
  • Whatever you decide to do is the right decision! It took me a long time to make peace with my decision to quit pumping, but I know that I am a better mother for it now. My son was born at 34w4d and spent 20 days in the NICU.  I pumped 8-9 times a day and tried to BF when I could while visiting him, but my milk never came in and he never quite got the hang of nursing. Eating from a bottle was easier and even that was hard for the little guy!  I tried acupuncture, chinese herbs, milkmaid tea and brewers yeast- and nothing seemed to help.

    Once he came home, the stress of trying to nurse, feed him a bottle and then still  pump was just way too much for me. Add on thrush (for both of us) and postpartum depression and I was a mess.  I made the decision to quit pumping and go exclusively to formula.  I have more time to take care of myself now, which means that I am better able to care for DS. He is fine and will be fine.

    Keep in mind that your DS got the most important milk that you could give him and helped to get him started.  Good luck to you and if you do decide to quit, that is okay!!

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