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Thread: Sudden Supply Drop

  1. #1

    Default Sudden Supply Drop

    Hello, I'm new to posting but have been "trolling" reading threads since the birth of my dd in February.

    DD is 10 weeks now and we had a rough start to our breastfeeding journey. The hospital lactation consultant informed me I have unusually large nipples as well as a deformed left nipple. DD also had a tongue tye that was clipped at 2.5 weeks. My supply was slow to come in so I used the UpSpring Milkflow Fenugreek drink for about a week and then made my own lactation cookies that helped. With the tongue tye I had resorted to pumping to feed because my nipples were so sore I cried at the thought of her nursing. She was "finger fed" until 3 weeks when we introduced the bottle so my husband could help with evening feeding and she had no issues going from bottle to breast. We also started giving her a paci shortly after introducing the bottle. We are also lucky that DD has slept for 7-8 hours straight at night since around 3 weeks. Since she sleeps for such long stretches I always pump at least twice a night. Everything was going well and I would pump 8-12 ounces per session that I was building a nice freezer stash. Until Friday, i got what I think is my period. I found that I had a bloody panty liner and then there was no more sign of my cycle. That night when I pumped I only pumped 5-6 ounces each session. Saturday my boobs never felt full, I fed DD all day from the breast and then that evening when I had to pump again I only got 4-5 ounces. Yesterday same thing but now only 3-4 ounces, this morning only 2 ounces. I am very concerned because I am heading back to work in two weeks and will have to pump for daycare.

    I apologize for the length but I know details are needed to provide assistance.

    Other points:
    Subsequent to the release of her tongue tye, we met with a lactation consultant to fix our latch and have had minimal issues since.

    I have almost always pumped or fed at least every 4.5 hours. There have been only 2/3 occasions where I have gone longer than 5 hours.

    I use the large size pumping pal flanges with a Medela PISA, coconut oil as lubricant. 10-20 minutes per pumping session.

    The last two weeks DD has reduced her average feeding time per session to 3-5 minutes on one breast. She will eat every 1-3 hours. She also tends to be very nosey while eating and will "play" with the nipple and not focus on eating.

    I've cut out almost all dairy because it seemed to affect DD negatively.

    We have never had to supplement with anything. She was born at 9lbs and is now 14.

    If there is anymore information that is needed please let me know. I am really looking forward to what others have to suggest and appreciate the time spent reading all of this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,382

    Default Re: Sudden Supply Drop

    Hi. It sounds like you have done really well after a rough start. Baby is gaining great, nursing is comfortable for you (?) and I think what you are seeing with this pump output is probably entirely normal. You can always trouble shoot your pump to make sure all is well there, but in fact a drop in pump output after pumping such a huge amount previously is entirely normal and expected.

    First, when you say you have a sudden supply drop, what you are seeing is actually a drop in what you can pump, right? This is not the same thing. Production and pump output are related of course, but not as directly as you might think. A reduction in pump output does not necessarily indicate a drop in production.

    For a mom who is primarily nursing her child, as it sounds like you are, pump output of just an ounce or two is normal. What you were experiencing with being able to pump 8-12 ounces in one session was exceedingly unusual and indicates you had very high production before. Does that sound possible to you?

    Whether a drop in production had anything to do with your brief bleeding episode or not, given that you were pumping such an unusually large amount before, it is entirely expected that pump output would decrease, and indeed, that milk production would decrease somewhat as well, after about 6-8 weeks. This is because many moms start out making more than enough milk, (or rather, make more than enough starting at around a week or two) and when that happens, it diminishes later on because our bodies want to make enough milk, not more than enough. Milk production takes energy, and the more a mom makes, the more energy she is expending. So for many moms, Mother Nature protects us by not allowing us to make way more milk than our baby needs. A little more maybe, but not way more.

    For good milk production going forward and after return to work:

    -Encourage baby to nurse at least 8 times in 24 hours, including overnight. A sleep stretch that you have to pump during in order to be comfortable is probably a little too long, plus it is not really doing you any good in the sleep department to have to pump overnight. It is fine to wake baby if needed. When a mom makes a ton of milk, some babies will take these really long stretches of 7-8 hours (or even more sometimes) overnight and still gain fine, that is not the problem. The problem is that with such long stretches, mom's body is told to reduce milk production (or mom has to pump to be comfortable) and also the expectation is baby will continue to sleep like that, or keep lengthening the stretch. In fact when production evens out, and baby goes through some developmental changes after 3-5 months or so, many babies start waking and nursing more often overnight. This is normal but it causes many moms to panic thinking they do not make enough milk or something else is wrong.

    -Avoid unneeded bottles and avoid pacifier overuse. Both can, over time, cause issues with milk production. Also, every bottle baby gets before you return to work eats into your emergency stash. If you want to be sure baby will take a bottle, practice bottles are fine and these can be both small (ounce or so) and infrequent (a couple times a week.)
    -When you return to work, try to pump every three hours at least at first. You may find you can pump less often later, but best to err on the side of caution at first.
    -Make sure your pump is always in perfect working condition by troubleshooting regularly.
    -Learn paced bottle feeding technique and teach it to caregivers. Overfeeding with bottles is a common problem and is very harmful to breastfeeding.

    we introduced the bottle so my husband could help with evening feeding and she had no issues going from bottle to breast.
    Beware thinking that this means baby will never have "nipple confusion." In fact nipple confusion (which can lead to total breast rejection in its most severe form) is something that happens over time- over many weeks to many months. The more and the longer a baby gets bottles for any reason, the more likely they will cause a problem for breastfeeding.

    So for the working mom whose baby must have several bottles a day when she is at work, it is even more important to avoid baby getting bottles when mom is there to nurse. You want to try to keep nursing the primary method baby is fed. This is another good reason to encourage frequent nursing.
    If the evening "dad bottle" routine is working well for you, I have a three suggestions.
    One is to stop the bottle but keep the dad time. There are many ways dad can enjoy baby and give mom a break without feeding baby. I will link two good articles on this below.
    The other is, keep the bottle but make sure it is pretty small and not replacing an entire nursing session. In many cases the "evening bottle" is so big it actually replaces two nursing sessions! A typical meal at this age is about 2-3 ounces. So, just be careful about how big the bottle is and be sure dad is using paced bottle feeding method correctly.
    Lastly, keep the evening bottle but maybe not every evening.

    Bottle feeding breastfed baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    Ideas for comforting/enjoying baby without feeding: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf

    good article about pumping concerns: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/pumping_decrease/

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 8th, 2017 at 09:00 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sudden Supply Drop

    I typed up a whole response and for some reason it apparently did not post :-(

    I'll retype later.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,382

    Default Re: Sudden Supply Drop

    Sorry that happened. It only happens to me rarely on this site but when it does oh it makes me mad because as you can see I tend to write long posts! Sometimes I write my posts in a word processing program first.

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