We've tried Fenugreek, and Mother's Milk Tea. She's also tried pumping after feeding, to little effect. Any other ideas? We'd rather avoid formula if we can.

asked 19 Feb '10, 02:43

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altoitis
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edited 19 Feb '10, 03:00

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cat_g
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When did your wife give birth?

(19 Feb '10, 06:57) Emi
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When pumping, is she using a hospital grade pump? They allegedly are much better than consumer grade. I couldn't say for sure as I never tried the consumer grade pumps. However, I used both the Lactina and Symphony and vastly preferred the Symphony even though it was more expensive to rent.

(19 Feb '10, 15:10) Kiesa ♦

The best way to stimulate milk production is to nurse. If your baby looks hungry, if he looks bored, if he looks sleepy, if he looks at you sideways, offer him the breast. I've nursed 4 babies, I have literally spent years with my butt on the couch and a baby at my breast, and I tell anybody who will listen to just keep at it, except in exceptional cases, your body will provide. (Unless, like Keisa said, it's making you certifiably nutso, then it's just fine to give up already, it's the best food for your baby, and I'm a advocate, but it isn't going to determine which college he gets into!) Breast pumps are great, and definately have their place, but nothing is going to stimulate your wife's body to make more milk like your own baby.

Your wife may not be able to get much milk pumping after baby has nursed, if baby has done his job he's gotten his foremilk and hindmilk and they're empty. (Well, okay, they're never really "empty", but they sure can feel that way. After nursing 4 babies, tandem nursing the last 2 for a year, and the sudden increase of gravity that hits after turning 40, they even look that way! The sacrifices we mothers make, dramatic sigh, and grin!) If your wee one has anything that even remotely resembles a schedual, (if he doesn't, please, please, please, don't try to put him on one, that totally kills production!) she might try pumping in the middle of the longest strech between nursing him. She might do better then, her breasts will think it's an extra feed and make more milk, and her body will have time to recover before baby is hungry again. (Of course, that's probably in the middle of the night, sorry! Which is when you have to decide if pumping is as important as sleep. Crappy choice.)

You didn't mention how old your baby is, but if he's about 4 to 6 weeks old and hungry, hungry, hungry, all the damn time, he's supposed to be. Babies that age are gearing up for a growth spurt, and their appetite picks up a little before it hits and they want to nurse all-the-time so that there will be enough milk when they need it. Which can freak you out if you're not expecting it, and make you think that maybe you're starving the poor wee mite, but it's just baby knowing what he needs before you do. Get used to it, it's great practice for when they're teenagers.

And she could try eating Oatmeal for breakfast every morning, it's supposed to help, too, and drink enough water to sink an air-craft carrier every day. (I have eaten enough oatmeal to make even my Scottish great-grandmother embarrased.)

(If you have a daughter, I'm sorry for all the "he's.)

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answered 20 Feb '10, 08:03

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Neen
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You may find the answers to this question helpful. This mother was also looking for ways to increase her milk supply.

http://moms4mom.com/questions/2832/please-help-with-breastfeeding-suggestions

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answered 19 Feb '10, 03:06

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cat_g
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Just two pointers to things we noted/were told helped increase milk flow:

  1. Relax - try not to stress out over the milk flow
  2. We were told that the amount of milk that is used in the evening/before sleeping has the most influence over the next day's production

It depends on the age of the baby and the frequency whether additional formula can be given without causing the baby to reject the breast.

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answered 19 Feb '10, 13:38

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brandstaetter
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+1 Very good points made in my opinion.

(19 Feb '10, 14:33) Emi

If you're truly desperate and none of traditional methods are working, you might consider talking to your health care provider about medication that can boost lactation. I was on Reglan for 5 months to boost my supply. It probably helped in my case (I tried so many things, it's hard to say what worked and what didn't). However, it does have effects you need to watch out for. Dr. Newman prefers Domperidone but the FDA believes it's dangerous so it's hard to get in the US.

I do want to emphasize that if you are having trouble breastfeeding, you need to sit down and take sanity checks every time you try something new. I tried everything for 5 months and it almost drove me insane and severely hampered bonding with my child. Formula isn't ideal but it's better than a psychotic mother :) (I'm not trying to dissuade you from breastfeeding, it's clearly the ideal food for babies. Just make sure you keep its benefits in perspective.)

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answered 19 Feb '10, 15:39

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Kiesa ♦
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+1 for the sanity checks. Like you I tried everything and eventually for my own mental health I had to give up and it was the best thing for myself, my daughter, and our relationship since we were both stressed all the time.

(19 Feb '10, 15:56) Tammy ♦♦

+1 for sanity checks (Well said Tammy)

(19 Feb '10, 16:20) Emi

You might find these pages from the kellymom website helpful. There are several things to consider, the first one is: What's happening that makes you believe that your wife needs to produce more milk?

To help you I'd need more information. I'd recommend talking to a properly qualified breastfeeding counsellor, in the UK the NCT, LLL and ABM have good qualifications.

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answered 19 Feb '10, 22:20

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Meg Stephenson
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+1 for questioning the reason for suspecting milk supply issues, as well as for talking to a professional.

(20 Feb '10, 04:11) Fun2Dream

This seems like an obvious answer, but make sure that any time the baby is sucking/wants to suck, you're placing him/her on the breast. Also, offer the breast more frequently than just when the baby is obviously hungry. It may feel like your wife is breastfeeding CONSTANTLY, but it can do wonders for supply issues.

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answered 20 Feb '10, 04:12

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Fun2Dream
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Try cluster pumping - pump for 2 hours 15 min on/15 min off. Do this for 2-3 days in a row at around the same time of day. I have a baby with some health issues that can't suck well and this worked wonders for us.

Your wife should also be drinking plenty of water.

Good luck!

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answered 20 Feb '10, 05:29

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Asked: 19 Feb '10, 02:43

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Last updated: 20 Feb '10, 08:03