Following is a conversation between new mum Lisa and our lactation consultant, Katie. This conversation took place about 26 days after the birth of Lisa’s daughter, Sophie. We hope that you find it useful as you continue your own breastfeeding journey.
First, Here’s Some Background Information from Katie
During mine and Lisa’s last phone call, I was actually on my way to the airport to go overseas and wasn’t going to be back in Melbourne and close to Lisa for two weeks!
But with the wonders of awesome technology we still communicated through WhatsApp and a 9 hour time zone difference!
At this point as a lactation consultant I would usually be home visiting Lisa and Sophie to check in on them. In particular, I would want to see how Sophie was feeding at the breast and if there was any way I could help to improve or “tweak” Sophie’s attachment at the breast to ensure better milk flow into Sophie.
But as I was in another country this was not going to be possible!
Here’s how our conversation went.
I hope you are having a wonderful time away! I think I may have a supply issue 🙁 Sophie has taken to the bottle and is sculling the 40-50ml and still looking for more after a feed. I express after every feed for 1/2-hour and can only get 50ml max. It’s hard work.
My breasts never feel full. Any suggestions on increasing supply? I’m expressing all the time and Sophie fed like mad all day which made expressing difficult and she doesn’t seem content.
“Hi Lisa – I hope this message has not woken you up!
Hmmm a few issues here… Increase Sophie’s amount on the top up bottle feeds to 50ml or more if she needs it and you have it.
Be strict with breastfeeds: no longer than 30-40mins of total switch feeding. Then double pump for just 10-15min or until last drops flowed. Try not to express for too long as then you’ll run out of time.
It’s more important to pump frequently than for a longer length of time.
Also don’t panic regarding your supply. It will come back as it was good at start.
Also, as Sophie has “woken up” to the feeding, it may be you feel empty because she is draining you better now and because of all the expressing you’re doing too. In 48 hrs or so your brain will recognise you need to make more milk and hopefully will increase your milk production to what Sophie needs now.
If you’re worried and need more support than I can give over the phone please go and see another LC or check in with your maternal child health nurse.
Or we can tee up a FaceTime or Skype meeting tomorrow morning my time. I’m free all morning. I’d like to do it as it will settle my mind too! I’ve been thinking about you!
A Few Additional Thoughts from Katie
Often, a baby will suddenly “wake” up to the feeding, especially when they have previously not been getting quite enough milk.
Imagine you have not eaten breakfast and then you skip lunch too, by dinner time you are really hungry but probably do not have enough energy to cook anything more than toast!
There’s no way you’re going to chop veggies and do cooking tonight! But I bet you’ve got the energy to moan about how hungry you are to your partner… “Oh I’m so hungry, I haven’t eaten all day…!”
Well, a baby who is not getting enough calories for them to be able to put on normal amounts of weight will often act very similarly. They cry and are very unsettled, yet when it comes to feeding they fall asleep easily on the breast.
So, Sophie has now had a couple of days with good feeds. Sophie has now realised, “Hey this is good stuff and I want more and more!” So right now Sophie is actively drinking all the milk Lisa is making. This makes Lisa feel like her breasts are very soft and empty all the time, yet Sophie still wants more.
With all this excellent feeding by Sophie, it has sent the right signals to the brain and breasts to start making even more milk. Lisa should not feel empty for long. Probably within 24 – 48 hours she will feel like there is plenty of milk again. And Sophie will continue feeding really well.
A Few Additional Thoughts from Lisa
Two steps forward, one step back!
Just when I think I am on the right plan and Sophie has started to take the bottle, I feel my supply has dropped away. ARRRRRGGGHHH! I can’t believe it!
All this work and now no milk! I really don’t want to interrupt Katie on holiday but I don’t want my milk to dry up completely.
Katie reassures me that my milk supply will bounce back, especially with all the expressing I’m doing and how many times Sophie is at the breast.
I’ll keep at it and continue to “switch feed” Sophie. I feel like we are starting to find our Rhythm. I will also continue to pump and feel so grateful to have modern technology and the Medela Swing Maxi at my side.
What questions do you have for Katie about breastfeeding? How would you describe your breastfeeding experience? Please join the conversation here or on our Medela Australia Facebook page.