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mama failed

Had a huge "mama failed" moment last night and I literally cried through the whole thing.

My milk supply is really not keeping up with Coen's demand.  I usually can pump what he'll eat for the next day and I'm just not able to do that anymore.

When he was eating like mad just a few days or weeks ago (when I posted last), we were not only nursing him on demand, but giving him a bottle when I just couldn't nurse him anymore (which I know isn't nursing on demand, but sometimes my body was just too sore and I couldn't).  In doing this for almost 2 weeks, we have really cleared out my milk stock, that I once bragged about.  We've dipped into it (my stock) time and time again to get through growth spurts and things, but these last two weeks really just blew threw the majority of it and I wasn't able to come to grips with it, until last night.

So, in complete desperation, I had to give Coen a bottle of formula.

Big Mama Fail. Lots and lots of tears.

I didn't want this moment to happen and I really thought that it wouldn't, but we're here.

So, last night, I nursed him through the morning hours, and today at the sitter's house, he's going to take 2oz formula to 2oz breast milk to see how it works.  Because for now, I'm just going to keep pumping whatever I get and substitute when I need to.  Last week I made 32oz of milk through the whole week.  That would feed him in 2 days.  With splitting the formula/breast milk combo, we'll make that last 4 days.

It's very sad for me to think that I'm just not able to provide for Coen, but I'm not going to give up.  I'm taking a handful of supplements, as I normally would and I'm also going to start drinking Mother's Milk Tea to see what sort of increase I can induce.  I'm also doing the power-hour of pumping for 3 days to see if that will help me at all. I talked about that here, when I did that after Coen was about 3 weeks old, but not in very good detail.  Basically, for an hour a day, for three days, I would pump for 10 minutes, then I would break for 10 minutes, until I hit 1 hour.  It helped then, so I'm going to give it a try to see if it will help now.

Any body have experience with this?  Have any other suggestions?

I absolutely hate that my body is failing me.  I hate that I'm having to do this to Coen, but it's my reality and it just stinks right now.  I'm probably work to get over it, but it just really upsets me right now that it has come to this.

We'll see how the next couple weeks go and we'll see what his eating habits do, but I can't imagine that they'll decrease that much.  He's a growing boy that's going to keep needing more.  I just hope I can continue and whatever rate is possible.


Allison said…
If I were in your shoes, I don't think any words of encouragement would have helped, so I'll try not to tell you not to beat yourself up over it...because I know I would. And I have a feeling I will (I hear that boys tend to eat more than girls).

I think you know all the tips I know for increasing supply, so do what you can. I power pumped daily for a long time to maintain my supply. If you see it helping, do it as much as you can. Also try warm compresses while pumping--I found that that helped me get more out toward the end. And if you can pump for a longer period of time, go for it--I found that I needed about 40 minutes per session to get most of the milk out.

Can you try having the sitter give him more solids so he doesn't need as much milk during the day when you're away from him?

Most of all... ((HUGS))
Stephanie said…
I'm sorry you feel like a failure, but don't beat yourself up over it. Just think of how much good you've done for him up to this point! I wasn't able to BF my daughter; I pumped for the first 3 months but we always had to supplement. I just wanted to make sure she was full, whether it be from me or formula. Hang in there!
Oh, I am sorry you are going through this but please don't think your body is failing you or as a mom you have failed AT ALL. NO, NO, NO.

I wish you wouldn’t feel that way but, I do totally understand that feeling….really. You just wonder WHY you can’t keep up with him when you are doing everything right, but I just think unless you have the time to pump or nurse all day it will be hard for many people to keep up their supply. And even then, even if you have the time, it is still hard.

The past 4 months breastfeeding/pumping and I have NOT gotten along. It has been really tough, physically and emotionally. And to keep up with the demand of a growing child is hard. Henry eats 28-30oz a day. Besides Fenugreek and pumping at work, I started pumping for about 20 minutes on each boob in the morning and 40 minutes on EACH boob at night and also used a heating pad on my boob for half of the session. I stay up till about midnight just pumping, even if nothing is coming out. It has helped but in the coming months we may have to supplement with formula as this child is a bottomless pit.

You know maybe the formula will help to fill him up more so that he can still have the benefit of breast milk for part of his meals but also the fullness that comes with formula. It might just work out and also not be so demanding on your body/boobs.

I wish there was something I could say or better advice I can give you. Just try not to be too hard on yourself; you are doing an amazing job!
Sabrina said…
Hugs! You are not a failure, but no ammount of words can help when you feel the opposite.

What I can tell you is that for whatever reason no ammount of pumping will ever empty my one breast. One day I just stoped responding to the pump like I had on that side, it would get engorged I could feel the milk in there but I couldn't get more than an ounce out of that breast. Now I hand express after pumping. I *now* get 1-2oz of milk by hand expressing after pumping. It took a bit to get efficent at it, but I can normally also get a bit out of the breast that empties normally too. I pump and then hand express each time.

I went from barely not really pumping enough to increasing my supply and keeping up with this last growth spurt. It might be something you can try.

Other that that hang in there mama.
Kristal said…
You are not a failure Jill!! You are doing amazing and the fact that you are still nursing and doing what you can to boost your supply says how much of a success you are.

I don't have any personal experience, but fenugreek and steel cut oats are both supposed to help. Also, pump past the point of empty - maybe 5 extra minutes - to signal your body to make more milk.
Mrs. B said…
I also have no good advice, but I've been keeping an eye on these comments because although I've been able to work from home with my first kid, I'm not sure I'll be able to with the next (when that happens.) All of my friends that have tried to work full time while BFing have had to quit either because their kid refused the breast or their supply ran out.

That being said, I think all these ideas sound great and have worked for me whenever I've had supply issues. On the hand expressing - I'm on a FB new mom's forum and someone just posted a video of how to do that - might be helpful :)

Also, I think you're in my area and if you don't have good access to an LC - the Mt.Carmels have free access to lactation consultants, just call 234-milk. They've been lifesavers for me. Good luck!
Mrs. B said…
That should be:

Not sure what happened!
Catherine said…
I've actually had about 3 or 4 times since my son turned about 5 months old where I got so nervous about not being able to provide enough milk. When I started bragging that I was 2 weeks "ahead of him" my supply decreased yet again. He's almost 8.5 months old, and I don't have the 75 ounces packed away for next week like I normally do. I'll be able to make it, but it's kind of hurting my pride. My son and I worked SO hard in the beginning, so I knew I wasn't giving up for anything when my supply decreased those other times.

I swear that eating oatmeal and drinking something warm helps my supply for my first pumping session. I am going to buy some raspberry leaf tea to drink in the mornings and see where we go from there too. I agree with Kristal... I pump a few more minutes after I'm not producing anymore to try to encourage more milk to come later. I normally pump for 20 minutes each session.

I know how hard it is to be a working Mama with pumping and all that. You are doing a great job! I also know that like I said earlier, it just kind of hurts your pride to have to think about formula. I've wondered if I should have some in the house just in case. I seriously believe that when you're determined (as I can tell you are) your body will react! This is cliche to say, but I have to remind myself to "try not to stress about it." Your body knows when you're stressed. I can tell even when my son gets frustrated with my letdown! I just have to breathe and say, "one more second, baby, milk is coming!"

Good luck and keep us updated on how it goes!
When I needed more supply I ate oatmeal. Oatmeal cookies are awesome for increasing supply, if you don't like it the regular way. Lisa @

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