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Thread: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

  1. #1

    Unhappy Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    I am having problems with my milk supply dropping. I have a 7mo old who is still nursing and wanting to nurse, but we are also feeding her solid foods as well as supplementing when I have no more milk to give her (due to my lack of production). I am doing everything I can to maintain any production I have, but the more I try (pumping between feedings, hand-expressing after feedings, lessening her solid foods and supplementation bottles, fenugreek tinctures, brewer's yeast tablets, the list goes on...) the less I produce. I am not new to this however, I also tried to BF my son when he was a baby (he is now 13yrs old), and I could only BF him for two months when I 'dried up'. At that time, I was unaware of the LLL, and my Dr.s were less than helpful in determining the cause of my production issues. My question is, if I'm doing all that I can, is there any hope of reestablishing my supply to feed my daughter? She wants to nurse it seems all the time, but gets frustrated when no milk comes, and it frustrates me more that I cannot provide for her. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    Hi tmawrrao and welcome.

    My first suggestion when a mom suspects low milk production is that she read this kellymom article. Many mothers suspect they have low milk production when they do not, so you might want to read the first section very carefully. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp...es/low-supply/

    If the evidence suggests true low milk production, besides the above article, the best & most complete source for info on that is the book Making More Milk. There are many reasons a mother might have low milk production and it can be very helpful to narrow down the whys in order to be more smart about the how’s of increasing production.

    It also may help to have a consultation with an IBCLC.

    Breast compressions may help baby stay interested in nursing if flow is slow.

    Generally, the single most important and effective method for increasing milk production and keeping production at the best possible levels is to have milk extracted I]frequently[/I] from the breasts. Nursing is usually the best method, with hand expression and/or pumping with the best pump available as second choices.

    Solids and supplementing (amnd even pacifiers) tend to interfere with frequent nursing because baby gets their hunger and/or comfort needs met elsewhere. This does not mean do not do them, but how much to offer solids or supplements depends in part on how much they are needed in order to maintain normal weight gain and it is important to think about how they are offered so it is done in such a way they have as little impact as possible on baby’s desire to nurse.

    When did the symptoms of low milk production start, and what are they?
    Is baby's weight gain inadequate?
    Was baby exclusively breastfed for any amount of time or always supplemented, and with what?
    How do you know you only produce an ounce at a time? Do you mean this is the amount that you pump?

    How many times in a 24 hour day will baby typically nurse? And how many times is baby offered solids and how many times a supplemental bottle, and about how much (how many ounces) is the bottle?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    with LLLMeg. She had some great questions in there- if you can answer them we may be able to reassure you.
    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!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    When did the symptoms of low milk production start, and what are they? My supply dropped about three months ago. I feel thankful that Ive made it this far (since I barely made two months with my first). Symptoms include zero output during hand expressions, pumping, and my baby getting frustrated after minutes of sucking and no milk coming down. Breasts hurt like milk may be dropping but nothing comes. It wasn't until two days into my supply drop (At 4 months) that I realized her constant crying was due to her not getting anything to drink, so I began supplementing at that time while I worked to pump every two-three hours to restart the process. As time went on, I would get less and less each day (day one, 5 oz total, day two-4.75 oz, until day 13 when I would only get an ounce all day. (Even today, I just pumped after she went down for the night, after not nursing her for six hours (supplemented instead so that she would get something) and only got about 8 drops- not ounces, drops. I'm crying through posting this now, as I am realizing I've been dealing with this for three months and I don't know what Im doing wrong.

    Is baby's weight gain inadequate? Her overall weight was down at around four months (she dropped from 90th percentile to 70th when I went in to check her when the problems started. Since I've begun supplementing and she has started solid foods, her weight is increasing again, and she is a happy baby, although still extremely upset when she isn't getting anything from me. The last two day, she hasn't wanted to nurse at all (two minutes on and she looks away because there is nothing there).

    Was baby exclusively breastfed for any amount of time or always supplemented, and with what? She was EBF for the first four months until the problems started. The Dr suggested Similac (in the blue can) to supplement with. We still use it for two-three bottles a day (I'm still pumping every three hours with little/no results)

    How do you know you only produce an ounce at a time? Do you mean this is the amount that you pump? Yes. I pump almost exclusively some days to try to restart the process (which never works). However the last two days have resulted in one ounce total.

    How many times in a 24 hour day will baby typically nurse? And how many times is baby offered solids and how many times a supplemental bottle, and about how much (how many ounces) is the bottle? When I am not pumping every three hours (some days I just can't do it emotionally)I set her up to nurse every three hours. She is always hungry on these days, and I try not to stress about it, but it's hard. She has two servings of solid foods (anywhere from an ounce to two ounces) a day, as recommended by her Dr. to increase her weight. Supplemental bottles (when nursing doesn't work (or she refuses to take it like today) occur twice to three times a day now. They range from 4 oz (with food) to 7oz (upon wake up, two hours after lunch, and/or before dinner).

    I've been told it can make a difference in my supply that my menstrual cycle returned within 8 weeks of delivery. I am on a hormone-free birth control (IUD). I don't know how much weight these two factors have on my 'condition', but in case it does, I thought I'd mention it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    Also, while supplementing, she completes every bottle every time. Guzzles it. Several times over the past few weeks, the amount I give her is not enough (sometimes I'll start with 4 oz. but end up giving her 8 oz. total once it is all said and done, until she is satisfied. With Dr.s advice I thought I was doing right by giving ti to her, even though I didn't want to supplement at all. But I've stayed true to my efforts to try and provide for her what I can, even when it is only an ounce, followed by formula to satisfy her hunger.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    Here's what I'm thinking may have happened. By 3-4 months, a lot of moms find that their milk supply has adjusted to meet the baby's needs very precisely, without a lot of extra left over. When the adjustment takes place, it's normal for mom to no longer feel full, to see her pump output decline, to have more difficulty expressing milk, and for the baby to act very fussy as she figures out how to get milk out of a less full, less hair-trigger breast. This is the point where a lot of moms freak out and start supplementing. If they come here, we generally advise them to watch the baby's diaper output- as long as that is normal, the baby is getting enough to eat even if she's acting super-fussy. Weight gain doesn't necessarily tell you much at 4 months, because it's very normal for the rate of weight gain to decline as time goes on and the baby becomes more mobile, putting increased amounts of energy into motion rather than packing it on as fat. A decline in wright percentage-say, from the 90th percentile to the 70th- is very common at this point, particularly if the baby is being measured on the CDC charts, which are for formula-fed babies.

    If this were my baby, I would want to be nursing as much as possible. Nurse before offering solids, nurse in the night, nurse before and after supplemental bottles. The more chances you give the baby to up your supply, the better. This link on weaning from formula supplements may also be useful: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/. Meanwhile, if you can find additional time to pump using a high-quality double electric pump, that would also be beneficial. You may also want to check your own health out- make sure your thyroid is functioning properly, make sure you're not anemic.

    I'm a little concerned about your doctor's advice. He/she seems to have made you unduly concerned about what may have been a normal weight fluctuation at 4 months, is suggesting that solids will increase your baby's weight gain, and seems to think your baby's weight is problematic... Would you consider seeing someone else? Fresh eyes may see farther.
    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!"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    I haven't gone back to that Dr. (the fact they sent me home with formula that day after I told them I didn't want to use it was enough for me to stay away). I am using a Medela double electric pump, but I never thought about my borderline anemia playing a part :/ Thyroid is working fine (tests within the normal levels every year- although other family members have issues with theirs). Really wishing I had contacted this forum sooner, but I'll try your suggestions today to see how she does. Thank you so much

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    Glad to hear you found a different pediatrician.

    If you haven't had your thyroid tested in the last 6 months, it might be a good time to get it checked. About 5% of women develop thyroid problems in the postpartum year, and the percentage is probably higher among women with a family history of thryoid issues.
    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!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    Sorry I missed that you replied to my questions. I will try to catch up now.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Milk supply dropped, less than 1oz at a time :(

    OK wow I am so sorry I missed your post, its been a nutty week.

    So I really have not much to add to what mommal suggests. I think it is very possible things went as she suggests, and I totally agree about encouraging baby to nurse much more often. I think the formula intervention was possibly premature and harmed your production, whether or not it was low at the time. Also I hope you are able to get a medical workup as there may certainly be a medical/nutritional reason for low milk production.

    My only other suggestions are

    1) to try an at the breast supplementer-a lactation aid. This would allow supplements to be given at the breast, so baby gets the many benefits of at- the-breastFEEDING even if what baby is getting is formula. Please let us know if you would like more info on these devices, some moms can even fashion a home made one.

    2) I would suggest seeing an IBCLC for a one on one consult to make sure latch is normal and baby is effective at milk removal & to talk about your personal history and what other barriers to normal milk production you may have and what to try in order to target those. (YOu may be able to get info on targeted galactatgogues yourself from Making More Milk)

    3) I would suggest that when bottles are given, they be given in a breastfeeding supportive way. Your baby taking 8 ounces at once is an unusually huge feeding. When bottles are given less frequently than a breastfed baby would normally eat, as they often are, then baby must take in a large amount each time to get enough. But this is not biologically the healthiest way for a baby to eat. Babies are meant to take in small meals frequently. Even if baby is exclusively bottle/formula fed, it is healthier for meals to be frequent and of normal size. You can expect a 7 month old to nurse (or need to have a bottle if bottle fed) at least 8-12 times a day, and since typical intake at this age would be very approximately 30 ounces per day, you can see that a feeding of between 2 and 4 ounces would be more biologically typical. See: Paced bottle feeding

    Information sheet: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4T70OSzGs (Don’t worry about what she says about time between feeds- typically, best to cue feed whether nursing or bottles.)

    4) I would suggest troubleshooting your pump. You were getting an ounce each time you pumped and suddenly, only one ounce total over an entire day of pumping? A sudden drop in output like that signals a pump issue to me. IN any case it is always important to make sure pump is functioning properly and fits you correctly (and fit may change over time.)

    As far as your period goes, i think it is unlikely that your period returning would seriously harm your milk production (except for a very brief dip at the time) UNLESS there was already something hormonal going on leading to both an early return of your period and lower milk production. What does often happen is baby is not nursing often enough for any number of reasons and this (the less frequent nursing) causes both a return of fertility and lower production.

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