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Thread: Losing milk supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    9

    Default Losing milk supply

    OK. I know that this is a common thread, but I'm really in a bind. My lo is 4.5 months and I know my supply is dwindling. I just tried to pump and I got less than 1 oz. She has maybe 10 gulps and then she detaches from the breast and tries to re-attach several times but doesn't seem to be getting anything.

    She started sleeping through the night really early (about 1.5-2 months) but it's only been in the past 2 weeks that I've noticed any difference in the supply. She's even started waking up at night for feedings. To make matters worse, I'm working part-time and have a toddler, so I don't have a lot of time to sit around and pump.

    Everyone is telling me to start solids, but I think it's too early. The same thing happened with my son, and I finally succumbed to solids around 5.5 months - but it was a REALLY stressful month before I gave in. I don't want to put her through that. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,081

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    I wouldn't judge your milk supply with what you get when you're pumping. When she unlatches from one side and doesn't seem satisfied to go back on, do you try offering the other side?

    As far as waking up during the night again - maybe she is going through a growth spurt. My daughter has never slept through the night and she's now 14mo so I don't know much about that. The other thing is when I felt like I didn't have as much milk was when I started student teaching and I was gone during the daytime except that I still nursed her during my lunch. What I did was instead of nursing my daughter in her room when she woke up (which was several times a night) I brought her to bed with us (mostly because I was tired of getting up so much) and we got into a routine of her coming into bed with us around 1am and then she nurses off and on throughout the night. That seemed to really increase my supply. Not sure if that's something you want to try but it worked for me.

    Also, you could try pumping in the morning and maybe again at night before bed as those are more quiet times probably for you.

    Don't rush into solids - instead try to build up your supply - there are many things people say help like mother's milk tea, certain herbs, etc.

    Good luck!
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    I'm not that far along quite yet. My LO is only 12 weeks old. I have had a couple times though that I noticed my supply wasn't as great. During those times I also noticed that my diet didn't have quite enough calories and I wasn't drinking enough water. Have you changed your diet since you are working part-time? What about your water intake?
    I also agree with some of the other posts about trying to let your LO nurse as much as possible when you are home. I would even wake your LO at night every couple hours to get that stimulation for increase in milk or pump for the increase. Even if you don't have a lot of output, at least you are creating that stimulation which "should" lead to increase. Good luck!


    DS 12/13/07 nursed exclusively 15 mos!!

    with DD Due April '10 - Looking forward to and DS having a new playmate!

    ~ Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,638

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    As the PP noted, pumping is not a good gauge of the adequacy of your supply. The best way to judge is your baby's output- if she's making adequate diapers, then you know she's getting enough from you.

    A return to night-waking and night-nursing is more common than sleeping through, as far as I can tell. Many, maybe most, babies like a snack during the night. A growth spurt or a new developmental milestone can both make a baby wakeful, and when they wake up, who do they want to comfort them? That's right, mom- YOU!

    A growth spurt could also affect your pump output- if your baby is taking everything you're making, you're not going to have that much extra to pump. Alternately, if your baby isn't going through a spurt, then the lowered pump output could be due to a normal adjustment of your milk supply to meet your baby's needs without making a lot of extra, or even to something as simple as a worn-out pump motor.

    That all being said, if your supply really is lower, there's gotta be a reason for it. Do you feel like your period may be returning? Some moms experience a temporary dip in supply before and during menstruation. But if a menstruating mom allows her baby to nurse on demand, her supply is going to bounce right back once her period is over. If it's not your period, is there any chance that you might be pregnant? That really can put a hurt on your supply. If that isn't it either, are you using a hormonal birth control method? Some women find that the pill or a IUD with a hormonal component can reduce supply.

    Hang in there! You're doing a great job!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Thanks for everyone's reply. I try really hard to feed her as much as possible during the day because she's sleeping at night(or, was). I do offer the other breast, but it seems like there's not much in that one either. I even feel like my let-downs aren't as strong. She could be going through a growth spurt. She's always been a big girl (just like her brother), so it's possible. Each feeding (both breasts) is less than 5 minutes!

    I have started menstruating again, and I do notice a dip in my supply just before, but I finished my cycle 1 week ago, so I hope that's not it. I haven't changed my diet (if anything, I eat too much!) and I drink a lot of water.

    I teach part-time, so I only work a few hours each day. I feed her just before I leave for a class then rush home and feed her as soon as I get home. It's hectic, but it's working...I thought.

    I'm going to assume it's a growth spurt and feed her as much as I can day and night to see if that does anything. I have to admit, this is the one thing I don't like about breastfeeding. I can't seem to trust my instinct and work through these times with confidence. Outside pressure telling me to give her solids doesn't help either.
    Last edited by WPW; March 7th, 2008 at 03:49 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Gosh, reading your threads is like reading my bio! I go through the same things and I don't even work outside the home. I most identified with you saying you wished you'd be able to enjoy this more and not worry so much. I feel the same way. I'm constantly concerned about my supply and my DD's growth. She's big as well and I started solids at 5 months. She's a hearty eater and I think needed it. She's getting up at least once now too. She's 8 months old. This new night feeding started about 2 weeks ago. I don't mind it so much b/c she goes right back down and I probably do need the extra feeding to up my supply.
    I'm also challenged b/c my DD gets easily destracted. She wants to see what is going on in the room. So I often have to nurse her in a quiet room with little destration. This is a challenge b/c I have a toddler.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Quote Originally Posted by WPW View Post
    OK. I know that this is a common thread, but I'm really in a bind. My lo is 4.5 months and I know my supply is dwindling. I just tried to pump and I got less than 1 oz. She has maybe 10 gulps and then she detaches from the breast and tries to re-attach several times but doesn't seem to be getting anything.

    She started sleeping through the night really early (about 1.5-2 months) but it's only been in the past 2 weeks that I've noticed any difference in the supply. She's even started waking up at night for feedings. To make matters worse, I'm working part-time and have a toddler, so I don't have a lot of time to sit around and pump.

    Everyone is telling me to start solids, but I think it's too early. The same thing happened with my son, and I finally succumbed to solids around 5.5 months - but it was a REALLY stressful month before I gave in. I don't want to put her through that. Any suggestions?
    hi there,
    try taking the herbal supplements called FENUGREEK. i just started taking 2 a day for the past 2 days as i have started my 18 wk old DS on solids & i want to prepare his food w/my bm.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    you will begin to notice an increase in your milk supply 24-72 hrs. once you're satisfied w/your supply, stop taking them. i pumped 6 oz today in less than 5 mins.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,638

    Default Re: Losing milk supply

    Quote Originally Posted by WPW View Post
    I'm going to assume it's a growth spurt and feed her as much as I can day and night to see if that does anything. I have to admit, this is the one thing I don't like about breastfeeding. I can't seem to trust my instinct and work through these times with confidence. Outside pressure telling me to give her solids doesn't help either.
    I think this is a great plan! And fenugreek and some oatmeal wouldn't hurt either!

    I can totally understand how hard it is to trust your body to make enough milk for your baby. I used to wish my boobs were transparent so that I could see the milk leaving me and going into my daughter! Just try your best to be confident and remember that diaper output is the best measure of whether or not your baby is getting enough. Don't let outside pressure get to you- it's probably coming from people who were themselves scared away from breastfeeding by ignorant and unhelpful advice, which they cannot help but pass along to you. Nod and smile and keep on doing what you're doing!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9

    Smile Re: Losing milk supply

    Thanks again everyone - especially those who feel the same way. Her output seems normal, so I'll keep up the feedings and add ferugreek(sp?). I already eat enough oatmeal

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