So here's the overview, I've been exclusively nursing my son since birth with no supplementation. Nursing was going fairly well and he started sleeping through the night 12 hours with no feeds by 3 months. At 4 months he got the typical 4 month fussies, which coincided with a decreased pump output (I pump once at night 3 hours after I put him down and feed the milk back into him the next day). At 3 months I could get 2 let downs in 10 minutes and get 3-3.5oz total. Then it extended to 20 minutes for the second let down, then 30 minutes for 2-2.5oz. Now at 6 months it can take 40-50 minutes for a second let down, and I'm getting less and less milk each time.
I had a sudden drop in supply 2 months ago that ended up being my first ovulation, and my supply has been permanently lowered ever since. Now that I am finishing up my second period my supply has taken another permanent hit. I struggle for a second let down, and it appears my breasts refuse to fill up. I get the same amount after letting them sit for an hour as I do letting them sit for 3 hours, ie I used to be able to feed him 3+oz after sitting for 3 hours but not anymore. And I know for a fact my pump output mirrors what my baby gets nursing because I have done weighed feeds periodically since he was born. My last weighed feed yielded 1.5oz total in 1 let down 3 hours after his last feed, which is identical to what I get pumping.
I don't understand this! Why are my let downs taking much longer and letting down less milk? My son is not a big boy, he's always been 10th percentile and falling. Why does it seem like every single cycle is lowering my output permanently? For the past week I went all out and fed him EVERY HOUR during the day and my supply still will not budge. Still dead set on not giving a second let down before 30 minutes, and still not giving a drop more than 1.5oz. I just pumped tonight and got less than 1.5oz in my first let down. I can't take this anymore, it's driving me insane. Why is my body trying to starve my baby? We have started solids but I always nurse before giving him some so I'm empty and he's not filled up first, he gets less than 4oz of solids a day, though he'd gladly take more. On days that I try to skip solids he is a complete crabby starving mess despite putting him to breast every time he whimpers. It doesn't help that the few times I leave him in the care of someone else (I telecommute so no daycare) they ALWAYS remark how fast he scarfs down the pumped milk and seems to hungry and desperate. It makes me feel awful. It makes me feel like I'm going to permanently hurt his development or something because he's not getting proper nutrition from me.
If I had to guess I'd say he gets approximately 15-17oz of my milk a day, which doesn't seem like enough, and I have to feed every hour to get that much into him since if I let him go 3 hours (where he used to be) he will get the same paltry amount and act starving. I have tried fenugreek 3@3x daily and it does not help. I have tried lactation cookies, I have tried power pumping, I have tried letting this kid spend all day on my boob, I drink so much water my pee is practically clear some days and NOTHING HELPS. I don't know his diaper output because I'm confused as to what constitutes a full wet diaper. He poops every day.
I don't think I can save my supply at this point because it seems affected by my cycle. Things were fine until it started up again. It just keeps going down with each passing cycle and I don't know how much longer I can keep my baby fed on milk. Do I just up his solids to compensate? I abhor the idea of supplementing with formula and I'd rather he eat real food then guzzle that stuff.