SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand; and let’s just say, my supply is not keeping up with the demand. Breastfeeding is not as “natural” for some as it is for others, and for me, it is rocket science.

Me and John Luke couldn’t get into a rhythm in the beginning. I am not sure if he wouldn’t properly latch because my milk wasn’t coming in; or my milk supply wasn’t coming in, because he wouldn’t properly latch to extract it. After a few minutes at the breast, he would get frustrated and start crying, then pull away. My breast became so sore from trying to latch and re-latch. Blisters resulted.

My lactation consultant advised me to feed 10 minutes at each breast, then supplement with formula. She also instructed me to pump every 2 hours, to help keep the supply up for the demands of my growing baby. The piglet. That’s when I was introduced to my Ameda pump, and we’ve been joined at the “boob” ever since.

After my breast healed, I could nurse for longer sessions; however, he continued to pull off the breast after about 20 minutes. Then he would still act hungry.

I would try to put him on the other side, or change positions, but frustration for both of us would set in. I could not tell if he just wasn’t getting enough, or if being bottle fed had spoiled him. Either way, giving up and getting a bottle becomes very enticing in the middle of the night, when you’ve had no sleep.

The lactation consultant suggested two options to remedy the problem.

A)To eliminate bottle feeding all together. She said it will take about 48 hours for my milk production to build back up at a rate that would be sufficient for his needs. Sounds easy right? Wrong. This would require him squalling through the 48 hours until the supply met the demand. You’re talking to the mom that had to leave the room when he got his jaundice shots.

B)Exclusively pump every two hours to see how many ounces are being extracted daily. Divide that by the number of feedings per day, then supplement the difference. She said it would be a good idea to nurse at night instead of pumping, to eliminate me having to do double duty; also to keep him used to coming to the breast.

Option B has worked for me. It has allowed me to approximate how much milk I am producing, and how much supplementation is required to meet his needs. He seems more satisfied, and we are starting to get into a rhythm at our night feedings. Soon, I will resume breastfeeding primarily, as I continue to evaluate my supply versus his growing demands.

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3 thoughts on “SUPPLY AND DEMAND

  1. Hi Tamara,
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for several months. Congratulations on your precious baby boy!! We will begin our journey at the NEDC on March 4th. Just a word of encouragement with the nursing…I’ve been down this road with breastfeeding and have tried EVERYTHING that you are trying. It is difficult and so exhausting!! Fortunately I was able to turn things around after several months of nursing, supplementing, pumping etc etc etc. The thing that worked best for me was to start feeding my baby boy whenever he made a peep. I nursed him before a nap and nursed again when he woke up. Though this defied all traditional advice of nursing every 2-3 hours I found that these short “snacking” sessions filled him up and allowed me to continually empty and refill my breasts and thus produce enough milk without having to supplement. The bottom line is that your little one is with you all of the time anyway so it doesn’t really matter if you sit down for 5-10 min every hour or 20 min every 2 hours. It’s all the same really. You just want a contented baby. I was able to nurse for a full year this way and it was wonderful. Do whatever works for your body and your little one. Nursing is wonderful once you get past all of the supplementing and pumping. You can do it!!

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for your encouraging words. How exciting that you are about to embark on this amazing journey with the NEDC. Good luck to you and your family, I will be praying for you. My apologies for not responding quicker. I happened to notice your reply recently, when reading a previous post. The breast feeding is going better. I am still having to supplement, which I’ve decided I am fine with. Sometimes he loves to nurse and seems to prefer it over the bottle, and sometimes he only wants the bottle. I’ve decided to just go with what he wants. He’s happier and I am happier. If he is not emptying them enough, my breast let me know when it is time to pump. It does seem that the more he continues to breastfeed, the more he is contented to take the breasts. I think he is starting to feel a comfort, especially when he is ready to go to sleep. I do like your suggestion, and will try that as well. I wish you much success and hope you will keep me posted on your progress if you are interested.

    Tamara

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