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Let's Tell Your Story: BFAR and Low Milk Supply - Part II


Let's Tell Your Story: BFAR and Low Milk Supply - Part II

Thanks for joining me back here for Part II of my BFAR journey.  Now that I’m a #momof4 my time is much shorter than it was when I wrote Part I.  So, let’s review where I’ve been in the first 30 days of breastfeeding.

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Day- 1-3 The time in which an amazing baby boy arrived and we all fell in love!

Supplement- Focusing on lots of skin-to-skin, feeding on demand at the breast, and nourishing foods like Majka’s Bites and Majka’s Chai, I found the Bites were the PERFECT power snack for multiple middle of the night waking. They were dense, not overly sweet, but felt like a healthy treat.  I’ll definitely buy them again!  

The Chai had a great flavor mixed with warm or cold almond milk and coconut milk, but I found it wasn’t great at dissolving.  I did try to mix a batch in the smoothie blender and kept in the fridge for a few servings, but even then it was a little clumpy, so I stopped the chai after day 6 and returned again at the end of the month by mixing it into my morning oatmeal. That was much better!  

Weight- I did a weighed feeding and baby had dropped .2 oz. so I decided that I would pause on weighed feedings, as that felt discouraging, and just focus on weighing once per day at the same time, as well as keeping diligent track of wets and BMs with Baby Connect app.

Pumping- Average 3 ml

Day 6-13 the time in which we got tongue tie released with laser at Children’s Choice Pediatric Dental, had a 5 day nursing strike, did Exclusive Pumping for several days when he wouldn’t latch, and also trying to retrain him to latch by doing tongue exercises.  Bring on the hormones, too! #babyblues

My 2 ounces of success at 2am!

My 2 ounces of success at 2am!

Supplement/ Other- Legendairy Liquid Gold.  I also saw Njemile, my acupuncturist at Fertile Living and that night I leaked from one breast!  

Pumping- increased from 20 ml to 35 ml!  One middle of the night pump yielded 2 ounces!  I took a picture because I’d never seen myself produce so much in one pump.  This was also the same night I leaked.

Day 14-18 The time in which he was back to the breast, but continuing to pump after each feeding. Exhaustion, postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.

Supplement/ Other- UpSpring Mulungy and Shatavarti.  I also used Booby Tubes by Earth Mama. They are so warm and soothing!

Pumping- pumping stayed around 30 ml (1 ounce) 

Day 19-20 The time in which I had several emotional breakdowns from triple feeding and decided to stop the middle of the night pumping because he was back to his birth weight.

Supplement- Motherlove Special Blend contains goats rue, fenugreek, blessed thistle, nettle leaf, fennel seed.

Weight-  Back to birth weight at 19 days.  Took us a bit longer, I think because of the tongue tie release and needing to re-learn how to use it, during week 2.  

Pumping- stayed around 30 ml (1 ounce)

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Day 21-23 The time in which I started eating yummy lactation treats again!

Supplement/ Other- Upspring Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The mix made a huge batch of gigantic cookies. They had a chocolate bread-like texture.  Almost like a brownie but not as dense or chewy. The batch lasted me over a week. I’ll definitely order again! 

I also ate Gray’s Cowbell Banana Nut muffins which were just about perfection. I still have some in the fridge and have been rationing them because I loved them so much!  Hearty, just the right amount of moisture. No preservatives. Not too sweet. The perfect snack for any time of day!

Weight - I did a weighed feeding and he drank 1.1 ounces.

Pumping- up to 50 ml (1.5 ounces) for my morning pump.  I also had one night when he drank very actively for 25 mins from Left side, and was milk drunk, not needing the right side.  A small success and made me wish I’d done a weighed feeding but it was 3am.  

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Day 24- The time in which I started Domperidone.  My midwife urged me to give it a try. I had some already on hand, so I thought why not.  She said I had 3 weeks of establishing my prolactin levels from all my pumping and maybe this was the boost I would need.  I started 1 tablet 3x a day. I got a headache, a common side-effect, the first 3 days.  

Pumping- back to 30 ml average, but also stopped pumping 5 times during the day, as I acknowledge my mental health needed it.  After this a lot of my postpartum depression and anxiety seemed to lessen.  It would be the difference between giving him two bottles of my pumped milk each day and one bottle. See also: If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.

Day 26- The time in which I was still doing all of the above, plus…

Supplement Traditional Medicinal lemon chews.  I was hoping these would be a fun, middle of the day treat but I wasn’t a fan of the flavor.  Also some concerns the fenugreek from this and the Mother Love Special Blend are starting to give baby gas.  

Day 27- Still doing all of the above, plus…

Supplement- UpSpring chai tea latte.  This stuff was tasty. I added it to a vanilla smoothie along with some protein power.  

Day 28-31 Still doing all of the above.

Supplement- I’d been scheduled to start Traditional Medicinal Mother’s Milk Tea and Earth Mama tea, but since both contain Fenugreek, and I started to wonder if it was causing baby gas, I decided to skip it.  I know tea is a low-dose way of receiving a galactagogue. I may try it again when the weather is cooler just to see if it gives a boost or baby gas.


It seems like my storage capacity and re-fill rate allow me about 1 ounce per feeding, but occasionally more like 1.5-2.  Since I’m offering the breast 8-12 times per day, I’m guessing my baby receives about 8-14 ounces in a 24 hour period from me.  At one month he was also drinking about 13 ounces of donor milk per 24 hour period.  

What helped/ What hurt?  

My favorite products were the foods.  I think it’s nice to eat nourishing food that may also help my milk supply.  I didn’t mention above but I also loved the Uplifties nursing tank and nursing bra and will be buying a few more to add to my rotation.  Comfort is key!  

I do think the fenugreek products weren’t right for me, so I stopped them when I noticed side-effects.  I am also weaning off the Domperidone as I don’t think prolactin is my issue, and most people say IF it’s going to help they notice a difference in the first few days.  I did not. 

What’s next? 

Well, I have a few things I’ll try after this project is complete, such as sunflower lecithin and black seed oil, both of which can make the milk let-down faster.  Perhaps that will help my refill rate. I also have a shelf full of bulk herbs that I’ll make into homemade tincture and tea for the fall and winter months. Though, I don’t expect to see a big increase from them but hope they will be overall nourishing. 

I will also continue goats rue tincture, probably for the rest of my time breastfeeding, as I believe storage capacity is still my issue, and it’s supposed to help grow new tissue. It can’t hurt! Lastly, I’ll keep seeing my acupuncturist because that was when I leaked and pumped 2 ounces.  Plus it’s good for my own self-care! 


Let's tell your story! My Breastfeeding and Donor Milk Journey


Let's tell your story! My Breastfeeding and Donor Milk Journey

My name is Indira Mattia. I am a 27-year-old, Engineering Project Manager, with a beautiful almost 5 month old baby girl.

My name is Indira Mattia. I am a 27-year-old, Engineering Project Manager, with a beautiful almost 5 month old baby girl.

by Indira Mattia

Breastfeeding was something I knew I wanted to do from before I even got pregnant.

From a young age I can recall my aunts breastfeeding my little cousins and knowing that one day when I had children I would breastfeed them. I hoped that being able to breastfeed would strengthen my bond with my little one.

A lot of “motherly” things always came easy to me. I was always the “mom” of my group of friends, so I expected breastfeeding to be easy. When my daughter was born, within the first few minutes we attempted to feed her and she wouldn’t latch. She was a smaller baby, and my nipples were too big for her little mouth. Each session it would take 20+ minutes to get her latched and by the time she was on, she was exhausted from screaming.

I wanted so badly to be able to breastfeed that I cried every time I tried to latch her. I tried to meet with the lactation consultant before I left the hospital, but she wasn’t there at all during our 3 day stay.

In the first week as my milk was coming in, I ended up using a manual pump to relieve the engorgement and was tempted to just give my daughter a bottle. Even if I couldn’t get her to latch, at least I’d still be able to give her breast milk.

But I kept trying.

When we met her pediatrician at the one week checkup, we found out she was also a lactation consultant. She convinced me that we could do this. After struggling with nipple shields and different positions, the day my daughter turned two weeks it was like a switch flipped and she began latching with no issue.

After overcoming the issue of her latching, I then had the issue of an oversupply of milk.

My daughter would eat on one breast at a time and would never really “drain” my breast, so I began pumping the other breast after a feed at the advice of our pediatrician. On a normal day, while I was on maternity leave and breastfeeding on demand, I would pump 20 oz. a day, so I started freezing that milk.

I am a part of a breastfeeding group on Facebook that would be appalled that I created a stash, but I had a wonderful support system that encouraged me to continue. I had a friend whose supply dried up after 3 months and another who had to have emergency surgery and she needed to go into her own stash to be able to feed her baby.

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By the time I was going back to work, I had frozen about 1,300 oz. of milk. We had to go buy a deep freezer because it took up so much space.

Before this, I had never considered supplying or receiving donor milk. I remember watching a show about 7 years ago where a mom was sampling donor milk. That was an insane notion to me. But I was very young, and nowhere close to having a baby or understanding why someone would want donor milk. Now, years later, I understand.

I felt a sense of pride in myself for being able to feed my baby and being able to produce so much, but she didn’t need that frozen milk. I was continuing to breastfeed on demand at home and I was pumping 30oz a day at work and sending 15-20oz to daycare.

I wanted to see what I could do to help other moms.

I had people tell me how they couldn’t breastfeed when they had children and wished they had known about donor milk, instead of giving their babies formula. I reached out to my sister, who is a newborn care specialist, to see if she knew anyone that needed donor milk and she told me she knew an amazing woman that she thought might be interested.

In the meantime, I googled to see what my options were. While I did find several donor sites, I was hoping to be able to expedite things, as every freezer I knew of filled up, and give the milk to a mom I (or my sister knew). I was able to donate the 1,300 oz of milk to the woman my sister told me about and her gratitude and appreciation was overwhelming.

pregnant mom in Alexandria

Knowing that I could help someone feed their baby in the way they wanted, was a true blessing.

Now, I am hoping that throughout the rest of my breastfeeding journey and in any future journeys, I continue to have excess milk so that I can continue to donate to other mothers.