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Thread: milk supply desparately low...please help

  1. #1

    Default milk supply desparately low...please help

    I have had a waxing and waning milk supply since my five and a half month old girl was born. However, I realise my supply was ok in comparison to now. I stupidly followed someones advice once to use a pump for a full fifteen mins each breast, even if there is no milk coming out. Prior to doing that my boobs would become engorged. Since then they never do and don't fill as full as they used to and my baby is at them sucking and nothing is coming out after five mins. I dont want to formula. I only have a cheap hand held pump and little one is a fussy feeder at mo due to teething and nosiness. Please, please help, can I get my supply back? I'm knackered due to night feeding and no daytime help and diet is not great just now as so busy but remembering to drink.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    Can you give us a bit more information about why you think your supply is low? It is normal for breasts to start feeling less full after a while. And babies can become very efficient such that they "drain" your breasts in just a few minutes.


    Often women think they are having trouble with supply when they are not.

    Have you seen any evidence that your baby is not getting enough? I.e., not enough pees/poos? Is her weight gain OK?

    It should not harm you to pump a while after you aren't getting any milk, unless it is causing your breasts to hurt. It may stimulate your breasts to produce more. But putting baby to breast is much better for that if you have the option to do that instead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    Excellent advice from the PP! It's really common for moms to mistake normal supply for low supply. Most moms start out making too much milk; it's nature's way of making sure the baby gets fed while mastering the art of breastfeeding. When a mom makes more milk than her baby needs, she may often feel full or engorged, she may leak a lot, she may have a strong letdown sensation, and if she pumps she may get a lot of milk with relatively little effort. This state of affairs doesn't last, because making extra milk is a waste of energy and puts mom at increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. So eventually the body adjusts to make just enough milk to fulfill baby's needs, and not a lot of extra. When this adjustment happens, it's normal for a mom to feel "empty" all the time, to leak less or not at all, to have her letdown sensation decrease or vanish, and to have her pump output drop.

    Additional questions for you:
    - Are you feeding on demand?
    - Are you taking any hormonal contraception?
    - Are you pregnant?

  4. #4

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    Thank you, it's good to know Ive not caused this drop in milk. I'm feeding on demand which is roughly every four to five hours. I don't take any meds or birth control tablets. I'm definitely not pg:-) as just got my second period this morning:-(. It's quite stressful feeling so empty....its just when I feel really empty she nurses for ages like she is trying to get more milk....and at night my supply has often dwindled that she isn't sleepy post feed. I read fenugreek can help?

  5. #5

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    Hi there. Thanks for your advice. She is still peeing and pooping...and even when I feel totally empty I don't have a screaming baby. She is in the 75th percentile for weight and hasn't changed from birth so I know she hasn't recently lost weight. The empty boobs feeling makes me quite anxious when feeding her as othertimes they can feel fuller such as when some time has passed like overnight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    That all sounds good! The one thing that you probably want to at least try changing is your baby's feeding frequency. Nursing only every 4-5 hours is on the extreme low end for frequency. Most babies who are exclusively breastfeeding- that means no solids, no formula supplements- nurse at least 8-10 times a day, which often works out to the baby nursing every 2-3 hours, with perhaps one longer stretch at night.

    There are 2 reasons why I think you want to nurse more often. First, milk supply = demand. The more chances you give baby to demand a meal from the ready, the better your supply will be. The less often baby takes milk out of the breast, the lower supply will be. So if you're in any doubt about your supply being adequate, the first thing you should always try is nursing more. Second, you mentioned in your first post that nighttime feeding has you knackered. If you nurse more often during the day, not only will your supply increase but your baby will take in a lot more calories during the day, which may lead to her needing fewer calories, and fewer feedings, at night. But there are no guarantees. Once teething kicks in, it's very normal for babies to wake a lot at night. My kids didn't sleep more than 3-5 hours at night until they were close to a year old, and most of the time they were up every 1-3 hours.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Victoria, BC, Canada

    Default Re: milk supply desparately low...please help

    If you had a fully supply before and you are experiencing a dip, you can certainly get your supply back. Think frequent nursing.

    Nursing every 4-5 hours is quite far apart. Sounds like you are one of those women with a high storage capacity. Many babies will be at the breast every 1-2 hours. At this age, my LO was on the breast 10-12 times/day.

    Offer the breast more frequently: offer both sides when she wakes from a nap. Then offer both sides every 1 hour while she's awake. If she's not interested, no big deal, but be sure to offer. Then nurse down for naps.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

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