Relactation after 12 days off the breast. Please help!

An area to discuss relactation and adoptive breastfeeding.
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Relactation after 12 days off the breast. Please help!

Post by MickeyB » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:04 pm

This is my fourth attempt at breastfeeding and I haven't had a lot of success for a variety of reasons, supply, attachment, lack of help from many professionals.

Anyway, this time I tried to get as prepared as possible. I looked into attachment, positioning, herbs and foods for good supply etc. We got off to a good start, some attachment issues like last time but I actually got to talk to a midwife with some experience and she showed me what I was doing wrong and by the end of the second week we were doing fine, the grazing had healed on one and was healing on the other, bub was gaining weight well etc

But then it all fell apart. I got incredibly sick, sorry if TMI but I had chronic diarrhea for 2 days straight, became severely nauseas, couldn't eat, was very dehydrated & my milk supply was affected. I was also too weak to physically feed bub. Everytime I sat up I was blacking out, I tried to feed lying down but he wouldn't latch on, and in the end out of sheer frustration we swapped to formula. It took four days to be able to function again and get some strength back and by that time my milk had dropped massively and I didn't think I would be able to get it back. I did attempt to get him back on the breast but he was fussing about and wouldn't latch on properly. I put it down to nipple confusion with the swap, and thought it best to just go to bottles. I probably should have just started expressing, but didn’t think my supply was decent enough to bother with it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, it's been about 12 days now on formula and he has become extremely refluxy. He's vomiting up whole bottles 1-2 times a day, even with medication, and he’s not really gaining weight well, although he is doing all the right things with alertness, wet nappies etc I am just thinking that he would be better off on breast milk, not just for the obvious reasons, but because his reflux was nowhere near as bad on the breast. Also I really enjoyed feeding him, and felt really positive that I finally had gotten it right, if it weren’t for getting so ill we would still be feeding now.

So what I wondered was, is there a way to get my supply built up again? I do have milk there, not a huge amount, but it's there. At the last feed I just did this afternoon I gave it a go to see if he would latch on and he did with no problems and had a good suck, so I'm guessing that's half the battle won. But I'm basically more concerned about supply, is it possible to build it up again? Will it build back up to a proper amount for exclusive breastfeeding? Have I left it too long?

And just how I go about it? At the moment he's feeding every 3 hours during the day and doing a 6 hour break at night time. I thought if I offer each breast for about 20mins before a bottle and then top off with a bottle to start with and then hopefully he will be taking less bottle over time as my milk builds up and fills him up more? Does that sound right?

I tried expressing last night with an brandname manual pump but couldn't get anything out at all, my breasts seem to be too soft and it just wasn’t sitting on there properly. Should I keep persevering with that and perhaps at the 1.5 hour mark between feeds try expressing what I can?

I’m going to start taking the Fenugreek tablets/tea again as of tonight, is there anything else you can recommend trying? I was having a cup of malt drink each day, which I have read helps supply (similar to energy drink), having porridge for brekkie, and I also have a recipe here for Lactation cookies which I am more than happy to bake and give them a try.

Hopefully someone can help, I feel a bit silly even asking about the possibility, I’ve never heard of anyone that I know doing it. But I’d love it if I could at least try. Anyway, any help at all would be really appreciated.

Thanks for your time
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Post by milaha » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:10 pm

Hi MickeyB! I'm no expert and I never relactated, but I do have low supply and managed to reduce the amount of formula I give DS.

I think I can link to this - explains how to cut back top ups.

Keep offering the breast as often as possible and always before top ups.

In terms of supplements for you - I tried fenugreek, blessed thistle and the lactation cookies (they're floating around on the forum somewhere - or you can pm me and I'll send you the recipe).

You can also get prescription meds that help increase supply - you can ask your gp or LC about them.

Hope that helps!!

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Post by cAtdraco » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:19 pm

I have two suggestions -

The first is to feed, feed, feed! Milk production is supply and demand. Baby demands it, you'll supply it!

The second is to call or email a counsellor - the link is on the top right hand corner of this page. A counsellor can give you lots of suggestions for increasing milk production and for decreasing formula feeds, as well as emotional support along the journey!

You can do this! Many women have, and you can too. :)

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Post by MickeyB » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:41 pm

Thanks for the advice :) I sent an e-mail to a counsellor last night and am waiting on a reply, so hopefully they can offer some insight into it.

So far so good though, I offered the breast last night at his last feed, he did 10mins on each side before pulling away. For the early morning feed at 3am I offered each side mid-feed because he was too hungry to want to latch on for little gain. But again he did 10mins each side. This morning again, he did 10mins each side after an initial 20ml of formula just to get him settled.

What I'm finding is that he is latching on ok, but my breasts are incredibly sore while he's feeding, not the nipple, but the actual breast, and I was hoping that it was normal and not doing any damage having him sucking with very little coming out? At the 10min mark I'm finding that the achiness is reaching a peak as well, so could it be a sign of them reaching their limit with what little milk is there? My breasts have also been quite achy and tender throughout the rest of the day as well, with some sharp shooting type sensations, so I really hope that they're doing what they're supposed to be doing!

I've taken the Fenugreek today, and will be off to the shops this arvo to get the ingredients for the cookies. I've been out all morning so haven't had a chance to express, but he's due for a feed again soon, so I'll get him on both sides again and see how we go. I really hope that my supply starts increasing though, I think over the weekend while I don't have to go anywhere or do anything I can devote two full days to doing continual expressing throughout the day to help boost things up as well. I'll be off to the Dr on Monday as well to have a chat with him about any medication I can take to help things out.


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Post by Nedsmum » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:19 pm

The shooting pain and achiness sounds like a letdown sensation, or possibly engorgement, mastitis or thrush. It might just be a bit of engorgement because of cutting back breastfeeding, and it should settle down once your breasts are 'cleared' a the end of your 'feed' the bubs is pulling the heavier, more fatty milk from the breast, but the milk never really 'runs out' because it is made continuously, the more you take out, the more your body will make...

Can you phone the breastfeeding helpline ? You will get an almost instant reply, then, rather than waiting for the email... there are more counsellors on the helpline than doing the email counselling...and it is also much easier work - the counsellors can ask you heaps of things that you might not have thought of to put into your email...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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Post by JC » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:05 pm

MickeyB, I just saw your thread. You had a tough start, with the blacking out. :( I hope you were able to relactate.
DS born July 2006; continued until 5
DD born November 2009; until 4

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Re: Relactation after 12 days off the breast. Please help!

Post by amyc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:48 pm

Hi Mickey, you are not alone I have attempted BF 3 times with my son he is 7 weeks and have just started relacting after a week break.
you should try to get baby on the breast as often as possible I know you can feel like there is any piont when u feel you have no milk but it will increase you also should express between feeds to give your breast extra stimulation. it took me about aweek of feeding and expressing to get bub back on I was also taking prescription medication to increase my supply. he is now only having breast milk.

So good luck
Amy C

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Post by Sunbuny » Tue May 03, 2011 4:51 pm

I just want to wish you the best of luck. I too am trying to relactate with a7 week bub. It's encouraging to find that I'm not the only persisting after several attempts.looking forward to reading more about your journey

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Post by Sunbuny » Tue May 03, 2011 4:54 pm

I just want to wish you the best of luck. I too am trying to relactate with a7 week bub. It's encouraging to find that I'm not the only persisting after several attempts.looking forward to reading more about your journey

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