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Thread: Decreasing milk supply

  1. #1

    Unhappy Decreasing milk supply

    Hi Ladies firstly a big thank you o all the lovely ladies in this forum for being so supportive..i've gotten thru 6 weeks of EBF reading through the forum everytime i had a problem.
    My issue now is i'm worried i'm not making enough milk anymore for baby. Initially i had an oversupply issue and recurrent blocked ducts (almost once a week) the last being a few days ago. after the last episode i have noticed by breast don't fill up as fast anymore. Baby wakes up 2 times to feed at night..but he sort of has a short snack and then sleeps off. During the day he cluster feeds whenever he's a awake (every 20 mins) say from 9 am to noon then 5 to 8pm. each time feeding for about 5 mins only. Before this he was fairly regularly feeding 2 hourly with a little cluster feed in the evening. He has enough of wet diapers and poo's only once in 2 -3 days. Weight gain good so far.
    What should I do to make him have a fairly regular 2-3 houry feed. i't so frustrating..i can't go out anywhere( havent left the house in 6 weeks!
    Should i start galactagouges? should i be pumping to increase my supply? when i empty out my breast after feeding it takes forever to refill and DS will be constantly attached to the breast for the next few hours.
    What should i do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,643

    Default Re: Decreasing milk supply

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it through the first challenging weeks!

    Most moms start out with some degree of oversupply. It's nature's way of making sure the baby (or babies, just in case you're nursing twins!) gets fed while he masters the tricky art of nursing. But oversupply comes with a downside: making extra milk is a waste of energy and puts you at increased risk of plugged ducts (which you experienced) and mastitis. So eventually your body "reads" the fact that your baby doesn't completely empty the breast and reduces milk supply to a level which is better matched to the baby's needs. Once this adjustment occurs, it's normal to rarely if ever feel full, to leak less or not at all, to feel reduced or no letdown sensation, and for baby to act fussy at the breast as he gets used to the new flow pattern.

    Now, on to the question about how you can get the baby to feed "regularly" or every 2-3 hours. The answer is "You don't". Your baby spoiled you a bit in the beginning, giving you such evenly spaced feedings. But that sort of feeding pattern is unusual in early infancy, and nursing frequency can be expected to jump up "during growth spurts and when an increase in milk volume is required" (as the American Academy of Pediatrics puts it). At 6 weeks, you're likely experiencing the big 6 week growth spurt- so lay in some snacks and water and park yourself on the couch with the remote control or a novel, and just nurse, nurse, nurse. That's the best way through this period. You don't need galactogogues and you don't need to pump unless your baby's diaper output drops below normal or he stops gaining adequate weight.

    One mistake a lot of first-time moms make- and this includes me- is feeling like they need to wait for their breasts to "refill" in order for the baby to have a "satisfying" nursing session. Not so. The breast is never actually empty, because milk is always being made, and it's being made faster when the breast is kept empty. Full breast = slow milk production, empty breast = rapid milk production. And while the permanent latch-on can be exhausting, it's also the best thing out there for increasing supply.

    The one thing I would review at this point is your birth control choices. A lot of moms start contraception after their 6 week postpartum visit, and if you chose hormonal contraception that could be putting a damper on your supply.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Decreasing milk supply

    I agree with Mommo that this does not sound like a low supply issue. this is a typical concern around this age. Kellymom.com has a good article about this if you go to her website and search low milk supply you will find it.
    I know it seems as if a regular feeding schedule would be more convenient. But many mothers have found that that is not the case. A baby this age reach needs to nurse about 10 times a day or more. If he is doing that every 2 to 3 hours you don't get any longer stretches for sleep for example. If baby is instead allowed to cue feed, baby will often cluster feed for part of the time and then take the occasional longer stretch. None of this is written in stone and of course all bets are off during growth spurts but in general cue feeding can be much more convenient.
    If you're having a difficult time nursing in public that of course will limit you and create the feeling that you are stuck in your house. If you would like tips and ideas on how to get more comfortable nursing in public I am sure many moms would have those for you here. One of the really nice benefits of breast-feeding is that very young babies are very portable and if you are breast-feeding you don't need to worry about lots of other things like cooler packs and clean water etc. when you go out.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Decreasing milk supply

    I agree with Mommal that this does not sound like a low supply issue. this is a typical concern around this age. Kellymom.com has a good article about this if you go to her website and search low milk supply you will find it.
    I know it seems as if a regular feeding schedule would be more convenient. But many mothers have found that that is not the case. A baby this age needs to nurse about 10 times a day or more. If he is doing that every 2 to 3 hours you don't get any longer stretches for sleep for example. If baby is instead allowed to cue feed, baby will often cluster feed for part of the time and then take the occasional longer stretch. None of this is written in stone and of course all bets are off during growth spurts but in general cue feeding can be much more convenient.
    If you're having a difficult time nursing in public that of course will limit you and create the feeling that you are stuck in your house. If you would like tips and ideas on how to get more comfortable nursing in public I am sure many moms would have those for you here. One of the really nice benefits of breast-feeding is that very young babies are very portable and if you are breast-feeding you don't need to worry about lots of other things like cooler packs and clean water etc. when you go out.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Decreasing milk supply

    Thanks for all the advice. this means i just have to stop thinking and just nurse, nurse.. Bt baby has been fussing for the last 10 hours. So fussy on the breast popping on and off. I feel im starving him due to my determination to BF. I just keep alternating breast eventhough both feel equally empty. He prob is also frustrated due to the slow flow rate. I'm so close to giving up today..i'm exhausted. DH is away and there's no one else here to help

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,643

    Default Re: Decreasing milk supply

    As long as his diaper output remains normal, his milk intake is okay. It's really important to remember that babies fuss for all sorts of reasons, many of which are developmental and unrelated to breastfeeding. It's tempting to blame yourself for everything your baby does/doesn't do- but it's really not all under your control!

    I know this is a terribly frustrating period in your nursing relationship, but if you just nurse, nurse, nurse, you will get through it. My money is on this being the 6 week spurt, combined with baby having to relearn how to get his milk. Babies whose moms have oversupply often have a really easy time in the early days- the milk pours into their mouths with minimal effort from them. But when supply adjusts, all of a sudden they have to work much harder for their meals, and babies hate that!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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