Milk Supply Decrease After Illness

Updated on June 14, 2010
W.T. asks from El Cajon, CA
10 answers

Hi Wise Breastfeeding Mamas!

Hope to get some mind easing feedback here. I have been breastfeeding for 30 months now, tandem nursing a 2 1/2 year old and 7 month old. I always pumped an extra 12-18 oz to donate as well, so I have been lucky to have an excellent supply.

I am on day 6 of a nasty stomach virus...diarrhea, etc. I have quite a diminished supply. Haven't felt like pumping and when I do, I get less than an ounce. My baby seems to be happy and the 2 1/2 year old tells me there's plenty of milk, but what does he know! :) I still feel let down and today was the first day I felt well enough to be concerned.

I just started with mother's milk tea and will go get some More Milk Plus Tincture (fenugreek, blessed thistle, dandelion) in the morning. My midwife assures me that my supply will return just fine, that this is a bump in the road.

It is the first time I feel like a bit of a failure as a mom and am feeling down about my supply. Any insight? Anyone been there, done that and has a great supply they now want to tell me about! :)

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the well thought out answers!

I shouldn't have used the word "failure", maybe powerless would have been a better choice for now.

I feel a lot better and it looks like that nasty diarrhea is gone which will help! I have been hydrating and drinking triple strength Mother's Milk Tea 3 times daily and taking More Milk Plus as directed. I'm going in for an accupuncture treatment this afternoon with my midwife.

And have benn nursing my little guy on demand of course and indulging the toddler, much to his excitement...usually he's limited to nursing times.

I feel fuller this am than I've felt, so that makes me feel better.

Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Charlotte on

W., I'm not going to give you any breastfeeding advice, because others will do that. But I do want to ask you to please not feel like a failure as a mom. My heavens, why would you do that to yourself? If this makes you feel like a failure, what will bumps in the road later on in other issues cause you to feel?

All my best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I notice that whenever I get sick, I always feel like my supply has diminished. Don't worry so much about it, once you get better, it will fix itself. You just have to keep feeding on demand, and keep up the nursing (it is really hard when you are sick). Make sure you are getting in a lot of fluids, and oatmeal can help too (if you can down it, or once you are better). If you stress about it, you may have a harder time letting down, so just relax, your supply will be back to normal soon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

Your midwife is absolutely right!! If you had diarrhea then you naturally became a bit dehydrated and that effected your supply. As you know this is a system of supply and demand...just keep up with your tandem nursing ( I never had children close enough in age to do that....I think you are wonderful to be able to to this!!) and keep pumping after you nurse. Your supply will catch up with the demand in short order. You might also start eating a bowl of oatmeal every girls have both said that they have been told that it helps with milk production.
Maybe a glass of wine at night would help and even if it doesn't it is a GREAT excuse to relax over a glass of
And ....
Don't you dare feel like a are anything but!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Totally just a bump in the road. Tandem nursing you are getting more stimulation without pumping! A 7 month old is going to let you know if he/she is hungry.

My daughter and I both got the stomach flu when she was somewhere between and 6 and 9 months (it is all a little fuzzy now that she's three). But what is clear is the image of me sitting on the toilet, puking in the bathtub and either nursing or having the baby throw up on my simultaneously. We got through it fine, but there was definitely a dip in my otherwise over-abundant supply.

Keep yourself well-hydrated. Peppermint tea with a little honey is refreshing and soothing to a sensitive tummy. Add some oatmeal to your diet as soon as you feel like you can handle is also known to boost supply. Try to eat some small bites of protein throughout the day.

Good luck and feel better soon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Wow, you're amazing! :) Its so refreshing to hear of a momma who breastfeeds for so long, let alone tandems! WAY TO GO!
Try not to feel like a failure, you've done such a great job already. That said, I know a decrease in milk DOES feel like failing, but take it easy and allow your body to get back into full healthy gear before worrying too much. Your body will pick back up, just up your calorie intake for awhile, drink plenty of fluids and let those babies do what they do best- suck!
Good job, and again, I'm wowed! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Please do not feel like a failure. Your body has to heal from being sick, and when it does I am sure your supply will come back. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Don't feel like a failure. Call your ob/hospital and ask for a referral to a lactation consultant. They helped me get my milk up after I had shingles 3 days after giving birth. They have tools, tricks, etc. and there are some prescriptions that can help if you really need it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

here is a list i made when i was still bfing..maybe you can find some helpful the bottom of the list i mention "motilium" aka Dom...totally works ..starts working w/in 72 hours only need to take 2 a day for 2 weeks and your supply will jump up..i took it when my son was 9 months b/c my supply was dropping he's 4 i bf'ed til he was 3.

1. rent a hospital grade pump..Medela Classic is what i'm's
$3 a day and totally worth it! OR better yet buy one off ebay and
when you're done you can re-sell it on ebay and get your money back.
i bought one and it works great..the medela classic is supposed to be
the best pump out there.
2. get the Easy Expression bra it
holds both cups over you bb's and it's better to pump 2 at a time
3. eat oatmeal ....get the healthy kind i add bananas also i would
think pasta would be good b/c it retains water
4. Take "Lactation Supplement" by Gaia Herbs you can find it at the
health food store
5. try to pump at the same time every day...also try power pumping..
10 minutes pumping..then stop for 10 then 10 again and then stop and
so on. even pump if you aren't getting anything.
6. Make sure the white membrane thingies that attach onto the cups
are fairly new ..over used ones affect how much milk you get
7. Drink lots of fluids including Nursing Mom's tea or Mother's Milk
tea or the tea i prefer is ..also drinks with
electrolytes like Recharge...Smart Water...Gatorade i notice on days
i drink a lot of fluids i have more milk
8. Eat barley..Barley Grass supplements are great. also..they have
barley bread at Trader Joe's if you have a Trader Joe's where you
live..or just buy barley. I buy a delicious barley tea at the
japanese market and i drink a couple of cups a's decaf and
i also drink Healthy Mom's drinks by Ensure
9.A warm wash cloth helps too ..apply to breasts before pumping or
try the breast heating pads that you heat up in the microwave.
10. Keep taking your prenatal vitamin..not getting a lot of milk
could mean a vitamin deficiency
even if you pump just a little what you get and start adding
them together and then supplement with the milk that you pump..that's
why it's also good to pump after they've gone to sleep..then you help
build your supply and you also have more bb milk for baby..
11. nurse nurse nurse..triple up on're going to have to
dedicate a week to it
the more you pump the more milk you'll begin to make.
12. LOTS OF REST..nap if you can ..milk builds when you rest
13. DHA supplements also are great for lactation..also found at the
health food store*
14. Alfalfa supplements are also great.
i think that's it..
15. Try a whey protein powder drink.. i use "Whey to Go" by mix it with milk add some berries and a banana. it says
to check with your doc before using if you're ask your
doc..i only drink one a day and i add a some Motherlove's "More Milk
Plus" to it.
16. Again you should double pump when you're pumping so make sure you
get the bra to make it easier on you!
17. Goat's Rue herb is also supposed to help boost
honestly drink LOTS of liquids
keep yourself moist ...don't take any birth control pills.
18. there is also this stuff called Motilium aka DOM a lot of mom's
use this's for reflux but it builds up your supply.. you can
read about it on
and you can buy it here...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

When my son was about 9 mos old my husband got laid off and the stress made me almost lose my milk altogether. I couldn't eat and sleep well, and my son had been eating more and more solids and it went way down. With some effort and the More Milk Plus I got it back up to where it had always been. I had to supplement with formula for about a week after I went through my supply of pumped milk (I always made a ton of milk before that too). But I didn't give up and my milk came back as good as ever within 2-3 weeks. (My son is 2 1/2 now and just now weaning.)

I understand that feeling like you are failing, that is exactly how I felt. Like I couldn't even do this one thing right (the lay-off really hit us hard and I was in a total panic about everything). But now looking back I feel silly for feeling that way. There are things you can't control no matter how good your intentions are. I am glad I didn't give up but I should have cut myself some slack in what was an otherwise awful time and not let that contribute to the stress. My son wasn't going to starve (even though I felt like he was) and by that point he was old enough that I should have realized our relationship was more than just nursing. Give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself. Being a failure or a success as a mother has nothing to do with whether you can continue to nurse.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

read in med. book, confirmed with mom's, grand ma's...etc>>before having my own children>>with wonderful midwives sucessfully home birthed/and brestfed..till 9th month...for both..29& 30ys old today...healthy so far..never one doctor visit, growing up...i nannie with many famlies, and incuraged my daughter in law to wean at 9mos..100% across the many children..secuss at this age., answer to your question..perhaps your body is trying to tell you something, wean the 2/12..and maybe you'll have enough to get thru the next 2 mos for your other one...good luck, sorry if i've missed spelled, any word's i'm going out the door and have no time to spell ck

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