Worried about ability to exclusively breastfeed


I'm only 13 weeks, but my husband and I have agonized over everything baby already. His biggest concern is breastfeeding. I personally want to exclusively breastfeed as long as possible and as often as possible. My husband is worried about being able to monitor/measure that I'm producing enough and baby is getting enough. He keeps trying to get me on board with breastfeeding and supplementing with formula (which I agreed to if we had problems.)

Anyone have experience with this concern? What about with not being able to produce enough-- how often does this happen? How can you tell if you're producing enough/baby is getting enough?

Thank you!

Re: Worried about ability to exclusively breastfeed

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    There is a way to measure how much your baby is getting, in the event that you're having supply issues, and that is a weighted feed. Your ped would weigh baby before and after you feed them and the difference is the amount of milk they take in. It seems like he might benefit from taking a class on breastfeeding with you. Many hospitals offer them.
    DD1: June '16 DD2: March ‘19 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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    I agree a breastfeeding class for you and DH will help.  For me, seeing a Lactation Consultant at the hospital right after baby born, and then a follow up or 2 at her office really helped.  She checked latch and did weighed feedings.  You can also watch wet diapers, color of urine, weight gain, etc.  You can even buy a special scale and do the weighed feedings at home- but I would start at the LC office.

    Try not to supplement, keep putting baby to breast.  If you do supplement, pump when you do, to tell your body to make more milk. And then try to supplement with your BM.  Also use a syringe or cup to feed- ask the LC to show you. 

    A good LC is so important in those early days, particularly if you have any challenges.  You want to get help asap if you need it.  Challenges can become worse the longer you wait to fix them.
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    If you aren't producing enough, it will be pretty clear in the first couple of weeks when baby isn't growing as quickly as they should.  I had this problem and needed to supplement with formula for a couple of months until I was able to catch up to what DS needed.  It was a pain to do all that extra pumping, but it worked.
    As long as your baby is growing well and having an appropriate number of diapers, it's safe to assume all is well.  And you go to the pediatrician often enough in the beginning that they'll notice any issues before they become big problems.
    Good luck!
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    Low supply isn't actually that common and often moms think they have low supply when they don't. As pp already said checking amount of wet and dirty diapers are a good indicator if baby gets enough milk or not. Weighted feedings can be done too. And your baby's weight and growth are being checked often in the beginning to ensure that issues like this will be discovered right away. If you really want to succeed with BFing you should get your DH to educate himself on the subject so he can be a support for you in this.

    As for practical tips 1) it's important to nurse frequently (more or less all the time for the first few weeks) in the newborn period 2) make sure baby has a good latch (look out for issues like tongue or lip tie) 3) remember to drink a lot of water (it's important for you to stay hydrated) 4) nursing is hard work and you need to be comfortable to avoid sore neck/back and more. Have lots of pillows for support and read up on different nursing positions and how they affect your body. 5) for your own sanity and comfort always keep beverage and some snacks as well as your phone, a good book (or whatever you prefer to read) and TV remote by arms reach. You'll spend a good amount of time doing this so might as well make it as enjoyable as possible 

    Wish you all the best
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    Thank you for all the replies! I feel better, and appreciate all of your insights!
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    I wonder if your husband has heard from friends or family who have struggled with BF.  In my experience most first time dad's don't know much about it and it's surprising he'd be so concerned about your supply.  

    I agree with PP suggestions and just try it and trust your body.  If you exclusively BF on demand and the baby is healthy without latch issues I'd expect you to have the right supply for what your baby wants and needs.

    It would help to have a pediatrician who is not overly focused on weight gain too. BF babies can go through times of slower growth and you'll want your dr to "look at the baby not at the scale".  If baby is alert, meeting milestones, peeing/pooping enough, there should not be pressure to double the birthweight by 3-4 of months.  My baby has never had any formula, all BF with pumped milk on my work days, started some solids at 6 months, and she didn't double her birthweight until about 7 months but she is very alert, active, and healthy.  My pediatrician says her growth is perfect (others might see a problem with a drop in weight percentile but some babies especially BF ones are just leaner!) 
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    I think what @mb0112 said about the pediatrician is really important.  When you're interviewing them, make sure to talk about their opinion on breastfeeding.  We've seen two doctors at the practice we go to and one is significantly more supportive than the other when it comes to breastfeeding.  Considering that I did have issues, having a doctor that could help instead of just telling us to switch to formula was very helpful.
    Also, some doctors offices will have a lactation consultant on staff - that's usually a good sign that they'll be supportive.
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    I agree with everything that the PPs have said. @mb0112 our LO is 5 months and still a couple of pounds away from doubling her birth weight. She is an active, happy, alert little social butterfly : )

    @jayandaplus it's really important for your husband to be educated and on board in order for you to succeed, and I can't stress enough the importance of you getting help from a lactation consultant if you have any doubt or issue at all.
    I struggled with BFing at first (baby had tongue tie and just a bad latch even after the surgery, my nipples were destroyed) so we had to alternate bottle and nursing at first to make sure the baby was fed and give my nipples a chance to heal. It's not uncommon to have to do this. But my husband wanted to keep supplementing with formula even after my milk came in, saying she was obviously hungry and not getting enough from me because she was sucking that formula down. I pushed back because i knew it was a crucial time for the baby to nurse as often and as much as she needed to and get my supply up to the right level, and feeding her formula would mess with that. But it's really hard because you're a hormonal, tired mess and no one wants to even think of their baby being hungry. Thank heavens we went to a consultant and she corrected him. And when she did the weighed feeding we could see she was getting plenty from me, and that put us both at ease. It just takes them longer to nurse as they get the hang of it, vs guzzling from a bottle in a few seconds.
    Now at 5 months my husband marvels at the miracle of breastfeeding and can't believe how content and healthy our LO is. Breastfeeding is more than just feeding, it's this magical, soothing, nurturing power! But the beginning is kind of brutal.

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    @lizbeth86 I was worried leading up to our 6 month dr appt that they might think she has not gained enough but our dr said she is growing beautifully! She has grown in height faster than weight but like you said she is active!  Babies who are eager to move burn more calories than laid-back babies.  I think temperament has a lot to do with it.  
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    Lizbeth86Lizbeth86 member
    edited December 2016
    Yes you may be right! My husband complains that our LO never just snuggles against us, she's constantly moving and pushing up and away from us to get a better view of what's going on around her. She shows affection with her big smiles but she only half snuggles while she looks around ; )
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