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Thread: Losing milk supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    61

    Default Losing milk supply

    I'm 99.9% sure my milk supply is tanking. DS is 39 months and has still been nursing 10 times a day at least. About two months ago I started having SEVERE anxiety which morphed into some level of nursing aversion and fears. I force weaned him for three days of hell for all and then went back to status quo with nursing a million times a day and have finally been able to make some progress with my anxiety and the aversion. Been feeling much better but now my supply has tanked. The only thing I thibk may have affected my supply was that I started using progesterone cream per my Dr to help with the anxiety. I used it for three weeks. I have not used it in 2 weeks now. I am afraid to use it wondering if that's why. He's complaining a lot of not being able to get any milk out. We've started rocking to sleep which takes an hour instead of 10 min nursing and it feels funny. Like almost tickles my nipples like crazy. What should I do? I'm trying to talk him thru that mommy's milk is going away but he's still upset by it. Any chance it will bounce back? Why is this happening? I thought it would not deplete until he stopped nursing!!!! He has not stopped in the least. We went through a month of me discouraging frequent nursing but that was like a month ago and he still nursed many times a day even through that. Is this how it's supposed to happen? I'm now wondering if my milk supply starting to dry up is what triggered some level of the aversion for me. (Tmi but relevant I have history of severe anxiety disorder so the anxiety may be completely unrelated to nursing although has made my Dr and I question a possible hormonal link).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    I'm mostly questioning because I'm actually feeling completely devastated about the idea of this being over and certain my son isn't ready to be done nursing. It makes me feel really awful and guilty even though I have no idea what triggered this unless it was the progesterone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Welcome to the forum!

    It's not true that we don't lose milk supply until we completely wean. Milk is produced on a supply = demand basis. So any time you nurse less, or wean temporarily, your body will respond to that lower demand by reducing supply. Your brief 3 day weaning may have triggered a decrease in supply.

    Because supply = demand! supply should rebound as soon as demand rebounds. So, you start nursing again, and supply should come back up. Since you feel that it has not, there are a few possible explanations for the lack of rebound, including:
    - pregnancy
    - baby not nursing well- babies sometimes forget their nursing skills rather quickly
    - the progesterone cream- progesterone is one of the hormones of pregnancy which is responsible for inhibiting milk production; it is the abrupt withdrawal of progesterone after birth which allows milk to be produced in significant quantities
    - use of some form of hormonal contraception which impacts milk supply; combined estrogen-progestin methods are generally the most impactful

    It is VERY common for moms to experience emotional/psychological symptoms around the time of weaning. Nursing aversions are common, as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    How can I check that he's latched right? I can't get past the tickling sensations sometimes which has made me wonder if he's not latchedo right but it looks normal to me. Or is it possibly a tongue thing? I have noticed recently that he just wants to sit there with my boob in his mouth instead of actively nursing.

    Thanks for the reply and reassurances. I have always thought I'd be glad when done but now it feels like it's going to hugely change our relationship.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Also is the psychological issues mostly before weaning starts or all about the same time? It's such a strange thing and has been a real big struggle especially manifesting in my relationship with my kiddo.

    Thanks for your reply.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    The best way to know if a kid is latched on right is if it feels right. If it feels off, that's an indication that the latch is off.

    I have experience with that horrible "tickling" sensation. My personal explanation for it was that as my kids lost interest in nursing and my milk supply mostly vanished, my kids stopped bothering to latch well, and that led to that really unpleasant feeling when they were "nursing". I put that in quotes because it wasn't the same rhythmic, eager, deep nursing that you get with a newborn. It was more like... An oral version of twiddling, perhaps?

    One thing that helped me deal with the changes that came with weaning was to replace nursing with other forms of physical touch. We stopped nursing, but we did more cuddling, more back-rubs, more hand-holding...

    I think the psychological issues can crop up before, during, or after complete weaning. There is fear of loss of a very intimate connection with your child. There is anxiety about how changing from a breastfeeding mother to "just" a mother changes your status as a mother. There is concern that you are somehow harming your child by not giving him what he wants. There is concern that if you nurse when you hate it, that it's bad for you and therefore bad for you as a mother. And then there's the feelings that come from the withdrawal of the hormones of breastfeeding, particularly oxytocin, which makes us feel simultaneously relaxed and maternal. That's why replacing nursing with more cuddling can help- cuddling releases oxytocin and that helps compensate from what is lost as breastfeeding draws to a close.

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