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Forum: Breastfeeding


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March 30th, 2008, 09:15 PM
AKMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,941
Hi a little background.....

My son has bf jaundice and we have been bf exclusivly. He went from eating every 2 hours to every four and would go even longer at times if allowed. At our last appointment my ob said we needed to start supplementing with formula because he was not gaining much and his billirubin was also rising again. So we started supplementing formula after every bf and he gained 6 oz in 2 days.
So I have noticed that since his appitite is back to every 2 hours my breast cant keep up atleast it seems. He has to eat off both sides and still is not content and I so dont want to have to keep up supplementing after we have to go ahead to stop. I have had supply issues with my 2 previous bf kiddos but it was always at 3 to 4 months never this early on.
Has anyone ever tried fenugreek or have any other tricks to try to get my supply up. I always put him on my breast first but that doesnt seem to be upping my supply. I do have a breast pump but I need to get a new hygeine kit for it as I lent it to a friend.

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March 30th, 2008, 10:39 PM
LaLa's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,576
Well first thing I would suggest is a new ped.

Unfortunately, the "old school " peds recommend supplementing with Jaundice & refer to it as "BFing Jaundice". In reality, in the medical world there is no such thing as "BFing jaundice". Jaundice is actually a very normal thing, and rarely troublesome.

Bili levels were probably going up b/c of many things - and baby's decreased appetite being one thing. There are many other measures you can take though, that dont include supplementing. And - its the supplementing - not a problem with your body or baby - that has caused your milk supply to go down, something peds rarely take into account when they recommend supplementing b/c thats not their concern. Whats really bothersome IMO is that peds are not trained in BFing, and unfortunatley its who moms often turn to for support & advice. They receive NO training on BFing or how to avoid problems or solve them while BFing.

So - with that said - what to do what to do. First things first - Check out the 3 Day Nursing Sabbatical. Follow this to a T, with one exception - sit near a window part of the day, even if only for 15 mins. Or take baby for a walk if the weather is nice. Sunlight is the BEST remedy for jaundice, aside from nursing.

Heres how Jaundice works with Bfing & with formula, and why peds recommend formula: Breastmilk is perfectly made & easily digested. It gets digested and absorbed nearly immediately - in fact, in as little as 20 mins from your baby taking the breastmilk in their mouth, it is digested & absorbed into their body & being processed. It doesnt spend a lot of time hanging around in their stomach & body. What waste their is, passes through them so quickly too - which is why at the end of many feedings, you end with a poopy diaper Unlike Formula. Formula is very hard to digest especially for anewborn whose digestive system is still new & not fully developed. It hangs around for a long time, causing colic, tummy aches, gas, you name it. But BECAUSE it hangs around so long, it has time to absorb the stuff causing the jaundice (bilirubin). It absorbs it & when it finally excretes it, it takes the bili with it, and the numbers go down much more quickly than normally so its seen by many peds to be the "quick fix". Unfortunately some peds view formula as so "normal" they compare BF infants against formula fed infants as if FF infants are somehow the norm. So - instead of viewing BF infants as the "norm" and observing that formula fed infants just pass it through "quicker than normal" - they get it all backwards. They consider BF infants "slower to rid of it". totally backwards, but whatever.

Anyways - depending on what the levels are - you may or may not need to be concerned. Its quite normal and expected for jaundice to peak around 10 - 21 days. So the rise is very normal.

Kellymom.com states: Rarely, if ever, does breastfeeding need to be discontinued even for a short time. Only very occasionally is any treatment, such as phototherapy, necessary. There is not one bit of evidence that this jaundice causes any problem at all for the baby. Breastfeeding should not be discontinued "in order to make a diagnosis". If the baby is truly doing well on breast only, there is no reason, none, to stop breastfeeding or supplement with a lactation aid, for that matter.


In fact, even in a worst case scenario, before supplementation should ever be mentioned, phototherapy lights should be discharged to home for treatment at home if sunlight isnt enough or isnt available adequately. This information on kellymom.com by the way, is straight from the mouth of Dr. Jack Newman, an expert on BFing.




Consult with a LC, and call the local LLL immediately - theyll offer a lot of help & some better guidance & probably could recommend a more BFing friendly Ped.

In the meanwhile, doing the 3 day sabbatical (and stopping all supplements in the meanwhile unless you have too few diapers per day), will increase your supply sufficiently. If necessary, take fenugreek (3 - 4 capsules at a time, 3 - 4 times a day for a total of 9 - 12 capsules), mothers milk tea, and/or even eating oatmeal will help with supply. Honestly, I think you're probably within a window that the supplements for boosting supply aren't even necessary as long as you stay skin to skin & nurse as often as baby will eat for the next 72 hours

Its only 3 days, which seems like a lot initially, but is nothing in the scope of it all


I know its frustrating, and worrisome. My best friend is our local LLL leader, and her son had a very stubborn & heavy case of jaundice. THey mentioned supplementing ONCE, and she threw so much research & information at them & told them to show her ONE piece of documentation that stated any proven benefit & she would consider it. THey couldnt come up with anything other than their "supposed theories". NONE of it backed up by documented research. All hypothetical BTW, her baby recovered wonderfully & right "on time"

Also - as for the weight gain (slow gain) - what you described (the 2 oz or so) is perfect for a BF baby - sounds like theyre expecting FF baby weight gain, which is like comparing apples to oranges. You are doing great. PErfect.


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March 31st, 2008, 12:20 AM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
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I agree with much of what LaLa said & only wanted to add that many have taken Fenugreek & other aids to boost supply. I have used it with Mother's milk Tea (which I thought helped me more than the fenugreek did) and for me the best of all for boosting supply seemed to be oatmeal cookies & they are pretty tasty too & an easy snack when you are busy with little ones. My little guy was jaundiced too & when I told them I wasn't going to supplement, they decided on phototherapy & he was only on it 24 hrs & his levels were back in acceptable range & he has been fine ever since. We did do a little at home window/photo therapy as well for the first few days - but I am not sure if it was needed. I do not think supplementing is a good suggestion for what sounds to be very typical jaundice symptoms. Best wishes!
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
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March 31st, 2008, 08:02 AM
dzt66's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 632
Ditto everything that has been said. My 2nd born was jaundice and I breastfed her with no formula. Just nurse as often as the baby will and get them into a little sunlight every day.

For me, the fenugreek helped more than the tea with supply. I guess everyone is different. When I started fenugreek, I had more milk than I knew what to do with. The only bad side effect was loose bowel movements (sorry - TMI). Also be sure you are drinking plenty of water.

Good luck!

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March 31st, 2008, 10:31 AM
AKMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,941
Thanks girls, I will pick up some fenugreek and mothers milk tea today.

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