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Thread: Delayed letdown -- please help!

  1. #1

    Default Delayed letdown -- please help!

    I have an 11 week old little girl whom I'm EBF. I breastfed my older daughter for over 14 months. About a week and a half ago, I fed my daughter without issue at 6pm. When I went to feed her again at 9pm my milk wouldn't let down. Since then I have been dealing with my MER working only sporadically. I always feel it when it happens and her suck pattern never changes when it doesn't so I know it's not happening. Sometimes it can take only 30 seconds (the usual for me), but other times up to 40 minutes (she has to be asleep and suckling for those ones because she loses patience and pulls off after a few minutes when awake).
    My thyroid is fine. No signs of mastitis or clogged ducts. My OB has no idea what could be causing this. I also have stretches of time where everything goes back to normal (all during the day two days ago, throughout the night last night), but then I go right back to not being able to let down. I am desperate to figure this out as not being able to feed her when she's hungry is heartbreaking (she won't take a bottle and screams when we try to feed her with a syringe). I don't think it's a supply issue. I'm able to express milk quite easily (milk squirts out in an arc, does that sound like low supply?), and one time when I pumped immediately after feeding I got an additional two ounces out of that breast. She also normally refuses the second breast.
    I'm considering an anxiety med just in case this is all just a mental block. Any help is greatly appreciated!! I just don't know what to do anymore.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,652

    Default Re: Delayed letdown -- please help!

    Welcome to the forum!

    How is baby being fed right now? Is she exclusively nursing, or is she also being bottle-fed? How many wet/poopy diapers does she have per day, and how often does she nurse? Are you taking any medications, including hormonal contraception?

    I'm thinking that this could be more of an issue of perception... Like maybe she gets letdowns when she needs them, but spends a lot of nursing sessions simply comfort nursing?
    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: Delayed letdown -- please help!

    She's EBF, but mostly while asleep since that's the only time she's patient enough to wait for letdown. So most of her nursing happens at night. Her wet/poopy diapers are good. I know she's probably getting enough because I make sure I feed her at night/naps, but she does get hungry outside of nap times and I'm not able to feed her. I also don't want her to start not even trying to eat while awake. And then there's the issue of caring for my 3 year old at the same time.
    I'm definitely not having a letdown. I feel it when it does happen, and when it doesn't she pulls/punches/cries and eventually gives up. She's not a comfort nurser - never has been.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,652

    Default Re: Delayed letdown -- please help!

    What you describe seems quite odd. I don't mean that you're weird- just that I am having trouble picturing how the puzzle pieces fit together. Maybe a consult with a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, is in order?

    If there's some sort of physiological reason why you're having trouble letting down, I have heard that there is an oxytocin nasal spray that can help. (Oxytocin is the hormone which triggers letdown.) A LC might be able to point you in that direction, if that were necessary.

    Are you under a lot of stress? I once read this really interesting paper about milking cows, and how adrenaline from stress can inhibit letdown. If stress/adrenaline is the problem, maybe some deep breathing would help. There's a great app called BreathingZone which guides you through stress-reducing breathing.
    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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