I've had a problem w/ judging my milk supply ever since about 8 weeks, when it's likely that my body 'adjusted' and my supply tapered to my baby's intake (this is what I was told was happening). I woke up one morning after having had a bunch of wierd hormonal hot flashes/sweats and there was a lot less milk in my breasts and my lo seemed unsatisfied. Anyway, I panicked and started extra pumping/feeding frequently and got the supply back and then some. Ever since, about every three weeks I start to taper and think I'm losing my supply and then I do this feeding/pumping thing until it feels 'normal' again.
I'm exhausted from this cycle and from insecurity about my supply. I know all the facts about how breasts can feel empty, it's only weight gain that matters, etc. I do perceive lower output during these episodes, and more night waking, but we always end up coming through the episodes w/out his weight suffering too much.
I would love some input on people's experience of a 'normal' supply. For instance, when I think I have a healthy supply, I wake up w/ full breasts, my son takes one at the first feeding, the other about an hour later. Then, throughout most of the day, one has filled up enough that he eats on just one about every 2 hours. By the end of the day, he's taking both and at the last feeding, he really cleans me out, going back and forth between to get as much milk as he can. But during morning I have a feeling of some fullness in my breasts, which fades by afternoon.
I had been doing an extra pumping at night, but I recently let myself get full at night w/out pumping much so that I would taper to match his 10 hour sleeping pattern (well, he was sleeping 10h before this episode, now it's less b/c he's hungry I think, not just a developmental wakeup; we were past those). A few days later I woke up w/ drastically less milk in the morning, and a lot less all day, supply definitely down. What I don't know is if I previously had an overample supply, or if I now have a legitimately low supply. I do have to feed more frequently now, but who knows if that means anything.
So my question is, I know it's different for everyone, but in general do people really feel 'empty' all day and that's normal? Or do most people have some feeling of milk in the breasts (not engorgement, just a full feeling) at least in the first half of the day? Is it really normal to walk around feeling flat as a pancake?
Thanks for any input. I have to figure out what's normal b/c I can't keep doing this pumping cycle w/out going crazy...on the verge of quitting if I'm indeed low. It's very hard to tell from lo's behavior; he does seem unsatisfied,e tc. but I am feeding him so often b/c of trying to 'up' it that he never really gets a big meal that would allow me to judge his behavior vs. previously.
Right now it's messing up everything! Naps, nights, everything. He was a good sleeper and now the funky eating is screwing everything up. Blech.