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If there is no milk left - will baby still suck?
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#1 Puddycat

Posted 24 July 2011 - 05:53 PM

Hi All,

If you run out of milk, will the babies continue to suck?  Or will they stop?

Does the milk keep re-generating constantly enough to feed them?

I know when I express that it eventually just runs out.

Im not sure sometimes how much milk I have, but the babies seem to be doing OK.  I dont think I have enough for the final evening feed, so I have been expressing an additional feed in the morning when I have lots of milk and bottle feeding them at night.   We have been doing this for the last 5 nights, and they are MUCH happier now.


#2 fionah

Posted 24 July 2011 - 06:00 PM

Congratulations on the birth of your babies. How old are they now?
It doesn't take long for your breasts to top back up. Just 20 minutes or so. If you are worried they haven't had enough, offer the breast again 20 minutes after the last feed (I can imagine this may be tricky though with two babies).
Have you called the Australian Breastfeeding Association? The counsellors there are a great support network. They will help answer your questions and also help you work out if your babies are getting enough milk.
The website is www.breastfeeding.asn.au
and you can call a breastfeeding counsellor on 1800 MUM 2 MUM (18006862686 drop the last digit if you have troubles connecting).

Good luck,


Edited by fionah, 24 July 2011 - 06:00 PM.

#3 SplashingRainbows

Posted 24 July 2011 - 06:07 PM

You sound like you're doing great - breastfeeding twins!

I'm not sure whether you can know for sure whether there is 'no milk' when a baby is taking a feed directly but I think my DS sucked at times for comfort rather than food so perhaps it differs baby by baby?

I was always happy to let DS suck, particularly in the early days, if thats what he needed as it comforted him and stimulated the breasts to make milk. I did find he 'cluster fed' in the evenings - ie lots of frequent feeds. I think its fairly normal behaviour in the early days to help bring in your milk to a full supply. Its also fairly normal for babies to be unsettled in the evenings - I offer all my sympathies in trying to settle two at once.

Obviously there is some level of hunger if the babies are happier after a feed of EBM in the evening, but if you can manage it (and don't if it's going to cause you stress) I would try to put the babies to the breast first in the evening and then top up with EBM - that way your breasts will know the babies are feeding at that time and your body needs to make milk.

#4 mnsr621

Posted 24 July 2011 - 06:13 PM

DS2 still sucked even though no milk, midwives at hosptial were talking about how well he was feeding and then they weighed him and he had lost more weight than expected, so next feed i expressed instead and got less than 1ml even though each feed he would suck for 30min to 1 hour.  DS1 would stop sucking when the milk was all gone and usually cry so it depends on the baby. (I had issues with milk supply with both my babies.)  Good luck I hope it all goes well with you.

#5 meemee75

Posted 24 July 2011 - 07:40 PM

OP- your supply goes up & down during the day. It's very normal
Babies often cluster feed in the evening too which makes some mums feel like they have "run out" but they haven't.
If you are lactating , your breasts are also never completely "empty". All milk for a feed isn't stored in the breast it is also made while you are feeding
You can often get another let down or the milk still comes out , just slower as long as the baby keeps sucking.
Babies are also better at getting milk out than a pump , so what you express may not be a true indication of your supply ( you probably have more than you think).

A lot of woman do find they are fuller in the morning and can express more , so if you and your babies are happy with expressing ebm and topping them up with it at night that should be fine .
Remember milk supply  is a Supply=demand.
So the more your babies feed or the more you express generally the more milk you will make.
I would try to put the babies to the breast first in the evening and then top up with EBM - that way your breasts will know the babies are feeding at that time and your body needs to make milk.

I agree with this too. Try to put them on the breast first before you offer them the ebm.
Good Luck

Edited by meemee75, 24 July 2011 - 07:41 PM.

#6 antsy

Posted 24 July 2011 - 11:00 PM

I have a low supply and I notice my breasts eventually run out and flow is very slow after this. I read a journal article recently and the average woman makes about 20mls per hour per breast, but of course there is a huge variation between women, and by BF twins you are probably making milk faster than that.

However it may not be hunger for your twins .... even after getting a top up bottle of formula in the evenings, my 5 week old DS will continue to cluster feed after it and act like he's starving despite the full tummy. I call it his witching hour and I think it is more overtiredness rather than hunger that causes it. Hope that helps!

ETA - forgot to say that although the average is 20ml per hour, an empty breast can make milk much faster than this, some women up to 90mls in one hour! So a very emtpy breast makes milk more rapidly.

Edited by LittleRats, 25 July 2011 - 10:59 AM.

#7 sigh

Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:25 PM

When DD was little she used to feed a lot in the evenings and I'd get that pain up near my armpit that told me i was running out. It was usually fixed with lying down for 20 minutes after a massive glass of milk or water.

I couldn't express for the life of me, 50mL absolute max and it took me an hour. Seems DD was better at that than me.

Sounds like you're doing a great job.

#8 bronzzeAngel

Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:39 PM

Ok so you express in the morning and feed that to them at night.. I would breast feed at night and top up with the bottles and express after the feed to improve the evening supply until you can start storing milk in your freezer.

If you are lactating ( which you must be if you are able to express) then you never run out of milk, but your milk changes throughout the day. after resting you have more milk eg in the morning as you body has a time to manufacture milk and store it for a while, but the composition changes as the day goes one.. more watery on hot days to ensure hydration, thicker and full of more milk fat as the feed goes on, thought the carb and the protein content always seems the same. And if you try to express a couple of drops after a feed you always can. because unlike other systems of your body this one works via two main systems, internal and external, the external is your feeding or expressing and the internal is your hormone levels and the system response to external factors such as a baby crying.. Even when out at the shops after you have done a full feed and you hear someones baby cry you get a response to that cry of a let down feeling. Now this can be 30 minutes after a feed, but your body still responds to the stimuli.

Edited by bronzzeAngel, 25 July 2011 - 03:41 PM.

#9 atua

Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:20 AM

can't help you with twins as i only bf our singletons, but i agree with a pp who mentioned you are generally 'full' within 20mins post fed.

as for afternoon - normal - the quantity is there, the quality can dip though just from normal moving around during the day taking that energy that our body would put towards milk production.

but massive congratulations

#10 Sassenach2

Posted 26 July 2011 - 06:43 PM

Babies can get milk out when the pump cannot. You have milk back in your breasts around 10-20 minutes after a feed and if you don't feel a let-down, it doesn't mean there is no milk, because there is. Play with the babies and cuddle them, change nappies and have a big glass of water and "bingo" there will be milk back again.

#11 Puddycat

Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:05 PM

Thats great to know that it only takes approx 20 minutes to regenerate the milk.  Thats very reassuring.

They are 6 weeks old today - but only 2 days old corrected.  We have only had them home for about 10 days, so its all a big learning curve for us after them being in Hospital for nearly 5 weeks.

I am still expressing at the time I give them a bottle - to make sure my body knows that I need more milk at this time.  I am still expressing about 300-400mls more per day than I need - which I am freezing.

I was just worried as the babies seemed to be "full" (and a lot more settled) after the bottle, but not full after they b/f.  Maybe it is just them cluster feeding rather than feeding out of hunger?

Another question - if after a bottle of EBM, they are still hungry, do I give them more?  If they are still cuing after the bottle of EBM Ive been putting them on the breast.  Does that sound right?

#12 i_love_my_moos

Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:13 PM

In the afternoon both my children would cluster feed it went on till there were about 4 months old. Drink lot's of water i found it helped a bit. Around 6 weeks you will get a growth spurt as well so it could be the beginning of it. You are doing a great job.

#13 lucky 2

Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:12 PM

Another question - if after a bottle of EBM, they are still hungry, do I give them more? If they are still cuing after the bottle of EBM Ive been putting them on the breast. Does that sound right?

Since your bubs are ex prems I'll less inclined to offer advice about how you feed your twins, it really depends on how well they are feeding. Have you seen a LC? Is anyone monitoring their growth and feeding (apart from you of course!)?
In normal healthy babies if they are wanting more feeds and are more unsettled during a certain period then a bottle doesn't need to be given, instead bub needs to be put to the breast whenever she/he shows signs of wanting a feed. But maybe how you are managing is better for your bubs now, that's why it would be better to get specific feeding plan advice from your CHN or LC who knows your bubs.
But, if you do need to give that bottle and they are still unsettled then returning to the breast is perfect. Perhaps get them checked and if they are thriving well (with the one bottle) then ? try exclusive bfing again in those unsettled times, your breasts will appreciate that direct contact so they can maintain a milk supply that is exactly what they need.
All the best.

#14 cheekybooby

Posted 29 July 2011 - 05:55 PM

Baby's never empty the breast, only about 70% of the milk is used, so you always have some. Cluster feeding is what your babies are doing, and as suggested it is common. DS spent about 3 hours of an evening mostly on the breast! By expressing in the morning and giving in a bottle at night you are reducing the amount of milk you need to make at night. If your babies are unsettled you can always offer them the breast as you cannot over feed a BF baby. But bubs may only be after a suckle so by given them the bottle they are going to get milk upon suckling. I think in round about way I'm saying just breast!
BTW I'm a fully breast fed twin; don't let anyone cast any doubt on your ability.
Good luck, take care and as others have said, call the ABA - 24?hours a day

#15 Puddycat

Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:36 AM

Luckytwo - We spoke to the LC at the hospital and they were fine with us giving them a bottle in the evening (as long as I express at the same time to keep my supply going - which I am).  There have been a few weight gain/loss issues with the boy, so I feel more comfortable giving them a bottle or two of EBM at night as at least I know he is getting the full amount required.  The LC at the hospitals said that as long as he was getting the breastmilk and gaining weight then there wasnt an issue as to how he got it.

I tried calling the ABA, but they were experiencing high volumes of calls and asked me to call back.

We spoke to the CHN on Thursday and she said we are on the right track.  They are coming to visit us at home on Wed, so I will ask them again to go over my feeding charts again to make sure all is OK.  TBH, I didnt think much of the lady we spoke to.  She must usually deal with supply issues, as all she could do was talk about my womnderful supply, and didnt answer my questions about our routine and the bottles etc.  She didnt even bother to look at my feeding chart.

Ive started offering them the breast again after their bottle if they wont settle, and they generally have a couple of sucks and fall asleep - so at least I know they arent hungry, they are just after a cuddle (which is fine with me!).

In the last few days the girl appears to have developed a much stronger sucking reflex, and Im starting to get some inital pain when she first attaches.  It goes again after she is attached for half a minute or so.  She has always been a little bit harder to attach (she is a lot smaller than her brother) and the CHN said that she just needs to grow a bit more and get a bit stronger.  When we left the hospital she had barely done more than two feeds in a row.  So I think she just needs to grow a bt more and become a bit stronger.  We also need to remember that technically she is only 6 days old today - so she is doing exceptionally well.   wub.gif

#16 lucky 2

Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:50 AM

I'm relieved to hear that you do have ongoing contact with the LC for feed management, that's fantastic, I'm sure she will guide you in the right direction.
I just worry sometimes when feeding can be more complicated (ie twins and prem) and I really hope that mum can get help with professionals IRL (ie LC/CHN) plus added support here on EB original.gif .

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