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Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Message Board

Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Board Index

I just want to let you know that what you're going through is a lot more common then you think. The good thing about that, is that if you find the right people you'll get the help and support you need to resume breast feeding.

First of all. It is extremely rare to have a medical condition that prohibits a woman from producing an adequate milk supply. The reason that supply issues become a problem is almost always due to breast feeding mismanagement. I know this because I am going through something similar myself.

If you honestly suspect a problem with insufficient glandular tissue, then ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in such a problem. You can get one from your OB. I would also ask your OB to do a blood test to check for thyroid problems, as wonky thyroid after pregnancy/labor is quite common, and a big factor toward breastfeeding difficulties. As is a retained placenta, but you probably have noticed that by now (infection - fever).

If you have eliminated all of those as possibilities, then you need to look more closely at your actual breastfeeding. The fact that you said you had ANY leakage indicates to me that you did not have supply issues. Women with supply issues don't leak - at all. Leaking is an indication of excess milk/full breasts. Which leads me to my next point.. if you are not properly emptying the breasts at each feeding your body will make less as it's a cue that not as much milk is needed next time. Your body has an amazing ability to make exactly what your baby needs, so if your baby nurses more one day, you'll notice and increase in milk (and visa versa). Supply and demand.

A bad latch or poor ability to suckle can have this effect in a negative way - the less milk that is eaten means less will be made. Bleeding nipples is an indication of a poor latch. I'm sorry that your pediatrician told you to give formula to "rest" instead of referring you to a lactation consultant. That in itself will almost ensure BF feeding failure. Giving my daughter formula was the WORST thing we could have done. At least in a bottle.

There are a number of things you can do. I suggest you get in touch with a Le Lache League leader to get information on "re lactation". It IS possible for you to still breast feed!! I know women in my group who had to wait until their babies were 3 or 4 months old to breast feed. I also know of a woman who is successfully breast feeding an adopted baby!

You may also want to research the SNS (supplemental nursing system) or lact-aid. These are tubes that you tape to your nipple that will feed the baby either formula or EBM while you nurse. This kills two birds with one stone - nipple stimulation (which will produce milk) and supplemental feeding to the baby. You should also look into renting a hospital grade breast pump. These are the best for establishing a good supply as they are better at evacuating the milk then other pumps. And the above poster is right - pumping is not an indication of your supply. I'm able to feed my daughter at the breast, less then 4 ounces daily, and I'm only able to pump an ounce at time... if that. Being engorged is also not an indication of poor supply. Really, the only way to measure propper intake is to watch diaper output. If baby was having 5-6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period you were probably doing fine. Some women never leak, never get engorged, and never feel a letdown and are still able to breast feed.

There are also dietary supplements you can take - fenugreek, blessed thistle, oat meal, and PLENTY of water!! If you do get diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue, there are also prescription medicines.

I have been through the ringer when it comes to breast feeding, and my baby is only 13 weeks old. For 10 weeks I've been pumping at least 3 times a day, sometimes as much as 8 times. I nurse on demand. I drink a ton of water, and I take those stinky supplements. Finally, after a month of working to increase my supply (due to poor advice and support) I am almost supplement free.

I won't lie to you. It is HARD to re-establish a supply. I cry some days just from pure exhaustion and desperation, but I know deep down that I am doing this for a reason. I wasn't going to risk her health while I was pregnant, and I'm not going to do it now that she's born. But I'll tell you what, when I've had days like today with no formula, it is the BEST feeling in the world and is what drives me on. I've wanted to quit so many times I can't even tell you, and I would have had I not gone on a researching frenzy. I also thank the Le Lache League for their information and support. Even without going to a meeting you'll be able to get plenty of info to help you. I also wouldn't be able to do this without the support a very pro-breastfeeding pediatrician.

Good luck! You can do it!!

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