breast feeding - has anyone not had enough milk?

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  1. i didnt have enough milk with my 1st DD. i knew because she was so so unsettled, wasnt putting on enough weight and i could feel my breasts were not as full. this happened around week 5-6. i went on prescription tablets that produced milk and they worked really well and we were both happy and i fed till she was 6 months old when i decided to stop taking the pills and put her on formula because having to take 2-3 tablets a day wasnt natural either.

    My 2nd DD is 2 weeks old and i fear the same thing is happening, and i am shocked that it has happened so soon. since tuesday night i have felt like i havent filled up as much. she has been a little unsettled, but nothing like my first. im not sure if i should go back on the going to wait till monday and check her weight and give it a few more days to see what her feeding is like, then ill decide. i really dont want to go back on the tablets, but i obviously will if i have to.

    has anyone else experienced not having enough milk? what did you do?
  2. I had too low of a supply to bf my baby due to medical reasons. I pumped daily for months just to get a mere 5-10ml. Are you drinking enough water? If you're not sure, drink more! Try to get as much rest as you can. Are you eating some good balanced meals. Some people say have a beer, that is supposed to help, although I couldn't bring myself to try it.

    Do speak to a lactation consultant. They are worth their weight in gold. I met with numerous people in my attempt to bf and feel like they were a big help even though I was never able to produce more than 10 ml at least I was able to try everything they suggested.

    If you don't want to do the pills again but continue to have the same problem, you could always pump and bottle feed with formula. That's what I did for the first few months. It was time consuming doing it this way but I wanted to do all that I could for my preemie and bf is the best for her.

    I wish you the very best luck that someone is able to supply you with an answer so you CAN produce enough to feed your baby. I know it was devastating to me that I could not successfully produce enough to feed my baby and the guilt still lingers. I've shed too many tears over it and just wish everyone could produce the milk their baby needs.
  3. I would do what my doctor says, drink so much that you think you are going to float away.
  4. #4 Jan 28, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
    I didn't have enough either. You're going to get a lot of people who tell you that very few women truly can't produce enough milk, you just aren't trying hard enough, you need to latch the baby on more, blah blah blah. However, I have three friends in my peer group of moms (of about 16-18 moms) who had the same problem; one's milk never even came in (at all)! I saw three lactation consultants who all said that they have quite a few moms who have low production One said that at a recent international conference she'd gone to, the LCs were surveyed and most commonly said it was about 15-20% of the people they see (which is of course not the full breastfeeding population, since they're only seeing people who want help), and that was regardless of country.

    I think it really depends on how good a start you get and how effectively you empty your breasts at the very beginning. If you don't get all the colostrum out at each feeding and when your milk first comes in, it's a tough hurdle to overcome. There was a study that showed this very clearly with preemies:

    I was never able to provide 100% of my son's needs. He was little (4.5 lbs when we brought him home) and had a poor suck, so never emptied my breasts in those early days (wish I'd seen that study back then.) However, I felt like I had done every single possible thing I could and after a while just came to terms with it.

    I pumped exclusively. In the beginning, I pumped every two hours around the clock. After about 4 months, I went to every three hours, and then to every four hours at about 6 months because otherwise I literally couldn't even get out of the house. I was so paranoid about it that I set my alarm for middle of the night pumping until he was about 7 months old, even though he started sleeping through the night around 8 weeks. The one thing that made the biggest difference to me was switching from the Pump in Style to the Medela Symphony hospital pump; this doubled my supply from about 10 to 18-20 oz./day. I wish I'd done it earlier.

    I also used an SNS (supplemental nursing system), where you can provide the formula in a little tube next to your nipple so that you get the stimulation and hopefully increase production, but baby gets some formula and isn't so hungry. I found this very difficult. I tried two different nipple shields as well, since we thought we might need to get closer to the roof of DS's mouth. They were easier to use but not that effective.

    Other things I tried:
    - mother's milk tea
    - fenugreek (I know a lot of moms that this worked wonders for)
    - more milk plus supplement
    - domperidone (rx)
    - drinking guinness (which I think is repulsive)
    - acupuncture

    Oh, and the amount of fluid you take in has no impact on your milk production. It will replenish your lost fluids for your own body, but it doesn't increase your production.
  5. I pumped exclusively with #1 - no problems. When #2 came along, I had a flare of my ulcerative colitis and was not making any milk at all. Tried fenugreek, but I was so sick, that it didn't really help much. With #2's pregnancy, I started off prepregnancy at 140 lbs, and a week after I had her I was 128 lbs - I was wasting away. I think I was only able to pump for about a week, but I just was not getting enough for her.
  6. yep! me. i pump, nurse & FF. i use to feel so much guilt for giving my baby formula but thankfully i ended that insanity. i thought breastfeeding was going to be an automatic thing that happened between mother and baby and your body would just do what it's suppose to do. now don't get me wrong, i'm still amazed at what my body did to bring this gorgeous creature in my life, but it left me hanging in the milk department. :smile:
    i tried teas, drops, fenugreek & and lots of water. it took well over a week for my milk to even come in! in the end i figured some breast milk is better than none. :smile:
  7. I have a really low supply as well. My days are spent breastfeeding, supplementing with formula, and then pumping. It seems that I am getting a little more milk now but DS is refusing to BF for more than 10 min per breast. Honestly it's a lot of work to have him do more than 5 min per breast. I had a lovely lactation consultant who I now attend her group bi weekly where she weighs DS before and after feeds. She says I just have a low supply. I guess he really just prefers the bottle now. I've tried mothers milk tea, more milk plus, and fenugreek which gave us both horrible gas. Oatmeal is helping a little. I just have to accept that I have to supplement and be content with DS getting breastmilk with a bottle. I will say that renting the hospital pump really speeds things up!
  8. Yes initially for the first few weeks and during first 2 growth spurts, after that my body just regulates itself. Just drink more water for a couple of weeks continuously your milk production (along with herbs like fenugreek if you wish, not essential though, did nothing for me) would gradually increase.
  9. Girls, I am CRYING right now reading this...

    I have had the same problem and felt like such a crap mom because I couldn't provide for my daughter.

    With my first son I didn't know what I was doing and now looking back I didn't have enough milk. At all. So now that I know what had happened and I am able to read my body so much better this time around I have cried so many tears because of this same issue.

    So here is what I have concluded:

    1. I don't have enough milk at night, period.
    2. It is OK to supplement. At night, I mix breast milk with formula and she does JUST fine!
    3. I pump one side in the AM when DD nurses on the other side. (Today I got almost 3 oz!!!) Then I store it for when I supplement!
    4. If DD goes a long time sleeping, I PUMP! Then store for when I need to make a bottle in the evening!
    5. The more you nurse, the more you produce. I woke up one morning with no milk and bawled. I just let DD nurse as much as she wanted and the next day we were just fine!
    6. They say drink a beer. Whatever...I did just because I was sick of being told to! :smile: I think it worked a little?! Just that day, not long-term of course!

    And the biggest thing of all...

    Everyone has different opinions as to what works and what doesn't. I get SO jealous when I hear of mom's who never had to buy an ounce of formula. I wanted THAT to be ME. Now that I have relaxed and not thought about it so much, I have lots more milk and with the one bottle a day (of half formula, half breast milk) she is doing GREAT! It's me I am struggling with the most!

    As much as everyone says "Don't let it get you down" (if you do...) don't!!! We do the best that we can with our environment and schedules now adays you know! :smile: Best of luck...PM me if you need!!!!
  10. i had low-to-no supply both times. my first was hospitalized from being pre-term, and by the time we got home, she was 3 weeks old and there was just nothing there. up until that point, i was pumping and putting what little i got into bottles mixed with formula, she got some of my milk, but not much.

    with my second, i got more milk, but no way near enough to feed him his meals, so he got formula mixed with breast milk too. he also nursed a few times a day, whatever he got was good was my thinking. plus it was comforting to him, and would put him to sleep.

    don't give up. even a drop of breast milk would be a benefit to them. and i don't get the whole crusade against baby formula. your child will never know what they ate as newborns, and really as long as they are healthy, they won't care. so just do your best.
  11. Supplement with formula and don't beat yourself up over it. Your baby will be fine, and you should feel NO guilt over this! It's not a choice you made. It's just the way it is. And maybe just nurse as much as possible to see if that will stimulate your supply.

    I had the opposite problem. I produced so much milk that my babies would sputter and act like I was drowning them at times. Talk about feeling guilty.....:shame:
  12. BTW, when you are supplementing with formula, I would give baby the breastmilk first and then the formula afterward. At least in my case, I was sooooo paranoid about wasting any milk, and if you mix you run the risk of having to throw some out with that bottle if your baby doesn't finish it.

    And DO NOT beat yourself up over it. A lot of us were formula fed, and we're all just fine.
  13. I had to start supplementing at 5 months. Retrospectively, I should have started supplementing a lot sooner. I was really hard on myself, and both DD and I were miserable. Once we started supplementing, DD was so much happier, slept better, and gained several pounds quickly. She was never underweight but also never satisfied. Once I made myself get over the guilt- we were so much happier.

    Like other posters, I was making homemade oatmeal every morning, drinking mother's milk tea, taking fenugreek, and drinking plenty of water.

    I think my supply was due to making a few mistakes. The first mistake that I made was following the Babywise philosophy. I tried to get DD eating every three hours too soon. For the next baby, I will feed on demand. The other mistake I made was not pumping when DD was given a bottle of expressed milk. My mom visited us for 2 weeks after DD was born. To help me get some sleep, my mom gave DD a bottle of expressed BM and I would go to sleep until her next feeding. I didn't pump during that time and subsequently my supply dropped. I hope by sharing this others can learn from my two mistakes!

    But seriously, don't beat yourself up. I think my supply even slightly increased after I stopped stressing and started supplementing.
  14. Okay, I didn't read all the responses here, but I just want to make sure you are aware of a few things.

    First, and foremost, if you want to supplement, or feel that you need to, that's perfectly fine, and there is NO reason why you should feel like a bad mother because of it. The end result is to get a full baby, so however you go about that is fine.

    Second...You will hear lots and lots of women say that they didn't have enough milk for their babies. I'm sure they truly believed that, and yes, there are small percentage of women out there that really do not produce enough milk, but these women are few and far between. Our bodies were designed to make milk for our babies, plain and simple. It's a real shame though, that women have such a hard time finding the proper information and support regarding nursing!

    Here are the problems that women encounter that make them doubt their bodies ability to provide milk for the baby.

    1. You can't see the the milk, so it's hard to know how much the baby is getting.

    2. After your body adjusts to the demands of the baby, you can't really feel the milk either. In the beginning, you experience engorgement and so you know your breasts are full of milk. But the body makes milk based on supply/demand. After a few days your body gauges how much milk the baby is taking, and will adjust production accordingly. So, you aren't SUPPOSED to feel full anymore. If you DO feel full, it means that your body is out of sync.

    3. Proper support for those that are breastfeeding is not exactly easy to find. Most women will go to their pediatricians with breastfeeding concerns, when in fact, doctors get VERY LITTLE training on breastfeeding during medical school. Any information they receive on it aside from the tidbit they get in school is attained on their own. The sad fact is that a lot of them don't bother with it. Misinformation regarding breastfeeding runs rampit.

    So here's what you do -

    1. Drink TONS of water and eat a good, balanced diet.
    2. Nurse anytime the baby wants, and for as long as he/she wants. Forgo any ideas of a schedule right now. Schedules don't work with breastfed babies. Not in the beginning anyway.
    3. Pay attention to how many wet diapers are present.
    4. Does the baby's skin look healthy? How about the eyes? Are they bright? You can tell a lot by just giving your baby a good once-over.
    5. Is the baby putting on weight? *I know you mentioned this in your original post. It is also important to note that breastfed babies typically DO NOT put weight on at the same rate as formula fed babies. But as long as the baby is gaining, you're good.*
    6. As hard as it seems, the very best thing to do is just to make sure you're drinking and eating enough, and nurse on demand, and typically your body will take care of the rest.

    I have two boys, ages 5 and 8 and I nursed them both exclusively. I had a very rough time with my oldest in the beginning, but we persevered and I nursed him until he was 14 months, so I speak from experience. If you want, feel free to PM me anytime! Good luck!
  15. I'd love to have a conference call about this topic! LOL!!! I know I have SO many questions and just want to know if what is happening is "right" or "wrong" or if I am doing something wrong or if in fact all is well!!! I LOVE being a mom, and I love this gift and just pray that I am doing all that is right for my lil' lady!