How to Increase Milk Supply

I have an 11-and-a-half-pound, five-week-old baby who needs more breastmilk than I am currently making. I had a postpartum hemorrhage, and my hematocrit dropped to 17 (I refused a transfusion). As a result my milk was slow to come in (it took seven days) and remains insufficient.

I have to give my baby 12 to 18 ounces of formula every 24 hours. I always breastfeed her first and give formula afterwards only if she is frantic. She breastfeeds every two to three hours around the clock. She usually sleeps only one-and-a-half hours after a feeding and has just one dirty diaper a day. She wets eight to 10 times a day. I think the formula is constipating her, and I desperately want to give her only breastmilk. I drink almost a gallon of water a day and am about ready to give up on breastfeeding. What is your advice?

-- Kim

Question:

It sounds like your baby's eating and sleeping patterns are normal for a five-week-old. Breastfeeding often is the best way to increase your milk supply. If you feel she needs the formula supplement, try feeding her with an alternative method (cup, spoon, eyedropper or nursing supplementer), so that your breast will meet all her sucking needs. Offer the breast in place of any pacifiers or artificial nipples she now uses. You may try offering both breasts a second time at each feeding. This will help your supply to increase. Your baby should have at least one dirty and six to eight really wet diapers a day.

Contact a local LLL leader by phone for more information and support. Local group information is available at the LLLI Web site at http://www.lalecheleague.org/ or by calling 1-800-LALECHE.

Most likely you can increase your supply, cut back and then eliminate the supplements. It may take a little while, but it is possible.

-- LLLGeoanne

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