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Milk supply decreases when mom's sick

  1. #1
    Jeanmom's Avatar
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    Milk supply decreases when mom's sick

    Hi all,

    I have had a very bad flu over the weekend and my milk supply has dropped a lot these two days, especially in the evening. My daughter was fussing at the breasts since she couldn't get any milk out and we needed to give her defrosted breastmilk instead. For the rest of the day, I am able to breastfeed her but my breasts are not as full and my let-down is very slow. (which makes my little one very fussy since she can't get the milk fast enough) I rest, drink a lot of fluids and stop taking any medication except for Tylenol but nothing helps. Even the pediatrician can't give me any advice. I've been sick several times since I had her but none of them decreased my milk supply like this.

    Is this normal? Will my milk supply resume back to normal once I am getting better?

    Thanks a lot!!

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Occasionally I have heard of the milk supply reducing when a mother is ill, especially if the mother’s illness causes her to become dehydrated herself. In all these cases the supply has bounced back up again once the mother is on the mend and feeling well again.

    Once your milk supply is established the way breastfeeding works is that you replace the milk removed. When we talk about a low supply – it isn’t really that you have no more milk but rather that the flow of milk has reduced. Babies get used to the rate off flow of their mothers whether this is fast or slow. (This is way giving bottles is a problem as the rate of flow from the bottle is often faster than from the mother – especially in the second part of the feed.) If for some reason, like being ill, the flow decreases and it takes the baby longer to get the milk, some babies will complain.

    The way to increase the flow rate (commonly known as increase the supply) is to get the baby to feed on the empty breast. This might be difficult it f the baby isn’t cooperative.

    One way is to try as the baby is sleepy – sleepy babies are often happier to suck on a slow flowing breast.

    If supplementing is required I’d suggest using a lactation aid, supply line or a supplementer (all the same thing but different names!)

    There are instructions for using a supplementer at, http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/5.html
    There is also a video on the web page http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/newman.shtml
    Under the title Lactation Aid.

    (In this video Dr Newman just uses the tube and puts it straight into the bottle. This works just as well as the Supplementer that Medela sell but it doesn't look as nice. Obviously for Medela to sell them to mothers more design had to go into it!)

    If you want to buy a supplementer ask for "Supplemental Nursing System" or a SNS.
    There is a picture of one at http://www.meridianhk.com.hk/special_feeding_main.html

    Medela also sell the feeding tube #8F and you can just get this and use the same method as Dr. Jack Newman if you want.

    This allows all the feeding to be done at the breast and so will keep the baby at the breast even though the flow has slowed down – thus building it up again.

    If you have any questions about this please call me at 2548-7636

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

  3. #3
    Jeanmom's Avatar
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    Thank you for your detailed post. It has been 3 days since my baby fusses at the breasts at her 6pm feeding. Like you said, the flow of the milk is much slower. If my baby is patient enough to suck (which she is during the rest of the day), I will have let-down and hear her swallowing. I will look into the supplementer if this doesn't resolve. Let's see what happens this evening.

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    I am having thesame poblem here. I had a old over the weekend, not even a bad one. Now my baby has cold and very annoyedwith me already! He is 3 months old and used to be good at sucking. Now he fall asleep or annoyed with me after 10 minutes which only means one thing, I think that my milk production is slower than usual. Is there any pill out there helping increase the milk production? He looks so happy and went straight to sleep after I gave him my stored frozen milk, otherwise he keepswaking up during the day time which I think because he ishungry!

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    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    The best way to increase you milk is to keep feeding the baby. Try to get him to feed a lot, especially when you breast is empty.

    The way breastfeeding works is that your body will replace the milk taken out. So generally your supply stays the same. In order to increase your milk you need to tell your body that it isn’t making enough – the best way to do this is to have the baby feed when you are empty. This method usually takes about two days to work.

    Giving the baby a bottle of stored milk won’t give your body the signal to increase production. Thus it is a quick fix to solve the baby’s problem that night but not a long term solution – only more breastfeeding will do that.

    You say that the baby is getting frustrated after about 10 minutes. This may not because you have less milk but because he has a cold. Babies with stuffy noses find it harder than normal to breastfeed and so stop sooner and of course wake up more often.

    There are galactagogues which are meant to help you increase your milk BUT these won’t work without the correct amount of stimulation from the baby.

    Miscellaneous Treatments – includes herbs that increase the milk supply
    http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/24pdf.pdf

    Domperidone
    http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/D...ombinedpdf.pdf

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

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    Jeanmom's Avatar
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    adahc,

    FYI, my body did go back to noraml after I recovered from the flu. I guess your problem is more because your baby is having a stuffy nose. He is not able to breath while he nurses. Do try to feed him more often in order to increase your milk supply.

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