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Thread: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advise!

  1. #1
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    Aug 2012
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    Default sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advise!

    I've noticed a marked decrease in my supply the past few days and I can't figure out why. My daughter is 9 months old and is at the breast 9-10 times a day (some feedings are super short, others [naptimes, sleepy feedings] are longer. She hasn't really changed anything about her nursing, so I don't think that's the cause. I haven't had a PP period yet, so maybe that's about to happen? I don't feel any symptoms, though.

    I'm noticing far less swallowing with letdown and her diapers are not as wet as usual. Last night's overnight diaper was probably half as wet as usual and she nursed the same number of times overnight as she always does. She's had adequate number of diapers today, but they aren't as wet as usual.

    I did have mastitis last week, starting Monday morning. But I began antibiotics that day and felt 100% better by Tuesday morning. The redness and lump was gone by Wednesday, probably. This supply decrease didn't become apparent until probably Friday. Today (Sunday) was the worst so far.

    I also had a bad cold for about 1.5 weeks, ending about mid-week last week. I kept up with fluids, though and wasn't running a fever or anything. Just lots of congestion and coughing.

    I'm super worried about this because my daughter will not take a bottle or a sippy cup and is also super laid-back about eating (so I can't go by her cues about whether she's getting enough). To top it off, she's almost completely uninterested in solids.

    The icing on the cake is that I thawed some frozen milk, hoping to get her to take some in an open cup and it's high lipase! I tasted it and it was super soapy and disgusting. I dipped a finger into it to see if my daughter minded the taste and she turned away when I offered a second time.

    Thoughts? Advise? I'm already on domperidone and more milk plus. I try to eat oatmeal daily and drink lots of water. I don't really know what else to do. I can't offer to nurse more - she's already maxed out. What I don't understand is that she isn't fussy or wanting to nurse more these past few days...but I don't trust her hunger cues (or lack thereof) enough to know whether that means she's still getting plenty or milk or she just simply has to be starving before she'll cue to nurse.

    Please help! Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    Hugs to you, I've had mastitis twice and boy that was not fun! Glad you are feeling better!

    Just curious, why don't you trust her cues? I have a really hard time trusting my baby's cues as well, but I've been doing better. My baby does get a little fussy or edgy when hungry or wanting to nurse. Does your baby fuss when she wants to nurse usually? If so and she's not fussy I would trust her behavior. I would see how things go in the next few days before thinking you suddenly have a low supply. I had a similar issue and it resolved itself within 3 days, not sure what was up with my daughter but she was doing the exact same thing, less swallowing at let down, diapers not as wet. etc. Mine was even biting a little bit, which she never does! I was really concerned but in a few days she was back to her old self. The ladies in this forum assured me that it would be highly unlikely that I would suddenly drop in supply when nothing about my lifestyle or nursing habits has changed. I think more often than not it's baby that changes, not the supply (if you have a great supply, sounds like you do). I got that from reading Jack Newman articles.

    I think it sounds like you are doing all you can do, by following her lead and nursing her plenty. If it keeps up for a week or two and you feel something isn't right, do you have a lactation consult that you could visit? A lot of hospitals around where I live have free breastfeeding groups that meet weekly with a LC, and one even has an online chat that you can ask a LC any questions you have.
    and Mama to two little girls

  3. #3
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    Thanks for your reply.

    I've done a lot of reading on Newman's site I over these months and I think we're a classic case of an initial overabundance of milk with a less than efficient latch. She gained great initially, but when my milk regulated at 3 months-ish, she slowed down. I also noticed she only swallowed well during letdowns. Unfortunately, we were never able to improve her shallow latch much, so dr. Newman recommended I increase my supply to give her more readily available milk.

    So now I think she's drinking far less because far less is readily available (ie. my breasts are never full at all these past few days). I do compressions throughout feedings to keep the flow up and still very little swallowing.

    I'm wondering if my supply regulated again and now she doesn't have that overabundance to easily drink from.

    As far as her cues, she's a super laid-back nurser. If I only fed her on her cues, she wouldn't nurse more than 5-6 times per day. Very distractible also. Dr. Newman actually said that's fine...but the math doesn't add up in my mind. I don't see how she could get enough ounces in only 5 sessions...unless I have/had a big storage capacity.

    Her 9 month checkup is next week, but I'm considering taking her in for a weight check today so I can get a data point to compare next week's weight to. Just in case this is still happening by next week.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    I should add that, up until just a few days ago, I always felt like I had more milk than she wanted. She would pull off and I could still easily hand express more milk after she was finished nursing. It was as if overnight that went away. Now I can't express hardly anything. Which also leads me to think about another regulation of supply happening...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    It does sound like supply regulating, as I have experienced something similar.

    This was very very helpful to me http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-milkflow.aspx It's good information on baby behavior at the breast, I haven't come across it anywhere else.

    I'm not sure if this applies to your situation, but we also had oversupply and with that came a very fast and forceful letdown. She gained weight very rapidly at first and then it slowed down (which is normal for EBF babies, but she gained a pound in a week!). I was so confused by the way my baby acted at the breast, she wouldn't eat for very long and not as often as I expected, and she did have a shallow latch on the side that produced the most milk. I think she was actually controlling the milk flow somewhat with her shallow latch, I wonder if that's what happened with your baby in the beginning? Do you know if you have a fast letdown? My baby will actually only feed in the side lying position because of the flow, and even then she will not feed tummy to tummy, she lies flat on her back. At first I was thinking it was bad for her, but she's doing great and it was her choice of position.

    Perhaps you do have a large storage capacity? That would make sense, she might be taking in 5-6oz per feeding (maybe more!) if she only fed 5-6 times per day. Someone with a lower/average capacity for storage might have to nurse 10 times a day and baby gets 3oz per feeding.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    I don't think my letdown is particularly fast, at least not in the past few months. I do (did until this week) spray a little now and then, but not terribly and only on the left side. That hasn't happened at all in the last few days.

    I took her in for a weight check and she has averaged 2.5 ounces per week since her 6 month checkup, so I'm glad for that. Kellymom says the average at this age is 2-4 ounces per week, so she's right in there. It doesn't relieve my concerns about what's going on these past few days, but at least I'm comfortable with her gain the last 3 months.

    Thanks for that link. That's very interesting info that I wish I'd seen months ago!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    Just wanted to update that it seems like my supply is getting back to normal. She's swallowing more today and is having wetter diapers again. Phew!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: sudden decrease in supply? very concerned - please advi

    That's so awesome! Yay! You know, I love this forum because everyone seems to have similar issues, and most of the time it seems like our bodies (or babies) resolve the issues for us even when we're worried.
    and Mama to two little girls

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