Past Breast Feeding Issue - HELP

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2012
Past Breast Feeding Issue - HELP
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 11:15am

Hello everyone!

I have two children, ages 11 and 6, and had a lot of trouble breast feeding at all. Both of them had to go on formula very quickly due to not gaining weight the way they should have (because I was not producing). With my youngest I treid eating well, sleeping enough, drinking plenty of fluids and even pumped a lot to try and sitmulate my production that much more....still...nothing. She wasn't gaining weight and the doctor said she needed to be on formula around 4 weeks of age. My finace and I are now discussing starting to try for another after New Years. I SO badly want to be able to nurse this baby and I am basically willing to try anything to be able to do so. I know that there are some herbs that I can take, teas to drink and even some presctiptions that can be taken, but I want to take the right path as soon as possible.

Has anyone had any experience with any nursing medications or herbs in the past? How soon can I start taking them to help my production to be the best it can be at birth?

Thank you in advance for all of your help! I do appreciate it. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2008
Tue, 11-20-2012 - 8:27pm

Welcome to the board and thanks for stopping by!

I'm sorry you had troubles nursing your older children. When you had issues, did your dr. refer to do a board certified lactation consultant for an evaluation? Did the LC have any suggestions or ideas at that time as to what was going on? Are there LCs on staff at the hospital where you'll be delivering? Is there a La Leche League group in your area that you can attend while you're pregnant? Are there private practice LCs in your area that you can call on if you have troubles after discharge?

Do you have any health issues that might affect supply, like PCOS, diabetes, thyroid issues, hormonal issues or prior breast surgeries? Did you take hormonal birth control from early on by any chance?

Sorry to bombard you with questions! Hang in there!


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 11-24-2012 - 9:22pm

I too am interested to hear the answers to the questions Dana posed. I think it’s also important for you to know that each time you have a pregnancy you will grow more milk making cells so sometimes a mom who has problems with earlier breastfeeding experiences will do fine with later ones.

The most important aspect of producing enough milk is taking enough from the breast via effective and frequent breastfeeding. Here’s some information about getting off to a good start in the hospital.

Getting off to a good start with breastfeeding in the hospital,,96sbq5nv,00.html

Your diet and fluid intake is not really important in regards to breast milk supply. Yes, it’s a good idea to eat healthy and drink enough fluids to replace the fluid you are using to make milk because it’s good for you and helps you have the energy you need to take care of your family. However, a poor diet and poor fluid intake will not usually impact milk supply, nor will a healthy diet and drinking large volumes of fluids increase supply. As a matter of fact one study showed that over drinking can lower supply. So drink to thirst, and make sure your urine is pale not concentrated, through most of the day.

It’s really important to make sure your baby is latched well. A good latch will help the baby breastfeed effectively which helps the baby extract enough milk. When the baby is able to take the milk from the breast effectively the breast almost always replaces what is taken out. Here’s more on latch. (btw, did you have sore nipples with your other children?)

How do I know my baby is latched correctly?:

If you want to provide extra stimulation to milk supply you could pump and hand express after each breastfeeding session. It would be best to have a high quality pump and have the hospital lactation consultant show you how to hand express. If you opt to do that, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get any milk via the pump or hand expression right away. Hang in there anyway, it can take time for the body to respond to the pump but the stimulation will still be good.

If you had supply issues in the past it will be especially important for you to understand how to judge milk supply because I’m sure you’ll worry more than the typical mom (which is pretty much………..;-)……….)

Is my baby getting enough milk?,,8rr83zjm,00.html

Be sure you do lots of skin to skin cuddling. It can really help promote milk supply. I usually tell mothers to breastfeed at least every 2-3 hours. At 2 hours from the start of the last feeding place the baby skin to skin and start to watch for feeding cues like mouthing, eye flutters, hand to mouth movement, etc. Encourage the baby to wake up by stroking the baby’s back and playing with the hands and feet and breastfeed as the baby shows more signs of readiness. Be willing and expect to cluster feed a lot in the first week or so and then daily for several hours usually in the evening as describe here.

What's a normal breastfeeding routine?,,8n69dpmw,00.html

I’m not a fan of the teas, they are generally not strong enough to make a difference. If you are going to use herbs, the one that has the best evidence of effectiveness (which isn’t much) is fenugreek. You would need to take 3 capsules 3 times per day (9 total). It can cause some moms to have some diarrhea and of course as with any herb talk to your doctor to make sure it’s ok for you.

Avoid using a pacifier until you are sure your baby has established a good weight gaining pattern. Pacifier use can slow a baby’s weight gain and interfere with breastfeeding especially in the early weeks.

It’s also good to know a ‘normal’ weight gaining pattern. Be sure your pediatrician is using the World Health Organization’s breastfeeding growth chart, and not an older one designed by formula companies.

If your next baby is gaining slowly, it’s also not always the best solution to just switch to formula. Usually I would have a mom begin pumping and supplementing with expressed breast milk if possible while we work to figure out and resolve the breastfeeding issues.

It’s really rare for a mom to not produce enough milk. It’s almost always what we would call a ‘management’ issue like an ineffective latch, suck or not breastfeeding frequently enough or a combination.

Get back if you can with your thoughts after you read the information we provided and with answers to the questions from Dana and me.


Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte    

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2011
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 9:57am

I BFed my DD for over a year and I am now BFing my 6 month old DS. I tried the fenugreek tea and other herbal teas that were supposed to help with lactation. At least for me, regular fruit teas worked equally well. I think it was mainly about the warm and nice smelling liquid that not only hydrates you but helps you relax and calm down (not obsessing about if you're producing enough milk also helps ;) ) and not the magical ingredients.

Oh, I'm also a fan of 'lactation cookies'. Again, I'm not sure if they help with the actual milk production but they definitely are healthy and taste yummy. Good luck!

 BabyFetus Ticker