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Diminishing Milk Supply

  1. #17
    jools is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Discovery Bay

    Dear mammalicious,
    I will try and answer your questions as best I can and hopefully will be of some help.

    1. Your breasts are constantly producing milk. The only time they stop producing milk is when they are engorged and there is 'effectively' no more room for the milk. So if you have pumped from both breasts and you find that your baby is 'asking' for milk then it is absolutely fine to put her to the breast and she will get a full and satisfying feed. If it helps I have done this myself especially with my son, who would often catch me on the hop and he is now a thriving three year old who is at the top of the scale for his growth charts.

    2. This is only my opinion but I find the idea of fore and hind milk can be a little confusing. I often think that it is a concept emphasised by the medical profession to ensure that babies are not taken off the breast too soon. I have never had an issue with fore and hind milk and actually never really consider it. If the baby takes herself off the breast after a feed, then as far as I'm concerned they have been satisified. You are quite right breastfed babies do not need water to drink. The idea of giving water to a baby is for those who are bottle fed. In the past babies have been given extra formula in their bottles (either by accident or because the Mum thinks that an extra top up might be a good idea), which can be dangerous and therefore, the blanket advice was given that babies should be given water in order to 'water down' any excess formula.

    3. You're right an hour and half can be a long time to feed. Firstly I would say try, if you can, to not to look at the clock when you're feeding. Again the medical profession can be obsessed with timing. I remember being told, ten minutes one side and ten minutes the other; this advice would have worked great for my daughter as she stuck to this pattern but my son was all over the place. When you're feeding your baby watch her to see what she's doing. When she's getting the milk from a let down, she'll probably be gulping as the milk's coming in quite quickly and then she'll slow down as the flow tails off. With both my children I have left them on the breast for a little while after the major gulping has finished for two reasons: 1) Although I personally only ever feel the first let down, you can have alot more let downs during one feed, so they may not have finished, therefore, I would give them some time to make sure they have; 2) I feel there is also a place for comfort suckling. If you're happy and the baby is obviously happy getting some 'Mummy and me' time, then in my opinion why not? My son always used to take himself off the breast right from the beginning. My daughter now she's older can take some convincing, so after I'm sure she has taken a full feed then I take her off.

    In the early stages breast feeding can feel time consuming. I know my son went through a growth spurt at about 3 weeks and I must have fed him every hour for about twenty four hours. As they get older the number of feeds will go down and you won't feel like you are permanently stuck in the chair. The way I got through those first few weeks and months with my two, is to think, in the grand scheme of things, this is such a short period of time. It doesn't last for ever and it's a wonderful time to spend with just you and your baby. I never saw it as time I could be doing something else, rather time I can spend with my baby. I also have got very adept at reading a book with one hand and breastfeading at the same time (I've read so much since feeding). When my son self weaned at 16 months I was really quite sad because we would no longer be spending that time together.

    I'm afraid I can't really help with the pacifier as my two never used them (my son sucks his thumb and my daughter doesn't use anything). One thing that might be worth checking is to make sure your baby is fully winded after a feed. I know on a couple of occasions, usually at night when I was too tired, if I didn't wind them properly then they would be fussy when I put them down. I would pick them up have another session of winding and low and behold out would come this enormous burp.

    I hope that helps. I know this time can be very stressful. Remember that your body is built to do this and try to relax if you can. Give us a shout if I can do anything else. It might also help talking to people in person. I know that the La Leche League has really helped my when I've got stuck, you might want to contact them.


  2. #18
    mammalicious is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    hong kong

    I have just received a scary email from my cousin.. and wanted to share this and ask if my baby is very fussy.. should i consult a professional just to make sure?

    When her sister-in-law's second baby was born, she thought nursing was going fine because the first one was so easy to nurse. Long story short, when the baby was 5 months old, she had breathing, swallowing, reflux problem as a result of the Specialist at the Childrens' hospital figuring out that the baby was dehydrated because there was not enough milk from the breast. For 5 months, the doctors kept saying she was fine and would grow out of her fussiness as she had no signs of dehydration and her weight was fine. But after 5 months, they stuck a scope down her throat and realized she could not swallow because she was so dry! The mom had NO idea her milk supply was low because she had let down and was able to pump! The child is now 2.5 years old and has some very serious medical problems-one of them related to the brain and she is a special needs child.

    my daughter's pediatrician had suggested I supplement formula when we were still in the hospital about the 3rd or 4rth day because she had jaundice. however, the nurses told him that I appeared to have plenty of milk. When I saw him with my baby girl at her 8week chk up for shots, I asked for some info about supplementing formula. He seems perplexed as to why I would want to do so if I have enough milk.

    Although my baby has about 6-7 wet nappies a day and 3-4 dirty nappies (she is now 10weeks old).. the story above is making me once again re-evaluate my situation as I have several times questioned my supply of milk due to her fussiness.

    Im really not sure what question I am asking her.. more I suppose if anyone has heard of such severe cases such as this? I just assumed that if my baby has an adequate number of dirty and wet nappies, that the fussiness surely could not be from not having enough milk...

  3. #19
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Hong Kong

    Dear Mammalicious,

    I think that you maybe aren’t getting the full story from your sister-in-law about what happened. I don’t mean to imply that she is keeping things from you but I know from personal experience when things go wrong with one of your babies it is difficult to remember all the details afterwards.

    There are a number of points in the story that aren’t cause and effect.

    1) If a baby is failing to thrive because the mother doesn’t have enough milk this is very apparent to medical professionals long before five months. The big danger signs that are looked for are babies that haven’t regained their birth weight by three weeks and babies that continuously put on less than one pound a month.

    2) There are lots of reasons why a baby or child might become dehydrated which are nothing to do with milk supply. It is usually because of illness, especially fevers and diarrhoea which use up the body’s natural fluids. A baby couldn’t live for five months if it was dehydrated the whole time.

    3) If a mother can pump milk then the mother has a supply of milk. The same can’t be said of the opposite because often mothers have milk but find it hard to pump the milk out.

    There are five things to look for to know if your baby is getting enough milk:

    1) At least six wet nappies/diapers in 24 hours
    2) At least two dirty nappies/diaper in 24 hours for babies under six weeks – over six weeks it is normal for babies to produce dirty nappies between a few a day or only once every 10 days.
    3) Baby should be putting weight on over a period of time. I would be looking for an average of one and a half pounds a month.
    4) Baby has good skin tone
    5) Baby is feeding between 8 and 14 times in 24 hours.

    Some babies are more fussy than others. If your baby is have lots of wet nappies, is putting on weight, looks healthy and is feeding a lot then your baby is getting enough milk. I would suggest reading the book, The Fussy Baby by Dr William Sears. I found it a great help when I was worried about my eldest daughter wanting to be held all the time. The big lesson I learnt from the book was that my baby needed me to hold her just as much as she needed my milk. Once I was able to accept this and stopped trying to push her away all the time we both became a lot happier.

    Best wishes,

  4. #20
    smu_hk is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Was HK, Now Syd

    Hi Mammalicious,

    I think I had the same issue as you, with a very fussy baby. [Up to now, still very fussy, I think each baby is individual, you can be sure that your baby is probably going to be more demanding than others, like mine :)] In the first 12 weeks especially! I remember I was so frustrated, it didn't help when my mother & sis-in-law was telling me to do all these things which were against what LLL would recommend. I also had the problem of her sucking for more than 1 hr, but it was the only way to keep her happy.
    She hardly slept during the day, awake most of the time, she needed to be carried/rock to sleep (yet another thing which I was told that I was spoiling her - otherwise, she won't get her nap during the day). I remember very well that there was a time when she was feeding back to back in a 24 hours cycle during the 3rd week, I really thought I had not enough milk - so my husband searched the net to make sure we were doing the right things. I was constantly told to supplement her with formula by family members -but my husband was determined to not let that influence me; in the end, I didn't and her weight was steadily increasing, it was evident that she was not underfed as they all thought!

    Plus on top of it all, I had sufferred Mastitis, I was so hoping to stop feeding her at the same time....but in the end - I persevered, after 12 weeks, it cleared, I was ok :)

    Oh, I also heard story similar to yours about a baby being over-dehydrated, thus mentally slow....but I had not gotten the full facts.
    It's stress you don't need during these weeks, don't worry too much! You should be ok. Actually, I did a lot of reading too while I was feeding her in those 12 weeks!

    All the best....Hope that helps.

  5. #21
    nycschatzi is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Midlevels, HK

    You are stressed about this. As your child is more than six weeks, do the best you can. Breastfeeding is a lovely thing to do, but it may not fit into your lifestyle. Continue pumping/breastfeeding as long as you are comfortable. The fact that you've breastfed your baby at all is a good thing and nothing to feel guilty about when you slow down/switch to formula. My daughter was breastfed longer than I was and we are both healthy people. Some friends were not able to breastfeed and their children are fine. It was harder for the moms vs. the babies. If you find that pumping is making you feel resentful (which I did-in the end I referred to it as "pump liberation") just move on to maximizing your time to enjoy your child and keeping yourself balanced. A less stressed mommy is a better parent. Good luck. Your child is fortunate that you care enough to really consider this matter.

  6. #22
    nikimom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Hong Kong

    as suggested by my lactation consultant, i drink lot of fish soup with papaya, take the fenugreek seed capsules daily (for 1 months now), and sometimes have some mother's milk tea if i want something to go with my cookies in the afternoon. my supply really goes up, i used to express 2-3 oz, now 6-7 oz and sometimes 9 oz. and my daughter used to only nurse for 5- 10 min, now she can nurse for 20-25 mins, i guess these reli works. but both my lactation consultant and i feel that we should continue with all these. and i 'm happy with that,
    but dont forget to nurse frequently even you are taking these supplements, so now, for every feed, i nurse my daughter on one breast while expressing the other, then i give her the expressed top up milk (she doesnt have the patient to empty even one breast)
    one last thing, mothers milk tea is sometiems out of stock, i'd usually get a feew boxes when i see them. and the fenugreek seed capsules, they are reli reli difficult to get. and its quite expensive, anyways, i think it works for me

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