24 answers

Milk Supply Dwindling with 9 Month Old

I have been exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old daughter since she was born. I've worked full-time since she was about 3 months old, and I pump 2-3 times each day at work. Lately, I'm struggling to get even 9 ounces of milk each day. I pump both breasts 2-3 times at work, and then I pump one breast while I feed her from the other one 2-3 times in the night and morning. I'm taking fenugreek, I've increased my water intake, and I'm still struggling to get enough milk. My daughter is a good eater and gets 3 meals (of baby food/simple table foods/finger foods) every day, and the sitter is reporting that she seems to be wanting more milk. Her weight gain has also slowed (she was in the 50th percentile and is now in the 20th), although she is thriving in every other way. My question is this.... Should I start supplementing with formula now? I hate to introduce something new, especially when I want to start introducing cows milk and slowly start weaning away from daytime breast milk bottles in a few months when she turns 1. Two transitions seem silly if I can avoid it, but I want to do what's best for my baby. Has anyone else experienced this? What should I do for my daughter?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for all of your answers- it's good to hear this happens to a lot of moms. It sounds like everyone has tried something a little different. We tried some formula this weekend, because to top it all off, I left all of my hard earned mommy's milk locked at work this weekend and won't have it for my daughter to take to the sitter's house on Monday! My daughter refused the formula, so I've been pumping like crazy to get enough for Mon! I guess she knows what's best for her :). I think I'll continue trying with the pumping and maybe increase her food intake to help her feel more satisfied. Thanks again for the help!

Featured Answers

HI,
The same thing happened with me at 9.5-10 months.
I ended up just formula in a couple of weeks.
I just supplemented with formula, and never used a bottle. Just the sippy cup, i think from Avent. You can change out the top from bottle to different stages of sippys.
Hope this helped:)

More Answers

The same thing happened to me but I lived in denial for awile.. I started giving her yogart along with breakfast, to see how her body reacted to cows milk. I would nurse her in the morning, give her breakfast, lunch, dinner and nurse her b4 her second nap and at bedtime. She would only get water in sippy cups. But your doc will tell you that your supply does go down, bc your child is getting nutrition from other sources. I never did the formula, for the same reasons you stated..I just never liked the idea of making 2 changes in her diet. Actually, my daughter started waking up in the middle of the night at about 7 months and she was still waking up every night at 11 months. I finally had a lightbulb come on and came to the conclusion that my milk just didnt have enough fat in it to keep her full. If you ask your mom, she'll say back then they would start their children on cows milk at 6 months..and everyone did it. My daughter loved whole milk, she was so satisfied I felt guilty for not giving it to her sooner. And she stopped waking up during the night. Hope that helps:)

Great job exclusively breastfeeding!

Just a couple of things that weren't previously mentioned...

-Fenugreek can work better if combined with Blessed Thistle.

-The best pumps out there for working mothers are made my Medela (Freestyle, Pump In Style, and Swing) and Ameda (Purely Yours). If you have one of these you can have the suction on your pump checked to make sure that it is performing the best...if it has been less than a year the manufacturer will send you a new one if it isn't.

-You can try using warm compresses and massage. These encourage let-down and milk flow. Also, when the milk starts to trickle you can stop and wait for a few moments and then start again, this also helps encourage let-down. Using faster cycles to trigger your milk and then slower cycles to empty your milk after a let-down can produce more milk in less time.

Good Luck...I will also reiterate that checking in with a lactation consultant is always a good idea. They are so full of knowledge and the smallest things can make a huge difference!

Hi E.,

I'm a certified breastfeeding counselor and a Registered Dietitian specializing in infant nutrition. Personally, I'm also the mother of a wonderful 11-month old boy who is exclusively breastfed. Congratulations to you on breastfeeding for 9 months!

First, I wanted to comment on your daughter's growth--what you've stated is perfectly normal for a breastfed baby. Exclusively breastfed babies grow very differently from formula fed babies. The World Health Organization actually has different growth charts for babies that are breastfed. Breastfed babies tend to gain weight rapidly during the first few months of life, and then they gain weight very slowly after that. Basically for your daughter, as long as she's not losing weight, and she's thriving in other ways, she's fine!

Like many moms, I also experienced a decrease in milk supply between 6-9 months. I think it's simply a result of babies eating more solids and not needing as much breastmilk. I work full time, and I usually pump twice a day at work. I was able to increase my milk supply by doing a little more pumping at home. After I put my baby down to bed at night, I would pump. Not much would come out, but I was stimulating my body to produce more milk, which is the important part. On the weekends, I would also pump after my baby's first morning feeding. The key is just to get more stimulation so your body will make more milk.

Different things work for different moms; just try what you think you're capable of and know you've done such a wonderful thing for your baby to breastfeed for 9 months. Best of luck to you, and hopefully you won't need to supplement with formula, but it's not the worst thing in the world if you have to. It can be difficult to get your body to produce as much milk from pumping as just putting the baby to breast.

HI E.,

I had the same experience with both of my kids. I was off for 3 months, pumped at work, and around 9 months they just didn't seem to be getting enough. Both times, I tried to keep it going, but it just didn't work out, so we supplemented with formula (we waited for cows milk until 12 months). With my daughter, we had already started supplementing, b/c I was not getting enough pumping done at work. In both cases, it was fine.

It worked out fine for both and the biggest thing I had to deal with was my own feelings about not making it "as far" as I wanted. So, I think that whatever you decide to try/do, be gentle with yourself. You've done an amazing job and it required lots of commitment!

S.
Mom of 4yo and 7yo

E.,

Try pumping about 30 minutes before you nurse for a few days to increase your demand.(baby can get more milk out than you can pump) If you can take a few days off of work? Or Over the weekend. I also pump for a strait 20 minutes, even though milk stops after about 10 minutes. It keeps the stimulation going it has worked for me so far. And see if your demand increases your supply. I have a 6 month old and I hope to nurse him until 1 year as well. I have my days that I get more than others. Try not to fret over it as well, the more strees you have obout it the less favorablly your body responds. Also contact your lactation consultant and see what they can suggest. good luck1

You'll find that if you start taking flax oil daily you will see your milk production back up to normal. Try taking 3 tablespoons a day (in a protein shake makes it easy) with 3 tablespoons you get the added benefit of fat burning for you and it will halp your babies brain development. Flax is an omega 3, very good for you so don't freak about drinking so much oil.Vuy it in the refrigerated section of your local health food store or whole foods.Don't bother with capsules, too hard to get the full amount.

My kids did that too. They had high caloric needs but I couldn't keep up. Instead, they nursed ALOT at night. Can you nurse more in the evening and morning? Also what helps (because my 13 month old is still always hungry at night) is to feed him high caloric foods during the day. I try to give him lots of chicken and meat. I think introducing small amounts of cows milk before 12 months is appropriate.

If she's eating solids and gaining weight as you say, there's probably little need to worry.
But if you do want to boost your supply, an herbal supp that works better than fenugreek is vitex-you can get it at mot health food stores. It can also be used with fenugreek (no contraindictions).
To ensure she's getting all the nutrients she needs, you may want to add a multi-vitamin. Shaklee's Infant-Lea is very complete and is a powder which can be mixed in with breastmilk, juice, water, applesauce, etc. I'd be happy to send you info on this if you want.

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