Preemie + Low Milk Supply + Mirena = Even Less Milk??

Updated on December 12, 2015
K.P. asks from Endicott, NY
9 answers

I had my baby at 30w2....while he was in NICU and after he came home I have been almost exclusively pumping...attempting breastfeeding but it has been difficult as he was trained early on to take the milk never really "came in" and I have struggled to maintain a supply that will keep up with him as he grows. He is now almost 11 weeks old and I had the Mirena put in about a week ago...just in the past two days I've noticed a pretty dramatic decrease in my already dwindling milk supply. Has anyone else had this happen?? I am terrified that my milk will dry up completely and I really don't want that to happen. I was hoping to at least get him through the winter since he was so early and everything. I don't know if I should just have the Mirena taken out since it seems to correlate so closely to the decrease in my supply or if I should just wait and see...I don't want it to be too late! Any other people out there with a similar issue/advice?? Thanks!

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answers from Gainesville on

My son was born at 32 weeks exactly and he was in the NI for 6 weeks. But I was able to teach him how to nurse once we got home. It took about 6 weeks but we then went on to nurse till he was 16 months old!

I first switched him to the playtex nurser with the latex (brown) nipple with the drop ins. The latex nipple is very very soft like the breast and with the drop ins you can squirt just a tiny bit of warm breastmilk in his mouth so he understands why this new nipple is in his mouth. I would also feed him with my shirt and bra off and lots of skin contact, would burp him then change sides just as if he were nursing. Once he got good with that we started adding in nursing sessions. And he got it! Since your son is older it might go quicker than when we started at 6 weeks old with my son.

Also, make sure you are using a slow flow nipple. Nursing is more work for baby than bottle feeding so you never want to use a fast flow nipple.

I pumped round the clock for a solid 12 weeks until I taught him how to nurse and was able to build a good supply. Make sure you are using a high quality (or even hospital grade) double electric pump. That made a huge difference for me.

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answers from New York on

Mirena doesn't have estrogen, so it's not supposed to affect your milk supply. However, some people do find that even the "nursing friendly" hormonal birth control does make their supply drop, sometimes dramatically (this is why I used barrier methods while nursing myself). If nursing is important to you, I would have it removed, but only you can decide what is right for you!

I don't know if you've seen a lactation consultant, but there are many ways to increase your milk supply. Eat steel-cut oatmeal every morning, drink a beer (or take brewer's yeast), take fenugreek, drink More Milk Plus tea, drink LOTS of water. Also, try nursing your baby every 2 hours during the day (whether or not he seems hungry), as the suckling will help increase your supply. You can also pump every 2 hours in addition to nursing, but the nursing is much more effective. Nursing him doing skin-to-skin contact -- surprisingly, this can make a real difference.

Before 3 mos, even if you stopped breastfeeding entirely, you should be able to "relactate," so I'm sure you can get your supply back up! is a fantastic resource for all sorts of things about breastfeeding, including increasing supply. Good luck!

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answers from Nashville on

I wouldn't use any hormonal birth control. My doc said it does hurt your milk supply.

I have really bad low milk supply. My LC told me to try an herbal tea called Breastea. After the first day I went from pumping 1/2 ounce to 3 ounces. I'm now up to 5 ounces a pumping. You have to order it from their website at but boy has it made a big difference. Just make sure you are breastfeeding or pumping alot.


answers from Dallas on

I would lose the Mirena and drink tons of water. I've read you should eat lots of carbs too while breastfeeding. Keep encouraging him to nurse. Babies are far better at stimulating your milk supply than a pump. You might want to consult a lactation specialist or la leche league for help.

Even if he's only getting some breast milk with supplemental formula, he's still going to get the benefits.

Kudos to you for persevering! I remember being so frustrated with breastfeeding the first month or two but it did get easier. I posted a verse in my kitchen to encourage me, "A lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence." Proverbs 12:27. I tend to be a quitter when things get hard but I really wanted to breastfeed and reading this every day was a reminder to me not to give up.

However, don't make yourself crazy over it. Yes, breast is best, but not at the cost of your sanity. Formula fed babies grow up to be healthy and well too.



answers from New York on

I have not used Mirena but I had low milk supply and it dropped even more right around when I got my period back.

I had 2 NICU babies and low milk supply/pumping issues. Some things that help milk supply (other than the obvious ones like drinking water, eating well and resting) are Fenegreek (an herb you can get in capsules, take up to 3 capsules 3x a day), oatmeal, almonds, brewers yeast and lactation cookies (google for a recipe, they are yummy). I was also on a prescription medication called domperidone which helped a lot. I never got either of mine to exclusively breastfeed but they each got some breastmilk daily for several months each. I pumped for 10 months since my daughter could not breastfeed for medical reasons. Do as much as you realistically can and get expert advice sooner rather than later. Perhaps you can find a lactation consultant to help you use a supplemental nursing system (you tape a small tube with the formula to your breast for the baby to get used to nursing).



answers from New York on

I had the Mirena put in and it did not affect my milk supply at all. I have 2 boys 2 years apart. I exclusively pumped for both of them for 1 year. They both did not latch well and I was never able to BF them. I found it important to feed breastmilk for a year though. They were not preemies. It is possible to only pump and make it a long time. I would recommend joining the yahoo group "pumpmoms", it is a group of moms that pump and BF (some only pump) with a lot of knowledge. They can help recommend ways to boost your supply and also pumping techniques that will increase/maintain your current supply. Good is a lot of work, but well worth it.



answers from Rochester on

Yes, hormonal birth control where it is both estrogen and progesterone is related to decreased milk supply. They have progesterone only oral contraceptives. Although it doesn't work as well. I would speak to your health care provider about this.



answers from Indianapolis on

More than likely it has nothing to do with the Mirena. Solely pumping is totally different than actually breastfeeding. I know this as my twins were born at 27 weeks and I went through this myself. The nurses told me then about the difference in pumping and actual breastfeeding. Pumping doesn't stimulate your body the way breastfeeding does and this will eventually cause production to decrease. I was only able to pump 6-8 weeks before mine totally stopped and my kids have been perfectly normal with health. Keep doing it until your supply is totally gone. I've also heard drinking one beer a day helps production as well, not sure how that works so you may have to do some looking into it. Goodluck



answers from Providence on

Healthy nursing tea by secrets of tea is a natural solution to boost low milk flow. It tastes good and has no preservatives.

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