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Thread: Lost my let down..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    4

    Default Lost my let down..

    I have been pumping for 8mo. About 5mo. in I found it was getting more difficult for my let down to happen. Perhaps I wasn't concentrating as much? However, now I am finding that it is happening even when I am breastfeeding my son. For awhile he got in distracted mode where he would suck and then stop and start looking around then go back. Now it seems like I can't let down until he sucks, gets frustrated and stops, and then after a few seconds of him stopping I'll feel it and have to direct him back to suck. But at work I don't really have the time to convince my breast to start by starting and stopping...Why would I have this difficulty now? Is there any way to jump start my let down? He is going to be 10mo old this week and I am determined to at least make it to 1yr. I just need to be able to continue to produce enough and now with my flow not really starting until 5min. into a 15min break I am having to cut myself off while I am still leaking milk, which is going to diminish my supply. Any advise?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,931

    Default Re: Lost my let down..

    You may find these links helpful dealing with a slow let down:

    Relaxation and Pumping Techniques

    Let-down Reflex: Too slow?

    I've been having this problem while nursing my LO lately too. She's 8.5 months old and I struggled with a massive oversupply and overactive let down for her first 6 months. As my supply regulated itself my let down slowed, as did the overall flow of milk. She got ticked that her once instant tap of milk was taking so long! So she'll suck a few times, pull off in frustration, grunt a little, suck a little and so on. I've found that visualizing my milk flowing really helps, and trying to relax as much as I can. I also always stroke my little girl's hair when she starts nursing (and many times I'll sing to her), it helps me relax and I think it's a trigger for me that helps signal to my body that it's time to get the milk flowing! And she loves it!

    The lactation consultant on this page has some great info too, including this:

    "The let down reflex is partially a conditioned response, similar to your mouth watering when you see a picture of your favorite food, you are really responding to your memory of how good that food is, not the picture. So almost anything you would do regularly in association with let down would soon start to signal your breasts to let down. If the deep abdominal breathing is not for you, try using a favorite soothing piece of music, massaging your breasts, softly singing, any activity that helps to relax you. Whatever you choose to do, do it consistantly and make it something you will be able to do anywhere (for example using a warm wet compress on the breast might not be easy in the mall but deep breathing can be done anywhere)."

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Lost my let down..

    I had the exact same problem, also when my daughter was about 10 months old. After a few days of panic, having my pump checked to see if it was working properly, searching the internet high and low for information on let-down problems, and being totally engorged without being able to pump all day, I came up with a strategy that worked for me:

    I started pumping one side while feeding the other every morning before I left for work and every afternoon when I picked her up from daycare. I also did this for at least 2 feedings on Saturdays and Sundays. That way, I was able to get a decent amount of milk for the next day and wasn't quite so stressed out about using up my freezer supply and running out of milk.

    I also learned how to manually express the milk and started trying to do that at work when the pumping wouldn't work. It wasn't THAT successful, but it would reduce the pressure a little, and it would give me some milk.

    I also started manually expressing after each feeding at home - unbelievable, how much still comes out after baby is done drinking. Again, that gave me more milk to feed the next day and took away some of the stress and pressure to 'perform' at the pump.

    Finally, I never stopped trying to pump at work. I sat down with a slide show of pictures of my daughter, had a piece of clothing from her with me, drank a cup of hot tea, made sure I wore a warm sweater, started with massaging the breasts a little, and then turned on the pump. Tried to relax and not stress about it. If it didn't work, I still had milk in the freezer, so it was going to be okay.

    After about 3 weeks, my letdown started to come back. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I felt I was in control again, that I was able to 'work around' the problem of not being able to really pump at work, and that I still had enough milk to feed my baby. She's 13 1/2 months old now and I just stopped pumping about 2 weeks ago. Never had to use a drop of formula.

    Good luck to you!
    Anke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Lost my let down..

    Thank you both for your advise. I am going to try relaxation techniques and also bring a piece of clothing from my son to see if that helps. Hopefully breathing will do the trick. I would bet stress and tiredness has something to do with it. He is teething right now and has been waking up at night the last week in addition to being grumpy and a little more challenging.

    I also had a very strong let-down previously and my son is very impatient with me now if it doesn't start right away. He is so interested in everything he figures if I can't give him what he wants he would rather be playing so he will immediately get up and start squirming to find something to grab. I would like the idea of singing/humming or stroking his hair, but again he is not so responsive to these things. He gets distracted if I try to talk, someone walks in the room, really if anything interesting is happening. While he is nursing he actually tries to stick his fingers in my nose or mouth, pull my hair...I read last night about a nursing necklace and I think I may need to do something like that to keep him entertained. I'm afraid I have become conditioned because of his restlessness not to let-down right away anymore (which is also making me tense).

    I was also interested in trying manual expression to help. I've always used a pump and am not familiar with manual expression. How do you collect the milk when you do this? Squirt it directly into a bottle? I thought I might try this, but it seems as though it might be very messy unless you had a good system and the articles tell you how to do it but not how to collect the milk in the best way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Lost my let down..

    As far as being distracted, can you try and nurse in a darkened room with no one else around? That helped us a lot, I absolutely could and cannot nurse her when anyone is around us, if my husband walks across the room or a cat moves its tail all the way across the hall, she'll stop and look. So, any way to reduce the distractions would help. Really, for us, nursing at night is the most effective, she's calm, half asleep, and it's dark.

    Re: manual expression: I always just used the regular collection bottles that came with the pump. It takes a little bit of practice to squirt into those, but really not much. You learn to aim pretty quickly :-) If you are finding it too hard, I guess you could try anything, a small bowl maybe, that has a wider opening than just a bottle. It helps if you hold the container with one hand and lean forward just a little, then express with the other hand. Takes some practice, but it's really not too bad.

    Anke

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