Pumping, supplementing, and supply ?? (long) — The Bump

Pumping, supplementing, and supply ?? (long)

LO was one month old yesterday.  At his 2 week pedi visit, he had gained back his birth weight and then some.  At 2.5 weeks I went to a hospital BF support group because I was still having severe nipple pain when he nursed.  I learned there that he was only getting less than one ounce per feeding, and made an appointment with a LC.  It was this same day that I started antibiotics for mastitis.

At 3 weeks, I had the LC appointment and rented a hospital pump.  LO had lost weight - he was back a little below birth weight - and was constantly hungry.  I started nursing, then pumping, and feeding LO whatever I was able to pump.  This was often less than an ounce - he was still hungry, so I started making up the difference in formula.   I am using a nipple shield due to the severe pain.  

Now, I am over the mastitis, and still working with the LC.   I am still pumping after LO nurses, in order to empty the breasts and give him whatever milk I can pump.  My supply was severely tanked, but it is starting to come back.  We've determined that LO has some degree of a posterior tongue tie that is preventing him from getting a good effective latch, and have an appointment next week to have that evaluated and corrected.  

He also has a severely clenching bite, which is causing my extreme pain when he nurses (he literally flattens my nipples if I do not use the shield...and sometimes even with the shield on) and we have a physical therapy appointment the week after to address this.  This and the tongue tie are also preventing him from effectively transferring milk, despite the fact that his suck is pretty strong.  (I am doing some minor exercises with him in the meantime, as suggested by the LC, to try and help loosen his jaw.)  

I am still having to supplement with formula - now that LO has gained back his lost weight, it seems like his 3 week growth spurt has come a week late and he's making up for lost time by eating more.  My milk supply is starting to come back up, but it is taking its good old time doing so.  

I had planned to exclusively ecologically BF, so this has been a *major* blow.  (I didn't even plan on owning even a manual pump.  I cried for days.) Has anyone else been dealing with anything similar?  If so, how long did it take you to be able to exclusively BF once all the underlying issues were resolved?  


I think I am looking at having to use the nipple shield and pump until LO's jaw issues are worked out, even if I can get my supply back up to where I no longer need formula.  Does anyone have experience with supplementing?  Do you think I will be able to stop needing the formula any time soon?  Any tips for increasing my supply?  The way things stand now, LO will be almost 7 weeks until we can get in to see the physical therapist, although I am #1 on the cancellation list for an earlier appointment.

I'm also guessing that I can kiss my dreams of BF-induced infertility goodbye and plan for a visit from AF in the near future? 

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Love 06/2005 | Marriage 05/28/2011 | Baby! Peanut born on his due date, 9/30/12 Anniversary Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Re: Pumping, supplementing, and supply ?? (long)

  • I have no advice better than what's already been given. Keep doing what you're doing, hang in there!

    And the period thing...it's a crap shoot. I practice pretty strict LAM, and I started my period yesterday:(

  • Sounds like you're doing everything right.  Just keep up the good work, and you should make it through just fine.  I know it's hard right now, but you can do this!  GL mama.
    TTC with PCOS since November 2009
    IUI#1 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 3-7) = BFP, m/c
    IUI#2 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 5-9) = BFN
    IUI#3 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 3-7) = BFP!
    beta #1 11/23 = 270, P4 = 75
    beta #2 11/28 = 2055
    Our daughter E was born 7/29/2012!
    Surprise, our 2nd daughter P was born 5/22/14!
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  • My story isn't exactly like yours but very similar!  My issue wasn't latching issues but rather she just wasn't very efficient. She lost 12% of her birth weight, she was jaundice and had to be put on a bili blanket.  I was nursing 10 minutes on each breast and pumping for 10 minutes then feeding her the expressed milk.  She still wasn't gaining so we had to supplement with formula.  Meanwhile the more we gave her the bottle the less she nursed until one day she refused all together.  I ended up with mastitis and my supply was very low.  I worked with lactation consultants and we've seen an OT, she is just "disorganized' when it comes to eating. She isn't that great with a bottle either but she manages.  I also rented a hospital grade pump, I am taking Lactate Support by Gaia and Domperidone.  They have helped.  I'm also eating oatmeal everyday and pumping 8-10 times a day and try to make one of those power pumping at least 5 times a week.  She will latch and nurse a little bit but never enough for a feed. :She gets frustrated if she's really hungry that it doesn't come out fast enough.  DD is currently 6 weeks old and we did get to a point at 3 weeks where we didn't have to use formula at all, but then last week she went through her growth spurt and we were back to using formula. But I think my supply is up enough where we can stop that after today. However, I still do not have enough to freeze any, but I'm working on it!  

    If you aren't taking any supplements I would start. I was taking More Milk Plus by Motherlove but the LC recommended Lactate Support by Gaia which worked better. If your OB is open to a prescription the Domperidone helped quite a bit.  Also, just pump, pump, pump.  The pump isn't as effective as the baby so you need to pump more if you want to increase your supply.  I was at 8 and just able to barely keep up and have upped it to 10, which seems to be helping.  Power pump if you can (10 minutes on 10 minutes off for an hour), that does help. 

    Do not beat yourself up about this.  This is my 3rd child, and I exclusively BF my first 2 for a year each.  I did go back to work and had to pump then but when I was with them I nursed. And the only supply issues I had at all was with my first daughter when I returned to work and had to supplement with formula for a couple of weeks and even then she only received 2oz a day at the most... then I got my supply up by taking just a simple herbal supplement and I was back to producing enough.  I never thought I would have this issue and be in this situation with my 3rd child after being successful with the other 2. I wasn't a rookie, I did all the things to set myself up for nursing success and she just isn't efficient enough, there wasn't anything I could do. I cried for 2 weeks about this, I was a mess. I'm over it now and am just focusing on trying to give her the best I can. It's so much more work than just BFing, and while it's not ideal it's still getting her mostly breast milk which is the best.  I'm going to try to do this as long as I can. Also, from some research I've done I've heard of some babies who start nursing again later. One mom's LO was 5 months and she quit EPing,  so there is hope that our LO's will get it.  Also, I definitely think you can produce enough to not have to supplement, it will be a lot of work but you can get there. From what I've read you need to be diligent for the first 12 weeks about pumping 8-10 times a day.  Then once your supply is established you can start to drop pumps.  Also, my understanding is that you receive all of the same benefits from breastfeeding when you pump... delayed period, weight loss, and all of the other health benefits!  Best of luck and you are not alone :-)


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