Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Rebuilding milk supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Rebuilding milk supply

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I think it fits! I've posted a few times on other forums about my low milk supply. I work very long hours and was informed that the amount of time I am separated from my baby/how many bottles she's taking vs. how many times she's able to actually nurse is a contributing factor to why my supply is so low. I was at the point of pumping a total of 7 times (4x at work, 1x on commute to work, 1x after baby went to sleep and 1x in the middle of the night by setting an alarm). I wasn't getting sleep and was beyond stressed out so I made the decision to combo feed. I got down to pumping only 2x per day, both at work. Around the same time, my baby went through a phase of becoming very distracted while eating whether it was bottle or breast and that further decreased my supply. She also just dropped her final night feed in the last week and a half and is now sleeping 7:30p-7am. All of that combined and my supply is now so low that I am lucky to get 1 ounce per side when pumping.
    I am not ready to stop nursing and am looking for advice/help on what to do to increase my supply. Do I just start adding pumping sessions back in? Getting her to nurse is difficult but not impossible so I can try to add more nursing sessions when with her. How often would you suggest pumping and do you think it is necessary to add back in a middle of the night pumping?
    Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can offer!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Rebuilding milk supply

    Hi marklaus. All evidence suggests that the way to increase milk production is to increase the frequency and/or effectiveness with which milk is removed from the breasts. This does not always 'work' in all cases, but it is the one thing that usually works the most. You could also explore the world of herbal, pharmaceutical and food item galactagogues but those would be something to add to the milk removal.

    Good hydration is vital for milk production. Many moms have found milk production increased just from them starting to drink enough water. Studies have shown that over hydrating does not help. Most sources say moms should drink "to thirst." which I guess basically means drink if you are thirsty. But I have found that I can get pretty darn thirsty before I will drink if I am busy and if I am worried about hydration I have to make time and effort to drink enough. So think about that.

    Milk removal frequency- Speaking very generally, Milk removal of at least 6-8 times per 24 hours appears needed to maintain a normal milk production. Milk removal of 8-12 times would probably be needed to increase production. Of course you have to pick a plan that is going to work for you and not be so frustrating or exhausting it becomes counter productive. Also it does not have to be the same every day.

    There are many ways to tweak milk removal frequency that seems to help some mom's production. Some of these are-

    Pumping after baby nurses to more completely empty the breasts

    Not going more than 5-6 hours at any point of the day with no milk removal. This does not necessarily mean pumping in the middle of a sleep stretch, but depending on your sleep patterns, it would probably mean breaking up sleep to have milk removed. One suggestion is to not set an alarm but rather drink a large glass of water immediately before going to sleep. That way you naturally wake up to pee after a few hours and can pump then. Nursing baby at night might be easier than pumping.

    Power pumping- Basically I think this means pumping very frequently for a few hours a day or when you can. The idea is to replicate what a cue fed baby does when a growth spurt is coming and baby needs more milk temporarily. You may find more specific info on power pumping with an online search.

    Hand expressing after pumping to more fully empty the breasts.

    I also think it helps to look into other possible causes of low milk production. Not frequent enough or not effective enough milk removal will certainly cause low production. But sometimes other factors are involved as well.

    It is also important to make sure your pump is in perfect working condition and fits you correctly, and that baby is capable of latching and nursing effectively.

    I suggest the excellent book Making More Milk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Rebuilding milk supply

    with all the above!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts