Hunger Strike

Jasper Bunny Says Happy Easter!

Jasper Bunny Says "Happy Easter!"

Shot with my Canon Digital Rebel Xsi
Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens at these settings:
F 2.2
Shutter speed 1/200th
ISO 200.
Image Post Processing in Adobe Lightroom 2.0
Furry white thing underneath Jasper: Ikea Sheepskin

It’s official, Jasper is staging an all out hunger strike.

Yesterday was one of the most stressful days in recent memory.. knowing full well that every nursing session he skips is making my now dwindling supply vanish that much faster, it seems like every feeding session is a do or die situation.

With the exception of two times when my let-down came fast enough to keep him interested, he passed on all other feedings.

Two of those times I think he was hungry but my stupid breasts would NOT let down.  I’m pretty sure there was milk in there, I just couldn’t get it out, not with the pump and not with Jasper being too uncooperative to stay latched long enough to elicit let down.

The More Milk Plus tincture my LC gave me hasn’t been doing much as far as I can tell. Maybe there is a bit more when I am able to let down, but the delayed (or never arriving at all) let down seems to be the real problem.

Last night before we went out to our anniversary dinner I really wanted Jasper at LEAST to eat his last meal before bed so he wouldn’t have to go to sleep on an empty belly, but we were completely unsuccessful. It was really hard for me to enjoy our dinner with the memory and stress of that experience on my mind.

This morning, Jasper nursed fine at 3:30am and again on waking at 6:ooam, but I could NOT get him to eat again before we left for my mom’s in the morning.

And to make an already bad situation worse, he started biting me!!

There have been a handful of times in the past when at the end of a nursing session he has lost focus or interest and he just sort of mindlessly clamps down, but at the end it’s no big deal to just take him off.  This morning it was before the milk let down, so what do I do?

Normally the advice is to say a firm “NO!” and remove baby from the breast and end that nursing session. But in our case, with me DESPERATELY wanting him to nurse that seems so counterproductive.  So after three or four bites I did have to end that session and resort to pumping.

I got a call from my mom at 10am that he absolutely REFUSED the bottle at 10am before his morning nap. Pushed it away with his hands. I guess the only bright side is that me and my boobs can’t take it personally since he’s refusing the bottle too.

So my only hope in the world of keeping my supply going until this ordeal is over is pumping, which hasn’t been going all that great either.

Then I read on Kellymom’s messageboards that it is suggested that you change your pump valves and membranes out every 3 months.

Whoa! What?

Maybe it’s because I lost my Medela PISA manual, but that was news to me . So before work this morning I headed over to BRU to pick up some new ones.  I also double pumped for the first time and it did seem to make a difference.

And now for the Public Service Announcement Portion of Today’s Post

BRU is having a buy two Pamper’s value pacs and get a $15 Gift Card promotion today, and also buy 10 Earth’s Best Jars for $10 and 10 Gerber organic or DHA for $10 sale, so if you need to stock up on baby food, today is a great day to do it! They also have a nice online Easter Sale going on, there are some good deals on an exersaucer, skip hop items etc.

So I’m sorry today’s post is such a downer, I am just in a pretty dark place about all of this. Perhaps it was a pipe dream to think I’d make it to at least a year exclusively breastfeeding, but I NEVER thought my supply would fail me because it has always been so abundant in the past.  I took it for granted that it would always be there even when Jasper started to markedly decrease his time/interest in the breast over the past month or so.

My advice to anyone approaching the 7-8 month mark who notices the same thing is to be more proactive and take steps to bolster your supply before it takes a drastic nosedive like mine.

I don’t know if it’s normal when supply dwindles for let down to be so elusive (I always thought let down was a given, it was just he amount of milk that flowed after that would vary depending on supply) but in our case, a delayed let down + distractable dissinterested in eating baby is a very bad combination.

Thanks for bearing with me through this post, I know not all of you breastfeed and I hesitated to even write about this today..

But then I realized that if I’m going through it, there must be others too and maybe someone will have advice for me, or maybe if we come through this ordeal still breastfeeding well I’ll be able to help someone going through this in the future.

Wish us luck, and Happy Easter or Passover!

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ariana says:

@Alicia, i’ve been trying the visualization.. I even read that humming or singing helps. I’m not sure if it’s helping or not, seems like when it doesn’t want to come it won’t come.

@ Judy N, no!!! LOL. Though since you said that I looked at my still looks like 5 months pregnant belly last night and wondered.. hmmm. but no. :)

Liz, I haven’t tried the tub.. interesting idea. But not all that practical given that so many of our nursing sessions are out and about! Good to know about it a pinch at home though.

Also, I wouldn’t worry if I just weren’t “feeling” the let down but it was still coming.. that’s not the case with me though. It’s very obvious by Jasper’s sucking pattern when let down occurs.

Eileen, your post is very comforting, thank you. I never thought about it that way. There is definitely a component of me being stubborn and not wanting to let it go.. I will remember your comment though and try not to be so hard on myself!

eileen says:

I don’t know how I found your blog, but here I am and I had to respond to your concerns about nursing. My sons are now 13 and 10. I read Sears’ Baby Book and was convinced that I would nurse for at least two years. When my first son quit at 7 months, I blamed it on me — going back to work, losing weight too quickly, not having enough milk, being too stressed… I vowed to do things differently with the second and quit my job after he was born so that all he ever got was the breast. Guess what? He quit at 7 months, the same as his brother. Just like the first time, I fought it. I pumped and cried as I watched milk dribble from my deflated bosom. Each time I held my son to my chest to nurse and he turned away was a fresh rejection. I felt like a dismal failure. It was difficult time. It took a few years before I realized that, even though some kids will nurse for years (my sister’s kids for instance), mine were ready to move on at 7 months. I wished I had been able to let it go. Ah, hindsight. I recently read a study that breast feeding doesn’t provide all the benefits touted by Sears but even if somebody had given me this article back then, I’m not sure it would have gotten through. I’m just sharing this with you because I can feel your frustration and, although I don’t know the specifics of Jasper’s situation, it’s possible that he is ready to move on and it is no reflection on you. You are doing the best job you can and he is a beautiful, happy, lucky baby.

Liz says:

I used to have a very strong letdown and feeling engorged was pretty normal. In the past month (my son is now 5 months) my supply has regulated and it initially made me worried that my supply had tanked. I was so used to that overly full feeling and that strong tingle during letdown. Now I don’t really feel anything but it’s normal. I’ve also been noticing a change in my son’s eating habits recently. He doesn’t want to eat as often and gets really distracted. I worry that he’s not getting enough but I’m trying hard not to stress about it. He’s still healthy so I figure as long as he seems okay, I’ll let him lead the way with his appetite.
Also, have you tried nursing in the tub? There’s been a few times where my son hasn’t wanted to nurse so I get in a warm tub with him and relax for a while. After about 20-30minutes, he’ll turn his head to my chest and start rooting. Apparently the skin to skin contact and floating in the water reminds them of birth and naturally stimulates their nursing urge.
Good luck, hope things get sorted out soon for you!

Judy N says:

Oh another thought…could you possibly be pregnant???

Alicia Parr says:

What Marybeth says is the truth regarding your milk supply. Jasper will get really hungry again and your milk supply will respond, although you will feel like you have a baby permanently attached to your chest for a couple days while your supply catches back up to demand. Regarding let down, I’ve found that if I’m tense or distracted, it’s less likely to happen. I just take some deep breaths, close my eyes and imagine the feeling of letting milk flow and it almost always works.

Judy N says:

I echo the bit about your period. Mine came back just recently and same thing was happening with my overly curious baby. He would latch and suck and the let down wouldn’t come, and he’d get distracted by something and come off. Also, I heard that the hormones of your period starting can make your milk taste much different and so some babies don’t like the taste (mine actually gagged a couple times)…so, maybe you could try and bottle of some older frozen milk and see if he takes it if you have some. That may help answer some questions!

Shell says:

Have you given fenugreek capsules a try? Three of them three times a day. You’ll smell like maple syrup and that’s how you know you’re getting enough.

If I recall correctly, right around now your milk is changing from a hormonal based supply to actual supply and demand. What Jasper needs your body will make.

Also, how is the teething situation? My little guy would quit eating for a bit for every tooth he popped.

Good luck and if this is really the end of the line you are a kick ass mom for breastfeeding your guy as long as you have. Well done you!

nanette says:

I’m so sorry you’re struggling with all of this. I’d be upset, too!

I heard about the need to change membranes/replace other parts a while back but it still took me by surprise.

Good luck!

ariana says:

Marcia, I have been wondering about my period coming back. I have been feeling a tiny bit crampy and it has been almost 9 months. Frankly, I’d be relieved at this point to have a reason to pin it on!

Kari, I can see how a few good chomps (with teeth!) will make me a whole lot less weepy about the situation :) So did Liam not refuse to eat before his teeth came in?

Marybeth, thanks for the clarification about the baby food!

I probably should have been clearer about my concern in the post (i’m so all over the place today) but its not the lack of output that concerns me at all, it’s the delayed let down. So if I let down and only a few ounces come out, Jasper will stay on long enough to get at least that amount. But without let down occurring right away he won’t stay on and gets none :(

You’re obviously really stressed about this, but it’s really clear from an outside point of view that it’s nature at work. Jasper’s not eating as much, so your supply is diminishing. When Jasper’s appetite picks up, you’ll start producing more milk again. Don’t worry! In a few weeks this will all be behind you!

By the way, the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Earth’s Best baby food is actually 10 for $5, so it’s a great deal! The chunky and junior foods are $1 each. You can print off three coupons to get $1 off 10, so you can get that price down to $.40 a jar for stage 1s and 2s. That’s not a bad price for baby food, and it’s a fabulous price for organic! I did post all the details at

kari says:

what!?!?!? – you are supposed to change the membranes regularly? i think i have changed ONE (because it mysteriously disappeared).
i can relate to the biting as well (brace yourself, it gets worse when the teeth show up – which for me is making the idea of weaning a little less sad)
just echoing kimberly – w/ the pumping sessions. when i was building my freezer stash the extra pumping and power pumping sessions really boosted my production. i recently started supplementing w/ formula at daycare because my stash is finally dwindling and my workday just isn’t allowing me to pump so often and my supply has suffered for it. i commend you for sticking with it!
Have a great weekend :) we’ll be sending hungry-good appetite vibes to Jasper.

Marcia says:

I feel for you, we have gone through many episodes of this too (not just with teething). It can be so stressfull going into a feeding worrying whether or not this will be the time they nurse and it’s impossible to not worry about the effect it’s having in your supply. One thing that came to my mind with the letdown being so delayed, when my period returned it really effected my letdown. Maybe about a week before it starts, it’s really slow and my daughter gets sooooo impatient. Not sure if this could be part of the problem? Good luck, it’s still possible to keep your goal!

Farah says:

I wish you lots of luck. I am sorry about the biting. I can relate so much to these feelings. I could hve wrtitten this post myself a few months ago. I am so sorry. Truly sorry for entire situation and emotions right now

ariana says:

Hi Kimberly, I tried last night to pump to achieve let down when it wasn’t working from Jasper, but it never happened :(

I’ve tried most of what you posted except power pumping. Today actually the pumping has been going better let down wise.. so that’s good.

I just heard from my mom, he refused the bottle again at 12:00 but did eat some solids (with milk mixed in) and drank a bit from a cup. Most of it spilled, but he got some. So I guess he’s hungry, just totally unwilling to suck. These damn teeth better show up soon, how long can this go on??

Oh, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one who didn’t change their membranes. I feel like less of a slacker now :)

Kimberly says:

Oh, BTW, I’ve NEVER changed my valves or membranes on my PISA and I think they’re still fine! Not to say that new ones might not work better…

Kimberly says:

Sorry to hear you’re still struggling. Have you tried pumping for a minute or two (or 5…) right before you nurse him, to get your letdown going? Also, power pumping might be worth a try… where you sit down for an hour and pump for 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump 10 minutes, repeat. This is supposed to stimulate production – more info on Other than that, all the usual measures, such as eating oatmeal, getting plenty of fluid, and trying not to stress when pumping (cover up so you can’t see your milk flow, I’ve heard that often helps – maybe pump while zoning out on tv) – but I’m sure you’re trying all those things. If all else fails, what about calling your doc for an r/x for Reglan? Hang in there… I understand. I know I’d be feeling the same way in your situation. Good luck and happy Easter! (Come on, Jasper, EAT!!!!)