Even though my baby is 5 months old, I'm new to low supply problems. In the beginning I had big oversupply issues. I spent 3 months trying to slow down to a good level for my poor baby who was drowning in milk. Finally at about 4 months I noticed my milk stabalized, my breasts were soft and never too full and my baby seemed very happy. Then when he was 4.5 months we went on a 2 week vacation and I didn't bring my breast pump because I hadn't needed it for a while and it didn't fit easily. Big mistake. My baby got a stomach bug and was throwing up and not eating well for several days. I hand expressed what I could, but when we got home, my supply had obviously diminished - a lot. It feels like by half, although I have no idea if that's accurate since I have no idea how much he was eating before. Ever since 2 or 3 days after we got home my baby has been screaming at the breast and not sleeping well and we are both sad and frustrated.
Because he spent the first 3 months being drowned, he has no idea how to wait for a let down. He just screams and refuses to eat anything if it doesn't come out right away - which it doesn't anymore. It takes several minutes of sucking for anything more than a drop or two to come out and he simply won't do it. I've been pumping every hour during the day for 4 days (I seem to get about 1.25 oz per hour for a total of about 22 oz) and nursing 1-2x per night on top of that (he will thankfully suck and eat when he's sleepy), but I haven't noticed any increase which is scaring me because in the past, all I had to do was leak too much and my supply would jump up.
Is it too late for me? Have my hormones stabalized to the point that once I slow down, I can't build it back up anymore? Or am I stressing over nothing and 22 oz/day + nursing at night is normal for an 18 pound 5 month old baby? Do I simply need to help him learn how to suck for a while before getting his meal? If that's the case I could use advice on that as I don't want nursing to be a bad experience for him.