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Thread: Is drying up inevitable??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Unhappy Is drying up inevitable??

    I'm writing this after several days of difficulty with getting letdowns while pumping at work. I've gone from a total of 18+oz per day (3x per day pumping; peak of milk production months ago) to a total of 4oz if I'm having a good day! The first pumping session usually the letdown isn't too hard to get, but the second pumping session near end of day has been a disaster lately. I can pump for 20+ minutes and not get a letdown! There has been a tangible drop off in production just in the last two weeks or so. No real changes with how much nursing we're doing. Always at bedtime and at least 1-2x (usually 2, sometimes 3x) during the night. If I'm at home, nursing before 2 naps, too. DS (now age 14.5 months) can always get a letdown to happen, with the rare exception of a 3rd middle-of-the-night feeding just not happening readily.

    Other data: DS has been moving to more and more cow's milk in his 2 bottles (pre-naps) when I'm at work. He still gets some EBM in them, though. When I'm home, no bottles before naps; just me. I've been sick with a cold/cough for alot of the last couple of weeks, but really have not done any meds so that shouldn't be part of the problem. My breasts have really gone back to their pre-baby size...seems like alot of change in that regard in the last two months.

    What's going on? Am I just running out of supply?? Does this have to happen? Does it happen in general?? I sort of thought that if demand stayed level, so would supply??

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?? thanks in advance!
    Jsmom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    I have heard of moms having a difficult time with letdown during pumping, but not while nursing. "Drying up" is not common with a baby who is nursing regularly, even when replacing some nursings with pumpings, so no, it's not inevitable.

    Lack of or inhibited letdown isn't necessarily a sign of low supply, especially if baby is nursing fine and all signs point to baby getting plenty of milk during nursings (wet diapers, satisfied, etc).

    Here are a couple of links at LLL's website that might have some helpful hints for you:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBJulAug03p142.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMarApr03p64.html

    Let me know if you have any more specific questions after reading those.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Thanks very much for the response and the suggested web pages (have now read them). I appreciate the input!
    I guess I'm mostly concerned because of the general trend towards less milk production in the last several months. DS is hardly dependent upon my milk these days as he is doing great with his solids, drinking water and is transitioning to cow's milk as well, but even at 14+ months, I'm not quite ready to stop being able to bring milk home for him daily....We still have some frozen stock, but are down from the peak of 200+ bags to less than 20 or so !
    I just wonder, is this a trend that will continue unless I get very proactive to change it? The thought of going back to 3-4 times per day pumping at work really isn't practical, so just am wondering if I need to get used to this trend and accept it somewhat?? As long as I still have milk for him at nights and weekends, I think we can cope with lessening milk weekdays during the days, but if it's a whole spiral to less and less overall, I'm not quite sure what to do.....
    thanks again,
    jsmom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Oh Linda,
    I am sure that can be scary for you to go from seeing a lot of output to now seeing not as much. I think that this is normal for Jared's age. My breasts are still a little bigger than they were before Thomas but have almost shrunk back to their normal size. I know some moms who do not pump at all anymore at work and then just nurse when they are at home and on the weekends. Somehow your body just knows... Also, I know that we were talking at our last toddler meeting that as time goes by you do not get a letdown ( this mom has a 2.5 year old ) and you really do not feel full anymore, I think at that time nursing goes from really milk, to more of a comfort deal? I know that this is early for that to be happening but we should all become comfortable with what the future holds. How is he feeling today?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Linda -- I don't have any answers for you, but I'm wondering, could your fertility be returning? I believe some women find supply drops in conjunction with ovulation, or something like that.

    Or here's another idea -- perhaps your pump is wearing out and losing suction after so many months of diligent use?

    --Rebecca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    8,591

    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    My dd is only 6 months, but my reply responds to the letdown problem. For some reason, after we all came down with the flu, I had a really hard time with letdown while pumping--I couldn't get one for almost 2 weeks. Then, it returned for some unknown reason and my supply was actually greater than before (which made no sense to me). Dd could always get a letdown, but I couldn't with the pump. I still can't even think why it was impossible to get a letdown for that time period, but my thoughts are with you!

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
    Miles in 2011: 708.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 509)
    Miles in 2010: 800.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 620)

    January Miles: 37.5/75
    February Miles: 59/75
    March Miles: 42.5/60
    April Miles: 64
    May Miles: 41/70
    June Miles: 59
    July Miles: 39.5

    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Thanks so much for the responses! Brittan, thanks; J is doing better. Still has a pretty yucky cough and a runny nose (one only has to look at the shoulders of many of my tops!) but his mood is great and his energy level has returned to full-throttle! And, even with a small dose of benadryl (sorry; I caved. I hate to admit that I liked having 5 solid hours of sleep; that hadn't happened in more than a year and half), he was up his usual 2x pattern last night. I've been listening to his chest w/ a 'scope and his breathing sounds good, so I'm hopeful - and thankful! Yeah....I'm starting to think that this really be nature's way of letting me know that J isn't a baby anymore and he really doesn't NEED milk from me so much. But I agree; if my body can still do the night-time stuff that he does more need, that would be OK. Sigh. Times marches on! Rebecca - oh; yeah. I'm sure my fertility is way back up. Sorry if this is TMI, but I can sure tell when I'm ovulating (now) and, to quote what I said to DH this morning, "hon, i'm fertile enough for 17 babies right now....stand back...." And yes.... I *do* think that my pump is wearning out somewhat but I have no interest in replacing it. I should probably take it in for some replacement little parts, though. Erin, thanks! And glad your supply came back up!

    BUT.... get this...... (a little embarrassing to admit...), often I'm pumping at the end of the day when I've let myself get a little too far behind in what I need to get done, so I'm trying to do that while I'm wrapping up half a dozen things at my desk/on my computer. I nearly always have to pee (!) but don't want to take the time to run down the hall, etc., etc. SO, I'm trying to pump, which needs relaxed body, with the lower half of me clenched! Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Yesterday I figured, heck; I'll indulge and actually go to the rest room first! And wouldn't you know....let down in less than 5 minutes. Gonna test this again today..... I'm sure it's not the whole 'problem', but it might be part of it.
    Anyone want to go to my 10am meeting for me? No, not an LLL meeting (i wish!); a work meeting.
    thanks, everyone, for the support and input!
    Jsmom

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Well, supply still isn't HUGE, but - and granted, this is only 2 out of 2 - from here on out, my first-try 'fix' to let-down problems at work will be:
    1) RELAX, don't try to rush out the door in 5 minutes and
    2) PEE FIRST!!!

    I actually think these helped get another let-down today. Yeah, I know, duh, right? But I'll take any little bits of help on this one!
    Jsmom

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Bless you little heart Pumping all these months really is such a commitment!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Is drying up inevitable??

    Get this.... today I was attending a meeting and had the added plus of helping to watch a colleague of mine's newborn daughter during the meeting. (This is actually a long-ago former boss of mine. He is in his mid 60s and now has a new 6-week old daughter. Yowza. But I digress.... ) Well wouldn't you know, the little munchkin was mostly sleeping but also making those tiny little squeeking sounds that newborns make, wiggling her tiny hands, etc., etc. and goodness all I wanted to do was pick her up and snuggle her (of course I didn't). My silly breasts started feeling some...life.... and low and behold, pumping - though still took a little while to get a let-down, was the most productive late-day pump I've had in weeks.

    So maybe I need to find some newborns to hang out with from time to time!

    Seeing this tiny one made me really wish we could have another....but how does one balance that wish with knowing it could be dangerous -- on the order of 'life-threatening; you really shouldn't do this' dangerous (according to my doctors.... sigh). Well, Jared is my miracle and I'm off to go home and hug him!
    Jsmom

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