Hi, my DS is 7.5 months and in the past week or so I've noticed a fairly major drop in supply. I'm wondering which of several factors is contributing to this and what I should do about it.
For one thing, about 10 days ago DS started sleeping much much better--he had been waking 6-7 times per night to nurse and now, spontaneously, he is either sleeping through like last night or else getting up no more than 1-2x per night to nurse. I am actually really happy about the improved sleep but I can tell my supply has downregulated because of it. When he first started sleeping better I was very full most of the night and uncomfortable by morning, but this morning when he woke at 6AM to nurse I was perfectly comfortable despite not nursing him since around 8PM the night before. He seemed satisfied with what he was able to get and nursed another couple of times before a nap at 11 AM. He napped for 90 minutes, during which I pumped. I've always pumped once a day on the weekends even though I nurse exclusively on the weekends (no bottles) just to keep my supply up and ensure I have plenty of milk during the week. I have lipase issues and prefer for him to get fresh milk not scalded so I have to pump on Sundays to be able to leave him some fresh milk for Monday (plus some scalded milk from the previous Friday).
Anyway this time I pumped during his nap and was able to get about 5 oz which is a little low for me but still ok. But then he woke up and it seemed like he wanted to eat because he was fussy but was having trouble triggering a letdown or getting much milk when he latched, likely because I had just pumped. I could tell he wasn't swallowing and he'd get frustrated and pop off after a minute or so just to pop back on a minute later. Previously, I could have pumped and still had plenty to feed him afterwards but I can tell there's not much in my breasts right now. I feel guilty now for having pumped and taking away milk that he needed that I should have just given to him. I was trying to do a good thing for my supply by keeping up the extra pumping though so I don't know what to do.
I can see three or four things that may have contributed to my drop in supply and would like to know which ones are likely to be the biggest factor so I can focus on fixing that one. They all happened in the past 1-2 weeks so it's difficult for me to tell what's causing what.
1)DS has started sleeping much better--going from feeding 6-7 times per night to once or twice or sometimes not at all. This change happened about 10 days ago. It has been great for my own sleep and I don't really want to go back to the way it was but neither do I want to ruin my milk supply. What to do?
2)Last weekend, we had visitors and so I skipped my usual weekend pumping sessions and just nursed DS all day. Would this alone have caused my supply to drop significantly?
3)I just started Weight Watchers one week ago today. I've heard that dieting can hurt your milk supply and I'm wondering if this is contributing too? I'm finding myself hungry on the program all the time, and wonder if I'm getting enough calories considering that I'm breastfeeding. I know the program gives you additional points for breastfeeding but it honestly doesn't seem like enough to me. I've done WW before successfully when I wasn't breastfeeding and don't remember being as hungry all the time as I am now.
4)Maybe my period is about to return? I've been feeling extra hormonal. I have an IUD so am reasonably sure I'm not pregnant but I could have started ovulating again and maybe that's the issue with my milk supply?
Thanks in advance for any help.