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Thread: delayed letdown and feeling of not enough milk

  1. #1

    Default delayed letdown and feeling of not enough milk

    I have been breastfeeding my son exclusively for 4 1/2 months now. The last two weeks have been quite a bit different. I use to have a very overactive letdown, now the tables have turned. When my son latches on and starts to suck it can take up to 5 mins for my letdown to happen. In the meantime he is crying and latching on and off. Once the milk starts to flow it only takes about a minute before he is done and wants more but nothing else comes out. To check and see if my breast is empty I try and express and nothing comes out. My left side almost seems to be barely producing. I nurse every 2-3 hours even through the night. I have been drinking mother's tea and pumping after feedings. I drink a ton of water about 8 16oz. bottles a day. I feel like he wants way more than he is getting. I wanted to introduce solids but am concerned that this may make my problem worse. My Dr. recommended to start supplementing but my son wouldn't take the bottle and it breaks my heart to think o not nursing anymore. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,120

    Default Re: delayed letdown and feeling of not enough milk

    Welcome to the forum!

    As long as your baby's diaper output and growth remain normal, I would not supplement or worry. I would just tough it out. Often when a mom transitions from oversupply to normal supply, her baby goes through a period of frustration and sometimes intense fussiness as he adjusts to the new state of affairs. When a mom has oversupply, milk is really easy to get at and baby hardly needs to work in order to get the milk flowing. When mom's supply is more equal to baby's needs, he suddenly has to work a lot harder for his meals, learning how to use his mouth efficiently to trigger his preferred milk flow. It's at this point that many moms start supplementing or adding solids to their babies' diets, or trying to increase volume with the pump- things which are counterproductive because they short-circuit the frustration which is causing the baby to learn how to become a better nurser.

    As long as you are a) not pregnant, b) not on any new form of hormonal contraception, c) nursing on demand or at least 8-10 times a day if you have a baby who demands less often than that, and d) seeing adequate growth and diaper output, I wouldn't do anything about this situation except put up with it. (A and B apply because pregnancy and hormonal contraception can both impact supply to the point where the baby cannot stimulate sufficient milk production by nursing.)

    For the record, when a mom transitions from oversupply to normal supply, the following are normal:
    - Reduced or absent feelings of fullness or engorgement
    - Diminished or absent leaking
    - Lower pump output (if mom is pumping)
    - Baby suddenly requires both breasts at a feeding even though he previously needed only one
    - Baby acts fussy (pulls off, cries, kneads the breast, wants to nurse all the time, etc.)
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: delayed letdown and feeling of not enough milk

    This is probably just your supply settling down and it is very normal. If you read through these threads you'll see a lot of moms worry about this around the 3-4 month point. It is normal for your breasts to not feel as full and to not be able to express much milk after a feeding. It doesn't mean you don't have plenty of milk. If diaper output and weight gain is good, all is well. Your baby should get used to the new state of affairs fairly quickly.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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