Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not producing enough breastmilk?!! :(?

I have a 7 week old baby and from the get-go I have had a little trouble producing milk. Refusing to use formula exclusively, and after his first 2 weeks, we began supplementing my breastfeedings with formula if he wasn't satisfied enough (I would breastfeed til I wasn't producing anymore for that period of time and my nipples were sore). He's always satisfied after I follow with the formula supplement. My friend recommended using lactation supplements, so I began using them and they worked (!!) but only for the first 2 or 3 weeks of taking them (til he was about 5 weeks). Recently he's been really unsatisfied with the breastfeedings (and I only produce enough milk for him if he skips a breastfed feeding). I cut out exercising and dieting for the past 2 weeks. I've been eating plenty of oatmeal as I heard it naturally helps with lactation and have increased my water intake. I have seen no improvements. He's unsatisfied the majority of the time, especially now that he has moved up to 4- 4 1/2 oz feedings.

I plan on seeing a lactation consultant soon. Did anyone else have these issues? What helped you resolve it? I'd hate to go to exclusive formula feedings but I'm starting to feel it's my only solution. It makes me feel inadequate as a mother...our body's are made to produce! Why isn't mine? :(

Answer on Not producing enough breastmilk?!! :(?

How do you know that you weren't making enough? There are only two reliable ways to know if your baby is getting enough milk - wet diapers and weight gain. If your baby was wetting at least 5-6 diapers a day and gaining weight normally, then he's getting enough milk and your supply was fine. See here: "Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?" http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough…

Many women mistakenly believe that their supply is low and then start offering formula, which causes a true supply drop. Offering formula reduces the amount of time spent at the breast, which sends a signal to the body to make less milk. Formula carries its own set of risks as well. See the following links:

"The Case For The Virgin Gut: Even the Occasional Bottle of Formula Has Its Risks" http://www.breastfeed.com/articles/issue…

"Just One Bottle Won't Hurt - Or Will It?" http://www.health-e-learning.com/article…

"What Should I Know About Infant Formula?" http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/milk/i…

"I only produce enough milk for him if he skips a breastfed feeding"

That's not how milk production works. Please read here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/milkpr… The more often you nurse, the more you make. Your body sees frequent breast stimulation as a signal that you need more milk, so your body starts producing more. Skipping feedings might make you feel fuller, but that is NOT a sign of how much milk you can make. You need to stimulate your breasts often and wean from formula supplements in order to build your supply back up. See the following links:

"Is My Milk Supply Really Low?" http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-su…

Weaning From Formula Supplements: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrea…

Your body *is* made to produce milk. Unfortunately, many women lack confidence in their body and become convinced that they're not making enough and start offering formula. Please, please see a lactation consultant and ask her to help you wean from formula and build your supply back up. I've done it, and I know you can do it, too.

Also, breast compression while feeding is a great way to boost supply and increase the fat content of your milk: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_…

ETA: You say that you feed him on demand, yet you also say that "I only produce enough milk for him if he skips a breastfed feeding", which means that you're not feeding him on demand. When he shows hunger cues, you should nurse him - don't skip feedings because your breasts will "feel fuller". The more you nurse, the more you will make.

Talk to your lactation consultant about using a supplemental nursing system to help wean from formula and give your breasts the stimulation that they need to boost your supply while you're eliminating formula.