Substantial Decrease in Milk Supply After Only 2 Months

Updated on November 28, 2011
A.Z. asks from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
16 answers

Hi, my daughter is just shy of 2 months and is exclusively breast fed. With my first daughter I had an abundance of milk- too much, in fact, and so I've been taking my milk supply for granted this time around. For example, I have missed feedings by letting others feed her expressed milk, but I haven't pumped at that feeding in order to keep up my milk supply. Unfortunately, the past few days I don't think I've been making much milk at all. Normally, she eats from one side only and when I pump the other side, I get 3-4 ounces. For two days now, I either get half an ounce or nothing from the other breast. Also, while I was pumping, my let down reflex was stimulated and only 1 ounce came out.

I'm not sure what to do. Any advice on how to increase my milk supply, or is it too late? I'm going to try to nurse my daughter more frequently over the next few days, but she's not one to latch on or even nibble if she's not hungry. Please help. I breast fed my first daughter for a year and I really want to be able to do the same for my second.

Thank you

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So What Happened?

Wow, thank you for the advice. One detail I did not include is that my daughter has never nursed for very long. She only nurses on one side at each feeding and will nurse for a maximum of 7 minutes. She seems to be an efficient eater because she generally seems satisfied after her feedings, slept fairly well and has been gaining weight well. I assumed that she got about 3 ounces per feeding (which is about what she can drink from a bottle), since I pumped about that much from the breast that she did not nurse from. Now that I'm only pumping half an ounce to one ounce, I'm worried. Today, I tried to feed her as often as possible, although at one of her afternoon feedings she just screamed at my breast - without even trying to suck. Assuming she was starving, we gave her a bottle and she drank 4 ounces. I will not give up and keep feeding her on demand - I'll also drop the bottle for a while. Thanks again ladies and let me know if there is anything else I should be doing.

More Answers


answers from Tampa on

I would take a break from letting other people feed your breastfed daughter... you may feel you are being nice to others or giving yourself a break - but all you are doing is sabotaging your body's only source of stimulation letting you know how much is needed to be made to satisfy your infant. There will be plenty of opportunity to allow others to feed her much later once your milk supply is stabilized or when you return to work. In the mean time, breastfeed on demand and pump the other side... don't worry about what you pump.

What the pump is able to express is barely 25% of what is actually in your breast... it's a machine, not a specially designed infant suckling. Feeding on demand and exclusively is the EASIEST way to increase your milk supply. Don't stress about lack of supply, because unless you are allowing another person to feed her more than twice a day, you should have nothing to worry about. By month 3-4, most Moms cannot even pump out more than an ounce anyways... so use this time to stockpile milk in the freezer for future use, not current use. There are drugs you can use (Blessed Thistle WITH Fenugreek) but I don't think that is your issue...

I breastfed my first past toddler hood and have a 3 month old currently nursing. I've studied lactation for the last 5 years and am only waiting for the CLC licensure to be in my area at a time in which I can both afford it and can take off from work/school - so I'm not only experienced, but have also learned the actual basics and anatomy of breastfeeding also.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Nurse nurse nurse and nurse again

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

As others have said, feed her at every feeding and your milk supply will automatically boost again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Anita,

Its NOT too late and its very possible your baby is in a growth spurt and is more effective at breastfeeding--she may be emptying most of both breasts. I would increase your water intake, take some Mother's Milk tea(whole foods) and relax. Feed her on demand and don't let any others feed her until you have gotten your supply back up. No more bottles of bm for a while and you will see your increase in a few days. Hang in there!!!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I doubt your milk supply has diminished as much as you think. You can't judge it by how much you pump because the pump is never as efficient as the baby's suck. If she's not acting hungry, she's not. But, start nursing her on both sides for as long as she will stand it for the next week. You are only 7 or 8 weeks into this, and it takes 12 or so to get things on schedule.

In any case, don't stress about it. You won't just "stop making milk" because of a missed feeding or two. It's all supply and demand, and as long as you keep her off the bottle for a while, you shouldn't have any trouble. if you NEED to pump to store milk for later, pump between feedings. it will take a few days to meet that demand and you might not get much the first few times, but be patient, you will start making more milk to pump soon. Fenugreek and/or Mother's Milk tea and lots of rest and lots of fluids are your best bet now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

It is not too late.
Keep feeding her when she wants - you can keep up with her needs. If you feel like she is well fed, then you can pump after feeding, or just keep up with her needs for a while.
Keep drinking lots of fluids - your supply will drop if you get dehydrated.

For some perspective:
My little guy was a preemie, I had a c-section (not by choice) and the combination of the two meant that I supplemented with formula for some time after he was born, as he could not nurse long enough to get enough food without getting too tired. I got a late start on the pumping (as he was in the NICU for a 9 days, and with the c-section I did not pump like I could have), and it took about a month to catch up to what he needed. 2oz of formula a day is what he ended up getting. It was really frustrating for me, as he is my 3rd - the other two got only breast milk for the first year+. I did finally catch up with his intake, and have been able to maintain that supply.

During the time of under-supply I did searching online, and while many places say that your supply gets set at some point, I do not believe that to be the case. Your body adjusts to what the baby needs.

So - try not to stress, and spend some good time nursing your little one. It will work out in the end. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Put her at breast, more often/on-demand.
Don't let others feed her.
The more you replace a bottle of expressed milk, instead of direct nursing, your milk will diminish. Your boobs will think, baby is not feeding as much nor needs to.

Try using both breasts as well.
At least, that is what I was told, and what my kids as babies did, and they would drain both breasts.

Also, drink adequate water. This helps.

Direct nurse your baby, more often/on-demand, day and night, 24/7.

UNLESS, maybe she is not latching on properly, hence not getting enough milk and/or stimulating your boobs.
IS she, latching on properly?
Do you SEE her, actually sucking and drinking and swallowing????
If not, see a Lactation Consultant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Nursing more frequently definetly helps, if you need more of a boost, I'd try Fenugreek tablets. My OB recommended them to me after my 2nd baby. I take 2 in the morning and 2 at night, but I've heard of women taking them 3 x's a day. You'd have to see what works for you. You can find them at health food stores. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Pumping is never as efficient as a baby. has great info about increasing supply and pumping tips. I found that eating oatmeal breakfast cookies, drinking Mother's Milk tea, being hydrated, and being rested helped. Also, make sure that your pump is in working order. A valve a little off or a tube a little kinked may impact your pumping ability. I would nurse, nurse, nurse. Demand increases supply. Go by what she tells you (with her behavior, her wet and dirty diapers) and not by the ounces in a bottle. I had days at work where I barely got an ounce on a side but DD was well-fed and happy.

Edit to add that you might try pumping some so she gets more hind milk. If she is teething in any way (my DD started teething very young) it might be that. Try getting the most into her/nursing longest when she's sleepy (first thing in the AM, half asleep at night). My DD was always a very efficient eater. Some moms report they nurse for 30 minutes. DD was done in 10, one side only (I started block feeding because I had overactive letdown. I used a hair tie on my wrist to remind me which side she left off). She was focused. Maybe your DD is the same. Also, not that you want to deny her or confuse her, but sometimes they just want to suck and a pacifier might help. Babies can overeat because they'll drink a bottle if that's what's there to suck on. Just something to consider. My DD wasn't ever huge on pacifiers, but my nephew is a big paci baby (and his mom was a thumbsucker). Hang in there.



answers from San Diego on

You can also rent a scale for a week from a lactation consultant to see how much she is eating. That way you know for sure. Could be she is getting more and you are pumping less or you aren't pumping much for what ever reason. I know I change every once in a while but when I use the scale, I find she is just eating more or less and everything adjusts itself in a few days. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Just keep allowing her to latch on when she needs to. Your milk supply will keep up with her.

Don't let others feed her expressed milk. Really, just stop pumping altogether. There are other ways for loved ones to bond with baby than feeding her.



answers from Salinas on

Hi Anita, I know how concerned you must be but you CAN increase your milk supply again. I had the same issue when my daughter was her age. You are going to have to work REALLY hard though. My baby girl was not a strong nurser in the beginning months so I had to work really hard to bring my milk supply up since nursing her alone was not enough. There ARE supplements you can take that really helped me. I drank Mothers Milk Tea that you can get at most vitamin stores. I also nursed and pumped like crazy. One day (one WHOLE day, 24 hours) you should try to get into bed with your baby girl and lay skin to skin with her. This alone is very stimulating for milk production along with nursing your baby AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. In between nursing, PUMP PUMP PUMP. Hopefully if you are working you have a couple days off with the holiday and can do this. In 24 hours you should notice an increase in milk. Don't give up, trust me, you can do it you just have to work really hard at it for the next couple days. Just to make you feel better, I nursed my daughter one month shy of her being 2 years old (which was almost 2 months ago). In the beginning I thought the same thing and worried the same worry but I know you can do it. Good luck to you and your baby girl!!!



answers from New York on

A pump is not an accurate estimate of how much milk your baby gets when she is nursing. What happens when the baby nurses? Is she eating a normal amount of time and seeming satisfied at the breast? I would continue nursing at the breast as often as she wants to eat. I would not pump to replace feedings unless you need to, to go to work and leave milk behind. You can pump in addition to your feedings to try to boost supply, but I'm not convinced that you need to because you seem to be basing this idea of decreased supply on pumping rather than nursing. If your baby was not getting enough at the breast, she would be hungry much more often and crying at the breast.



answers from Lafayette on

Keep breastfeeding as much as possible.

I was also told by a lactation consultant that there has been research with moms who placed a breast pump in a common area of the house. Every time they came across the pump they had to pump each breast for just 2 minutes. They actually had a greater milk supply in the long run than women who pumped around 15 minutes every 2 hours.

So keep up the stimulation whether it's by baby or pump. Supply and demand.



answers from Las Vegas on

No more expressed milk for at least a few days, nurse only. If your milk supply really is decreasing, that will get it back to where it needs to be. And if she isn't getting enough, she will nurse more often, which is exactly what you want right now. I had the lowest milk supply ever (not breastfeeding for a month after my son was born and then relactating was probably part of it), but I breastfed exclusively for two years (after that first month). Whenever my supply dipped, I was able to get it back up by nursing, and he always got enough to eat.



answers from San Diego on

eat oatmeal or other whole grains
drink lots and lots of water and then some more
don't stress too much while feeding or pumping. if pumping, keep her nearby. (so your body stays in tune with your baby being near)

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