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Thread: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    Default Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    9,280

    Default Re: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    I would think that its a combo of 2,3, and 4. I highly doubt it is the first one because it is totally normal for your body to adjust to your baby not nursing anymore at night. This would just result in less milk at night, not less milk during the day. However, when babies start to sleep through the night, its highly likely that your period will return because of that. If you are hungry on your diet, then I would say that your body is needing more food. Perhaps lay off the diet for awhile and just focus on whole healthy foods and lean proteins.

    Are you keeping up on your fluids? The weather is heating up in so many places that we all get a little dehydrated from sweating, etc.
    Lyn
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes


    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    417

    Default Re: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    Thanks for your input! I'm relieved you don't think it's because DS is sleeping better...I was afraid the advice was going to be to start waking him up in the middle of the night to nurse! Which I would really rather not do, if I don't have to. I probably am not keeping up with fluids as well as I could be, now that I think about it. Will work on drinking more water and see if it helps. Will also think about backing off a bit on Weight Watchers. I do want to stay on the program and keep tracking, because I think it helps me to write down what I eat, but I have the option of manually adjusting my Points target to give myself more calories. I think I'll try that and see if it helps. I know from experience I won't be successful or able to stay at it long-term if I'm hungry all the time anyway. I AM surprised that dieting would have such an effect on milk supply, though...I mean women BF their babies through the middle of famines, right? I would think your body would always prioritize your babie's nutritional needs over your own and would maintain milk supply no matter what.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    9,280

    Default Re: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    I think our bodies tell us we're hungry for a reason. I totally understand wanting to track and monitor your calories. I would try to ensure that the foods you do eat are filling and healthy. Whole grains, dark leafy greens, lean proteins, etc. That, plus upping your fluids can really help. It wouldnt hurt to start drinking some Mother's Milk tea and/or some fenugreek supplements if you are concerned about your pumping output while you're working.
    Lyn
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes


    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    417

    Default Re: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    I upped my calories over the weekend and my supply seems to be coming back, so it was either the dieting or perhaps a temporary dip due to ovulation. Either way, relieved to see my supply back up close to what it used to be. Thanks again for your help and advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver, Co.
    Posts
    1,164

    Default Re: Supply dropping...why and what to do about it

    Give me an example of your daily menu or two days worth. Are you eating all extra 14 points for ebm moms? Are you using all the extra weekly points? If you don't drink enough water your body will think you are hungry. Studies show that the mind mistakes the signal for thirst as that of hunger. If you make choices on ww that are less healthy you may be hungry. If you eat whole foods and stay away from unprocessed stuff that also will help you feel satisfied. Water is huge though.

    Are you meeting your GHGs everyday?
    Last edited by @llli*yoginimama; June 18th, 2012 at 04:05 PM.

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

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