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Breast milk supply- Please Help!

Asked on March 15, 2017
Created March 15, 2017 at 2:37 PM

A little background-

I had my first in 2009 and gained a ton of weight and was extremely unhealthy. We had tons of issues with nursing including low milk supply, suspected tongue tie, using breast shields, nipple confusion, two serious cases of mastitis, etc. but we pushed through and made it to 13 months before I weaned her to go on antidepressant medication. I had such a hard time nursing and it took going to lengths that were exhausting and near impossible but I always had more than enough milk and through research, meetings, doctors, lactation consultations, and family I became and "expert" of sorts on the topic of milk supply and breastfeeding and prided myself on this knowledge.

I "went Paleo" a couple years later, lost all the weight, got off my antidepressants and felt amazing. Eventually I went through a divorce and the huge lifestyle change and stress pushed me back to a SAD. I met and married my current husband, and we had our first baby in August 2016. I knew I wanted to breastfeed but I was nervous because of my previous struggles. However this baby took to nursing like a fish in water. Unfortunately I went back to work at 6 weeks postpartum to the day and began pumping and noticed that my milk supply wasn't great, but I had sufficient to feed my baby and put a bit away in the freezer (with my first I managed to fill a deep freezer that enabled her to have my milk for months after I weaned her). I figured that going back to work so early, the stress and exhaustion and busy-ness of having older kids and a job and a household to run was partly to blame, but my baby never fussed at the breast or seemed dissatisfied or hungry. 

She's always been a small baby- about the 25th percentile, but recently at her 6 month appointment she had dropped off to the 5th percentile. She isn't too fond of solids yet, her tongue thrust reflex is still pretty pronounced but she loves the taste of food and enjoys feeding herself more than being spoon fed. I recently started a Whole 30 to jumpstart me getting back into being Paleo and by day 10 I noticed that my milk supply was quickly going down. She's starting the pull and twist and fuss when nursing, has started waking up at night to nurse again after sleeping through the night and my pumping output has greatly decreased. I used to pump 9-12 ounces over 2-3 pumpings and yesterday I got 9oz over 5 pumpings! 

It's important to note that I thought she was possibly going through a growth spurt because she had grown very long but hadn't plumped up to match her length yet, she just got her first tooth and we just got over a very bad stomach virus for which I took Phenargan twice over 12 hours, but that was 4 days ago and I had noticed a decrease prior to that point.

The only direct correlation that I notice is starting my Whole 30. Through some research and googling I've noticed that this seems to be a common thing. My mom couldn't understand why nourishing my body and being healthier would cause a decrease in milk supply, and for the life of me I can't find any reasoning to explain this to her either. I thought it was possibly my carb intake, but yesterday I ate potatoes like my life depended on it and drank a gallon of water and my output actually decreased again. I'm good at getting enough fat and protein, but I know I've struggled with getting enough carbs. I have been eating white potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and even a little white rice in hopes that it would help but it hasn't. I'm also eating bananas, apples and making smoothies but still nothing. 

Today I'm trying an experiment. My husband asked me to pause my Whole 30 and go all out SAD for the day and see what happens. Well, guess what? It's 10am and I've had two donuts, sugary coffee with creamer and a breakfast sandwich and I can fill myself filling up with milk for the first time in a long time. My first pumping of the day and I'm already at half of what I got over 5 pumpings yesterday.

First off, what is going on? And secondly, how can I replicate this with a Paleo diet? I'm starting to feel like I have to chose between my health and the health of my child and it's a heartbreaking decision to be faced with (Just a note- I don't agree that formula is just as good as breastmilk or that "fed is best." I won't judge others for their decisions but please don't spout that stuff at me as a consulation. I feel it is equivalent to medicine and I will use it if absolutely necessary for the health and well-being of my child, but it is a last resort).

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