Thursday, February 9, 2012

Skinny Baby Update: Mama's back in business!

One month since I was "diagnosed" with low milk supply, I am happy to report I am no longer operating in the red.  After spending the last few weeks nursing and pumping around the clock, my body seems to have gotten the message.  Jack is getting plenty to eat and is gaining weight nicely (he is up to 14lbs 8oz) and I even have a surplus of milk again (which I am of course stock piling in my freezer!)  Thanks to my original freezer supply of breast milk I never had to give him any formula either.  Best of all, he has started sleeping through the night again, thank God!!
The beginnings of my new freezer stash, I affectionately refer to it as "Liquid Gold"
To any moms who are planning to exclusively breast feed their babies, here is what I learned to help you avoid the low milk supply crisis:
  1. Pump often after feedings and freeze the milk, you never know when you might need it
  2. Be very careful if you decide to start taking birth control pills while you are nursing.  I started the progesterone only pills (that are supposed to be OK while breast feeding) when Jack was 3 months old and I noticed a considerable drop in milk supply by the time he was 4 months old.  I have also talked to other moms who had similar experiences with the progesterone only BCP. 
  3. Try not to miss feedings, and either nurse or pump 6 times a day
  4. If you haven't already spent the $300+ on an electric breast pump, don't...Rent a hospital grade pump.  They work SO much better!
Medela Symphony Hospital Grade Breast Pump
If you are a new mama who has already noticed a drop in your milk supply, here is what I did to get mine back (I have gone from pumping 1 oz at a time to pumping 5 oz at a time):

  1. Make sure baby gets at least 6 to 8 feedings a day (this means middle of the night feeds) and pump after feedings as often as possible
  2. Make sure baby is actually swallowing when he is nursing.  Renee, my lactation consultant, pointed out to me when Jack was swallowing and when he was just sucking.  He can spend a lot of time "nursing" and never swallow any milk!
  3. Stop taking BCP
  4. Consider hiring a lactation consultant to come to your house and observe you and your baby during your normal nursing routine.  I was surprised how many little things we needed to change.
  5. By far the most helpful part of my plan, in my opinion, was the combination of supplements & medications I am taking.  I originally tried Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, however I have found the most success with More Milk Plus (1 capsule 4X a day) and Domperidone (Motilium - 3 10mg pills 3X a day.)  I originally heard about Domperidone from my lactation consultant and after my own research I realized how common and effective it is in stimulating milk production.  Domperidone is an anti-nausea drug that, as a side effect, increases prolactin production by the pituitary gland. Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates the cells in the mother's breast to produce milk.  Unfortunately, domperidone is not approved by the FDA for this purpose, so any mom who wants it will have to contact a compounding pharmacy in the U.S. or order it from outside the U.S. (Canada etc) via an online pharmacy.  I was fortunate enough to be given some by a friend (Thank you Summer and Amy!), but when my current supply of domperidone runs out I will have to find another way to get it. 
My daily cocktail = Motilium and More Milk Plus
 Of course every mom and baby are different, and this post is based on my own personal experiences with "low milk production."  As with all aspects of parenthood, there are many lessons to be learned, this is just one of them.

1 comment:

  1. So happy for you and Jack! What a great feeling it is when we figure something about these little mysterious beings out....