Re: Stressed with pumping
posted at 3/21/2011 5:19 PM EDT
First things First. By process of elimination it could be something really simple like replacing part of your pumping equipment or a new food that you're eating that can reduce milk supply.
1) check your equipment. It took me a few tries before I realized what was going on but it you are using a medela setup, those little white rubber gasket thingies, the membranes, need to be replaced every few weeks. Also, if you are using sofit breast shields, they may be breaking down so get a new pair. Also check your tubing to make sure there are no holes.
2) check your diet. There are a few surprising culprits that can damage your supply. Parsley and peppermint are two common ones, so no more Altoids in the "mint" family.
If everything is fine in that category and you are willing to up the ante then proceed to #3
3a) pump more. Have a pumping marathon over the weekend and go nuts. If you can keep it up into the work week, all the better.
3b) add galactagogues to your diet. Google the term to get a list. There are a few supplements on the market that combine all the best ones into teas and tinctures. If you can afford it, buy the tinctures that have all the ingredients, for example: Mothers Milk Plus instead just the Mother's Milk. In addition to the tinctures, the old standby is Fenugreek which is an herb that will make you smell like maple syrup when you take enough. I bought the Gaia brand from Luckyvitamin.com and took three pills, three times a day. All of these will take about a week to start really getting your supply going again. My urine and sweat smelled like maple syrup but nothing my deodorant couldn't handle.Many moms have great success with these herbs.
Mine was only so-so and I took ALL of them in different combinations and strengths for about 5 months with only a marginal improvement.
If you really want to go hardcore proceed to #4
4) Order domperidone from an overseas online pharmacy. Domperidone for some bizaro reason is not FDA approved in the USA but found over the counter in every other European country and in New Zealand and Australia. One of the side effects is increased milk production. It is normally used to treat mild digestive issues like heartburn. All the lactation consultants will say there are no reports of any problems in mothers and babies and my own OB and lactation consultant were fine with it.
I took it for 5+ months and it is the only thing that allowed me to have any supply at all. Once I stopped taking it, no more milk. I had NO side effects whatsoever and my son is healthy and happy at 2 years.
There are no good RX medications in the US but you may read about a few in the older breast feeding books. There were two on the market when I was nursing two years ago and both have dangerous side effects that weren't worth it. These two were medications for serious problems like heart disorders and the like and not even lacation drugs. I believe one is even off the market now.
BUT, the single best resource out there is "The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk," by Diana West. It goes into every single possible detail on the subject and has page after page on all the best herbs and supplements and details on how to use them. I got it on my kindle and read the whole thing cover to cover one evening and it really helped a lot.
And lastly and most important: don't be afraid to quit
. Looking back, I won't put myself through the same thing I did last time to try and increase my supply when my baby probably would have benefited more from a less stressed mom.
Baby #2 is on the way and I'm determined to get off on the right foot this time (no nipple shield for me) but if the supply won't get there with simple herbal supplementation and baby does fine on formula, I'm not killing myself. I did the marathon pumping sessions well into 10-12 months, pumped and drove, and would regularly fall asleep hooked up to my pump (thank god for the automatic switch-off) and now that I'm not a crazy hormonal post-natal ( now I'm just pre-natal nuts), I've gotten some perspective.
Best of luck. You are a great mom no matter what.