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For those who tried to breastfeed, but couldn't...

How soon did you figure out you didn't produce enough milk? How could you tell? I just had my baby recently and even though I just got her to latch on a suckle properly it seems like I can't give her enough. She's been eating for two hours. Of course she falls asleep and when she does I move her and it wakes her up and she wants more... i'm afraid that i'm not producing enough for her...

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Asked by ramita at 5:06 PM on Aug. 21, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 12 (785 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Your fine. Just keep nursing. As long as she produces 6 wet diapers a day, she's getting enough. They physically only need the colostrum in the beginning, so your body still has time to beef up its milk supply. The best way to ensure you produce enough is to just nurse on demand for those first 6 weeks.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 5:10 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • well i was ordered onto formula at my baby's 2 week follow up. i knew she was hungry because she was crying all the time, crying herself to sleep, and when i'd try to pump nothing would come out. when she hadn't gained any weight still at 2 weeks, we caved. i was asked to try formula after breastfeeding, to see how much formula she would take as a gauge of how much breast milk she'd had. it was as if she'd never eaten, i was heartbroken to think how hungry my baby was for 2 weeks, just sitting in my arms starving.

    the most i could pump at one sitting was about an ounce, and that usually took 30 minutes to get. when i quit altogether, i became engorged once, and pumped 4 ounces from it. i was completely dry after that, and my baby was fed for the first time in her young life.

    i guess for me it was the crying that gave it away. she just cried and cried and cried.

    Answer by mellypoo at 5:13 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • a good breast pump does wonders for helping you produce more milk. I didn't at first and started pumping, and if you pump regularly it really helps. Your body is amazing - it learns to produce exactly the amount of milk your baby is drinking. So pumping makes your body think your baby is drinking more, so it produces more. BUT, a weird little thing about pumping is, you actually have to stimulate the nipple prior to pumping, because nipple stimulation is what gets the milk flowing and a breast pump doesn't do that so well.

    Answer by Iskkra at 5:15 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • You know if you're not producing enough because she won't have 6 - 8 wet diapers a day (if she's at least a week old). Wet means anything, not just soaking wet. If she keeps falling asleep, try squeezing your breast. It'll squirt milk into her mouth and wake her up! THis worked for us. Right now, she's not getting a full feeding before falling asleep,which means she wakes and wants to start over. When her sucking slows, squeeze gently. Google breast compression - that's the technique you're going for.

    Answer by apexmommy at 5:21 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • iskkra, i had a really good pump, i agree that if the baby is having latching problems that's probably a good solution, but even with a really good pump (and in 2 weeks, i bought quite a few) nothing came. i did everything right it just didn't work. sometimes the best laid plans just fail.

    Answer by mellypoo at 5:22 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • melly, I went through the same thing, we started supplementing after 4 days home because she was always hungry, per the dr's idea. At her two week appt. she had lost a lb. and was told to start FF exclusively. I did the same as you, i would pump for an hour and only get about an ounce.

    Answer by Princessofscots at 5:29 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • It was like a month or two months, he actally went down 4 lbs in the hospital and was crying all the time, then when I got him home I would pump every two hours and one side would put more than the other and all I would get was like 2 ounces.

    Answer by NicholeAT at 5:30 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • With my first born I tried and tried to BF but like you, he never seemed satisfied and wasn't gaining weight. My doctor AND my midwife both said I needed to start supplementing with formula.
    I was devastated and felt like a huge failure.
    I pumped and pumped and even went on Domperidone to try an increase my supply but nothing seemed to work.
    We started slow with the formula. I would breastfeed until he came off the boob himself and then I'd top him up with formula. He ended up still needing a full bottle after being on the breast for a good hour so we knew I wasn't producing enough.

    Now he's 2 1/2 and he's bright and healthy and happy.

    I'm trying again with my daughter who is 11 days old and so far I am producing more but still it doesn't seem like nearly enough. I can only pump out about 2oz after over half an hour of pumping, and that's from both sides combined.
    I'm thinking I might have to do the same with her.

    Answer by Laila-May at 5:41 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • cont'd...

    Don't let anyone make you feel bad about supplementing if it's what you need to do. It's more important that your baby IS fed not what she's fed.
    Some women can't produce and some women are excellent producers. Every woman's body is different just like every baby is different.
    You need to do what is best for you and your baby, not what society thinks is best.

    Also, if you feel like your baby isn't getting enough then don't wait it out for six weeks!!! Talk to your doctor. There is nothing good about starving a baby for six weeks because the majority of women have enough milk to satisfy their newborns.

    Answer by Laila-May at 5:46 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • The doc. will tell you at her check-up. As long as the baby is gaining weight then you're making enough. Some are more pushy and will tell you to supplement 'just in case.' I never had to and I ebf''d for 4 mos. and now supplement with formula. My girl did some weird stuff with nursing in the beginning. She really didn't know what she wanted and would fuss at the breast. They're still learning. I would say around 6 wks, it got better and she was more routine and regular.

    Answer by danielp at 6:41 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

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