Lactation advice

Kate is doing well with pumping and getting into a routine that I think she feels comfortable with. She pumps every two hours during the day and once in the middle of the night around 3am or so. She is now taking a higher dose of the Domeridone along with Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek three times a day. I’m getting her some Red Raspberry Leaf extract and Gaia Lactation Tea with our next paycheck to up the supply. 

So that’s the back story as of now.

She is consulting with a lactation consultant through our insurance and on a Facebook site for woman on Domperidone. She is following the Newman Goldfarb protocol strictly as well, such a by the book chica.

One of her breasts is the main producer and the other is barely producing anything. We know this is fairly normal but would like info on how to help the other breast produce more.

What advice could you give her?

What other supplements or vitamins could help?

Any specific advice on pumping with a new supply?

When inducing, how long before her full supply comes in do you think?

If you’ve had “issues” with supply what helped you the most and what didn’t?

Also, I’m starting to massage my breasts in hopes it helps my milk come in faster as well. I’m going to start taking the supplements once the babies get here and I’ll start pumping at 36 weeks too. Any advice for me?
Thanks ladies.

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44 thoughts on “Lactation advice

  1. So in everything I’ve read about inducing it should take between 6-8 weeks for a “full” supply to come in but I’ve also read of women for whom it took longer but eventually it happened and they produced about 50% of baby’s needs.
    A lactation consultant I spoke to said fenugreek can actually hinder some women’s production so she suggests to clients to try a day or two without to see if supply changes, if it drops obviously it was helping, if it doesn’t or goes up then it could be hurting rather than helping.
    Has she tried goats rue? That’s another good galactalogue I believe and helps build duct tissue also.
    Sounds like she’s doing great! How long has she been pumping?

  2. The things that help me most are drinking tons of water and eating well. I have never seen any huge jump with any galactagenic foods. Shatavari and moringa are two herbs that helped me boost my supply early on.
    I would hold off on you taking the herbs until you see how your milk does. Herbs can backfire and actually reduce supply if taken when not in necessary. The #1 best way to increase supply is to pump (or nurse) as frequently as possible. Err on the side of more pumps for less time.
    Everyone has a “slacker boob” and, according to the IBCLC I work with, there is no way to increase supply in just one breast. Some women produce 90%’of their milk from one breast and 10% from the slacker.
    For you, hold off on pumping until 3-4 weeks old (assuming you can nurse when they are born) to and creating an over supply, which is not the boon it sounds like (it comes with issues for baby, mastitis for mama. . .) Trust that your body is going to do what it is supposed to! And yes, I know deeply how much easier said than done that is!

    • I think I said something wrong in my post lol I’m not the one taking the supplements before the babies come, Kate is and she has to. I actually didn’t want her to take them until shed pumped for a while but it’s part of the protocol. I was saying that I would take the supplements after the babies were born only if needed. I’m hoping and thinking that I won’t need to. I was going to pump after 36 weeks to help bring on labor since they will induce me or I will need a Csection at 37 weeks medically and I want to avoid it if I can. Therefore I’m going to try to induce naturally (safely of course and with my OBs permission) after 36 weeks. Probably close to 36.5 weeks. We have big healthy kiddos in there so they are unconcerned with their need for the NICU or their size. My OB is actually a bit concerned my boy may not fit through my pubic opening, but we will try anyway.

  3. Have you heard of doing a power hour pump? Look that up-because that could help. Also, I wrap a heating pad around my breasts while pumping when I feel like they’re not emptying well-it really helps (and feels good!) my right breast was a slacker and my left was an over producer and I think I am SLOWLY evening them out. Sometimes when Charlie drinks on the left she chokes and splutters from the letdown but she does fine on the right.

  4. Ugh. Comment whore here. One last thing-I would be careful with starting supplements before your milk comes in. You might have oversupply naturally like I have and then you would make it worse. If you don’t have enough you can start the supplements and they start to work really fast. I just don’t want you getting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. My breasts still wet the bed every night if Charlie sleeps longer than three hours. It’s not fun.

    • That is part of the point actually. Since I have a massive baby boy already my doctor is concerned about a Csection and knowing I don’t want one. Because they are full term (for twins) at 36 weeks every doctor an midwife I’ve spoken to or heard from says it’s fine to try inducing behaviors after 36 weeks. I’d like to try everything possible to not be medically induced and I will be by 37 weeks if I don’t go into labor on my own beforehand.

  5. Oatmeal was the key for me increasing milk supply – I ate 1-2 bowls a day in the first month at least. You can make home made lactation cookies too. And water. I was told to up it to 3-4 liters per day. With having twins the nutritionist told me to up my fats to 100g per day as well. But if you plan to breast feed when the babies first arrive, I wouldn’t early pump ( I mean EMB vs straight breastfeeding). They need your colostrum for the first 1-3days. And doing skin to skin will help, even if you have a section, whenever it happens. I did skin to skin a few hours after my section and my milk came in so fast! I haven’t really had a milk supply issue expect when I was listening too much to too many ‘specialists’ – I should have just stopped and listened to my body. It’s a pretty amazing thing.
    In my community there’s a breast feeding support group run by doulas and lactation consultants. It’s been invaluable to me with the information and support. One website I frequent is kellymom.com.
    As for the pumping thing, it’s totally normal to have one breast be a bigger producer. With pumping, every woman’s reserves are going to vary. I have large reserves so I got more from pumping 2-3 times a day then pumping 4-6. Kate will likely find that once they arrive her supply will go up anyways.
    Just an an FYI (I learned this week at the BF group): When the babies arrive and you want to use a nipple shield for awhile (I say want because it’s your decision to even when someone suggests it to you) some women can have decreased milk supply from it. I personally didn’t and I used a shield for almost 3 months – Gunnar got really attached to it. Whatever. It’s wasn’t that big of a deal to me so got rid of it when he was ready. But if you’re already concerned about low supply after the first week of them being here, maybe something to go read/ask about. If it’s the difference between stopping or continuing BFing, you’ll need to make that decision together. You guys are doing awesome though, keep up the good work 😊😊😊. (Feel free to email me if you ever want to chat more about it – Twinnie mom to Twinnie mom)

  6. I don’t have any advice on an under producing boob, but have you tried lactation cookies? It’s essentially oatmeal cookies with Brewers yeast, flax meal and rolled oats. Some people add the fenugreek in for an extra boost to their supply. Also for you, your body will produce colostrum for a few days before your milk comes in. As far as I know you can’t actually make the milk come in any faster as it is triggered by a hormone response from your body

    • I’ve heard a lot of differences in opinion on the milk supply before baby thing. I just figured I’d try it after 36 weeks to get the ball rolling with labor too since im having a big baby and I want to avoid medical inducement.

  7. Not much advice, but after your babies arrive it takes a few days for milk to come fully in. Curious why you would start supplements before knowing what your supply will look like?

    • Supplements are for Kate right now, I won’t take them until after the babies are born and I can estimate my supply. The reason I want to pump before the come is to help my supply come in faster (so I’ve heard). My OB said its a hit or miss and that first time moms can go 5 days without their supply coming in.

  8. I always have one side that produces less. Then sometimes it will surprise me and the other side will lag behind. Very rarely do they ever produce the same amount. The one thing that seems to work to get the slow side going is to nurse from that side. I mostly pump because he doesn’t want to latch on anymore to slow boobies after being spoiled by fast bottles, but even if I can get a couple minutes or nursing it’s like he activates that side to make more.

  9. If you haven’t had the babe’s yet at 36 weeks, I wouldn’t start pumping until closer to 37 weeks. It can cause major contractions (it did for me for the first few weeks. Ouchhh) and if those babies are cozy in there, staying in until at least 37 weeks is the best for them!
    The only other advice I have is hydrate hydrate hydrate!! I see ounces worth of difference when I’m really well hydrated vs when I’m not.

    So exciting, they’ll be here soon!!!

  10. Why would you pump at 35/36 weeks? That may induce a painful labor, any type of nipple stimulation makes your uterus contract, and can induce an early labor and possibly even a painful back labor.

    • Because by 36 weeks I will be full term since I’m having twins and not all women go into labor from nipple stimulation. So once I’m over 36 week I can do anything I want to help induce labor or that could in general. I’ve heard pumping before you give birth gives you a heads up on lactation supple.

  11. I think it’s so awesome that Kate is able to lactate for the babies!!! As for tricks for supply, I have been eating lactation cookies (I got the recipe from the lactation consultant) and oatmeal (the steel cut kind, not packets) for breakfast regularly to help my supply.
    Regarding pumping before you have the babies, make sure your OB is ok with that before you do it. Mine was adamant about not pumping until after the babies were born.

  12. Hello! Good job with the pumping!

    Although I don’t have experience from this perspective, I got my supply up by eating/drinking lots of fennel. Try and find nursing bars that have all the right ingredients in them. I eat ones from Freida’s Pantry. Not sure if you can order overseas?

    The only other way was to pump whilst T fed on the other boob – but obviously that won’t help now but it will do later!

    There’s a wonderful Facebook group called “breastfeeding yummy mummies” that you should join. They seem to know EVERYTHING and have helped me tons. You may be lucky and have someone experienced with the same situation you’re in. X

  13. Now I’ve struggled with my supply but I think it’s bc the twins don’t nurse/won’t nurse but lactation cookies helped a lot. It’s the brewers yeast and flaxseed meal in them that help. I have thyroid issues so taking fenugreek was contraindicated and any of the herbs I tried hurt mine and babies’ tummies. And you wanting to induce your labor naturally maybe instead of pumping ( and saving that colostrum and skin to skin time for their first hour out of the belly) try just nipple stimulation, the effect you would get from pumping his without taking out the goodies for the babies. Like rolling the nipple between your fingers for thirty minutes so many times a day or use a loofa. I didn’t wan a csection either, I wanted to try to push them out but Baby B ( Nae) was a whole pound bigger than my Baby A and was breech so my OB did not feel that using inversion to flip the baby was a safe alternative. My csection was glorious and nothing what I expected. I am an L and D nurse and these patients act like they can’t get out of bed ever and that the c/s was the worst thing to ever happen to them. I was up walking four hours after mine and felt great ( except for the trapped gas) but that’s what the walking is for.. I cross my fingers for you for no surgical intervention though! I’ll link the lactation cookie recipe I use in another comment! They are really good! You can make the dough now and freeze them into balls to take out and bake as needed instead of making two dozen all at once.

    • I’d love to make those cookies, yum!!! I’ve never done well with surgery or intense drugs, that’s why I want to avoid a csection if at all possible. Low pain tolerance and high sensitivity to medications runs in my family 😔 except my mom is a champ with pain.

  14. I have NO advice but I am learning a TON from the comments. They’re are cookies?!?!

    I like your idea of naturally inducing labour with pumping. As you say they’re healthy babies and you don’t want them getting so big you need a c-section.

    I think Kate is awesome, btw. I hope her supply starts coming in.

  15. Not sure about the inducing part, but oatmeal and beer helped me when my supply would tank during stress. Of course I pumped and dumped after the beer.

  16. No advice from me–I’m still figuring things out. However, fwiw, I was induced and my milk came in right on schedule (early even). I frequent kellymom and the drop-in breastfeeding center in my area. I’ve found that I seek out answers to specific questions/problems more than general info, else I just feel overwhelmed.

    I don’t recall whether Kate is on the GLBT NGP group (I think she is?) on FB but there are definitely people and archived threads there that have advice about induced lactation.

    Okay, maybe I did have things to say…

  17. Can i just mention again, how jealous I am that Kate is actually getting milk!!! I was told though NOT to take any supplements until you have a full flow/letdown, otherwise it could actually be detrimental. If she isn’t producing at least 10-15cc’s, i wouldn’t start the supplements…and yeah, still totally jealous…

    • I’m sure that will make her happy. She’s getting more and more each day, but this weekend she got a Mastitis infection and is now on meds. We are also testing out the supplement concern everyone has mentioned. She’s been off them for four days and will stay off them until she no longer has Mastitis and then get back on them to see what the difference is for her.

      • I hear nothing works as well as the Domperidone. And this came from my LC who induced lactation with both of her adopted daughters! And that sucks that she got mastitis! I hope that doesn’t become a constant thing…

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