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Thread: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth control?

  1. #1

    Default Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth control?

    Hi Ladies,

    I'm looking for a little support. I've been EBF my 7wk old, though BF was very hard in the beginning due to the fact that my milk was slow to come in, my production was low, and my baby was jaundiced. However, with a lot of work and fenugreek, BF has been going well until this weekend. I got either food poisoning or the stomach flu Thursday night/Friday morning and was pretty dehydrated. I didn't nurse at all that night (about 8 hours) because I was physically unable to. However, I resumed on Friday, and noticed a slight decrease in my production, but nothing major. Saturday and especially Sunday my baby seemed to want to nurse all the time, which I now realize was indicating a continuous drop in my supply. Last night I went to pump (which I do intermittently just to build up a supply in my freezer) and was unable to get anything out for the first 6 minutes when my letdown finally happened, and I pumped 1 oz. I'm not a great pumper (I'm not able to pump much out), but I always have a letdown in the first minute and when pumping at other comparable times should have been able to get 2 ounces. Then when nursing baby at night (3hrs after I pumped), the same thing happened - no letdown for 6 minutes, and I know she didn't get much because she wasn't swallowing much. Since then, letdown has been a little quicker, but she's not swallowing much.

    I feel like my milk supply is suddenly drying up. My breasts feel too soft. My baby is not as interested in attempting to BF right now because not only is she not getting much, but I'm sure my breasts feel very different to her.

    In addition to being sick last week (though I feel almost entirely better now), my OB prescribed me the mini pill. I voiced my concerns about it interfering with milk supply, but he told me this one shouldn't. I also started taking blessed thistle last week (in addition to the fenugreek I've been taking for weeks). I know that shouldn't decrease milk supply, but I wanted to provide all the information. Unfortunately, all of these things happened around the same time. I've decided to stop taking the birth control, continue with fenugreek (3 3x/day) and blessed thistle (2 3x/day), continue trying to BF on demand as I have been and then pump afterwards. I'm trying to drink a ton of water. I'm thinking I'm going to have to supplement because there's no way I'm producing enough and I'm not sure my LO will be willing to try hard to get the milk as things are right now. Unfortunately I don't have much of a freezer supply, so I'll have to resort to formula.

    Has this happened to anyone before? Have you been able to successfully bring back your milk supply? I'm very upset about the possibility of having to stop breastfeeding at this point. I worked really hard to be able to breastfeed at the beginning and am willing to do so again, but I'm just pessimistic about it working this time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    You can always bring back your supply, and some people do even after months. The single best way to do it is nurse, nurse, nurse! Let your baby nurse round the clock, take a nursing vacation (like hang out in bed or on the couch all day and just let her nurse at will - even encouraging it very frequently). I also got food poisoning and stayed in bed that whole time just nursing (oh lord it was awful) and stayed super hydrated and when I could eat again I ate a lot of protein to restore my supply. I did use galactalogues for a long time but besides fenugreek I don't know if anything even really made a dramatic difference other than nursing and pumping. Maybe you should try adding one pumping session a day at least for now.

    Soft breasts are normal - your breasts shouldn't stay engorged.

    The mini pill or any type of hormonal pill has interfered with a lot of my friend's ability to exclusively breastfeed. Unfortunately OBs don't really always know that. Maybe see a certified lactation consultant? Your insurance should cover one and there is a website listing http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432
    We and with our little monkey, born 9/30/2012.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    Also nursing frequently by baby can also be a sign of a growth spurt in my experience.
    We and with our little monkey, born 9/30/2012.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    Don't give up!
    My baby is 7 1/2 weeks and we have had a struggle the whole time. If you are able to pump an ounce at a single pumping session, your milk isn't dried up, you are probably just feeling the after effects of sickness and perhaps the pill and stress about it all.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    I agree. It's possible your supply took a hit when you were ill and unable to nurse, and/or the effects of the mini-pill. But milk supply is very dynamic. Nurse less and supply will decrease. Nurse more and supply should come back up, especially if the nursing interruption was short-lived, as it was in your case. I think it's a good idea to stop the mini pill at this point and consider a non-hormonal method of contraception instead. But there is no reason to think that your supply should not correct itself with lots of nursing, as PPs have mentioned - and feel free to not only nurse on demand, but to offer even more frequently than that. Some babies are less demanding than others and it can help to be proactive about offering in that case. How often in 24 hours are you typically nursing right now?

    The other question is, IS baby nursing right now? You mention that she is not attempting to breastfeed but you also mention nursing on demand so this is not clear to me. If baby is on a nursing strike, here are some suggestions for getting baby back to breast:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    If baby will not nurse then you should pump to keep supply up while baby is on strike, and ideally use your expressed milk to feed baby while she is on strike.

    As PP mentions it is normal for breasts to feel soft, that in and of itself is not a concern.

    Letdown is highly influenced by stress. So if you are feeling worried about the situation (which I can understand), that may be the reason for the slow letdown. And then it becomes a vicious cycle where you have slow letdown, so then each time you try to nurse (or pump) you are worried about the slow letdown, making it all the slower. Techniques to help deal with this are meditation-type techniques (for example, focus on breathing), or distracting yourself with music, reading, watching TV or whatever takes your mind off of letdown.

    It's not necessary to overhydrate. Drink to thirst but you don't need to drink a lot of water beyond that.
    Last edited by @llli*bfwmomof3; May 5th, 2014 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    Thanks for the support. DD is still nursing - she just looks unhappier while doing so and does not suck nearly as much. When I put her to the breast and she takes my nipple in her mouth, she actually sort of makes a disgusted face, like "This is not what I'm used to", but she will latch on and nurse, albeit very slowly. We're also still nursing frequently. I'd say maybe 10 times a day, though some are sort and close together, particularly in the afternoon/evening.

    I'm now about 36 hours off the mini pill, so we'll see if I see things start to improve. What I noticed happening yesterday was that my supply just continued to decrease during the day (which I know it's normal to have a lower supply at night) but to the point where by her bedtime I really barely had anything for her and she screamed like crazy. We ended up giving her a bottle of the milk I'd pumped from the day. I'm just concerned that she's not getting enough to eat. She does still have enough wet diapers and she frequently has small poops in most diapers. But I know that the amount I'm producing now is not sustainable for DD and that it continues to be much less than it was.

    Here's one more thing to add to the mix that I was thinking about yesterday - over the past few days, I've noticed some mild pain in my breasts. They're fairly infrequent, though they became more frequent yesterday. They're also not particularly painful, and they don't radiate anywhere. I don't have them while breastfeeding - only in between, and they don't interfere with nursing. I googled this and thrush came up as a possibility. I did then notice that my nipples look particularly pink. I have no other symptoms of thrush, and I don't see any in DD. I've got a call into my OB right now about this, so maybe that's affecting my supply too if it is thrush?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    DD is still nursing - she just looks unhappier while doing so and does not suck nearly as much. When I put her to the breast and she takes my nipple in her mouth, she actually sort of makes a disgusted face, like "This is not what I'm used to", but she will latch on and nurse, albeit very slowly.
    New babies make all sorts of faces, and nurse at all different speeds. Don't read too much into either aspect of nursing. Diaper output is much more informative!

    We're also still nursing frequently. I'd say maybe 10 times a day, though some are sort and close together, particularly in the afternoon/evening
    Excellent! Frequent feeding and cluster feeding in the later afternoon/evening is normal, and great for supply.

    I'm now about 36 hours off the mini pill, so we'll see if I see things start to improve. What I noticed happening yesterday was that my supply just continued to decrease during the day (which I know it's normal to have a lower supply at night) but to the point where by her bedtime I really barely had anything for her and she screamed like crazy.
    Often evening screaming isn't about supply, but is merely your baby being a baby.

    This link talks about fussy evenings and evenings-only colic: http://kellymom.com/parenting/parent...fussy-evening/


    I'm just concerned that she's not getting enough to eat. She does still have enough wet diapers and she frequently has small poops in most diapers.
    This sounds like a baby who is getting enough to eat.

    But I know that the amount I'm producing now is not sustainable for DD and that it continues to be much less than it was.
    I'm confused- how do you know this? Your baby is nursing enough, having good diaper output, and you've eliminated the minipill. What makes you think you don't have enough?

    Here's one more thing to add to the mix that I was thinking about yesterday - over the past few days, I've noticed some mild pain in my breasts. They're fairly infrequent, though they became more frequent yesterday. They're also not particularly painful, and they don't radiate anywhere. I don't have them while breastfeeding - only in between, and they don't interfere with nursing. I googled this and thrush came up as a possibility. I did then notice that my nipples look particularly pink. I have no other symptoms of thrush, and I don't see any in DD. I've got a call into my OB right now about this, so maybe that's affecting my supply too if it is thrush?
    Luckily, thrush does not impact milk supply. It can cause pain for mom, and make baby uncomfortable, fussy, and sometimes even reluctant to nurse, but it doesn't do anything to supply.

    Based on your description, I would say thrush is a possibility but not a strong possibility. Random pains in between nursing sessions are normal, and some color change in the skin of the nipple is normal. However, it's a great idea to see your doctor and the baby's pediatrician and explore the possibility.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    I just wanted to add that I think every breastfeeding mom has gone through a period where they were convinced they didn't have enough milk for their baby during those evening hours. Just nurse nurse nurse and your supply will increase. While I think you are feeding your baby just fine, you can try to mini-supplement in the evening if your baby is too frustrated with the lower evening supply and it is causing you stress. I have sometimes given a small bottle (1-2 oz) and then nursed the baby. That small supplement is enough to take the edge off and allow you to nurse the baby to sleep. I then go and pump about an hour later so my body knows it needs to continue to make that milk and I replenish that mini-supplement bottle. I found this helped during our last funk my baby was in. But I hate pumping, so I only did this as a last resort and got her back to just nursing as soon as possible. Good luck.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Milk almost completely stopped after sickness/birth cont

    When baby wouldn't eat because of low supply, I tried to fit in feedings while he was falling asleep or just woke up a second ago. He was too disoriented to care about flow at that point.

    I also once had a stomach flu/bug at about 3 months postpartum and it totally shot my supply down to nil. I was freaked out. It righted itself in a few days. Those days were hard on my baby but then he made up for it as soon as my supply was up to par.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

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