Should I give up breastfeeding? Do I have any other options?

Let's just start from the beginning...

DD is born, 7lbs 9 1/2 ozs, beautiful, healthy, perfect latch. Milk comes in before I leave the hospital, sore nipples but we push through. I love breastfeeding. First few days of being home I deal with a little bit of engorgement, think momentarily about breaking out my pump (now I wish I had) I use the excuse "what if she wakes up and is hungry right after I pump and there's nothing left?" Now here we are 7 months later and I'm considering throwing in the towel, as much as it pains me to say. Back to work full time, pump during the day, nurse at night. I pump 4 times a day every two hours and then I have to pump while nursing at night just to make enough to get through the next work day. DD feeds three times a day while I'm at work 3 ozs each, then every two hours pretty much around the clock after, I obviously have no way of knowing how much she gets "from the tap" but she always seems satisfied after. My pumping sessions usually yield 1 1/2 ozs very rarely 2, so on a day where I only get 1 1/2 each time I have to go home and make up another 3 for the next day. I'm popping fenugreek like candy, pumping more than anyone I know and I still cannot get an increase in my supply. I haven't even had to wearing nursing pads since LO was probably about 3 months, I used to get engorged just from the slightest little touch, now it takes 5 minutes of pumping before I have a letdown. I want to get back to those first months, I want a BM stash in my freezer, I would much rather be painfully engorged than counting every 1/4 oz. Am I doing something wrong? I am literally willing to try anything, I was so hoping to make it to a full year at least breastfeeding. It's hard work now, just scraping by each day by the skin of my teeth and I am willing to continue but I question myself everyday, if I should just give up or at least start supplementing, it would definitely be a stress reliever (not that i'm letting this situation get me too stressed, cause I know that's bad for my supply) Or if there is still some hope that I can get that supply up, again I'm willing to try anything, it's that important to me.

Sorry for the long post! I just don't want to leave anything out! I should add DD has started solids 3 times a day. 

Re: Should I give up breastfeeding? Do I have any other options?

  • I'm sorry that you're struggling, it sounds like you're working so hard!! There is no shame in supplementing, but if I were in your situation, I would probably do a power pump on the weekend or consider renting a hospital grade pump for a month before quitting or supplementing. I'm curious what others have to say. Good luck with your decision and getting your supply up to make your goal! You're doing great!
  • There is nothing wrong with supplementing or throwing in the towel.... You've done a great job so far, 7 months EbF is a huge accomplishment especially for a working mom!
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  • First, supplementing isn't quitting. With her still nursing so frequently while you're home, she'd still be getting quite a lot of breastmilk if you stopped pumping. I know how difficult it can be trying to keep up with them. I pumped at work until my boy was 11month, but he kept nursing until 19months. In my experience I found that oddly enough when reached the point, (I think he was around 7-8 months), where I gave up on trying to keep up with him & just said - "I'm pumping every 3-4 hours at work, you'll get whatever I can pump, then formula after that", he ended up needing much less formula than I thought he would. As they start solids, they need a little less milk.
    But some practical tips that might help:
    -Make sure you're getting enough food & water. Sometimes eating more can help supply
    -lack of sleep might be hurting your supply. Sorry, can't help there, but I completely sympathize.
    -pumping that frequently at work might not be doing much good. You might get as much with pumps 3-4 hours apart. I thought that sounded crazy when I first heard it, but it turned out to be true for me. By 7 months, your supply is pretty well regulated.
    -Relax as much as possible while pumping, close your eyes, don't watch the bottles, breathe deeply
    -Try breast compressions while pumping
    -Stronger suction settings on the pump aren't always better; less suction might actually yield more milk; (this actually wasn't true for me, but is worth a try)
    -Replace the membranes on the pump
    -if/when pumping at home, try pumping in the AM, rather than PM; you tend to produce the most milk in the morning. (And fattier milk at night)

    Good luck & as difficult as this is, relish the amount of control you have now. When she's two, she may decided to eat only dirt & specifically shaped chicken nuggets. For that, I have no advise but am open to suggestions
    [Deleted User]hidingangel82Summerlovin6411
  • I went through a period of time where I was pumping non stop and not getting any more milk and it was torture. I stopped doing the extra pumping at home and somehow still ended up with the same amount of milk at the end of the day. It still wasn't enough to keep up with how much she was drinking when I was gone but at least I was getting more time with less stress. We supplemented with formula starting at 8 months and she got 1 bottle a day and everyone was happier. I wish I had started supplementing sooner but I wasn't ready yet. I was able to continue breastfeeding until she was 17 months old so it had on impact on my ability to breastfeed as long as we wanted to. I was still pumping 3-4 times during the 11 hours I was at work but I never touched my pump at home. It was liberating. Whatever you decide to do I hope things get better!
  • PP's gave great advice. I was also going to suggest a power pump session..or two or three even. I haven't had to do it myself but I've read lots of success stories. Also, how often do you take fenugreek? And have you tried Mothers Milk/Milkmaid tea?? Try eating lots of oatmeal, granola. Drink lots of water and Powerade. Is your LO eating solids yet? At 7 mos I would assume so. So this would result in you not needing to produce as much to keep up with her dietary needs. It's hard to accept needing to supplementing but it's not quitting. 7 months EBF is amazing! The most important thing is to make sure your LO is fed and has a happy tummy and also that you aren't killing yourself and stressing to the max trying to keep up! Youre doing great!
  • Wow I am amazed at the support from everyone! Thank you all so much. Every day I tell myself I'm just gonna pump what I pump during the day and supplement what I need after that, but then the time comes to buy formula and I convince myself I don't need to yet. So frustrated, I know formula isn't "evil" like I keep telling myself but I can't get myself to try it. 

    The dirt and chicken nuggets comment made me laugh & then choke :) 

    Next, can any one explain to me the art that is power-pump? 
  • I kind of wonder if you're pumping near the amounts of what she is consuming because she takes less during the day when you're gone (3oz seems low to me but I'm not an expert) and then nurses more often once you return home so in essence she's getting what she needs in a day but nursing more frequently to get it. I wonder if you'd be able to encourage her to take more during the daytime when you are with her if she would space out her feedings.

    TTC since April 2011. DH Dx MFI in February 2012. BFP #1: 7.16.12. MMC dx: 8.22.12, D&C 8.28.12, TTC Again November 2012. DH Varicocele repair November 2012; Repeat SA showed "dramatic" improvement February 2013 (awesome!)
    BFP #2: 3.26.13, EDC: 12.7.13. Anya born December 9th, 2013!
  • Congrats on making it so far! I have to say with my daughter it was tough to keep going after I started supplementing, because I was having supply issues too. I wouldn't put off buying formula though! That little bit of supplementing could also ease your mind. Just know it is tempting to wean altogether once you start on formula.

    I would try power pumping on the weekend and see what happens. I never tried to build my supply back up and I wish I had.

    PS formula is expensive!
    Lilypie - (bDmZ)Lilypie - (SUYh)
    image imageimage

  • 24Trishap24Trishap member
    edited January 2015
    Have you tried drinking the Mothers Milk Tea 3x a day?? That worked for me after about a week...good luck momma! You are doing great!!!
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