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August 17, 2007


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This might sound like a much too personal question but...I wonder if you are going to get your period. Have you gotten it yet?? Both of my kids did that for the week before my periods. I looked it up and it does happen. Milk supply decreases and it is said that there is even a change in the way the milk tastes. I had the exact same experience. Crying, pulling off constantly during a feeding. I also noted a great decresed in supply when I would pump during this time. It would go right back to normal after my period, and then happen again the next month. He could also be teething a bit. If that is the case I would try giving him some infant Tylenol and if that settles him down then you know he is having pain and not hunger. It is probably a bit of both. Try making him Bfeed as long as he will and then give the supplement. I have given my kids soy formula but not soy milk. They didn't seem to take to it as well as the flavor is so different.
As for pumping and bloging, do you have the hands free pump bra???


If that link doesn't work, it is called the Easy Expression Bustier Hands-free Pumping Bra

If you don't have it...get it. It will totally change the way you view pumping. I hated pumping before I had that bra, but a girl at work turned me on to it, and I love it. I can be at the computer, or eat or anything while I pump.

You could also start giving him a bit of cereal. In the US they recommend BF exclusivly for the first 6 months, but most pediatricians will say to introduce cereal between 4-6 months. Especialy if you have a great big baby like max who has a large hunger bug!

Best of luck and hang in there. You are doing a great job of figureing out this whole breastfeeding thing.


Hands free pump bra? I had no idea something like that existed. *Clicks link*

Thanks, Kelly for your advice.... I did get my period last month and I'm due for the next one... I hadn't thought of that.


Hi Max's mom!
I gave birth to a preemie a month ago who is still living in the NICU. He is living solely on the milk I provide from pumping. In the past week, I've noticed the milk slowing down. I keep hearing 'pump more' from my lactation consultant but am getting a little sad and disappointed. I spend all my time at the hospital with him and it's almost impossible to keep up with 6-8 times a day when I don't have him at home yet! I've also been told to drink lots more water. Have you tried this? If so, did it work for you?


I used soy milk formula when I had to stop nursing for a few days and the baby (that's now 27!) did well with it.



I remember drinking a TON of water right after Max was born. At least 3 liters a day. I also remember being thirsty all the time. I had a lot of milk in the beginning but I am not sure that contributed to the fact that I made a lot of milk. I think my body was just get adjusted to feeing Max. I drink about 1.5 liters of water a day now.


I second trying him on a little cereal. Mix a tiny bit in with a little of your expressed milk and try it before a feed. My eldest was only three months old when I gave him rice cereal and the change in him from fractious monster to contented angel was astounding. Max is a big boy and may need some solid sustenance.

When I had my babies the recommended time to try solids was between 4 & 6 mths but now it seems to be a standard 6mths everywhere. But the way I see it, all babies are different.


Oh no! I just sent you an email about how I wasn't sure that I'd wake up in the middle of the night to pump, and then you post this. Sorry!

The Hands-Free Bra is awesome.

Things I did to increase milk supply:
- Drink lots of water
- Nurse the baby and then pump right after for 5-10 minutes
- Take Fenugreek capsules and/or Blessed Thistle (not sure if you can find these here)
- Nurse at least every 3 hours

There are also some Mother's Milk teas that you can drink.

I never had to deal with the period issue, but have heard that it can affect both taste and supply in the week before you get it. Do you have a copy of "The Nursing Mother's Companion" by Kathleen Huggins? That book is amazing, although you may find that you've already been through most of the issues by this time.

Hang in there, and good luck! This too shall pass.



So you say the teas work for you? I've read they could do the opposite. I think it's just a placebo effect. As for the Fenugreek capsules, I've never seen those here but I'm going out tomorrow to look for soy formula so maybe I'll find some Fenugreek, too.

And maybe it's time for some cereal in Max's milk. Big boy = big appetite.


The fenugreek is fantastic. I'm in the US and can buy it at the natural vitamin section of any grocery store. You have to take a lot of it, like three capsules three times a day. Work your way up to that dose. It can affect your blood sugar a little, so eat lots of protein with it. I've also heard oatmeal everyday increases production, but never tried it. I love the breast but never hesitated to use formula for supplements when it seemed like that was needed. It allowed me to keep nursing and baby to be fed. I also fed solids early, in the 5 month age range. A little cereal. I went by feeding cues as opposed to an age. Some of them are if baby is interested in what you are eating, watches you, etc. If you put food in his mouth does he move it around or push it back out. Does he sit up on his own. Those kinds of things. "Child of Mine, Feeding with Love and Good Sense" is a great book about food from birth to childhood. I'm glad you're pumping to keep at it. Max may also do a nursing strike for awhile and will be glad he can still nurse when he's over it.


Thaya has been the same way at night lately. She just about devours her hands. We now give her veggies before bed, and it seems to help fill her up. I;ve also tried tweaking her feeding a little... instead of 3 or 4 ounces every 2 hours she is getting 5 to 6 every 3. She seems more content when I stretch it out longer.

With the pump, I find it helpful to stick to a schedule. I have an easier time with let down if I am near her, and it sounds wierd but her smell seems to get the best results. I also get the best results if I pump right after I feed her in the A.M.

Do you know about "massage-stroke-shake"? It really helps get out every last drop! Get ready to become best friends with your boobs!

And, I am sure he does know the difference. If it were me, I would get those bottles that you can put cereal into and mix it with your milk. That way he is still getting the good nutrients, but will be more full. Just be careful with those bottles, you have to measure so he doesn't over eat.


Meg- What is the "Massage-stroke-shake"? I'm so intrigued. And I know what you mean about having the baby near. I have a picture of Max in the kitchen where I pump and I look at it and almost instantly I get a let down. It's awesome. I use visualization as well.

What kind of bottles do you use to feed cereal and B milk? We're using Avent and have been happy with those. Perhaps we can change the nipple.


ok, let me chime in here. if you're ready to give solids to max, my advice is to NOT put cereal into your EBM and feed it in a bottle. you're better off just mixing a little cereal with EBM and feeding it to him with a spoon. there have been instances where babies choke on EBM/cereal in a bottle because it's a thickness that they're not used to. better safe than sorry.

my other advice is to actually wait to give cereal until 9-12 months and instead start max on veggies. there's an enzyme that's needed to digest grains and babies don't generally make that enzyme until 9 months. until then, it just passes through their system and usually makes them constipated. since you're already having trouble with constipation, i would avoid it. it's a great filler which is why it's usually introduced first but i'm sure you wouldn't want to aggravate that situation!

i'm also thinking about starting solids early because the peanut is a big girl and eats a lot! she also doesn't sleep through the night because she gets hungry no matter how much we feed her during the day. i'm going to hold out on the exclusive breast feeding as long as i can and then introduce some yummy veggies first (thank god fall is coming soon! great squashes and sweet potatoes from the farmer's market!)

and my right breast always makes more milk than my left one. totally weird :) i'm very lopsided.


Drinking Mothers milk tea or Weleda nursing tea really helped my supply. Any fenegreek tea will work, the only downside is you really smell like fenegreek. Sam didn't seem to mind. The other advice I followed was to pump or feed every three hours. Maybe try that on the left breast? KellyMom's "How Milk Production Works" article helped me a lot too. We went through some teary nights and I know how hard and stressful it is. Good luck, it will get better!!

Leslie  Terry

At 5 months with both of my children my breast milk just dried up almost over night. It was really hard. I wish you the best of luck.

Mary Anne

I know it is hard, but keep trying different things...you have gotten lots of great advice, and my guess is the period thing....makes a lot of sense...Katy sometimes pulls back off a bottle...no change at all...just not "working" for her(she is seriously teething, and I think she thinks a bottle will help, and it doesn't and that makes her mad.)
Veggies...NOT CEREAL for Max...too much pooey problems at your house, you don't need to add cereal to that! Orange veggies taste best...sweet pot, squash and carrots :)

and if all else fails...cry a bit, then remember that cute 7 year old you know...healthy as a horse and reading Harry Potter with daddy! Not a drop of bm for him!

Mary Anne

Mary Anne

about soy milk...don't give him Soy milk...Soy Formula is fine, that is all Jack ever had(lactose intolerant) and he did great...

Mary Anne


I did a lot of pumping for my kid as I went back to work after 5.5 weeks, so I can give you quite a few tips if you want on pumping. I second the fact that when you are about to get your period, your milk supply decreases. Also, my baby would be really hungry around 5.5 months, and daycare asked me if I wanted to give him solids, which is what we did since the pediatrician had okayed it.

Now, the dirty with the pumping:
1) To increase your supply, you can pump after each feeding for 10-15mins. Do this for a few days, and this should get your supply up. I was also told that I should pump every 2 hours for best results, and not let more than 3 hours go by Pretty much, the more often you pump, the less you get at each pumping but the more you get over the course of the entire day (I know, I have kept excel sheets!). If you let a lot of time go by, then you have a spectacular amount, but over the entire day, it is not as much. Remember that I was at work full time so the 2-3hrs guideline did not apply for somebody with a kid who is breastfeeding at the same time. The 10-15mins after each feeding was applying for when you are breastfeeding, since it was when I came back from the hospital and he wasn't nursing enough, so we had to make sure that the milk production was good.
2) Something that worked really well for me was to pump after his last feeding, and then again before going to bed and then in the middle of the night once. The middle of the night and early morning were when I got the most.
3) Hands free pumping. How many times have I done that, at work, at home!!!! You don't need a special bra. You can make it work with you current bra by tucking the shells in your bra and you can hold them in place with rubberbands tied to the straps of your bra. Saves you $30. Pumping without doing anything sucks!!!!!
4) Make sure that the breast shells are the right size to maximize the comfort/stimulation/amount of milk. I was told that the regular size that comes with the pump that I had (M***** brand) is not the size that most people need. Usually, most people need size "Large" (27mm I believe).
5) Personnally, and this is just me, I would leave the herbs, teas and such (they make me nervous) and just use the pump. From experience, I have found that it was usually enough. I was able to get through every growth spurt without a problem and then more. It just takes a few days/a week to get the production up to speed. With the formula to cover for that time, you should be all set.


Actually, I have a few more things:
1) On the soy milk: your best bet is to give him a milk-based formula unless he can tolerate it. I read on the internet (I think it was Dr Sears's website which has an extensive section on choosing a formula) that soy formula are not as good as milk formula because they are further even further away from breastmilk than cow-based formulas are.
2) on the "lack of adequare" weight gain: we went through that at 2mo. It was stressful, we couldn't figure out what was wrong. We thought he was eating enough. Same thing, he was gaining height and developping great, just not putting hardly any weight. Finally, when he was 3.5 mo, after multiple lactation+pediatrician consultations, we bought ourselves a scale. Best thing we ever did. The kid was starving over the week-ends. For whatever reason, he would not retrieve enough milk, even though the milk was there because I was pumping it for his bottle for daycare during the week. The way it works if you can get your hands on a good scale (don't need the professional ones, but one that is accurate to the 1oz will give you a ballpark). You consider baby+diaper+clothes as a control volume, so you do a before weigh-in. Then, you feed him, and you do a after weigh-in. The difference gives you how much breastmilk he has drunk, since the only thing that went into your control volume during that (short) time is the milk. Any pee/poop doesn't count because it is in an internal boundary (was in the body, now in the diaper) and didn't leave your system (you didn't change the diaper). You can calibrate and make sure that the scale has a good enough accuracy when you give him a bottle because you know how many grams are going in (1ml~=1g). This will give you an idea as to how much he is drinking and whether it is a supply issue or time for solids. There is this rule of thumbs that when they are drinking more than a certain amount of *formula* it is time for solids. BTW, now, at almost 9mos, he is all pudgy and the days where we were worried about his food intake seem far far away!!!!
3) more on soy milk: after 1y, you can give him soy milk, but same thing, cow milk might be more appropriate (don't have data on that). However, if you do use soy milk, it has to be *FULL FAT* soy milk. Otherwise, his brain won't get the required amount of fat. The following is not to scare you, but just as info that I have stumbled upon. I was reading an article [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/107/4/e46] about how some children had some severe malnutrition and unseen in the US third world country diseases because the parents gave the children rice milk or soy milk that wasn't full fat after they were done with the formula. The milk part in the name is misleading... A good source of info:

Good luck with everything!!!! It is stressful, but things have a way of working themselves out.


Everyone! Thank you for all the great advice. Ah, it's so nice to read these and it helps to put my mind at rest.

I pumped last night using the electric pump instead of my Avent pump and was able to pull down a full bottles worth. So, that made me feel better. I've got three bottles in the freezer again.

Again, so many nice comments and links! I'm going to make a post to put out all the links you posted. They are all great.


You've had tons of good advice here! Two more suggestions that I dont think anyone said. Try eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and drink Ovalmaltine - both are very good for supply. And put him to the breast as often as possible. Good luck and well done for being so determined :)


I've been following the breast discussion with interest, having given birth just over 2 weeks ago. Thanks for many thought-provoking comments and posts!

I don't produce enough milk, so we top junior up with formula at night. 2 bottles, every 3 hours. Our pediatrician recommended it after I complained that he tried to nurse for hours and ended up just as hungry and left me absolutely exhausted. We breastfeed during the day.

What I find interesting is the fact that A does not want to take the bottled formula from me. He will only eat the formula if he's fed by my husband. Must be the smell of milk...

Good luck with your pumping! I hope your milk supply rebounds!


Oh,one more thing. I just noticed you said he was sleeping well up until recently. In my huge experience of having had two babies, I think they all go a little nuts around about 5-6 months old - lots of waking at night (if they have previously slept through). I think its because they are on the verge of so many new things. It may not just be about milk :)


1. Fenugreek? Tried it? It does wonders
2. Period? Changes in hormones = changes in hormones...Could just be that.
3. Sleep? Are you getting enough?
4. I HATE electric pumps! Honestly, if you've got a manual one, stick with that. It doesn't destroy your breast AND you can pump at a rhythm that more closely resembles how Max suckles. (I am a manual pump coaching goddess if you need any hints or tips)
5. This sounds totally against everything we're taught, but try a small glass of dark beer. Pelforth got me over a bad crunch with Matthieu. Don't know what's in it, but it helped!
6. Do Not freak out and think that this is the end--because even if it is, stressing over it will not be good for you, your supply, Max, Hubz, or anyone other than that evil little demon who lives on stress.
7. Both of my older 2 did a little freaky change thing at six months, and they were both on formula by then so it could just be his age.
Keep on keeping on lovely! And keep following your instincts...


Although I can't give much advice on the drying up of the milk aspect, I can chime in and say that the LLL was of not help to me either. All they did was bitch me out because I wanted to supplement and did nothing for me to continue breastfeeding.

As far as solids are concerned, Gab started at 4 months! Louise at 6. I gave Gab cereal but Louise has had almost no cereal. I made a decision to not give her cereal at all in her bottle after doing research and the suggestion of my doctor, who believes that it contributes to too much weight gain.

I gave Gab soy formula for a week until I found out that it has harmful effects on the levels of tesosterone in boys.

Don't beat yourself up if you have to give him formula. Already you are doing the best you can for Max, and it shows through your concern for his health. I know that you really want to breastfeed but in the end if you've done all you can, you can't do much more, especially if he's not getting enough to eat.


oh, and I wanted to add that you are awesome because you are doing way more than I ever did for the BF aspect, so that in itself you should be proud of.

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