16 answers

Decreased Milk Supply with Baby Sleeping Through the Night.

My 4 month old has slept through the night (8:30pm to 7am!) the last 5 nights. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it continues. Anywy, I work 4 days a week. Up until this point I have not had an issue with milk supply with going back to work (I've been back about 6 weeks now). Since she has slept longer, I feel like my body has adapted in terms of not being engorged in the morning but I also feel like my body is then not producing as much during the day. As the day progresses I can't pump as much at work and I don't feel like I have as much to offer in the afternoons on the days I'm home with her. I thought my body should respond to these longer night stretches like a biofeedback system and it should know times of day/cycles for when she needs to eat. But could my body be confused and think it doesn't need to produce milk b/c it went through the night? Just FYI, I have scheduled pump times on the days I work and they parallel the times she eats during the day. Any thoughts on the apparent decrease?

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If your daughter has not added any feedings during the day, I think losing those night feedings could affect your supply. When my son dropped his night time feedings I didn't keep getting up in the middle of the nightto pump but I did have to change some things to keep up my supply.

More Milk Plus is the herbal supplement I used. You can buy it at Whole Foods. Herbal supplements help (and I used them for 6 months), but I was told that the best way to increase supply (if you feel that it is dropping) is milk removal. For me, I needed to pump or nurse at least 7-8 times a day to keep my supply up. This meant that I had to add an extra pumping session during the day at work/or home (between feeding sessions) and I pumped before I went to bed (sometimes twice). If you feel that it has dropped drastically and you need to increase your supply, for a day or two when you are home pump or nurse every hour during the day. This will simulate increased demand and you will produce more. Then you can go to nursing/pumping 7-8 times a day and you should be fine.

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It has been my experience that when my supply dwendles I am pregnant again. Is this a possibility for you? I know people say that if you are breastfeeding, then you don't need birth control. This is not true if you don't want to get pregnant. I have two beautiful boys to show as proof.

If it is not possible that you are pregnant, try feeding her more throughout the day, hopefully your body will catch up soon.


The same thing happened to me when I went back to work after having my first baby. I eventually just had to give him formula when he was with the sitter and I nursed him when I was home with him. He had no problem going back and forth between formula and breast milk. He still loved nursing because it was me:) Make sure you are drinking lots and lots of water whenever you are awake. That really does affect your milk production. Someone told me as long as I was drinking liquids it was fine, but I really noticed a difference when I drank a lot of water. Maybe it was just a fluke, but it can't hurt right?

stress - drink lots of water during the day. your body will balance itself out during the next week. i recently went thru the same thing - but am home all day - have been balancing out... but then the baby surprises me and doesn't sleep thru the night & wants to eat... throws my body off for the whole day following. your body adjusts though. us moms are ready for anything - even when we're unaware of it!

I found with my son that he would want to nurse more often (I don't know if you nurse on a schedule or if you just know when she will be hungry for pumping at work). I didn't nurse on a schedule- this allowed my son to nurse more often when my milk supply was a bit low (this helps build it up a bit).

If you notice your girl wanting to nurse a bit more when you are with her (maybe it might be even annoying the amount she wants to nurse), she might be helping to build your supply. The reason I mention this is so you know what she is doing (if she starts to do this) and not to be annoyed but to know she might be helping correct the situation herself (it normally will only last a few days (1-3) and she would be back to normal nursing). If you nurse on a schedule you may not get this response from her (so she may not be able to self correct the problem).

When I was "low" my son would nurse a lot and this would help correct the problem.

I mention the above as my son helped correct the problem himself and I didn't have to change much. Also if I was ever "out" (even though you are really never out), I would wait 20 min and start again (I would distract him for 20 min) then my body would be "full" again- at least enough to finish the nursing session.

Also, is your daughter complaining or are you just felling not as full? Because sometimes the body adjusts (just so you aren't overflowing anymore). You might think there is problem but it might just be your body adjusting and not an issue at all.

You aren't going to dry up and if your child isn't getting enough she may want to nurse more during the day. Sometimes they will cry or complain if they feel you are "out", but like I said I would just distract my child and try again in 20 min.

Also, I would definately check your pump see if there is a better one. You can maybe add extra pumping sessions (or I think if you pump longer sometimes this helps- but I forget, I think I tried to pump longer and that helped).

Also definately check how much you drink & eat. I tried to cut down on how much I ate at one point in time and I saw it dramatically decrease my supply. Same with Water- drink more that helps.

Just FYI I actually got to the point where I would only pump once a day and then sometimes not at all and my son would be ok (sometimes he would nurse a bit more on the weekends or when I was there to help bring up the milk supply). So Again just mentioning this because sometimes your child will help self correct the problem.

Here are two websites that might help with info:

My name is C.. This happened to me with my first baby. I had to wake up during the night about every 2-3 hours to pump just to continue to stimulate my breasts so that the milk supply woul pick up again. The more frequently you nurse or pump the more your putuitary gland will tell your body to make. Otherwise consult a lactation specialist and they have herbal supplements you can take that can help increase milk. I forget the name of it but I used it too when my son was about 7 months till about 8 1/2 months when I felt I was done and he nolonger wanted to nurse as often. I hope my advise helps you. It's hard to cope with the decrease knowing that you aren't ready to give it up yet. I hope I don't go through it now with my newborn that is a week old. Good Luck!!

If you didn't get enough of an answer here check out www.kellymom.com They are really great for accurate info on breast feeding. Also make sure your expectations as to how much your little girl should be eating is accurate. People often overfeed.


I'm a pumping Mom of a 7 month old and I BF my first son until about 6-7 months. From what I understand pumping doesn't yield as much as nursing. So, even if you are pumping on her feeding schedule it won't stimluate as much milk as a nursing session.

My milk supply dropped at about 6 months with my first son. So with my second, I nursed him exclusively while I was at home on maternity leave. Once I went back to work I pumped there and nursed when I was with him at night and on the weekends. I ALSO got up in the middle of the night to pump. He started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, but I still got up. I've got a nice stash in the freezer and it really helps during growth spurts (we just had one).

So, if you are concerned about your supply, I'd try and get a session in at night. Also, the herb the other poster was talking about is called Fenugreek. I've used it and I can't say it made a huge difference, but others will SWEAR by it.

Good luck.

The less you pump the less you make...you body just adapts to it's new pumping schedule. I continued to pump even when my babies were sleeping through the night to keep up my milk supply up as much as possible. I'm a SAHM and it wasn't easy - I still had to get up in the mornings with my little ones. I know that with your work schedule this might not be appealing to you but it's a thought.

I found exactly the same. People will tell you to eat oatmeal, take herbs, drink more water etc. none of that worked for me. The only thing that worked was nursing more. If you can nurse a little more or pump a bit more and maybe do all the other things that are recommended it may improve but your sleep is also very important. When I could, I would do a little extra pumping on the weekends and very occasionally, I would get up in the night and pump but then I also decided that it was very important that mom get her sleep and not be entirely exhausted for all the family's sake. Do your best but if baby needs a tiny bit of formula, it will still be okay. And soon she will be eating some food. congrats on all you have done to date for your little sweetie.

I too had many difficulties around this time too. The lactation consultant that I worked with was very helpful. Around this time, it is normal not to feel engoraged, she said that your body is now getting used to purducing milk and you may not feel as full but you are producing as much. I used Fenugreek and Milk Thisle, these two together help produce more milk, it is alot of pills!! Like 15 a day! But some lactation people sell it in one pill (more milk Plus) for cheaper. The other thing I did was rent a hopital pump becuase those can help build milk supply while the double pump I had can only maintain. It was worth a try! I hope that helps. I have included the consultant I worked with. She was wonderful!

Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
Northern Illinois Lactation Consultants Association
Cygnus Lactation Services

Well here's my take and advice on it... I am a surrogate mom and many surrogates pump for their little surro-babies so this is some of the advice we give each other. Foremost what kind of pump are you using? My Lac. consultant at the hosp said most any store brand off the shelf is just Crap! You really should use a hosp grade pump Medela is the name to look for and most of the time you can rent them from a local medical supply store or pharmacy. I pumped for both my boys w/ an off the shelf kind and never pumped for Near as long as I wanted to but using the Medela symphony for my surro-son it worked like a Charm!! TOTALLY recommend it!!
I would say wake yourself up at least once in the night to pump just so you are keeping that stimulation going. Some girls I know also say if you want to build your supply up since the body works on a supply and demand basis then on those days off work pump for a good 15-20 min every hr-hr 1/2 and it will help you start suppling more. Call a local Lac consultant and see what help they can give you too.

I am currently breastfeeding my 4 month old boy (my third breastfeed baby) and experienced similiar problem. We offered him cereal (my husband makes it really thin and puts it in his morning bottle while I am at work) and it has seemed to help him be more satisfied, me feel less stressed about producing milk and now two weeks later I am producing slightly more when I pump. Now he's teething and not eating - vicious cycle!! But keep offering her the breast or pumping regularly, your baby and your body are still tyed in away that is completely amazing! She may start depending on solid food to stay full longer, but she'll still need you for all her liquid! Good Luck & congrates on making it this far breastfeeding (& working).

You have to get up in the middle of the night and pump. Basically to keep your milk supply going. Your body does adjust but it can adjust to much.....I always got up in the middle of the night and pumped once our daughter slept through the night. If she missed a feeding for some reason I still pumped to keep my body going. Your engorbement will also change the longer you breast feed. Get cabbage and put it in your bra and it will help with the engorgement. When you need to dry up wear the cabbage leaves a lot and it will help with the let down!

I went through a problem with my milk supply going down. Unfortunately mine did not come back up, even with pumping more. I called my doctor's office and they prescribed Reglan for me. It immediately boosted my milk supply, but after I stopped taking it, it went down again, but not as low. Therefore, I looked for other alternatives. There is a tea called mother's milk, it helped, but tasted terrible. However, I found a natural remedy, it is called fenugreek and I bought it at GNC. You take two capsules two times a day. This has helped tremendously!! It didn't taste bad and I took it for one month then stopped and my milk it still coming in more!!

Just keep nursing your baby as much as possible. Your body will respond accordingly. I nursed both my kids for at least 2 years. It is amazing how the milk changes throughout the nursing relationship. Your milk is the very best food for your baby. Keep up the great work! BTW...as your baby grows, she may wake up for feedings during the night. Breast milk is more easily digested than formula and she may get hungry. For more info check out La Leche League at http://forums.lalecheleague.org/

Kiss the baby for me!

E. B.

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