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Thread: increasing supply after 1 year

  1. #1

    Default increasing supply after 1 year

    hi all,

    i'm currently nursing my 13 month old twice a day, first thing in the morning and before bed (and before her afternoon nap on the weekends). in the last month, i've weaned off the pump at work, and my gal takes 1/2 whole milk, 1/2 frozen milk during the day to use up my freezer stash (slowly increasing whole milk until the stash is gone).

    i am very happy and eager for this to continue for as long as she wants, but my supply seems to be dwindling! sometimes she seems upset and comes off crying, other times she tugs and pulls while nursing, as if to say, "c'mon guys!"

    my question is, is it possible to increase supply after 1 year, or is it pretty well set at this point? any tips, if it is possible? pumping during the day is no longer an option.

    thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: increasing supply after 1 year

    It is possible to increase milk production at any point. Mothers have relactated after years of not nursing and even women who have never been pregnant have managed to make milk. So yes, it is possible. Whether an individual mom in a specific situation can increase her milk production is unknowable.

    Since your baby is still nursing and presumably you once had a "full" milk production (meaning baby lived on and grew normally on your milk only for some period of time) then your chances of increasing your milk production are quite good.

    First you want to be sure there is nothing going on with you physically that has reduced your production- such as pregnancy or taking hormone based birth control.

    What has probably happened is that by nursing only twice a day, and no longer pumping, your body has received the message that it is time to reduce milk production to very little and has followed suit. Now for some moms and babies, twice a day or so nursing can continue for some time. But this is more common for older nurselings of two years old or more, who are nursing more for the comfort than for the milk. For a baby close to a year old, they are typically expecting there to be more milk and so they may object to it being so little. This could even lead to full out breast refusal before you are ready to wean entirely.

    To increase milk production, first you have to tell your body that it needs to make more milk. This is achieved by taking milk out of the breast with more frequency. The easiest and most effective way to do that is to encourage your child to nurse more often. If they won't, you can try pumping again (I guess at home if you cannot pump at work) as well or instead of nursing. Also you might consider hand expressing at work without saving the milk (just to save time or make it simpler) in order to keep giving your body the message to make more milk.

    As always with milk production, it is very important for mom to be well hydrated and to have enough caloric intake to be generally healthy.

    Some moms respond well to taking herbs or foods that are galactagogues. There are herbal supplements you can try available at any health food store. As always when taking medicinal herbs, be sure to research the possible side effects or adverse interactions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,910

    Default Re: increasing supply after 1 year

    The key to increased supply is removing more milk from the breast at more frequent intervals. Nurse more or pump more!

  4. #4

    Default Re: increasing supply after 1 year

    thanks for your replies!

    unfortunately, nursing and/or pumping during the day are just not possible...i work outside the home, and my employer doesn't really provide time to pump after 1 year. outside of more frequent milk removal, is anything else possible?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,910

    Default Re: increasing supply after 1 year

    Even if more daytime nursing/pumping isn't possible, supply can be increased by nursing/pumping more during the hours when you are home with your baby.

    Aside from more frequent milk removal, galactogogues may help, but there is nothing that will be even 1/2 as effective as more nursing/pumping. I wish there were a different answer!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: increasing supply after 1 year

    Yes the increase in nursing can be on evenings, over night and days off. Sorry if I was not clear about that. Many moms find that a "nursing vacation" where they hang out with baby for anywhere from several hours to a couple days doing not much except cuddling and relaxing and encouraging baby to nurse more will give production a nice jumpstart.
    If your job does not allow you time to pump during the day, you can even increase milk removal at work by learning hand expressing and doing that quickly during a break. No need to express much at all, no need to even save the milk. It is just about giving your body the message to increase production. But if you can get baby nursing more often at home that is likely to be enough to increase production enough that baby is happier when nursing.

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