Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Mother's Fear

I think it is every mother's fear to not be able to provide for her children. I am very happy to have been able to nurse both of our children and plan on doing it with our future children. It was this time 2 years ago when I had to wean Ayla. My milk supply dramatically decreased around 4 mo and her need would obviously be growing. I hated this. But, she took the switch over so well it was great. I didn't even fight it.

About a month ago I was telling myself how much better a nurser Leah is compared to Ayla. I didn't expect it run into the same issues I did with Ayla. But, here I am. Noticing each day I pump and every time Leah wants to eat more frequently. It started a few weeks ago Leah stopped sleeping long periods through the night and wanting to nurse every 2-3 hours again! Also, my milk doesn't drop as frequently. Its been rough. I was reading through some materials recently and realized for her age she should be taking in approx 7 oz at each feeding. I know I am not producing that. :(

Granted, every child is different. Its sad not being able to provide for her myself. I was already going to start a weaning schedule so that I could work and do dance, etc without interrupting her current schedule. But definitely still planning on nursing 9pm-9am. Sigh.

I am asking all Mommy's for advice. I know there are herbs and teas out there to drink to build your supply. Has anyone taken these? Do we know any other effects from them? I do plan on calling my MD about my birth control to see if that could help. I don't want to just Stop unless I am forced into that.

Thank you.


Brookeanne said...

My girlfriends and I do a "Nurse-in day/weekend" This is where we spend the entire day, lounging, reading, cuddling, etc. while keeping the baby at the breast for most of the day. This will drastically increase your supply. Also, spend a lot of the day drinking water. I did it this last weekend and I'm so engorged I have to pump the excess (TMI sorry). I only have to do this about once every two months, and it's been worth it to me. I didn't do it for Kevin when he turned 4 months and I noticed he was struggling(I went back to work as well), and switched him to formula. He got chronic colds immediately after and I never forgave myself for not affording him the same I did Elayna.

I've also started introducing really watered down baby cereal that I use when I really don't feel like I can provide enough for the day (this happens about once a week). We don't have formula in the house, so honestly it's not an option for us, but there are times when I feel like I need to supplement like this.
I'm praying for you Courtney, I remember going through this struggle so strongly and I hope that you have peace of mind whatever the outcome may be! You are an incredible mother to have done it as long as you have.

Brandi said...

i don't know if this helps at all, but my girls never took more than 5oz at atime while i nursed.... even if i produced or offered them more. but they did eat at least every 3 hours the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME!!!! for 10 and 9 months!!!

Leah Robinson said...

Alli Jo was the same as Brandi's girls....she would take only 4oz at a time and more often...but I never could do the 6-8oz. Good luck hun! You're a great mommy :)

Brittany said...

Two herbs. Milk thistle and Fenugreek. You can get them at Wal-Mart. I never ended up having to take it, but have heard that your milk supply will be PLENTIFUL if you use both.

Bethany said...

Fenugreek worked for me and gave me another month until I was done. I have about a half of bottle of Fenugreek you can use to see if it works for you before you make the purchase. Just let me know if you want it.

Jennifer said...

Courtney, I also went through this around four months. I truly believe the body is finally acclamating to what your baby really eats. Bryce was nearly 20 pounds at 4 months and I KNOW I wasn't giving him even just 6 oz. I couldn't pump that much anyway. But, he nursed every 3 hours until he was 9 months, 10 with Jackson. I would, like Brookeanne said, start giving watered down cereal and if she is active, any ped. will tell you that she could be ready for baby food, too. I would not sub with formula....it's easier for babes to drink and it messes even more with your milk supply. Just keep nursing her when she wants it and drink lots of water. There is also a prescribed med that increases milk supply. You might ask your doctor if all else fails.

I hope you aren't too confused! But, just know that even if you go to formula full time, she is going to be great either way!

Chelsa said...

hey! iwould love those recipes! i also freeze baked spaghetti, but am always up for trying new recipes! chicken lasagna sounds wonderful! what kinds of cookies do you do??
my email address is

Random Unsanities said...

Hey, Court.

I've been through this with both of my girls, as well. The fenugreek and milk thistle did not work for me. Reason being, is I have a breast condition known as fibrocystic breast disease. I didn't realize that there was a problem up until my youngest, Rianna. She developed GERD and was not gaining any weight. Little did we know that the milk that I was producing had little to no nutritional value. She was nursing all of the time, but vomited a little over half of what she did take.

I took this news very hard at first, but then realized that the only reason that we, as mothers, choose to breastfeed is that we want naturally happy and healthy babies. The way that God intended us to have them.

Luckily, science and God have worked together and the formulas that they have now are very similar to breast milk. Most even having the DHA and ARA that promote eye and brain development and function. Both of my children were forced to take on formula as their means of nutrition until they were able to take on solid foods.

I am not trying to imply that the methods that these wonderful women are giving you will not work for you. I'm not a doctor, nurse, or a nutritionist. I can only tell you the worst-case scenario is not as bad as you think. As said before, the only thing that mothers want is for their children to be happy and healthy. Sometimes, that just has to happen with alternative ways.

I hope nothing but the best for you and your beautiful family!

cara said...

a bunch of girls i work with have taken Reglan to increase their milk supply, talk to your ob!

Tera said...

Oh- can't believe I'm just now seeing this post. I hope you are still nursing! :) Ok, some might read my post and think I'm crazy or over the top but well, maybe I am. I love Brookeanne's suggestion of the Nurse-in Day/weekend!! Your body works on a "supply on demand." If you are pumping instead of nursing, giving her formula, or trying any solids, you are naturally decreasing your milk supply. Nurse more frequently to trigger your body to produce more. It's perfectly normal for her at 4 mo. to only be taking 4-6 oz. every 3 hours...and through the night too. Nurse or pump at least every 6 hours through the night. If you go more than that, it's enough to drop your hormone levels and decrease your supply. If you are taking BC with estrogen, it could also be affecting your supply. Milk thistle and esp. Fenugreek are great options to try. Pushing fluids is #1 though. As for Reglan...I hate the stuff. It's side effects are nervousness, jitterness, etc. I chose to use Motilium instead. It's in the same class of meds as Reglan, but I didn't have any side effects from it. I wouldn't have needed it except that I was going to LA for 4 days when Brynna was 4 months and I refused to let her formula while I was gone...hence, I used motilium and had 120 ounces of breastmilk in the freezer for her. :) I traveled 3 different times when Brynna was less than a year, didn't offer her even a taste of food before 6 months, and went back to work 3-4 days/week when she was 3 months old and continued to nurse her until she was 16 months old. You can do it!! :) She will have growth spurts when she seems like she's not getting enough, but let her nurse more often if you need to. Also, even if you feel like you have nothing let, continue to let her nurse...it will let your body know to make more. Stopping and giving her formula to "top her off" makes your body think it's supplying enough. Ok- see I am over the top, but you will never regret nursing your baby as long as possible! BUT, if it doesn't work out, relax and realize she's still going to grow well and be beautiful with formula too.