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Thread: Change in supply and letdown?

  1. #1

    Default Change in supply and letdown?

    In the last week or so, my 6 mo old has changed her eating schedule from every two hours to about every three. This was totally unprompted by me, and took me by surprise when she would refuse to eat and then eat later on. Sometimes she will go a long as 4 hours without eating if she is napping... What is this change doing to my supply? She's now eating less often in the day- but I have no way to tell that she is eating more at each feeding. Is this change going to make my milk production decrease?

    Also, very strangely I have had a lot of difficulty letting down in my left breast- even more so at the last meal of the day. It takes over 5 mins sometimes, and has taken as long as 10 in the night and my tired baby is not about to wait that long for her meal. It's starting to be an issue bc when I go to feed I get nervous it will take too long to let down, and then of course it is a self full-fulling prophecy and I end up having to pump and feed her that way. Is there are relationship between the change in eating and letdown? What can I do to let down quicker?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,262

    Default Re: Change in supply and letdown?

    Any time that stimulation to and milk removal from the breasts is decreased, supply is eventually going to respond by decreasing to match demand. When stimulation and milk removal increase again, so will supply.

    Is your LO sick, teething, or eating a lot of solids? That might explain the decrease in nursing frequency.

    One of the big inhibitors to letdown is stress, and the stress hormone adrenaline. Could you do some deep breathing prior to nursing? That might reduce the stress level and also the time it takes to get to the letdown.

    Another thing that effects letdown is how the baby is nursing. A baby who is nursing eagerly and rhthymically will trigger a letdown more quickly than one who is nursing in a relaxed way (I.e. comfort nursing). You might want to try the following:
    - Don't resort to bottles- make your all do the work of getting the letdown instead of tea hing her that laziness at the breast will be rewarded with a bottle
    - Try starting feedings on the slow letdown side, so that baby does her hungriest, eagerness sucking there. If she doesn't trigger a letdown there, switch her to the easier side. Once she has fed on that side, try her on the slow side again- the sucking she did earlier may have gotten that breast closer to letdown.

    Are you back at work, mama, or home with your baby? I'm just wondering whether or to you absolutely need to use those bottles. If you don't, it might make sense to banish them for a while.
    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: Change in supply and letdown?

    Not sick- perhaps teething, but no signs of teeth yet, and just started solids- a couple tablespoons at most after breastfeeding once a day. Should I be worried about the decrease in supply? Should I take action to keep up the supply? If so, what?

    I am not back at work, but my LO gets incredibly worked up and goes into a crying fit when I can't let down- kicking, hitting, screaming after several mins of trying and no result...and in the middle of the night this then leads to hours of trying to get her back to sleep. It's either she gets the bottle at those times, or she doesn't eat and we try again later. And from what I think you are saying, if I don't remove the milk with the pump at that time, then I am further damaging my supply by letting it stay in there...correct?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,262

    Default Re: Change in supply and letdown?

    Yes, any time milk sits in the breast, that's telling your body to make less.

    Most of the time there's no reason for a mom who is home with her baby to need to pump. Nursing on demand is the easiest and usually the best way to maintain supply. The only exceptions to this rule are when a baby is unable or unwilling to nurse, i.e., when mom and baby are separated or when baby is on a nursing strike. In general, a nursing slowdown doesn't require a mom to pump. But in your shoes, I think some pumping might be helpful, since it sounds like lowered supply and slower letdowns could be part of the evening/nighttime frustration you're experiencing...?

    Any chance of seeing a LC? And taking your baby in to the pediatrician? I'd want someone to take a look in her ears.
    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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