Help! I can’t make milk!

For working mamas, there are only a few things worse than not being able to pump enough breast milk for your baby. I mean, really, not only do we have to entrust someone else with our children each day (my mother-in-law actually took my almost-9-month-old daughter SWIMMING in an in-ground pool with no adult in the pool (she was held by other children) last week. This was after we had already asked her to not do such a thing. So I missed my daughter’s first pool experience, she wasn’t wearing the special UV-protective swimming clothes that I have from her (from UV Skinz–I’ll be doing a giveaway from them here shortly!), and I’m left worrying about her safety because I really think it’s not unreasonable to want an adult in the pool with a non-swimming baby!), but we also have to swallow the fact that we don’t really know what goes on in our precious baby’s life, don’t get to make all of the decisions, and that other people get to spend more waking hours with our babies than we do! On top of all of these every day realities, if that milk supply is down, so is my mental stability.

I had a mental breakdown last week after the swimming incident. It took me all of Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday to recover. Here we are on Monday now, and I only got three hard earned ounces out when pumping. My daughter will probably drink 6-8oz in a feeding, but for about a week now I’ve been really low in supply. I’m lucky to get 4 ounces out at one time! For any mom who doesn’t pump (working or stay-at-home), you may not understand the mental importance of producing enough milk for your baby. If I can’t be with my daughter, I at least want to be able to provide nourishment for her. I feel like if I can’t even do that, then what good am I as a mother? *sigh* So I will spend today in my windowless cubicle chugging water and drinking “Mother’s Milk” tea, praying that I can make enough milk for my beautiful baby to drink tomorrow.

Research on how to produce more milk come later if I have time (I know about resting and nursing a lot–we did that all weekend!), but can anyone help me in the mean time? Please leave me any tips that you have on how to make more milk!

Much love and blessings.

10 thoughts on “Help! I can’t make milk!

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  1. I was told to take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle by my lactation consultant when I was in the same boat. I was told to take three pills of each, there times a day. I smelled like maple syrup, but my milk supply went back up. I would take it until my supply went back up, then start again when it cratered again. Good luck, I know milk supply will stress a mom out like nothing else.


  2. I don't have any tips on milk supply but will be following so I can learn. I'm currently a stay at home mom but that will change after I have my new one in September. So I need all the info I can get.

    Your MIL should have respected your wishes, but I know how you feel my MIL lets my daughter do whatever she wants and when we get her back it takes about 1 week or more to get her to stop throwing fits and acting up.


  3. I'm so sorry that you're struggling like this. I've only tried to pump a few times and it is sooo disappointing to see how little i can mechanically extract, and I know my body is producing more than that, elsewise he wouldn't be growing at such a pheomenal rate, but nonetheless, I can only imagine it is heartbreaking for you.
    I also would love to give your MIL a stern talking too. It's not at all appropriate to be disrespecting your wishes, but in a circumstance in which your child's health, wellbeing, and safety are concerned, that's reprehensible.


  4. I am sorry your mother-in-law did not respect your wishes and I know how hard it is for you to leave your baby with someone else. Everyone told me that it gets easier as time goes but I have been back to work for 3 months and it is not easier to leave her every morning.

    As for tips, my best suggestion is to try not to stress over it (I know, easier said than done!). Stressing about low supply is said to reduce supply more. One great site for BFing tips is they have tons of advice that I found really helpful when I was having supply issues.


  5. I don't have any suggestions that anyone else already mentioned except, like you said, to keep on nursing and pumping and your supply should catch up.

    Both of my daughters weren't good nursers and I spent a lot of time pumping and one site that I went to a lot and got good information from was BabyCenter. Check out this group:

    As for your MIL, any chance that her son could have a good talking with her instead of you and maybe she would listen better? Good luck!


  6. Oh, your family issues sound so stressful–and familiar! Our families live very, very far away from us, so we rarely deal with these issues, and mostly deal with missing them. That's nice, I s'pose.

    As for the milk supply, I understand your feelings! I have been pumping all of my son's milk–for seven months–because he won't nurse! Sleep and peace of mind have certainly helped me build up my supply. These can be illusive, but when I manage them they really help. I have increased the frequency of pumpings–at least temporarily. And consistently pumping at the same times each day also seems to help. I have used Mother's Milk tea, at least to no ill effect. I also try to eat healthy snacks and drink water while I pump, because it relaxes me, nourishes me, and entertains me. I try to do fun things while I pump (like write comments on your blog!) and avoid icky things (like work). It sounds like you pump AT work! Best wishes!


  7. This is a very tender subject for me (so much so that I'm going to remain annonymous though I think you might still know who I am). After a rather dramatic birth, my baby would not latch. He still won't most of the time. We still try, but for the most part I'm EPing. It's time consuming, difficult, and painful in more ways than one. There's also very little support out there.
    So even though I'm a SAHM and get to be with my baby everyday, I totally empathize with you on the agony of watching every tiny drop that goes into that pump while desperately trying to provide for your baby.
    A couple of times I've gotten nervous about my supply and the thing I've found that affects me the most is SLEEP! At first I would wake up a couple times a night to pump only to get maybe an ounce. After a couple of weeks I stopped getting up in the middle of the night (as did baby). I found that I got much more milk getting that little bit of extra sleep than I did when I did my zombie-like middle of the night pumping.
    I think distracting yourself while pumping also helps. Even if it doesn't help you “make more milk”, it could help you relax and that defintely helps! Sometimes I feed baby while I'm pumping(yeah. Takes some skill!). Having him close to me is great for let-down and the best “distraction” ever! I've read that it can help some working mamas to have a picture of their baby available to them while pumping at work. Can't hurt, right?
    I've tried fenugreek and mother's milk tea. The fenugreek alone didn't seem to do anything (probably because I wasn't combining it with blessed thistle). I *think* the tea helps, but not a ton. The tea has both fenugreek and blessed thistle in it as well as anise and other herbs said to help with lactation.
    Ultimately though the best thing you can probably do is keep trying.
    Good Luck! đŸ™‚


  8. We've already started laying out the ground rules. I get one baby, ever, unless we adopt, and this is simply how it's going to be. I think I've already made it clear to all grandparents that should be wishes EVER not be followed, I have no problem with supervised visitation ONLY for a while. Yes. I have every intention of being a b**** when it comes to how my own child is taken are of.
    Don't be afraid to be difficult on this one. After all, no one else is Amara's parents except you and Ron, and no one else has the primary responsibility to make sure she is safe.


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