Extended Breastfeeding, but Milk Supply Decreasing

Updated on August 08, 2011
M.P. asks from De Pere, WI
17 answers

Hello,
My son is just 13 months and I am facing a decision regarding breastfeeding. It has gone great thus far - I have made just enough milk for him, I am not one of those mom's who overproduces. I am down to nursing mainly just morning and bedtime. However, I am still trying to pump enough to give him breastmilk in a sippy cup for lunch and dinner. My husband does not like all the hormones/antibiotics used in milk so we are holding off on the whole milk (organic or milk without those things is a little more expensive and BM is free!!) if we can. BUT, I don't know how much milk he needs? I am having trouble pumping enough. I have tried the fenugreek supplement. Any other tips? Encouragement? I want to keep providing him milk even if he isn't actually nursing. If I have him nurse for a couple days, will that boost my milk so then I can take over pumping and get enough? Thanks for any advice, tips, encouragement, personal experience, etc! :-)

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So What Happened?

We have gone down to nursing 2x a day and having whole milk at his other meals. I still pump if we miss an early morning or bedtime feeding. We also had a couple days where he was not feeling good so he nursed/cuddled more and that gave my supply a jump start so I am not so worried now. If I need a boost, I just give him extra cuddle time, but he is getting too busy to want to nurse for long. He may just continue his easygoing attitude and wean himself!! :-) Thanks everyone!! :-)

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A.M.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I've noticed that several of the dairy companies (such as Roberts here in Iowa) certify that their milk is hormone free. It is even true for several of the store brands, such as Target and Aldi, I believe. I bought organic milk for my daughter for a year (from about 14 months to over 2 years old) before I found this out. I don't regret buying the organic milk. But I was relieved to be able to buy the less expensive store brands without the worry about the hormones.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

A Mom's milk supply, mirrors what your child is intaking.
Being he only nurses at morning and bedtime, your milk is producing enough for that.

A Mom, never produces huge amounts, as a child lessens in nursings.
And never as much, as when the child was a baby/infant.

Milk supply, does dwindle, as the child gets older.

Whole milk, organic and hormone free, is commonly available in grocery stores. I find it to be the same cost, as all the other milks. Or, from Costco, it is cheaper.

My daughter breastfed until she self-weaned at about 2.5 years old.
By then, sure, my milk supply dwindled, and mirrored her intake.
This is natural and normal.
My son, self-weaned at about 1 year old.
I still had lots of milk, but he hated nursing by then.

Whole milk, is recommended for children 1-2 years old. BECAUSE, the "milk fats" in it, is an essential nutrient, for brain-development. It is not just about the calcium.

You need to ask your Pediatrician, about how much WHOLE milk he needs per his age.

Eventually, you will have to buy, whole milk or other alternatives. So that as he gets older, he has a whole spectrum of nutritional intake.

Kids cost money.
Milk costs money.
But as I said, in my grocery stores here, organic/hormone free milk, costs the same as regular milk. But, if you go to Whole Foods, I have found the whole milk organic/hormone free, to be at least, $2-3 more than a regular grocery store for the SAME brand.

2 moms found this helpful
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I.G.

answers from Seattle on

I weaned from the pump right around that age and my daughter was never a big cow's milk drinker. At 13/14 months I would only pump about 4-6 ounces a day any more. She was never a big fan of milk from a bottle/sippy (not even BM, most days she didn't even drink what I pumped) so we just gave water in the sippy.
I kept nursing her for another 5 months or so, and even though it felt like my supply was low, I really did have exactly enough milk for her.

I would just keep up the morning and evening nursing and not worry about it.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful
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L.S.

answers from Spokane on

Neither of my older two girls liked cows milk, so they never drank it. I just made sure they drank enough water and had at least 3 servings of calcium rich foods per day. This was easy because they loved yogurt and cheese and most veggies. They both self weaned at about a year and are now very healthy and active 3 and almost-5 year olds.

I think it's great that you've nursed this long and continue to do so, but don't stress about how much he's getting from you pumping. Give him what you can and just make sure he's getting calcium from other sources as well.

2 moms found this helpful

E.S.

answers from Dayton on

Oh goodness...well I can tell you I have a decent supply right now (son is 14 months) but if I were to try and pump...whomp, whomp.
My boobs hate the pump.
DS nurses often, I don't limit him.
Are you taking enough fenugreek? You have to take A LOT to boost your supply. (Like 3, 4 times daily or something like that-not what the bottle says.)
If you allow him to nurse more frequently it should boost your supply.

Like AV my first hated cow's milk. I haven't even offered it to DS, instead I give him coconut milk. I'd say he averages about 4 oz. a day. He also drinks water.
He used to eat yogurt for me...does your son eat yogurt?
Cheese? If he is getting nutrition through those foods I wouldn't worry too much.

You are doing great! Little pat on the back from me. :)

1 mom found this helpful

M.C.

answers from Pocatello on

You milk supply will probably dwindle if you are not nursing "baby to breast" at all. If you do at least one session per day, I think you'll be able to pump for the other feeding. BUT,. you may have to pump right after feeding him to increase your supply (you won't get much then, since you just nursed, but you should signal your body to make more milk for later)

If I were you i would aim to give him 4-6 oz for breakfast and dinner (each). however... if you can only get 3oz or less, just make sure he had pleanty of healthy foods with some fat and protein in them to make up the difference. If you can, nurse more... but as long as he is still nursing "baby to breast" in the morning and at bedtime he is probably getting plenty of nutrients, and other benefits from you and you don't HAVE to supplement with milk as long as he has a healthy variety of foods!

By the way- way to go! Nursing 13 months in no small feat. Look up the site "kellymom" or "dr. sears" for more info on breatsfeeding and pumping, they are really experts and have tons information!

Good Luck!
-M.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.M.

answers from Nashville on

I would use more than just fenugreek. I've been using Breastea from http://www.breastea.com and I've seen outstanding results. You will need to pump more often though. Hope this helps.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

I think if you are nursing him still twice a day that should be enough is you give him a good diet. He should be drinking water and juice with his meals by now. I nursed my youngest till about 14 months. After that I could not do it anymore and swiched to Soy milk or Rice milk I went back and forth. And he maily got that in the mornings. I never gave him cows milk of corse he's allergic to it and so is my oldest. If you are wanting to keep pumping I know when I was trying to make sure I had enough if I was running low would be to pump while nursing. That way you get a good let down. But it does take some major jugling!!!

Good luck and God bless!

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K.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Go to a natural food store (I know Whole Foods has it too) and buy More Milk Plus. It has fenegreek as well as other herbs. It helped me a lot when my supply dipped dangerously low at about 8 months. Downside is it is expensive for a month supply but worth it to keep breastfeeding!

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T.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

If you want him to have more breastmilk, have him nurse more. Nurse him before nap time, etc and your milk supply will increase according to his demand.
Second......I still breastfeed my almost 3 year old and there is always milk there. I supplement with raw milk. I would suggest that you look into that. Go to Mercola.com and put it into the search engine. You would be amazed at how good raw milk is for you and how bad the stuff that they have in the stores is for you. My kids love it and hate the other stuff. I know that they are getting all of the great enzymes that they need, the calcium that they need (that you will not get from pastuerized milk, yes that is true) and I don't have to worry about lactose intolerance.
Good luck and keep breastfeeding.....it is sooooo good for them.

M.M.

answers from Tampa on

Just nurse on demand... around this time frame is when distraction and wanting to 'go go go' is more important than nursing or eating during the day. The child will get what he needs from you in the 2 times he's nursing and eventually he'll calm down and go back to nursing 3-4 times a day.

Don't worry about pumping to offer breastmilk in a cup... the fact that you are able to pump ANYTHING at this point in time is amazing!! At 4-5 months, I was unable to pump more than 1/4 ounce per breast and I breastfed way past 2 years old.

For liquids, offer 70% water/30% fruit juice and just nurse. I'd offer frequently for him to nurse, and never deny when he asks. SO far you are doing great - keep it up :)

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter never took well to cow milk. I was told that as long as she was nursing and/or received other forms of calcium 3x a day, she was fine. I suggest you see what he will eat and maybe supplement with a serving of Horizon or similar while you work your way toward eventual weaning (which can be a while from now - my DD was 2.5). When my DD was in daycare at that age, she'd honestly only take about 6 oz of pumped milk per day (for the whole workday), if that, but would nurse and drink water the rest of the time. I've never known a kid who likes water as much as she does. She's like her dad that way.

Organic is more expensive, but sometimes you have to balance the money vs what is driving you crazy trying to keep up. Maybe one meal use the bought milk and one the pumped.

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J.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

we use coconut milk in our house.

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S.J.

answers from Saginaw on

my little one is 14 mo old and is nursing in the morning and at night! She gets one sippy on top of that 8oz of cows milk. I am chosing to go this route. Anyhow she still gets what I feel is a good 4oz from each breast in the morning and at night which puts her around my peds recommended 24 oz of milk a day! So I would say you should be around the same with you little ones age so 8oz of pumped milk should do just fine!

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R.Y.

answers from New York on

I had such low milk supply my kids ended up with formula early on. As toddlers they ate lots of cheese and yogurt. I also buy organic milk for the family. It seems worth it to me (and breast milk was not an option). I tried Fenegreek and the Dr. told me take up to 9 capsules a day (3 each, 3 times a day) but to build up to it. Also some foods like oatmeal, almonds and brewers yeast help too. You can google lactation cookies for the recipe--they are so yummy.

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K.

answers from Phoenix on

Nurse on demand not just in morning and bedtime that will increase your supply. Maybe before naptime.

Wow I feel fortunate. I nursed till way over 2.5 and the milk would not stop lol..

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B.R.

answers from Des Moines on

My doctor recommended that a one-year-old have 16 - 20 oz. of milk a day. I haven't read all of your responses, but a lot of people post on here that kids don't need milk as much as good fat sources for brain development (and other nutrients that milk provides as well). As long as your little one is drinking water and getting nutrients/fat from other food sources, it's not a huge deal. It's something to look into anyway:)