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Sudden drop in milk supply

  1. #1
    Coco is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Wanchai, Hong Kong

    Sudden drop in milk supply

    I've been bf for 4 weeks now and have had ample milk supply. baby was born 8 pounds and is now already 9 pounds. However, two days ago, she was nursing all evening and I didn't have any milk for her, my breasts were totally empty. I pumped the next morning and I could only pump less than an oz. I would of course like to continue bf, how do I increase my supply ? I already nurse in the night and also pump (but no much is coming out !), please help !!!!

  2. #2
    peainpod is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mid Levels

    I remember going through something similar with my baby during the first month or two (bubs is now almost 4 months) when he was nursing really really frequently and I wasn't even sure if he was getting any. But I found out that sometimes, they nurse like that, not b/c they are really that hungry, but so they can help bring your milk supply up.

    Also pumping is only an indicator - it's not a completely accurate picture of how much your breasts produce. (First bubs can get at least 30-40 mls more with sucking and secondly, milk flows more easily with nursing - esp if like most moms, you find pumping stressful.) Even now at 4 months with a stable milk supply, there will be days when I can pump a lot at one sitting and days when I get less than half that amount. I've learned not to worry so much about it and that in itself helps. (Stress can cause you to produce less milk.)

    The key thing is to keep nursing as much as possible. When I'm with bubs, I will always nurse him rather than give bottled EBM. Even for the dream feed that my husband gives to bubs, (and I use that time to pump for next evening's feed) I will always put him on my breast after he finishes the bottle (and I'm done pumping) - even if it's just for a few minutes so that he can get extra hind milk and my breasts get the extra stimulation to help maintain supply.

  3. #3
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    The way breastfeeding works is that your body replaces the milk the baby takes from your breasts. Usually you have between 1/3 and 1/4 more milk than your baby needs. This helps with the frequent days (also called growth spurts). From your description it sounds like your baby is going through a growth spurt - this is very normal and nothing to worry about - but it does mean you need to do more breastfeeding for a couple of days.

    If you truly need to increase your supply the best way is to get the baby to feed on your empty breasts. This sends the signal to your body to increase the supply. Changing sides during the feed also helps. So feed on one side until the baby comes off, then swap to the other side, then swap again. It is fine to swap sides six, seven, eight times in a feed. It usually takes about 36 to 48 hours for you notice the increase in your milk. So don't get discouraged if you seem to be doing nothing but breastfeeding for the next couple of days.

    Remember that the amount of milk you can pump is not the amount of milk you have. If the baby feeds directly he will be able to get much more milk. Pumping is very dependent on your emotions and how tired you are. If you are stressed and worried you won't be able to get much milk (sometime the worry of how much milk you'll get is enough to stop you getting any when pumping). This is because your hormone levels play a huge part in breastfeeding. These hormones work without any effort from you while you are breastfeeding directly but can be difficult when you are pumping.

    If you are finding pumping difficult at the moment go back to direct feeding for a few days and try the pumping again later.

    Best wishes,

    La Leche League Leader

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