I have a 4 yr old son
Thank you for the feedback and advice!! I do appreciate it and it's helping me figure things out. I probably should clarify that when I said I nursed her a couple times a day, her nursing is not so great...maybe 5 min (probably more like 3-4) each side and then she stops "actively" sucking. So, that's why I'm concerned that nursing instead of pumping may actually do more harm than good to my supply. But I think, based on your advice, I may try to continue pumping primarily with ocasional nursing like I was last week...maybe doing some of both will give supply a boost. And thank you for the advice about sticking with it until 12 weeks...it's helpful to know that there's still a good chance things could increase. What I was wanting to know is, did I still have good reason to hope that supply would go up so I could decrease formula supplement..sounds like there's at least a fair chance! hopefully things will pick up! Thank you again for the advice!!
Are you working with a good lactation consultant, because I would definitely do that if I were you. Your daughter is very young, and there's a VERY good chance that you could have an effective breastfeeding relationship with her. As far as your supply goes, I would nurse and then pump to remove the milk that is left. And while nursing got tons easier by about 3 months, in my experience pumping hasn't gotten that much easier. So pumping might be faster now, but if you kept working on the nursing relationship, you might find that to be the more efficient route for the long term.
Like your son, mine was also tongue-tied and we discovered at his two week appt that he had not gained weight. I had to start pumping that day and supplement with formula until I could get my supply up. I also started working with a lactation consultant that day. I kept track of his feedings and my pump sessions on a chart she gave me and I just looked back to see how my supply increased. I always pumped between 20 and 40 minutes, 5 to 7 times a day (usually 6) with a double electric pump and got 30 ml to 75 ml per session. It wasn't until I had been pumping for 17 days that I pumped over 100 ml but it steadily increased (until I got mastitis at 5 weeks). After one month of pumping I was producing between 60 ml and 215 ml per session. Keep up your hard work and you will see results but it may take longer than you expect. I was able to stop using formula to supplement by the time my son was 3 months old and at that time I was pumping 5 to 6 times a day for 30 min each.
Even though I stopped attempting to nurse (baby would try to nurse and then just scream and arch his back- not pleasant for either of us), I do think putting him to breast helped my supply while I did it. I also agree that skin to skin helps. Also, if your pump has a let-down mode, try putting it into the let-down mode after your milk has stopped flowing to see if you can stimulate another letdown. When I got mastitis my husband found me this great heating pad that was meant to warp around your back and I began to use that on my chest when I pumped. I don't know if it was the warmth or if it relaxed me but I think it helped with production. I also ate oatmeal 3 times a week for breakfast and oatmeal cookies, drank mothers milk tea, and took More Milk Plus supplements. I was determined. After the mastitis incident I would massage after pumping and try to hand express milk just to make sure there were no clogged ducts. I just expressed into a towel. I know this extra emptying helped boost my supply. I know it probably seems impossible to get, but several hours of uninterrupted sleep will also help. I always produced the most after a few hours of sleep.
It is so much work and I really admire you for doing it while having a four year old too. Keep up the great work, I have faith your supply will increase but it takes time. Even if you are giving formula to supplement, your daughter is still getting the nutritional and immune system benefits of breast milk with what you are producing.
Thank you so much for your reply. It's really encouraging to hear that initially your production was about the same as mine but did increase after a few weeks. I wasn't sure if it would take that long or if I was always going to just produce an ounce or two. And since I'm working my tail off and still having to supp. with lots of formula, I was getting really discouraged.
I do have one more question. You mentioned you initially pumped 5-7 times a day, but found the best results after a few horus of sleep. I think this is why I'm struggling so much...because I read that the highest prolactin/production is during the night hours (1-5 am I think it said), I have been getting myself up every 2 hours during the night to try to pump more (usually 3 times between 12 and 7 am)...yet, I am blessed with a baby that will usually sleep a 4-5 hour stretch during that time. So, in other words, I am getting myself up to pump and getting very, very little sleep even though I don't necessarily have to feed the baby at that time. I've been doing that b/c I was worried that if I cut back on the nighttime pumpings, then my supply would go down instead of up. What are your thoughts on that? How much did you pump in the night
I am working with a great lac. consul. I think the reason I have considered pumping instead of exclusive nursing is that, for whatever reason, my daughter is not an efficient nurser...only actively sucks for 3-4 minutes each side and was not getting enough (went down to 1 dirty diaper/day). My primary goal is to get her as much breastmilk as I can for as long as I can so when it seemed that her nursing exclusively wasn't going that well then I considered the pumping. Right now I'm doing a combination of the two in hopes that one or the other will take off; so, I haven't given up on the nursing but it is not really improving. But I appreciate your feedback very much! Good luck with everything with your baby!
Usually I pumped before I went to bed around 10 pm, my husband fed the baby at midnight while I slept, and I pumped with the rest of the feedings (3 am, 6 am, 9 am, etc). I usually only got one pumping in during those hours of 1-5 am. I did not learn about those being prime hours until I had been pumping a couple months. I just really tried my best to pump each time the baby ate and not to go longer than 5 hours between pumps. I do not know how people pump 8 and 10 times a day. I could only manage 7 sessions at the most.
Thanks for the info. That is helpful. I'm actually trying that tonight...I had my husband give her a supplement bottle when it was time for bed around 10:30 and I pumped. Then when she woke up at 2:30, I had him give her the pumped milk (2 oz) and form (2 oz) while I pumped. It is easier to just pump when she eats than to try to fit in pumps in between. I was getting NO rest and it was making me feel crazy and like giving up the whole thing completely. So I'm going to try this system for now of pumping when she eats and just pray that it's still enough to keep my supply up...I realize there's a risk that it may go down, but I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. I have to have some rest in between to be a good mom to both my baby girl and my little boy. Thanks for all the advice and support!
My supply was really low around 5 weeks it was about 12oz a day, what I did to get it up was my Dr put me on Dom so I took that for about a month and I also took fenugreek, and I had tried more milk pills(its expensive and fenugreek did the same thing) I always made sure to pump 8 times a day and that I got atleast 1 power pump in a day. I would pump when she ate, then during her afternoon nap I would try and pump closer together like I would pump every where for about 15mins. I have a two year old that would take about a 2 hour nap. So it was a great time to pump when I just had the one to keep happy. Then when my husband came home after dinner I would power pump.