my story of primary lactation failure

I faced a challenge in getting pregnant w/ my first baby due to PCOS but we were able to conceive after just 3 months of clomid.  I had a terrific pregnancy & was able to relish my breastfeeding relationship.  I was proud of my body & what it was providing.  When I had my 2nd baby, I expected the same wonderful experience, but it was not to be had.  She lost too much weight after birth & through meeting with an LC, we figured out I wasn't making enough milk.  I was devastated.  I tried EVERYTHING to increase my supply, after all every resource out there says you can increase your supply if you do this or that.  But there was no change no matter what I did.  So I gave her what I could & supplemented.  This past year I gave birth to our son.  I had gotten pregnant w/o the help of medication this time & I took goat's rue to encourage breast tissue development.  I was confident this time would be different because I was being proactive & my hormones had obviously made some sort of change.  but once again I was devastated when my son wasn't gaining weight.  I met w/ several LC's who seemed very perplexed as to why things weren't working.  I once again tried EVERYTHING from prescription medication to herbs & supplements, extra pumping, etc.  My supply would not increase.  so I give what I can.

At least weekly (if not more) I go through the mental battle of deciding if I want to continue because it's so frustrating & exhausting at times.  And every time I decide to keep going & try once again another method to increase my supply that the resources suggest.  But nothing works & I just get more frustrated.  I finally came across some articles discussing primary lactation failure.  Low & behold I think I found my problem.  It's most likely related to my PCOS.  Why I was successful w/ my first baby & not the other two confuses me, but I definitely fit the profile of primary lactation failure.  I think one of the frustrating parts of this has been that all the breastfeeding resources out there don't really acknowledge this problem.  You just see over & over all the things to try & that if you signal your body to make more milk it will.  Well sometimes it doesn't.  The percentage of women who have this problem is small but I know how incredibly hard this has been for me, so I thought I'd put this out there for others who are possibly struggling w/ the same issue.  It doesn't fix the problem, but there's a small amount of comfort in knowing that it's not my fault.

I continue to struggle w/ the choice of sacrificing hours everyday to pump as much as I possibly can for my son.  It's inconvenient at times & takes me away from family time. But for now I march ahead doing my best.  I know someday I will decide it's time to quit but today is not that day.  

Re: my story of primary lactation failure

  • edited December 2014
    But for now I march ahead doing my best.  I know someday I will decide it's time to quit but today is not that day.  

    Quote fail but WSS ^. I'm sure your experience will help another mom on here and hang in there!
    [Deleted User]
  • Thank you for sharing. I am 12days post partum with my first and have had to supplement due to the baby's weight loss and am thoroughly convinced I am not making enough milk for her. I have a LC coming tomorrow morning. Hoping she can shed some light for me.
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  • They say it is very rare women aren't able to produce enough milk for baby & it's certainly harder to tell what they're getting when you breastfeed.  I don't know how many times I read that it is often perceived we aren't making enough milk when we actually are.  But obviously if your baby is losing weight they're probably not getting enough.  there could be other factors like poor latch & I encourage you to explore every avenue, but I also didn't like the fact that the breastfeeding community doesn't even acknowledge primary lactation failure.  Here is a link to one of the articles I came across: 
  • Well I had my thyroid checked on the off chance that was the underlying issue, but levels were completely normal.  Pretty much everyone tells me they give me credit for keeping at it this long & maybe it's time to just give myself a break & switch to formula.  But I'm stubborn & it's unacceptable to me that there isn't some reason & therefore solution to my problem.  I'm completely out of ideas though.  I've talked to my Dr & LC's and spent countless hrs researching online to no avail.  I feel completely defeated.  
  • I believe they just checked the thyroid.  What other hormones do they check?
  • I posted earlier today that I almost quit but had changed my mind & wanted to continue pumping but after getting a mere 1/2 oz all day, I think today is the day I finally let go. It has been a heartbreaking journey for me. I wanted nothing more than to share the special bond of breastfeeding with my 3rd & last baby. I was so confident this time would be different than the last, perfect like my 1st but it was not to be. I tried so very hard but my body just couldn't get it right. Some was better than none & I gave him almost 4 months before we introduced formula. I'm still grieving the fact that I couldn't nurse him & that the pumping just got to be too difficult for me to maintain. But at some point I have to let go. I can't live to provide milk. For the other mommies struggling out there I applaud your efforts & encourage you to keep up the good work. Try not to beat yourself up as much as I did when things aren't going as you want. It's ok to be disappointed but it's not ok to punish yourself either. I never thought I'd struggle so hard over this but I have & still am a little.
  • I'm so sorry that you have to face this. In the end, I think the choice was made for you. You are an inspiration. Great job, you should be proud of yourself. 

  • I'm sorry for your struggle. You're doing a great job, mama!
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