My son is 8 weeks old and in the beginning I was doing a combination of pumping and breastfeeding. I began pumping because he was readmitted into the hospital for jaundice and I wanted to increase my supply and be able to have the nurses give him bottles so I could get some rest. After leaving the hospital, I dealt with extremely sore nipples (as all new moms do) and it would take him about an hour to nurse because every time he latched on he would suck for a few minutes and fall asleep! It was extremely hard to wake him to get him to feed so it took forever. Thus, I decided to increase my pumping because giving him a bottle was much quicker. I would say I was pumping about 75% of the time and nursing him 25% of the time. i even got up in the middle of the night to pump because he is such a great sleeper. Then I got Mastitis! Once the Mastitis cleared up I tried to nurse him more often and, to my pleasant surprise, he began nursing extremely well and I cut the pumping down to once a day (so hubby could give him one feeding). All of a sudden a day-and-a-half ago my milk supply seemed to go down to nothing! My breasts have always felt pretty full and then I woke up one morning and they were very saggy and it didn't seem like I was lactating at all. They basically seemed like they did when I stopped nursing my older daughter (she's 3). I am freaking out because I have no idea why my milk supply is suddenly diminished. I have not taken any new medications, BC pills, or anything and he has actually been nursing a lot this weekend. As soon as I noticed this decrease I made sure he was nursing or I was pumping at least every 2 hours and drinking as much water as possible with each feeding/pumping and in between. I have been doing this for about 36 hours and have not noticed a bit of difference. Prior to this sudden drop, I would be able to pump about 6-8 oz each time. Now I am lucky to get 2-3 oz!! The lactation consultants at the hospital tell me not to worry and relax and not worry about the way my breasts feel/look. However, I have never experienced this with my daughter or so far with my son and fear that for some reason my milk is drying up (although I am completely perplexed as to why this would be happening). She says that it's normal for the breasts to feel soft about 2 weeks after giving birth. However, with my daughter and so far with my son, my breasts have always felt firm when they fill with milk and then get softer after each feeding/pumping - but they have never felt so deflated like they feel now.
When I was nursing my daughter and I noticed a decrease in my milk supply, I would just pump more often and drink a lot of fluids and I would immediately notice a difference. But this time nothing is happening.
The only thing I can think of is that perhaps I am pregnant. Would that have an effect on my supply? The lactation consultant said it could because it could affect my hormones. Of course I have no idea if I am (it's too early to tell) and I know it seems like a long shot because my son is still so young that I am hoping I haven't ovulated yet. Yikes - another cause for stress.
If anyone has any experience with a sudden (overnight!!) drop with their milk supply and has any advice, I would love to hear it. I have been so happy being able to nurse him that I don't want to give it up. Due to numerous infections with my daughter, I had to resort to strictly pumping when she was 8 weeks old and I continued to pump and give her breastmilk exclusively until she was 13 months old (never had to supplement with formula). So knowing the nursing was going so well with my son I am really hoping to continue. I was never able to have that wonderful nursing/bonding experience with my daughter. I know formula is not the worst thing in the world, but being able to provide him with my milk and its wonderful nutrients means so much to me.
Sorry this is so long but I wanted to get as much info in as possible. I have been reading other postings about drinking tea, eating oatmeal and taking other herbal supplements. I am holding off trying those things until absolutely necessary (I hate tea and oatmeal and am leaving the herbs as a last resort - which I may be at).