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Breast Feeding

Increasing breast milk

10/24/2006

Question:

I have been breastfeeding since my son was born. He was ontime and is now 2 weeks old. I pump my milk between feedings so my husband can feed the baby at night. Now it seems that he wont take the breast and when he does it for a few minutes then he`s very fussy. He stops wanting the breast then I give him a bottle. Sometimes I can only get 4oz from both breasts combined.It seems like Im always pumping to keep a supply. Is there a way to increase milk flow and if I dont give him the bottle will he take the breast or will he just not eat?

Answer:

Your question is a good one but hard to answer without a bit more information.

If your baby was draining your breast well at first and doing so without hurting your nipples, breastfeeding was headed toward success.

We usually encourage waiting about 5 weeks before starting any bottle feeds, in order to allow the baby to really learn breastfeeding well and to allow the mother to establish a good milk supply.

It is far preferable that fathers help by getting the baby changed and ready, brought to the mom for the breast feed, then burped and laid back down or rocked back to sleep, during the night.

Night breast feeds (or night pumping later on) are what keeps the total milk supply adequate for the baby.

Bottle feeds are passive feeds and require a different sucking technique by the baby, so the baby soon begins to prefer the “easier” method. Also, if you are not draining the breasts at all during the night, your total supply may have started to decline, since the breast responds to being drained regularly by refilling, a true demand/supply situation.

Whenever a bottle feeding replaces a breastfeeding, which should ideally not happen for another 3 weeks, then that feeding should be replaced by a pumping session.

For now, you should pump immediately after feeds, and feed this milk to the baby by syringe. When he stops wanting the breast, try massaging your breast toward the nipple to move milk more passively into his mouth. This usually keeps the baby interested in the breast and sucking actively.

This plan should get your supply back and re-acclimate the baby to your breast.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati