Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breastfeeding Troubles

Lil' man is now almost 11 weeks old!  How time flies....

I had been looking forward to breastfeeding from the moment I knew I was pregnant.  I couldn't wait to share that bond with my baby and I knew it would be the absolute very best for him.  I took a breastfeeding class while I was pregnant and I read articles and blogs and books and any piece of information I could find to gain enough knowledge to try to make breastfeeding successful.  I went in knowing that it can be a very difficult journey for mommy and baby to get things just right.  I went in with an open mind, but still determined to make it work.

Once LM was born, it was time to put it to the test.  My expectations were blown out of the water.  From the minute he was placed on my chest in recovery, he bobbed around and latched on almost immediately.  I couldn't believe it - I had an overachiever and we were going to be just fine!  The next few days and next few weeks, things went wonderfully and couldn't be better.  (OK, that's a lie, whenever he latched on I had to prevent myself from crying and throwing something across the room because of the pain, but it went away shortly after and things were perfect again)  During my maternity leave, I started building up a supply of milk in my freezer.  I heart my Medela pump and my plan to successfully breastfeed (for at least one year) were laid out in front of me.  I felt so very lucky, this was wonderful!  I love the bonding with my guy and knowing that I am able to provide the most basic need a mother can for him.  He went from 9 lbs at birth to over 13 lbs at 2 months!  I had good milk and plenty of it!

Flash forward to seven weeks after LM was born - I started back to work.  The first few weeks of pumping were just fine.  Plenty for the next day and I was still able to build the stash in the freezer. 

This week, things are different.  My supply over the last few days has dropped significantly.  WHY!?  Eating the same, sleeping the same, drinking the same, stress level is the same.  What is going on?  I'm barely (or not even) able to pump enough for the next day which forces us to dip into our freezer stash that's slowly going down.  I'm worried I'm not producing enough to satisfy him in the evenings.  This causes more stress and probably does nothing to help my milk supply. 

Anyone out there have any suggestions?  I'm already pumping three times during the work day and feeding very regularly in the evenings.  LM is sleeping about 6 hours at night though, so feeding less often then.  I know there are products and supplements out there to help increase milk supply but I'm very wary before taking anything. (I'm open to suggestions though) It breaks my heart to think of supplementing with formula.  Anyone have any advice for a struggling mama?


~SALLY~ said...

Oh boy...I would seriously think about pumping every 2 hours while you are at work (when possible).(It's tedious, but needful). This should re-establish your supply.

After my son was born he was severely jaundiced and had to be formula fed EXCLUSIVELY for 4 days. During that time I pumped every 2 hours...around the clock and my milk supply kept going strong.

Also, I would check to see if you have a La Leche League leader in your area...they are WONDERFUL when it comes to breastfeeding issues. I am fortunate to have one around the corner from me and she is amazing!

That's my advice...hope things get better! :)

Tenacious V said...

I second finding a good La Leche League leader. Often they can talk you through your problems over the phone and come up with great suggestions.

Also, you might want to try pumping right after you feed. Or just feeding the little man as often as he'll take the breast.

I used to pump easily, but I kinda got a mental block around 4 or 5 months in. Now I can get barely an ounce in half an hour! Luckily my guy is a year now so I don't have to. Pumping is tough, hats off to the mamas who do it!

Natalie said...

I pumped a lot during Fiona's first few months and I noticed a dip in my pumped ounces around 2-3 months. At first, I thought my period was coming back (thank goodness that was wrong!). In the end, I'm not really sure what happened, but I do know that I ate a TON of oatmeal and drank water constantly and that seemed to help. Have you thought about seeing a lactation consultant? I also agree with the other should try to pump more often during the day if possible.

Whitney said...

Fenugreek is an all-natural supplement to help increase milk supply! No side effects on baby, and the only side effect for mom is that it makes you smell like maple syrup (seriously). I noticed a big increase within 24 hrs... some others it can take a lil while longer, like 10-14 days. Worth a shot!!

Monica said...

I would recommend increasing your pumping frequency at work and maybe going once at night while you are low. Evenings are the typical low producing times so don't try to pump then. Maybe add a pumping session early in the am. I was forced to take lots and lots of fenugreek when nursing my first son. I took max doses of fenugreek and ended up drying up by 6 months because I wasn't able to pump at work (I'm a medical student so no time off). Good luck to you and just keep nursing! I'm going strong at almost 9 months with my second son... and thank goodness for no fenugreek!

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