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Thread: Fluctuating milk supply issue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Fluctuating milk supply issue

    I have the strangest thing going on. My milk supply goes up and down like crazy. Or rather, my breasts feel heavy and large for two days and then they feel soft and emptyish on other days. Towards the end of the week is when I feel like I have an oversupply, while the rest of the week I usually feel fine. Why does this keep happening? My LC says that you can't go from regular supply to oversupply (or undersupply) in a matter of hours. She says something might be off with my hormones. Does anyone know anything about that?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    How old is your baby? Do you work outside of the home, Monday through Friday and pump at work? My thought is that if you have an older child that maybe doesn't nurse very frequently (due to solids, distractions, etc) maybe your supply regulates to your child's needs over the weekend. And then if you're working and pumping, perhaps you are pumping/removing milk a bit more frequently than your child does, which might cause a slight increase in your supply over the week. Of course, I have no idea if this is actually your situation! (And I'm not implying that anything is actually wrong, nor that you would need to do anything differently if this is what's happening - just a possible explanation, based solely on my own experience with nursing/pumping!)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    94

    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Yep, I work Monday through Friday out of the house and pump two times during each day. My baby is 14 weeks old. I pump more than he is actually eating, though. Like I pump about 6 and 5 ounces respectively but he only drinks about 4 ounces at each of those feedings while at the babysitter. I never heard of supply regulating so quickly though! Weird! I would pump less but don't want to stop while milk is still coming out. I do about 15 minutes each time. Did this happen to you?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    I'm also thinking that if you're working, the pumping you're doing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday is encouraging your supply to really go up by Thursday and Friday. Then, over the weekend, your baby doesn't need all that milk so he lets supply drop a bit, resulting in less fullness come Monday.

    If you're not working, then I think you just chalk this up to normal fluctuations in supply. In my experience, it's very common for oversupply to come and go, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with your hormones being "off".
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Wow I feel a lot better now that I'm not some hormonally wonky mom! Should I be pumping less at work? I work from 10 to 5 every day but only come home at about 6ish so I feed my baby at 9 and then at around 6ish. He eats twice in that time frame, so that's why I thought to pump two times.

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    How is your workday output? Sufficient, or very much in excess of what baby needs?
    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
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Not VERY in excess, but a few ounces extra. Baby drinks about 8 ounces and I pump about 10-11. I send whatever I pump to the babysitter and she throws out whatever he doesn't finish. But if I pump a lot, like on Fridays it's way too much, so I freeze that.

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Your babysitter is throwing out your breastmilk? I would start sending smaller portions so there's less chance of her dumping your hard work down the drain. She should also be aware that unused breastmilk can go back in the fridge and be used at the next feeding.

    Since you're working, I think you don't need to do much, if anything, different. You're creating a nice cushion in the freezer, and that might be useful sometime down the road. A lot of moms find that their output slumps a bit in the later parts of the first year, and a freezer stash can come in handy. Just make sure you pull bags from time to time and test them for lipase- you wouldn't want to build a nice stash and the have it all ruined by excess lipase.

    That being said, it might be a good idea to throttle back on the pumping just a little bit. Keep the 2 pump sessions, but don't empty yourself quite so thoroughly each time. It's okay to leave some milk in the breast, if you're always coming home with more than baby needs.
    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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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Well whatever's leftover from the first feeding she saves for second feeding. But whatever stays from that one she sends home and I chuck it (it sat out for a few hours so I can't do anything with it and I rather nurse baby than give him leftover bottle) or she chucks it. I know you can reuse it if refrigerated but I wouldn't want baby to eat from it the next day.

    How do I test for lipase? Have the baby drink a bottle of it and see if he refuses it?

    I thought that if you don't pump out completely (as completely as you can, that is) then you can get clogged ducts and mastitis. I've had both already in my overfull days (before supply regulated to a normal amount) and it wasn't fun. In those days I'd pump till I got enough and that's it, even if milk was still coming out. These last few days one letdown doesn't give me enough so I wait for two and that gives me extra, and I'd rather extra than too little.

  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Fluctuating milk supply issue

    Link on lipase: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/m...expressedmilk/ Basically, you want to periodically pull bags of your stored milk, thaw them, and taste and smell test them.

    It's a myth that not pumping to emptiness causes plugged ducts/mastitis. It does somewhat increase your risk of having a plugged duct or mastitis, but it's not a guarantee of getting either of those things.

    If getting a little extra milk works for you, I say go for it! Again, it could come in really handy later in your baby's first year. And it doesn't sound like you're pumping yourself into a real problem- just a little extra fullness at the end of the week.
    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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