20 answers

Sudden Drop in Milk Supply?

I am wondering if anybody else has had this happen to them. First off, I pump milk out for my son. He is going on 3.5 months now. I do not actually nurse him at all. He just doesn't nurse well at all. I pump 6 times per day, 20 to 25 mins each. The first time I pump is 8:30 AM, then every 3 hours til 11:30 PM. The ounces I typically get are: 7, 7, 5, 4, 4, 3 oz. from first to last pump of the day. I have been soley pumping since my son was 4 weeks old, and I have been pumping this amount for at least 5 weeks now.

All of the sudden for the past few days, I have been pumping around 2 oz. less per each time I pump. I'm getting 10 oz or more less than normal. I am not taking any medications, not drinking less water, not eating any differently, not getting less sleep - nothing different except less milk.

I am getting ready to start the Fenugreek back, but this makes my son SO grumpy and constipated! This is quite frustrating. I am working full time and pumping as much as I can. This is such a huge sacrific to keeping pumping, but I really want to. I even pump during my commute to and from work to make sure I get enough pumping time in (yes I do it discretely!).

Did this happen to anyone else's milk supply? What did you do about it? THANKS!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Apparently, it was due to my menstral cycle starting back. Now that it has started back, my milk supply is back up. Thanks ladies!

To answer a few questions I have received:
1) I am using a new medela 2 phase expression pump.
2) I am taking large amounts of Fenugreek, Alfalfa, and drink mothers milk tea.
3) I am using techniques like breast message, etc. while pumping.
4) My milk has not been decreasing at all til now. Actually it has been steadily increasing as my son got older up until this point.
5) I have never pumped at night since my son was 6 weeks old.
6) My son has really bad latch issues that keeps me from nursing him - I have been seen by lactation consultants and spoken with the La Leche League.

THANKS!

More Answers

I started pumping after going back to work in February (my daughter was 3 months old). I had a top-of-the-line Medela pump, but week by week, my supply declined to the point of pumping 1/2oz. per breast per session (at 4 sessions a day). I took fenugreek and blessed thistle, and this helped in the beginning, but again, over time, my supply declined regardless. It didn't help that my daughter was too frustrated by my lack of supply to breastfeed - I was pumping 100% of the time and supplementing with organic formula. At six months, I finally stopped pumping because I was only getting 4oz for the entire day. I wanted SO badly to breastfeed, and my body simply would not cooperate. I've heard that pumps are not as efficient as babies in draining milk, and over time your supply may decrease because of this. You might want to check with your doctor about a drug called Reglan - it increases milk supply. Hope I've provided some useful info.!

I've also read that eating oatmeal (not instant) can help get your milk supply back up. I would also suggest consulting La Leche. Good luck!

I dont know if you are still having this issue. But there is a product at Milky Way esp for this and it is all natural!

The amount you are pumping is not low. It's actually much higher than normal. Has your AF returned? That may cause a temporary dip in supply.

check out this link on Kellymom.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/pumping_decrease.html

I too pumped all my son's milk. Did you always go from 11:30 to 8:30 without pumping? In the beginning I would pump at 9:30pm and then one more time before getting up at 5am and pumping again. When I cut out the middle of the night pump, my supply did what yours did. What kind of pump are you using? Any chance it is losing power?

The same thing happened to me with my first child. She was not a good nurser at all. My milk supply started diminishing very quickley. I even started to pump every hour on the hour to try to make more. Nothing worked. I finally had to stop b/c it hurt to pump all the time. It was horrible. What I have learned since having now three children and nursed the other two perfectly is that you simply cannot only pump. I have even noticed that when I would pump milk with the other two, if I had to, that I just could not pump as much as they got when they nursed. My doctor and lactation consultant said that is true. The baby's suction is stronger than that of a pump plus it releases a hormone in you and you create more milk. For instance, my son would nurse for like an hour on each side sometimes and when he would finally stop b/c he passed out milk drunk he would still have a mouthful of milk. I could never pump that long and get that much milk. Hope this helps.

Go to a all natural/health food store and get some Blessed Thistle or Mother's Milk. Mother's milk comes in capsules or tea, blessed thistle I've only found in capsules. Take 3 pills 3X a day until your milk flow is back up where you want then you can wean down, I found I had to stay on 1-2pills 3 times a day to maintain the milk production I wanted. These are all natural herbs, I've only found that at Rebecca's natural foods or Whole Foods, but you can look at any all natural store. My lacatation consultant from the hospital I delivered in told me to take these and they worked great!! Good luck!!

I first want to send you a huge kudos for pumping and not giving up without a fight because of the bad latch. I had the very same issues with my son, now 2. It was so painful, the latch, but I wanted him to get milk from me no matter how he got it. I pumped every time that he was fed. I remember having a lot of trouble once and found out that my valve on my pump had a tiny little split in it. I replaced it and it worked like a charm and my breast were thanking me.

If it's not your equipment then keep pumping and see if it is just a phase. Hormones definately can affect your supply. Estrogen works against you when you're nursing so just remember that. Also, as you've heard many times, it's a little harder to maintain milk supply if you're only pumping. Even when your milk runs out while pumping, keep the pump going to stimulate more production. And squeeze them as much as you can to get whatever you can out.

If it helps, my milk really fluctuated by a few ounces from time to time. I just kept on pumping and didn't worry as long as I had enough to meet the needs of my son. I was able to freeze a months supply and it came in handy when he was 10 months old. I got a stomach virus that left me so dehydrated and it reduced my milk supply to almost nothing. It was then that I used my frozen stash to get me to his 1 year b-day. I had to mix in formula at the very end to stretch it but we made it and I can say that it was worth it.

When I have another child I will definately try to nurse but if I encounter the same issues, I will turn to pumping fulltime.

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