My nursling is 22 mos. and I have experienced a dramatic decrease in my milk supply over the course of the past two weeks. I have gone from oversupply (block feeding at 4-hour intervals) to almost nothing when I hand-express. No one can seem to figure out what is causing this.
About 4 weeks ago I started noticing hormonal symptoms like I associate with my body trying to ovulate. After about two weeks I was noticing an increase in the amount of hormonal symptoms, which is consistent with early pregnancy for me (I’ve been pg 3 times before). I began to suspect pregnancy and tested at about three weeks after noticing symptoms. I got a negative.
Some of the symptoms I was experiencing (and still am) were: frequent urination (once every 1-1.5 hour), swollen gums that bleed sometime when I brush, hair loss, nausea when I haven’t eaten in a few hours, fatigue, occasional dizziness, breathlessness, heart rate increased, wild mood swings, acne, constipation/gas, noticeable forgetfulness, mouth ulcers and sores on my head (very weird, I know, but I have had these at the beginning of each pregnancy). I am sure that there are more I am forgetting right now.
I have been sick the past few days with sinuses. Nothing serious, and I am not medicating for it. No new medications. No new stresses. No “lifestyle” changes to account for the supply drop.
Not quite 2 weeks ago my nursling started wanting to switch sides while nursing. He had been nursing more frequently than is normal, but I attributed to his having an on-and-off sore throat. But I took more notice when he began switching sides, because we have NEVER done that. He started acting frustrated and began asking to nurse several times an hour. He never seemed satisfied. He was shaking my breasts and squeezing the nipple, trying to get it to shoot out. I finally asked him what was going on. He told me that there was milk, but it was harder to get it to come out than he is used to. (Not in those words, of course!) He started telling me “nursies not working right” whenever we nursed. He even woke me the other night with his tossing in bed and crying. He was having a nightmare and, in his sleep said, “Other side, please!”
Several days later, during which we had been nursing several times an hour for most hours of the day, I tried to express some milk and got FAR less than what was normal for me. Two days later I tried to express and got nothing.
The next day my dh and I decided to limit my nursing sessions for the moment because I was going a bit crazy with all the frustrated nursing. We haven’t slept well, because my nursling can’t seem to go to sleep when he is frustrated and unsatisfied. So we started a schedule of nursing in the morning when we are waking up, mid-morning for naptime, all afternoon, whenever he wants, and nothing after 4pm so that there will be something in my breasts for bedtime at 8, as just getting a tiny bit at a time seems to frustrate him so much. He is night-weaned.
Maybe limiting the nursing wasn’t the best decision in light of my supply diminishing, but my sanity required something be done. And the all day nurse-athons didn’t seem to helping anyway.
I have not taken any fenugreek or blessed thistle, because I was still leaving open the possibility that I might be pregnant…the symptoms are so compelling. Also, I have a history of false negative hpts.
I went to see a midwife yesterday. I requested she draw blood for a pregnancy test and to check my hormones. She agreed to do the basic thyroid screen, a pregnancy test, and later added a test for prolactin levels, as a jic.
I don’t have any numbers (she didn’t have them with her when she called), but the qualitative pregnancy test was negative, the thyroid screen was in normal levels and the prolactin level was 5, as would be expected at 22 mos.
Besides the midwife, three lactation consultants have been consulted. No one has heard of a sudden, dramatic drop in supply when nursing a toddler (except in pregnancy).
Does anyone have any ideas what could be going on here?