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Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

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Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:27 am

Hi Milkshare moms! My name is Heidi and I am the proud parent of 2 children, Mathias (6.5years old) and Danielle, 6 months (as of this writing 1/23/2010).

Let me start by sharing the story of how my DS's feeding experience went. He was born 7/9/03 at 7lb 11oz. Being a healthcare professional I wanted to give my son the best start in life possible. So I intended to breastfeed. The first 3 days in the hospital breastfeeding I had my doubts. I tried pumping and never got one drop of colostrum - not one drop! I knew colostrum was made in small quantities, as was explained by my nurse, but they said I probably would not get more than a teaspoon with pumping, not even less than a drop! In addition, his weight had dropped steadily while we were in the hospital. He was, I believe, 7lb 7oz on the morning after he was born, and 7lb 2oz on the day of discharge. I had my doubts and when we left the hospital, I went immediately to the store to buy a bottle of Similac ready-to-feed formula. I only fed it to him twice and then my milk started to come in. However, there was no engorgement. The next day was our first Peds visit and to my horror, Mathias weighed 6lb 12oz - almost a whole pound off his birth weight at 4 days of life. He was also severely jaundiced and had to go under the bili lights at home. Plus my nipples were starting to get very sore. I went to exclusive pumping to try and get them healed from nursing constantly. This just started a viscious cycle of pumping only and having to bottle feed what I pumped. Efforts were made later to try and get DS back to the breast (supplemental nursing system, Reglan, domperidone, herbs galore) but nothing resulted in success, and I ultimately gave up breastfeeding cold-turkey at 11 weeks 2 days of life. I could never pump more than 6-8oz of milk per day. At the time, I felt relief in not having to do all the crazy pumping anymore, but a terrible experience was looming: postpartum depression. In hindsight, I am almost 100% convinced this happened because I weaned cold-turkey instead of gradually the way most breastfeeding moms do. The hormonal shifts were enough to drive me to oblivion.

Fast forward 6 years: The traumatic experiences of my first postpartum experiences made me swear off giving birth to another child ever again. However, after I was able to move on, I read up on breastfeeding as much as I could, and contemplated how I could make it a successful experience. I still had my old SNS and thought, perhaps if I used it at birth instead of waiting 6 weeks postpartum like I did with my son, I could establish a better milk supply. I read about some moms who were fortunate enough to use donor milk. I thought, WHERE CAN I GET THIS? If donor milk were available to me with my first child, I might have been more motivated to keep going.

So I got pregnant with DD in late 2008, and a few months later heard about Milkshare at a La Leche meeting. I posted a message while I was still pregnant, wanting to get just a few oz to have on hand to start me out after birth. I would have felt guilty hoarding a huge milk supply in my freezer in case things were fine this time around and I didn't have a low supply, so I didn't want to be too ambitious. My first donor was already committed to another family, but had her first few bags of transitional milk pumped after her milk came in. She gave me that, it totalled up to about 40-50oz worth. In addition, I was able to express colostrum with a breastpump while I was still pregnant (I did this carefully so as not to induce labor) - and was able to get a full 10cc syringe filled up and frozen in the freezer for later use. I felt so good about the colostrum remembering how I wasn't able to even pump a drop of it for my son.

DD Danielle's experience was much different than my son's. She was also jaundiced, but not as bad as my son and never had to go under the bili lights. She had the colostrum syringe the night after she was born, nursed a lot, and started the transitional milk the day after (fed via SNS at the breast). She was born at 8lb even. Her weight only went down to 7lb 14oz by the day of discharge and the lowest it got was 7lb 4oz - still within the ballpark for normal weight loss. She didn't regain her birth weight until about 2.5 - 3 weeks after birth, but I could sense she was sleepy with the jaundice, and perhaps not feeding as effectively as she normally would have.

I did find out later I was making more milk for Danielle than I did for my son, but still not anywhere near enough to nurse her exclusively. The most I've ever pumped while I am away at my job out of town is 10oz in 24hr. However, I am making closer to 8oz in 24hr now at 6 months postpartum. I have been on domperidone this time around as well, which has caused me to retain my baby fat and even gain some weight from my lowest weight postpartum, which is not a pleasant side effect.

I've gotten donations since that first donor gave me her 40oz of milk. 130oz came from another local donor. Next was a non-Milkshare donor who gave me about 400oz total, and they just kept on coming and coming. I've had a total of 13 milk mamas who have donated milk, 11 of them thanks to the Milkshare forum. We now have a wonderful relationship with an ongoing donor who is able to surpass even what we need on a monthly basis. With this, I hope to continue to nurse Danielle on breastmilk til she's at least a year old and perhaps longer, before we introduce cow's milk. I am looking forward to a nursing relationship that will last well into the toddler years even after the Milkshare donations stop.

bhtimm

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by myblueeyedbabies on Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:06 pm

That is a great story! I have a similar story as your sons. Only my Daughter was put under the lights in the hospital for her first 24 hours and fed bottles there. That was the end of nursing for us! I'm so glad you DD has not had to go on formula at all. My DD has had to have it, as I didn't know about milk share until she was about 5 months old. I was only able to pump for her fist 4 months and then I got really sick and my supply never recovered. But we are off the formula now due to donor mamas! Aren't they great?! Very Happy

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:44 pm

I thought I'd update this thread...My donor had a mishap with her freezer and lost over 1000oz of breastmilk that was going to go to us. We had about 630oz left of breastmilk which won't quite take us to a year-so in order to stretch the breastmilk out, I started small quantities of cows milk and toddler formula (3oz/day). We'll reach the 1-year mark soon! I do plan on continuing to receive Milkshare donations from someone locally who is a low-production donor, but that will be just perfect as we will be able to transition to cows' milk at a year. I want to nurse until Danielle is 2, but my production has gone down some from when I wrote my story (it is 5-6oz/day) I continue to nurse with the SNS and sometimes without it.

bhtimm

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:32 pm

Time to update this thread again! Today is a year for us!

Today I have breastfed for an entire year despite the many difficulties I had to face! I have used the SNS from day 2 onward and supplemented with donated breastmilk and have managed to keep the supply of donated milk going for an entire year. I did open a formula can a little over a month ago when one of my donors lost about 1000oz of breastmilk that was going to go to us (I wanted to stretch the breastmilk out as long as possible) but DD hated the taste of the formula so she's had probably less than 10oz of formula the entire time!




I still have 2 donors pumping for me. One donor is supplying me with fresh milk for the antibodies, and the other donor has an almost 14-month old and is still going with pumping for us (even though she's refraining from saving any milk at the moment because she's got a case of thrush). We've decided to introduce cow's milk as well, meaning I have more choices with which to supplement.




My supply has gradually decreased since about 5-6months postpartum. The maximum was 10oz/day and now it is only 4-5oz/day. I recently upped my dosage of domperidone to prevent further decline and hopefully produce an increase but it doesn't seem to work except to prevent further decline in my milk supply. Domperidone has never really worked that much for me, but I continue to take it as an insurance policy.




Since I started breastfeeding, I've supplied my DD with...




approximately 2500oz of breastmilk, which equals about 20 gallons and provides 55,000 calories!




I've lost 20lb in 6 months, 15 of which can be attributed to the calories burned by making the above milk! (I gained weight up until about 5 months postpartum, then gradually started to lose it - still have about 14 lb to go before I get to prepregnancy weight)







Hopefully, by me sharing my story, I will inspire someone else out there who is having a hard time! Breastfeeding CAN continue despite difficulties!

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by jana on Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:33 pm

Great story! Mine is similar. My son is 4 months old and we nurse everyday with the sns. I pump max 24 oz a day and put it in the sns. I also get donor milk from my wonderful donors (thank you!) which I put in the sns. I take domperidone too and pump about 10 times in 24 hours. I managed to increase my milk suppy from just a few ounces to 24 ounces over about a month of trying everything! But My son needs about 35 ounces to grow well and be happy. I am so thankful I found milk share!


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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by cohensmama on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:26 pm

Thank you for finding me and sending me the link to your story! You've inspired me to write one, as well <3 Here's a link:

http://milkshare.forumotion.com/t2465-mama-who-is-eternally-grateful-for-milk-sharing-igt#6564

Ambra



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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:20 am

Time to update this thread again!

It is 18 months today! 18 months of breastfeeding and donor milk! I have about 40oz left in the freezer which isn't much...
and we are doing cow's milk for most of our supplementation now. (along with 3 square meals a day)

I still make about 4-5oz a day, which has stayed constant when I last updated this thread at 12 months.
Hopefully, it will continue to stay constant for a while yet! This is enough for about
25% of my daughter's milk needs. I try to thaw out about 5oz of donor milk a day, and the rest is cow's milk.

So far, I've figured I've produced about 3400 oz of my own milk for my daughter. Add that what I've produced for my son
(I lactated for 11 weeks with him), and I've produced close to 4000 oz of milk. That's 250 pounds of milk, or a little over
30 gallons! That's also about 80,000 calories' worth. Unfortunately, I've gained back almost all the weight I lost as of
6 months ago, because I increased my domperidone dosage to compensate for my supply decreasing. Like I said, it's seemed to
work at keeping my supply constant, but at the sacrifice of my body.

I lost track, but I estimate that I've received about 8500oz of donated milk for my daughter from 20ish women. Most of it was within her first
12 months of life. I am still receiving small amounts of donor milk from a couple women. One had a preemie born 9/16/09,
another one a 2-year old (I found her on Eats on Feets), and there is someone who has yet to give me milk, she is the mom of
a 19-month old (also from EoF) So, the milk is all age-appropriate!

I miss having a couple of the donors who were giving us fresh milk on a regular basis. They both stopped pumping in November/
early December when their babies turned a year old. I met up with one of them at a La Leche meeting.

Danielle still nurses with the supplemental nursing system (SNS), with the exception of our morning nursing and any comfort
nursings throughout the day. She likes the fast flow of the SNS, and like I said earlier, I don't make that much, so my flow
is almost nonexistent.

Oh one more thing: I haven't pumped since October. I work out of town for 2-3days at a time per week, so it is necessary for me to
express milk when I am away. I have hand expressed with great success. Just an idea for anyone who doesn't respond to the pump after a year.

So, I just want to say it can be done! I know there are those of you who are having difficulties looking for milk. I am doing
whatever I can in my area to help others looking for milk to find it now, too! I hope you all have the luck that I have!

Happy milk searching! I hope to update again when my daughter turns 2.

bhtimm

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:39 pm

Hi folks,

This is the last time I will update this thread. I was originally going to wait until the 21st to update, but I figured it's close enough to 2 years today. My daughter has weaned from direct breastfeeding for some time (the last time I distinctly remember her nursing for any length of time was early June, and the last concrete date I remember was June 10th, when she latched on for a couple seconds. she did one day after that but I can't remember).

I went off domperidone in March of this year, and got my periods back shortly thereafter. I had gone nearly 20 months without one cheers Since then my supply plummetted drastically. Crying or Very sad The dom was keeping me constant at about 4-5oz/day and then it suddenly went down to 1oz/day within a week and has been going down steadily ever since. Yesterday I only got a mere 5ml estimated for the entire day! I've also lost quite a bit of weight since stopping the dom. It seems to be accelerating even more ever since Danielle has weaned.

In April - May, I dealt with a nasty infection in my left breast (historically the higher producer). A lactation specialist MD saw me and did a culture which grew back negative, but still decided to treat me because I was having symptoms. At a couple points, Danielle would even "draw blood" when she nursed (i.e. I'd see a bloody discharge on my nipple) What was happening was that DD was mostly only nursing on the right side (it was "our favorite spot" on the couch!) and was still using the SNS at that point, so it didn't really matter that she was nursing from the lower-flow side. I was also told by Dr. Eglash to refrain from nursing or expressing from the left side after symptoms continued for a couple weeks after I started the antibiotics. That seemed to help more than anything, actually. However, I am still hand-expressing now (and now that both sides are fine, I hand-express both sides) and I must say that my left side is almost completely dried up now compared to my right.

So her last time that I remember her nursing was on June 10th. I think there may have been a time after that as well, but I don't remember the date. I had come back from a long stretch away at work and she just latched on for a couple seconds like it was something strange, and didn't want to nurse anymore. She will still occasionally say the word "nurse" to me but when I offer, she shakes her head no. So I'm assumed she's done. And she's currently on a 1-week vacation up north with her grandparents, so I'm sure after she comes back from that trip, she'll have completely forgotten about nursing!

I have been hand expressing milk since then just to give her 2oz in her sippy cup once a week or so but yesterday was too lazy to express in the morning and only got drops last night. She is only days away from turning 2 (on the 21st of this month). I was willing to go longer, but I remember setting 2 years as my original goal, so am proud I've essentially met that. I think she has benefitted tremendously from having my milk, even though at the most I've only been able to supply her with 10oz/day. she's never had an ear infection EVER, while my mostly formula-fed son had several by the time he was Danielle's age. She's only had one single dose of oral antibiotic in her entire lifetime, and that was largely unnecessary because she was being treated with the wrong remedy for a diaper rash. I should add, that with the help of so many generous moms who gave us donor milk, that Danielle was able to be exclusively on breastmilk and supplemented with solids from the time she was 5 1/2 months on. Even when she turned a year, we continued to send breastmilk (donor milk) to daycare until Danielle was 15 months old. And she's had small amounts of donor milk say until maybe a month ago. I still have about 20oz left that I've been too lazy to thaw. It's mostly "toddler milk" too - the mom's child was 2+ years old when she pumped it - so it's still good for Danielle. And she will still drink breastmilk out of a sippy, so I'll use it sometime!

Let's see, so I figure that since I updated this thread last, I haven't added too much to my total amount of breastmilk I've produced since it went down so drastically. I figure I added about 150oz or so to the tally and then I went off the domperidone. And then, it's really hard to say since my supply went down so quickly after that. Let's just make it a grand total of 4200oz of my milk between the two kids I have breastfed, with about 3600oz of it going to Danielle. That's a total of about 262 pounds of milk total, or close to 33 gallons! WOW!

Thanks everyone for reading about my nursing journey with Milkshare! I'm amazed this post is the most popular here with over 1000 hits! I like to read this post often myself as it is my "diary" of my nursing journey with my daughter. I am happy to draw this to a conclusion. cheers



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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:54 pm

Here is a video blog version of my story:


http://www.youtube.com/user/fourfarve/videos

I share my 2-year and beyond story of breastfeeding my DD, as well as some tips for low-supply mamas along the way. Finally I made a beautiful video to conclude that is entitled "Breastfeeding Memories".

Enjoy!

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Re: Low-supply mama who hasn't given formula

Post by bhtimm on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:26 am

Just letting everyone I was able to upload a few more videos. Please watch! (available at the same link as above post)

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