Elizabeth, we have the same problem in the evenings. It's not that you're out of milk, it's just that the flow slows down after a while and they get frustrated. It's a common problem. When Emma starts to lose her patience with it, I take her off and work my butt off to get her to nap for 30-40 minutes. That's enough time for me to have another letdown. A bottle does help, but I try to avoid it if I can because I can't replace that freezermilk since I have nothing to pump at that time. I'm already having trouble replacing what she eats at work.
With my kids the witching hours were related to needing sleep at that time and it was hard to do because of supper etc. I also tried to keep my first up so she could see Dad when he got home from work and that was horrible. Try eating early (like at 5) and then take him for a walk (mine loved the carriers at this age). See if he will fall asleep.
Mine also had bottles from the beginning and I had to transition them to actually nursing. If you think he is actually hungry at that time, try a bottle but still pump at that time so your body still thinks it needs to produce milk at that time. If you see an improvement then maybe it is a food issue.
DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
November 2010 (13 weeks)
DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)
It could be the witching hour, but my boobs are the softest around that time too, so I thought I wasn't producing. OMG, I woke up at 4 am super freaking engorged. I think I had a fever and I when I tried to nurse Henry I had to cry to get thru it...which woke up dH. I tried pumping and taking a warm shower beforehand and no milk was coming out of the left side. Does this indicate a clogged duct?
The whole morning has been full of painful feedings, I just fed him again and it feels a bit better finally. I hope this stops happening...this time was the worst.
I'm going to try to not keep him at the breast this evening when his witching hour begins. Maybe I will go for a drive...even though he hates car rides, I'd hate to disturb my neighbors by walking around with him.
I hope it (breastfeeding) gets easier for you soon. I don't know much about plugged ducts, but I do know that being tense stops your let down, so it's possible that the pain was also a factor. You poor thing! I don't mean this to sound discouraging at all because I think it's awesome that you are fighting so hard to nurse, and I do believe that once you get it where it is easy and painless, it's so worth it. But having said that, it sounds like this is really taking a toll on you. Do you have any thoughts like "If it's not better by X date then I will just pump or switch to formula? Again, I'm not at all trying to say that's what you should do because you know what is best for you and your family and plus I'm a big advocate for breastfeeding. But at the same time, you know that Henry will be fine no matter how you feed him, so it's vital to take care of you too.
Oh, I also meant to say that my boobs are very soft during that time period too, I assume from all of the nursing. I never check until he's starting to freak out, by which point he's already been eating for like an hour.
A clogged duct is a hard feeling in your breast. If you have one, you should try to work it out and nurse on that side as much as possible to get it out before it turns into mastitis.
You can also try an SNS with your pumped milk in it at that 6pm mark if you think he's not getting enough.
Or you can try wearing him if he likes that (not sure that he does) to make him happy/sleep a bit for awhile.
I agree that it's probably not so much a supply issue as you guys getting into a rhythm of supply and demand, more effective nursing, etc., (and hugs! hang in there!) but after reading this thread I randomly came across this recipe and thought it was worth sharing Flourless Lactation Cookies: Monster Cookie Style | Organic Mama Cafe
Even if you don't feel like baking right now (who would?!) there are some good tips on what ingredients help promote milk production.
Good luck! I never really had a big struggle with BFing, but I also was surprised not to love it nearly as much as I thought I would. I still stuck with it because I think it's important, but when DD decided that solid food was way preferable and self-weaned at 13 months, I can honestly say I was relieved. It will get better, but cut yourself some slack. You're BOTH learning, including your body. It really will get easier in time. Glad you're seeing an LC...although be aware that they're not infallible either. My friend saw one who was zero help and it turned out her baby had a severe lip tie that was missed by multiple LCs, nurses, midwives, and her pedi. A pediatric dentist finally found it. If you feel like something isn't right or isn't getting better over time, don't be afraid to seek more opinions.
Thanks ladies. Yesterday was awful, I seriouslyy thought I had mastitis because I felt feverish. But I kept nursing him to relieve the engorgement and blocked ducts. I also set an alarm so that I feed him every 2 hours at night and that seems to do the trick. I wasnt as engorged today.
However my left nip suffered some trauma yesterday...so my LC wants me to use a nip shield for a day or 2.
Also tonight I was very strict with the witching hour. I feed him on each side and he was still fussy...so we did a bath, massage and now Im doing skin to skin with the moby. Took about 30 min of screaming, but he is asleep. I think this method will help my nips heal too. Instead of feeding him non stop for 3 hours.