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Thread: From over-production to low supply

  1. #1

    Default From over-production to low supply

    Hi,
    I have a 5.5 wk old son who has been lucky enough to have breast milk only. In the beginning, I was producing enough to fill my fridge and freezer after pumping. I don't have much time to pump because I have a 19 mo. old daughter that also needs my attention. I pumped once in the morning, maybe once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. I could usually get 6-8oz off my right breast and anywhere from 2-4oz from my left breast with each pumping. Now when I pump, I'm getting 1-3oz on the right and left, combined. This is only recent, maybe within the last week or two. Any ideas as to why? I've read pacifiers can cause a decrease in production, which we started using because he seemed to need that sucking motion to help fill his diaper and/or fall asleep. We started using the pacifier when he started cluster feedings (growth spurt) because he would get so upset while breastfeeding, he needed to calm down in order to latch. I've been drinking plenty of water, I started taking fenugreek 3x/day, and I'm eating fine since I have to stop and feed my daughter. I'm just hoping I can get my production back up before his next growth spurt!

    Back story: my daughter had to supplement with formula after day 3 because my milk hadn't come in yet. I got my production up, but when she was 3 months old, we took a trip from Portland to Napa Valley and I dried up (not enough water and my hormones were low). I started taking reglan and continued to take it until my daughter was 6 months old... when we switched to straight formula. I was honestly surprised my milk came in so quick with my son and haven't had any problems until recently...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: From over-production to low supply

    It's common for moms to have oversupply early on - nature's way of making sure there is enough milk. Then, over time, supply regulates so that supply matches up with baby's demand. Being able to pump just a couple ounces is normal for a mom who is exclusively breastfeeding, being able to pump 12 oz is actually highly unusual.

    It sounds like you had some difficulties with your first baby. But normally there shouldn't be any reason for a mother who's exclusively breastfeeding to pump. Again this is assuming weight gain has been good and baby does not have any problems with nursing, which it sounds like has been the case this time? If that's the case, there is no need to maintain supply at a higher level than needed for a future growth spurt. When baby does have a growth spurt, he will simply nurse more, which will cause your supply to increase. Then when the growth spurt is done, he nurses less, and your supply goes back down the level he needs.

    The best thing to keep your supply up is to simply nurse often. 10-12 times or more in 24 hours, including nursing several times overnight, would be perfectly normal. It never hurts to offer! Baby will not over-nurse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,761

    Default Re: From over-production to low supply


    I do not think the lessening of pump output indicates anything abnormal about your milk production. But I do wonder why you are pumping. That seems like a lot of extra work for a mom with a newborn and a toddler. Are you pumping due to concerns about your milk production and are you saving that milk, or feeding baby with it now?

    Pacifiers harm supply because baby soothes on the paci instead of the breast and consequently, nurses less. It is entirely normal for your baby to need to nurse to settle, to poop, or to sleep. But it is probably fine to use them occasionally, such as on a car ride or to help baby calm down enough to nurse. The problem with paci's is if they are overused.

    If you have been supplementing baby with bottles, feeding baby with bottles even of your own milk can harm production as well, again, because baby will then not nurse a normal amount at the breast. Of course, pumping would offset that to some degree, but again, it is also extra work.

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