Re: 6 Month Supply issues since cycle returned - Desperate!
My guess is that this is a probably a problem of perception. Here's why:
- Most moms yield more milk when pumping during the first weeks/months of breastfeeding, and find that yield goes way down with time. The decline in output you're seeing is probably normal.
- Having a baby who is in the 10th percentile doesn't mean that there's a problem with weight, any more than having a baby in the upper percentiles does. Healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes, and statistically speaking there are just as many babies in the 20th percentile as there are in the 90th, just as many in the 1st percentile as the 99th, etc.
- A lot of babies get really into solids when they first start them, acting very eager for them, fussing when they don't get what they want. (The converse is also normal, with many babies rejecting or being disinterested in solids.)
- Most babies scarf down their bottles. Bottles deliver a fast flow and babies don't really have to work to get fluid out- hold a bottle upside down and it will drip- and this results in rapid intake. Also, a lot of caregivers don't know how to give a bottle. They're supposed to hold the bottle upright so that the baby has to suck in order to get the milk out, they're supposed to pause the feeding after every oz or so of milk. So if your sitters give a bottle in the "typical" way, that could also result in your baby eating very fast.
- He's pooping every day- that's a good indication that he's getting plenty to eat.
- Need for milk declines over time. Milk supply tends to peak in early infancy when growth is fastest, adjusts and holds fairly stable until 6 months, and then gradually falls as the baby increases his solid food intake and growth rate slows further.
All that being said, I can understand why you're concerned. Here's what I would do:
- Continue to nurse frequently. If your baby really is eating only small amounts, then he needs to eat frequently.
- If you're comfortable doing weighed feeds, do a whole day's worth of them. Maybe 2 days worth. The occasional weighed feed doesn't tell you much, since it's a one-time snapshot of intake, and intake can vary a lot. You really want a sense of your baby's average daily intake.
- Check your pump. Pumps tend to wear down with time, and shield size often changes.
- Evaluate your health. Make sure you're not anemic, get your thyroid levels checked (postpartum thyroiditis affects around5% of women, and can impact milk supply), just generally make sure everything is as it should be. Throw a pregnancy test in there, too; pregnancy can make your supply tank. Think about your birth control- if you are using any form of hormonal contraception, that could be having an impact on supply. Some moms find that even supposedly safe methods like Mirena and the mini-pill have a negative impact on supply.
- When you're choosing solids for your baby, aim for the high-calorie ones. Meats, beans, and avocado are all good for a baby this age. No need to start with fruits, veggies, or cereals- and if you do offer them, maybe add a little olive oil to them. He's a little guy, and high-cal solids are a good way to hedge your bets when it comes to nutrition.
- If supplementation becomes necessary, I feel that it makes sense to choose formula until the baby turns 1. I totally understand why you abhor it! But it provides more balanced and more complete nutrition than just about any solid food you can offer.
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!"