Bye bye breastmilk :-(

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Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby LilFJ » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:08 am

OMG I am beyond devastated. For the past couple of weeks my supply seems to have dropped and LO (4.5 months) is desperately hungry so I have had to supplement with bottles. He screams at the breast, arches his back, wriggles, pulls on and off. I am pumping my tits off but am lucky to get 50ml, several hours after LO's last feed. I fed him an hour ago and just pumped all of 5ml. What do I do?!? I am sooooo sad, can't stop crying and am desperate to get things back on track. I'll be trying cookies from tomorrow, have been eating porridge, pumping regularly and drinking loads of water. I don't want to take tablets to boost supply (I prefer natural). Has anyone else been through this?? It's totally heartbreaking and I feel like a failure so I'm hoping someone else out there has been in my situation that has had a positive outcome!!
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby Andypandy » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:22 am

Hi there,

It can be so worrying when you feel you are having problems with breastfeeding.

Can I suggest calling the helpline on 1800686268. A counsellor can give you some ideas for boosting supply and reducing the formula.

Also, expressing is not an indication of supply as a baby is far more effective.
Hugs x
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby JennyD » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:29 am

Hugs LilFJ, that sounds very hard. Firstly though, the fact that you can only pump 5ml an hour after a feed or 50ml 3 hours after a feed doesn't mean your supply is low, the pump works differently to a baby. Firstly the letdown is a result of emotional triggers and it can take quite a bit of practice to get a good letdown on the pump, while most mums get one easily with bub. Secondly some pumps are better than others, so depending on which pump you are using you may not be getting a very good pumping action. I also found that some pumps have a slightly different sucking pattern and what suited me didn't suit some other mums.

That said, it certainly sounds like your little one is not happy at the breast. This could be because your supply has dropped as you suggest, or it could be because your letdown is a bit slower, or (and this is quite common) you may have had an oversupply in the early days, and your supply has settled down, and bub is not happy that he actually has to work for the milk. Another possibility is a food intolerance, you may like to read this page on our website: ... tivities-0 You may also like to check out the section on low supply: ... n-concerns–mum/supply

If neither of these seems relevant, there are some health conditions that do cause a sudden drop in milk supply. You would need to visit a health professional to have these ruled out. A great place to start would be to see an IBCLC. However before all that you could probably ring the ABA helpline (or email counsellor if you are a member) and ask for help, as there is so much more that can be covered in person than on a public forum.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby fellare » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:30 am

Big hugs!! Don't give up yet, please call the help line for support and try to figure out what is the cause.

Expressing is not a good sign for how much milk you got. For example, I used to get 100ml, but on the Monday morning, getting ready for work, I'd get 10 or so!! It's got a lot to do with how you feel. There are some good threads with ideas on how to improve outcome.

Big hugs, keel us up to date so we can keep supporting you.
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby JMc » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:15 pm

I think there is some great advice above. Ringing the helpline would be a great start (and you don't have to be a member to do that).

Is there a reason you are expressing? Could you feed your bub at those times instead of expressing? As others have said, babies are much more efficient than pumps at getting milk. If your supply is really low, unless there are underlying medical issues, feeding your bub more often is the best possible way to boost your supply. You can feed your bub 20mins after a feed for a top up at the breast. My bubs would often feed only an hour apart and there was always some milk there (your breasts are constantly making milk).

And one more thing, about taking meds. I took them in the early days with my first when my supply was very slow to get established. They worked really well for me and enabled me to keep feeding and not have to comp feed with formula. I know you've said you don't want to use them, but for me it was a no brainer because it meant I could keep feeding my baby rather than having to resort to artificial breast milk or donor milk.
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby LilFJ » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:19 pm

Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to reply. The reason I am expressing is to keep the supply up, because LO doesn't stay on for long enough to stimulate new let-downs. This happened a month ago but I managed to recover, but now he's just so unhappy at the breast. Trust me - he's on me as regularly as I can get him to suck, the pumping is just to help maintain supply. My obstetrician told me at 6 weeks I had a low supply but because bubs was putting on weight he wasn't concerned. But these past two weeks something has changed and I have no idea why. I'll give the number a call... I'm so desperate to keep breastfeeding and it kills me to give him bottles. :-(
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby whitto04 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:38 pm

past couple of weeks you say? 4.5 month old baby?
There is a fussy period at around 4 months of age. It's so common, it has it's own thread.
And he may also be preferring the ease of bottle feeding, instead of actually working to extract milk from the breast. There are ways to pace feed when using a bottle, so baby doesn't get the instant gratification of bottle feeding. But speaking to a counsellor will be able to cover that, too.
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby LilFJ » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:18 pm

Thanks whitto04... This restores a lot of faith!! I'll check out that thread - this is great to know. I've given him bottles with a newborn teat in attempt to keep it hard for him to suck. On the upside with all the pumping I have done todaywhile he's been asleep, I have managed to collect 100ml so I will give that to him tomorrow. I'm hoping that's a sign things are improving, but I did skip a feed today to pump as an experiment. I refuse to give in. Feeling less sad now and more determined - thanks so much ladies xxx
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby Jenbt85 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:51 pm

I don't have any additional advice but wanted to say congratulations for getting this far and to be kind to yourself. You're doing the very best you can for your little one. While formula might not be your first choice, don't beat yourself up over having to use it in the interim. Stress can also impact supply - mother nature didn't think that one through!

The 4 month monsters is definitely a thing. We found that wonder week the hardest. They become increasingly distracted as they get older too!!

Keep us posted :)
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby Nedsmum » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:32 pm

Pumping and the feeding the milk back to the baby might be creating a cycle that is hard to break...

I am not sure how your obstetrician decided you have low milk even though your baby is gaining well...that sounds somewhat strange to me...

Anyway, how often are you putting the baby to the breast? Are you topping up at particular times of the day or just when you feel it is needed. How often are you feeding overnight? How long were you hoping to breastfeed for? How would you feel if you stopped bottles and pumping and just fed the baby directly every 2-3 hours for a few days? Any chance you could be pregnant?

As said, expressing can be a lot more complicated than just feeding e baby. My three children all fed very differently from each other. The first one took ages to feed but would fill her stomach until it overflowed (refluxer too!). The second one had a suck like a vacuum cleaner but only ever took one let-down. He fed 'little and often' but a typical feed was 5 minutes, 10 minutes even when he was a tiny baby (I remember asking a friend who is a breastfeeding counsellor to come and watch him feed when he was about 8 days old because he fed so fast).... The third one was a bit of both, but also had reflux and by 4 months we developed a stict schedule of 3 hourly feeds in the day because if he fed too frequently he would vomit, and if he fed too late he would be super-hungry and also over-feed and vomit. We also had to keep him upright for 30minutes after every feed...

Soo...every baby is different, but there are lots of questions there to think about...
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby JennyD » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:12 pm

Another thing that might help is paced bottle feeding. You will find information on how to do it on our Caregivers Guide: ... stfed-baby
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Re: Bye bye breastmilk :-(

Postby Snake Hips Mcroy » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:17 am

I have found that both my babies became very distractable at that age, and we went from being able to 'feed upside down in an aircraft carrier' (quoting my friend), to needing to feed alone in a dark, quiet room with no distractions.
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