A.O. asks from New Cumberland, PA on May 19, 2009
Progesterone Only Birth Control Pills and Decrease in Milk Supply
I am nursing my four and a half month old- I pump at work but he still eats so frequently during the day that he gets one or two bottles of formula a day when I am at work. Last week I started taking progesterone only pills because I was told that they were perfectly safe and would have an impact on breastfeeding. I noticed over the last week that he was fussier when nursing and that my breasts stopped feeling as full- I though it might be because drinking from the bottle was easier for him and or I just couldn't keep up with him since he has been growing so much. It has been very frustrating because nursing is such a nice time for us but has become hard for both of us. It dawned on me yesterday that I had started those pills 5 days ago around when the difficulty started. I wish I had known that reduced milk supply was a possibility(I read through all the info that came with the prescription and it didn't say anything about that) if I had known that I NEVER would have taken them to begin with. Has this happened to anyone else? Did your supply go back up once you stopped taking them...if it did how long did it take. Also I just got my period for the first time since having the baby....could that be from taking the pills and then stopping or is it just a coincidence? Thanks for any information you might have.....
So What Happened?™
Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and advice...I really appreciate it and will definitely use mamasource again. It it reassuring to know that others have experienced the same thing. My milk supply has been slowly returning to where it was. Having Monday off from work is really helping as he has been able to nurse exclusively for 3 days in a row. He seems much more content when he is nursing now which is a relief. Thanks again to everyone who responded :)
S.M. answers from Philadelphia on May 20, 2009
First, congratulations on your miracle and for pumping at work! It's hard work!!!!
The progesterone only pills work fine for a lot of women, but really any hormones have the potential to affect your supply. There are lots of things you can do to help increase your supply. You touched on a bunch of stuff so forgive me for just running down the list as I caught them please:
Feeling Full - around 3-4 months out, your supply is switching from hormone driven to supply and demand driven. It's very common to not get engorged at this point. It doesn't mean that there's no milk or nto enough milk, just that your body is regulated to your baby and your baby's schedule (or the pump schedule).
How many bottles are you sending to day care? How full are the bottles? Is your care provider using alternative methods to sooth the baby when fussy or just putting a bottle in?
The average nursing mother can pump .5 to 2 oz from BOTH breasts combined per pumping session, so it's common to need multiple sessions to make a bottle. (www.kellymom.com).
To increase supply, take a nursing vacation on your next day off - spend the day skin to skin in bed or on the couch. Just cuddle and nurse, nurse, nurse. Drink lots of water. Eat all the oatmeal you can handle - cookies count too. (there's a great recipe for lactation cookies floating around the internet).
How often are you pumping? When DD first started sleeping well for me and was going down around 8 pm, she'd sleep until about 3 am. I added a pumping session around 10-11 PM and it quickly grew to be a productive session for me.
I can't say for sure whether the bleeding you're seeing is related to pill withdrawl or the return of your cycles. If it is an actual period, it is very commong for a lot of women to see a supply drop between ovulation and the start your period.
And of course, it's always possible that it's a growth spurt and the baby is trying to ramp up your supply to meet new demand levels.
Best wishes, you're doing a great job!
1 mom found this helpful
D.S. answers from Allentown on May 20, 2009
Contact your local la leche league representative
progesterone is a male hormone.
Good luck. D.
D.C. answers from Pittsburgh on May 20, 2009
With my first child I went on the progesterine only bc pills and I definately noticed a decrease in my milk supply even though the doctor assured me that there wouldn't be one, or that it would be so minimal as to have no impact. My supply increased with little problem when I stopped taking them. I never had an issue with my supply diminishing with my period but then I was almost a year in each time before it came back so I can't really help you with that part. I hope now that you've stopped your supply comes back.
V.F. answers from Scranton on May 20, 2009
If you get off the pills immediately you can work to build your supply back up but it will probably take a few days or even a couple of weeks to do so
J.R. answers from Philadelphia on May 20, 2009
Yes, progesterone-only BCP are safe for breastfeeding, but unfortunately they do also decrease your milk supply. My doctor actually would not perscribe them for me b/c of the decreased milk supply issue. I have had a poor supply from day one. I would recommend to stop taking the pills and start taking the supplement Fenugreek (I get it at GNC). The Fenugreek will boost your supply within a couple days. It worked wonders for me! As far as birth control, I would use condoms until you are done breastfeeding, then contact your doctor for a perscription.
A.H. answers from Philadelphia on May 20, 2009
Your milk supply does decrease during your period! But I don't know about the progesterone-only BC. If it's only the former, then the good news is that you'll only have to worry about it 1x/month.
Milk-boosting remedies (tried-and-true!): Mother's Milk Tea (from your grocery store, usually in the organic section), oatmeal (yes!), and fenugreek supplements (I haven't had to take these but I understand it's easy to find -- fenugreek is an herb). Good luck!
N.O. answers from Philadelphia on May 20, 2009
He could also be going thru a growth spurt. My son always seemed hungry from about 2.5 months thru about 4.5 months. Also one thing that I didn't know before but was told, breastfed babies only need 1oz per hour. Your milk changes fat content to support your growing baby. Just make sure that he is getting the hindmilk and not just foremilk. Check out kellymom.com for a lot of really good breastfeeding information.
Also your milk does taste different while you are on your period. My son always seems more fussy during that time.
I'm not sure if my supply went down when I first started birth control (I'm taking the Mini Pill which is a progesterone only pill also), because my son started a growth spurt right about that time too, so he was eating more often anyways.
T.M. answers from Philadelphia on May 19, 2009
My sister's son is about 5 months old. She had the same problem about a month ago. What her and a good friend of mine noticed was that when you get your period back the milk slowed. I know i had times where it drifted off a little...i think it may have been when my period came back. I don't know...it's just a theory...
My only advice is the mother's milk tea and breastfeeding as much as you possibly can. Good luck :)