Reflux and Low Milk Supply

A customer shares her breastfeeding story with us…

“I started feeding Milla with no problems when she was born, as she latched on pretty well and after a week of sore cracked nipples they came right and I was loving it.

However week two rolled around and Milla started to become very unsettled, very spilly and not a happy chappy on the whole. People tried to help by giving advice on maybe it was something I was eating that was making her windy/spilly etc. As she was VERY unsettled and I was desperately trying everything, I ended up not really eating much at all and becoming very stressed about what I could and couldn’t eat as well as reasons why Milla would be so unhappy.

At about week 6 I figured out that it was probably reflux, as she was screaming in the middle of and immediately after each feed and I couldn’t put her down on her back, she would scream until I picked her up again.

I had tried homeopathy, altering my diet and few other natural remedies for babies, but nothing was making a difference, so I went to the doctor and got her put on Gaviscon.

That worked for a bit, but not really and by about 12 weeks she was starting to refuse to feed – turning her head away but clearly hungry and really upset about it.

I was at the end of my tether and totally stressed out by this point so took her back to the doctor and got her on Losec. This was really good – she started to feed a bit better, but because of her past experiences with feeding, she was associating food with pain.

All of this stress had taken its toll on me, and I had dropped below my pre-pregnancy weight.

As a result, at around 4 months my milk supply started to drop right off, and it was taking ages for my ‘let down’ to happen, making Milla get really frustrated when she was sucking and nothing was coming out. I was prescribed a course of Domperidone and this worked really well to boost my supply at first and I managed to keep feeding Milla until she was just over 6 months.

However I was always fighting a losing battle as my supply had obviously been compromised by my loss of weight and the stress of a refluxy, difficult baby.

At about 6.5 months, Milla caught a nasty tummy bug which she passed to me which meant that I couldn’t eat for over 24 hours and sadly, after this, my milk supply practically disappeared.

No matter how much I tried to keep feeding her, there was no let down reflex happening and very little milk was coming out.

I made the decision at that point to give up the battle and I started bottle feeding Milla.

It felt like a huge loss, I had fought for so long to breastfeed my baby and my body had finally given up. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and totally gutted that this had happened.

However once I started bottle feeding her I felt all that weight of responsibility was off my shoulders and realised all the positive benefits of bottle feeding, like being able to leave Milla with her Dad at any time, regardless of whether this was at feeding time, as he would be able to feed her with the bottle.

It made me realise how much strain and pressure I had been under trying to keep the breastfeeding going, not to mention the fact that I had to take prescription drugs to keep doing it.

I think the message about breastfeeding is great, but for those of us who struggle with it, there’s a huge pressure, whether implied or otherwise, that you must continue to breastfeed at all costs.

Next time around I will do things totally differently, I will continue to eat lots to keep my calorie intake up, I will deal with any reflux more promptly instead of trying remedies that don’t always work and I will express a lot more in the first few weeks to build up a plentiful supply.

Even though it was highly stressful at times, when it was going well I absolutely loved breastfeeding and really hope that with my next baby it will be an easier experience for both me and bubs.

Kind Regards