Do I need to work on my supply?
I'm wondering about my supply and if I need to be worried/start working on it.
My baby is 9 months old (today). Two weeks ago, he weighed 20lbs 1oz (birth weight was 7lbs 9oz). He is happy, alert, and very active!
I am away at work one day a week, from 8:15-3:45. He is home with my husband during this day. I work, from home, two other days and feed myself unless I have a meeting and then I pump. This has been the arrangement since he was 6 months old. I was home FT before then and he was exclusively BFed until 6 months. He has never had formula.
I nurse on demand, but he is very active and so I usually offer the breast as well at various points. When I am home, this is his typical feeding routine:
6:30wakes up, usually nurses awake and then has a little more.
7:30am: BF (demand)
8:30-9:00am: BF to sleep
10:30am: offer the breast upon waking, he usually nurses for a short time
11:30-12:00: BF (demand)
12:30pm: solid food for lunch
1:30pm: nurses to sleep
(from 1:30-6:30 is really varied. If I nap with him, he will nurse some during the nap and then I will really struggle to get another good BF in. If I don't nap with him, he'll have another BF sometime after waking at 3:30ish and before 4:45).
5:00pm: solid food for dinner
6:30pm: nurses to sleep for bed
He usually wakes around 12:30-1:00am and 4:30-5:00am for feeds
The reasons I am worried:
1. He is taking much less from my husband when I am away than he used to. He used to take several (2-3) bottles of 4-5oz while I was at work. Now, he will take 1, 3 ounce bottle (one working days, I feed up until I leave at 8:15 and when I get home at 3:45). He isn't waking more on those nights either.
2. He is nursing for much shorter periods of time when he is with me. Rarely do I get a feed to last more than 8 minutes total. (Unless he is going to sleep, but then I am sure some of that is just comfort nursing).
3. I am pumping WAY less than I used to. 3 months ago, I could get 5 ounces/breast/pumping session in about 10 minutes. Now, I am lucky to get 3 ounces total after 20-25 minutes.
4. My period returned last month. I posted about this before and I know that it doesn't necessarily mean anything, but together with everything else makes me worried.
5. Sometimes his nappies are not very wet. Usually this is his late afternoon diaper change (on for no more than 2 hours).
6. We cosleep and he used to nurse a ton during the night, lots of night waking. I was really struggling so my husband slept with him for a couple of nights and came and got me only when the baby wouldn't settle quickly (like in less than a minute) for him. Every time baby settled really quickly, except twice and I would go in a feed him. I did this a couple of nights too and he didn't even look for my breast. On one hand, I think this probably means that he is okay, but a big part of me wonders if by not being readily available for a few nights, I've somehow discouraged him from nursing at night.
7. My breasts feel much less full than they used to. I know this isn't really supposed to be a good indicator, but it is really noticeable to me how much softer they feel in general.
Anyway, does it sound like he is getting enough? At what point should I take steps to increase my supply? My BF goals is a year and beyond (after a year, I plan to follow his lead with regard to weaning) so I want to do anything I possibly can to make sure we get there.
Re: Do I need to work on my supply?
Nothing on your list of concerns sounds like anything to worry over. Your baby isn't taking much by bottle on that one day per week when he's home with your DH. If that were the case every day of the week, you might have an issue, but since it's just one day I wouldn't consider it to be a big deal. I'd guess that your LO has decided he prefers to get his milk at the breast, and is willing to wait until you get home. It's like someone who goes to a restaurant, and finds that there's a line out the door. The maitre d' says "Hey, you're a good customer and we'll make you a to-go order so you don't have to wait for a table", but his response is "No, I'd rather have the meal AND the atmosphere."
Short nursing sessions are very normal with an older baby. They become efficient feeders and they also become more interested in the world, and less interested in long periods of comfort nursing.
3 oz is normal pumping output. Most moms produce about 1.5 oz per hour when their supply is well-matched to demand.
Getting your period back is normal and not a problem unless you find you're unable to pump enough milk to satisfy baby's needs
Occasional dry or minimally wet nappies are normal; older babies often learn to hold their urine for longer time periods.
Less night-nursing is not a problem as longs baby is getting enough during the day, and it sounds like your baby is, since he's generally nursing about 8x per day, and having decent nappy output and weight gain. Feeling flat, deflated, or soft is also normal as long as all the preceding conditions apply.
Re: Do I need to work on my supply?
Sounds a lot like my son a few months ago. He had a great period of sleeping, including one night that he slept completely through. I know because I woke up engorged on the left side, so I never rolled over to feed him. That was also the last time I was engorged; I'm totally soft all the time now. Around ten months more teeth started coming in and he's been a nightwaking machine ever since. Zayne can also go several hours between wet diapers and occasionally even overnight. It really is kind of nice to not need to wrestle with diaper changes as often. As for shorter nursing sessions, its probably increased efficiency and distractabilty. I'd heard several moms on here mention a phase of lessened interest around 9-13 months but I still worried when it happened to us. I just continued to offer and make nursing fun and comforting. I'm sure you can meet your goal too.