15% of nursing moms experience "Lactation Failure"

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
15% of nursing moms experience "Lactation Failure"
24
Tue, 12-20-2011 - 5:59pm

We have bated around the 3-5% number of women that cannot BF - now there is a new (at least to me) statistic - 15% are nursing impaired. What do you think?

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

The 4% quoted as having primary lactation failure certainly ties in well with the figure of 3 to 5% of women who cannot breastfeed. ie will always have insufficient or very low supply, no matter what they do.

This secondary lactation failure of 11% is attributed to various other factors - insufficient nutritiion, which I would think would be rare in the Western world. Poor milk supply management, which I would think is likely to be exceedingly common. Problems with the child sucking, which can happen, due to various causes, which may or may not be addressable.

If insufficient nutrition occurs in the western world, I wonder if it is because there is a small percentage of mothers who want to diet very strictly in the early days to regain their pre-pregnancy figure, and are not as concerned about breastfeeding? Or are not aware of the impact of a very low calorie diet could have on their baby?

Poor milk supply management - Often enough, there are questions from mothers who want their new baby on a stricter and more spread out routine, is this a factor? Or who are told not to be a 'human pacifier' and offer a dummy instead - yet the extra comfort nursing is part of the ways to aid supply. Or who fear low supply, so regularly top-up the baby with a bit of formula after every feed, thus sabotaging their own supply? Or who fall into the trap of thinking their baby should be able to go long hours at night, when that extra night feed or two or even three is needed by the baby.

I am sure the list of possible ways of poor milk supply management could be very long, much longer than this. Ultimately though, does it just boil down to lack of honest knowledge and therefore false expectations of what is normal?

Problems with the child sucking also can have various causes. Prematurity, tongue tie, even early and frequent bottles could cause the baby to suck at the breast in the manner in which they suck a bottle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2011
This is what happened to me! Omg I'm not crazy or just gave up too quickly! I tried everything and my lactation consultant had me feeling like a total failure.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2011
I can say for me, it wasn't for trying. The baby slept with us and I would nurse him on demand. I wasn't dieting and eating very healthy. He had a wonderful latch, I was never engorged, and had no letdown issues. My lactation consultant praised us both. He was gaining wright well...the appropriate number of messy diapers..I knew exactly when I was letting down. And I was throughly enjoying it. I didn't mind the lack of sleep...every two and half hours...it was special...

Then when he was around six weeks old, he would latch and fuss...relatch and fuss...

This went on and on. My lactation consultant told me I was doing something wrong. I was lying to her...she said I would just make enough milk. She said maybe he was going through a growth spurt, but he lost weight! He wasn't urinating as much and he was oh so fussy...his ped gave him a urine test, thought maybe he had an infection, but he wasn't sick. Ears were fine, no fever...

That was it, I started giving him formula...what choice did I have?? His weight was back up, he was sleeping better, he was happy again. We continued to 'nurse' but it was mostly for comfort. Even that didn't last long.

My breasts never ached, never became engorged...ever.

With my second son, I was determined to make it work...everything again was wonderful. He was a total natural...then the supply just started dwindling. I was offering the breast, pumping...every two hours...round the clock trying to get a decent supply. The lactation consultant I had that time gave me a fancy electric pump to use.

Thirty minutes of pumping and it would yield maybe a half ounce of bm. Lactation consultant told me that pumping didn't always work...taught me how to manually express milk (we got less that way). Meanwhile my son wasnt wetting his diaper as much. She bought a scale and weighed him and he weighed less. She called other consultants...they recommend giving him expressed milk in a cup...his weight stayed about the same but he was wetting more...he wasn't thriving tho.

So, really this wasn't for lack of trying or help. My second son didnt seem to care where his meals came from, he would take a bottle as readily as the breast. He would nurse until both breasts were empty, then I'd give him a bottle and he'd generally suck down three or even four oz of formula.

My second consultant was a little nicer about it than the first. But the other ones blamed her and me...as tho she was incompetent and I was a terrible mom not interested in breast feeding my baby. When I told my consultants boss that I was now giving my baby formula, she was condescending and downright rude.

I really beat myself up over this. Now I read this article and I'm angry all over...
Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010

welcome

Welcome to the debate board. It's wonderful to see you posting here and I hope that you will stick around and post more often.

I am so sorry to hear that your lactation consultant made you feel like a failure. {{hugs}} Those early days, weeks, even months can be tough on a new mom and feeling totally responsible for this new little life can feel overwhelming at times.

I remember feeling like such a failure with my first son when I quit at 3 weeks. It left me determined to figure out where I went wrong and find solutions that would work for me with my next baby.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
I'm not negating your experience, but did you know that .5-2oz is the average amount a woman can pump? So really, it sounds like you were doing ok, but the scale wasn't. I've dealt with weight-gain issues in my son as well. I know how stressful it is. You did a good job in attempting to keep nursing!
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
I was nursing impaired, but I take responsibility for that. I had a rough start and EPed for a month, not getting my supply firmly established. I went back to work at 8 weeks, and don't respond well to the pump.

BUT...

I admit that many of our issues were caused by me. Do I wonder if having his tongue clipped would have helped? Sure. (Our LC said he had a posterior tie, but that no one would fix it.) Do I wonder if his reflux was part of his weight gain issue? Sure. But I know that working and pumping hurt my supply, even though I feed on demand and co-sleep. I'm willing to own that.

Does that make it easier? Not really. But I stuck with it, even when we were having to supplement 10oz a day of formula. I was willing to do whatever it took to keep my supply going. We eventually worked down to 2oz a few days a week. And now, at 15.5 months, DS still nurses at least 6x a day, even on days I work.

Secondary lactation "failure" is fixable, as long as the mom is willing to do the work.
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
cavenyee wrote:
I was nursing impaired, but I take responsibility for that. I had a rough start and EPed for a month, not getting my supply firmly established. I went back to work at 8 weeks, and don't respond well to the pump.

BUT...

I admit that many of our issues were caused by me. Do I wonder if having his tongue clipped would have helped? Sure. (Our LC said he had a posterior tie, but that no one would fix it.) Do I wonder if his reflux was part of his weight gain issue? Sure. But I know that working and pumping hurt my supply, even though I feed on demand and co-sleep. I'm willing to own that.

Does that make it easier? Not really. But I stuck with it, even when we were having to supplement 10oz a day of formula. I was willing to do whatever it took to keep my supply going. We eventually worked down to 2oz a few days a week. And now, at 15.5 months, DS still nurses at least 6x a day, even on days I work.

Secondary lactation "failure" is fixable, as long as the mom is willing to do the work.

I think that is true in many of the circumstances described. The ones under the umbrella of management. And that has to be part and parcel of the information. It takes determination, and a lot of effort as well as knowing what to do. And even knowing that in many cases it is fixable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2011
I'm not sure where you got the five ounce figure. It wasn't from me. :-) I got barely a half ounce when I pumped. Manually expressing yielded far less.

He would take 3-4 oz of formula after emptying both breasts. I continued to use my breasts as a pacifier, for my second son, even tho he wasn't getting anything.

edited to add a thanks..I really did try hard...wish I understood why, I had no health issues, blood pressure was great etc. there was seemingly no reason I wasn't producing milk.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2011
Thank you for the welcome! With my second child I was obsessed with making it work. I did herbs...seriously everything.

My husband and I are hopefully adopting twins. I would love the idea of relactating, but dunno....anyway, I do believe breast is best, but I also believe in doing what's best for the baby.

Hugsm
Mouse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Omegamouse wrote:
I'm not sure where you got the five ounce figure. It wasn't from me. :-) I got barely a half ounce when I pumped. Manually expressing yielded far less.

He would take 3-4 oz of formula after emptying both breasts. I continued to use my breasts as a pacifier, for my second son, even tho he wasn't getting anything.

edited to add a thanks..I really did try hard...wish I understood why, I had no health issues, blood pressure was great etc. there was seemingly no reason I wasn't producing milk.

Pages