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Thread: losing supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    182

    Default losing supply

    I am asking this question for my SIL.
    She has made it to the one year mark breastfeeding her little girl. But her supply has started dropping. She now has to supplement with formula for one to two feedings a day. Is there anything she can do to increase her supply in order to eliminate the formula feedings? She is already pumping plenty during the day, and that is not helping. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    522

    Default Re: losing supply

    Hi MayasMom,

    I am afraid I won't be of much help to you. Maybe eating oatmeal and drinking more water would help your sister-in-law's supply? At about a year I got really casual about taking care of myself, which wasn't so good for anyone or my supply.

    Good for your sister-in-law for making it this far!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    8,591

    Default Re: losing supply

    If she's at a year, why is she supplementing with formula and not solids? Or cow's milk? I'm not all for cow's milk or anything, but certainly by a year, most doctors would recommend weaning from formula, providing weight gain is okay.

    As for supply, she might consider taking some of the galactagogues out there...fenugreek or blessed thistle, for example, if she wants to go further than the oatmeal and extra hydration, like Trisha suggested.

    Also, has she been in for a physical exam recently?

    Erin
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    289

    Default Re: losing supply

    I'm with the prior post about not giving formula. After the one year mark there really isn't any need. If she's just trying to keep the baby hydrated I'd go with plain water or cow's milk. I also agree with the fenugreek, etc. I lost a lot of my supply with my 3rd baby at about a year following mastitis and I regained and increased it with just fenugreek. I've also had success with adding brewer's yeast to oatmeal and really increasing fluid intake. Also tell her that when she pumps and thinks that she is empty to turn the pump off and wait about five minutes, then pump again for five minutes. That's what I did with my 3rd and after only a few days got where I'd get another ounce from each breast during the second five minutes of pumping.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,551

    Default Re: losing supply

    Hi Maya's Mom_06,
    Thanks for helping out your SIL!
    Do you happen to know how your SIL come to this conclusion about her supply? Would you be able to tell me more about her and her dd's nursing patterns (day and night)? (How often, how long, that kind of thing.) Any changes going on lately in their daily routine or intake of solids or health changes?
    Would your SIL be interested in contacting a Leader directly, either here or by phone/email locally?
    General recommendations can be helpful, but it's often beneficial to get more of a full history about a specific situation in order to determine what information to offer.

    Mary

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: losing supply

    My SIL came to the conclusion about her supply because she did not have enough expressed BM to send with babysitter (MIL) while she is at work. So instead of normally sending three bottles of EBM, she is now sending 2 bottles of EBM and one bottle of formula. She has gone through her frozen stash. I think she is only feeding bottles of EBM and no longer actually nursing. Could that be the reason for a decrease? Her DD has been on bottles for a while now since her teeth came in and she is sleeping through the night so there is no night nursing. Her DD is eating solids and has no problem eating solids, but still mostly only pureed foods with cherrios and crackers as snacks.
    My SIL's period also returned recently. Could that be a reason? She has also been a bit stressed with work (she is a elementary school teacher) and attending graduate school. Maybe once the school year is over (only a few more weeks), her milk will increase.
    I'll tell her about the fenugreek and blessed thistle. Are those available at health food stores?
    So cow's milk would be a better option than formula?
    My SIL isn't ready to give up yet. So thank you for all your help. We are both first-time mothers with mothers who mostly formula fed, so we need all the info we can get. Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: losing supply

    It's great your SIL has nursed and provided her milk already for so long. Elementary school schedules are not easy!! I'm sure she has very busy days teaching and attending school herself.

    Here is an article on kellymom.com (non-LLL site) that talks about pumping, some things to consider when there is a decrease in the amount of milk pumped, and some strategies for increasing pumping output.
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html
    Maybe there is something in there that will help?
    Also, here are links to articles from LLL about pumping.

    I’m not sure of her nursing goals. Is she interested in resuming nursing at all? Adding time at the breast would be one way to stimulate her supply. If she is interested, there are strategies for nursing through teething (and biting, if that was an issue).

    The onset of menstruation is a possible factor that could result in a temporary dip in supply. How about the pump she is using? Is it older or could it have parts that need replacing?

    Like nursing, pumping operates on “supply and demand”. If her work days are already full, would she consider adding a pumping session outside of work hours? (I’m not sure of how often she is pumping now, however.) The kellymom.com article talks about ways to increase pumping frequency as well as maximize the amount of milk pumped.

    As for the choice of what to supplement with, she could discuss those options with her healthcare provider.

    HTH!
    Mary

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