Help! I feel like my milk supply is next to nothing!
I have been breastfeeding my LO since he was born (4 months) and now I am starting to notice my milk supply dwindling down. I didn't start him on a breastmilk bottle until about 2 weeks before I was supposed to go back to work and then two weeks later I was laid off and went back to primarily breastfeeding all day, every day (while at work he was bottle-fed breastmilk and breastfed when I was home). A few weeks later I started giving him a bottle at bedtime with a little rice in it (I know, I know...it poses a choking hazard, but my doctor didn't see any harm in adding a tsp or two to a 6 oz bottle)...then about two weeks later I started him with one for breakfast and one at bedtime. At that time, I noticed my milk supply dwindling down, so I stopped the morning bottle and continued with just the evening bottle. Obviously this measure deeply cut into my frozen stockpile of breastmilk.
I finally stopped with both bottles all together about 2 1/2 weeks ago and went back to fully breastfeeding, with 1-2 times a week giving my LO a few tsps of bananas after a full nursing session (my doctor advised he was ready for solids). Knowing this too would dwindle my milk supply I did not want to do this 3 times daily as he suggested. To date, my milk supply still hasn't gotten back up to where it was prior, even with a all day, every day breastfeeding schedule (my LO also eats 2-3 times at night, now that I'm not giving him the rice bottle in the evenings). In addition, I have used the last of my last frozen milk today, so I have nothing stored in case of emergencies or if I just want to get out alone for a few hours. I try to pump after my LO eats, however, he's starting to eat from both breasts at each feeding and still getting fussy when the flow isn't very quick or he's not gotten enough with just one breast. I've tried the mother's milk tea and that has helped a little, but I'm still only getting 2-3 oz per pumping session (at that rate, he would need to have 2-3 bags of milk to get his fill if he were to have a bottle).
Does anyone have any other suggestions of what I can do to get my supply back up and going full speed again and at the same time start my stockpile of frozen milk all over? I'm exhausted and can't seem to get myself up before my LO in the mornings to pump then, so I'm trying to fit it in after he eats or in between feedings. HELP!
Re: Help! I feel like my milk supply is next to nothing!
How is your baby's diaper output? As long as that is normal, and you're not pregnant or on a new form of hormonal contraception, I am guessing that your milk supply is probably normal and the issue is one of perception and expectation. Often moms freak out about milk supply around this point due to normal adjustments in supply. Most moms start out making too much milk. It's nature's way of ensuring that the baby gets fed as he masters breastfeeding. When a mom is making too much milk, she often feels full, gets engorged, feels strong letdowns, can pump a lot of milk with no trouble, needs to feed on only one breast at a time, and leaks a lot. As time goes on, the body detects that it is making more milk than the baby is taking, and therefore decreases supply to meet the baby's needs more exactly. This is desirable, because making extra milk is a waste of energy and puts you at increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. Once this normal adjustment occurs, a mom may feel soft all the time, need to use both breasts when nursing the baby, leak less or not at all, not feel letdowns, and yield less milk when pumping.
If you want to increase your supply up to a higher level than the baby is maintaining, the thing to do is to pump after nursing. The more milk you remove, and the more frequently you remove it, the more milk you will make.