I just have to say WOW. A few weeks ago I never would have thought that I would be where I am with breastfeeding. I'm so excited and proud. I am almost breastfeeding exclusively now. The only time I really supplement now is in the evenings (after he has nursed for a long time and still seems starving). I rarely supplement during the day anymore (a small amount every other day or so), and during the night is almost unheard of. I can hardly believe it! My goal is to try to get to where the only time I give formula is if I have to be away from him for some reason, like a date night (and only if I can't pump enough... which pumping is still a little iffy). I love the pump that I have (the Playtex Embrace Double Electric Breastpump)... it's real comfortable, but I still don't pump a whole lot out at a time... 2 ounces at the most usually, and that's when I'm real full (of course that's better than with my old pump :)..
But, even if I always have to give a supplement in the evening, that's not too bad.
About a week ago I was talking to my midwife and she told me something that totally changed my outlook on breastfeeding. I told her that it's very tempting that when we're in public to just feed him a bottle because it's easier. She reminded me "remember you're a breastfeeding mama, not a formula feeding mama." Since then, if I'm tempted to use a bottle when I don't need to, I remind myself of that. I only use the bottle if absolutely necessary, and it has made a huge difference. I had to remind myself that just because he's hungry 30 minutes to an hour after a feeding doesn't mean that he needs a bottle... especially since it doesn't happen all the time. At night, he can go 3-4 hours without needing a feeding (sometimes less), and that's ONLY on breastmilk (most of the time)...and he's only 5 1/2 weeks old. So, that's not bad at all! During the day he goes on average about 2 hours... sometimes an hour, sometimes 4 hours... it just depends. I would say that we're doing pretty well!! I really just can't believe it!
I'm still taking herbs, which I think is helping, and I plan to continue taking them for a while. I have been taking Motherlove More Milk Special Blend and Fenugreek tinctures. I used to hate the taste, but I've gotten used to it. I put the drops in a small glass and add a tiny bit (maybe a tablespoon) of apple juice. It's not bad really.
All it took was some determination and desire to continue no matter what (and patience!), and here we are, almost 6 weeks later, doing really well. So, anyone who has struggled with supply in the past, it can be done... you just have to keep trying. I have had a low supply with all of mine, and after sticking it out, I am almost breastfeeding exclusively now (only about 4-5 oz of formula a day now... hopefully none in a few weeks!).
I also have to say thank you to my wonderful midwife, Kristen, who has been very supportive this whole time. I'm not sure I would have stuck it out without her support (and Robert's of course!).
One more piece of advice that I can give... in the past, I have had a lot of pain (which made me want to quit also). It had nothing to do with my babies' latch because I have been told every time that the latch is great. This time, I started having pain, but I figured out how to get rid of it. Lanolin actually works if you use it constantly! After every feeding I applied a generous amount. I also make sure to change my breastpads often (which, I just switched to cotton reusable ones, and I don't leak much anymore so I won't have to change them as often), and I don't wear a bra at night so they can air out. I now don't have any pain. I never got to that point the last two times.
I'm so excited that I can call myself a breastfeeding mama :). That's a huge deal to me!!!