Drop in milk supply breastfeeding

Sudden decrease in milk supply? Causes and how to get your milk back.

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It’s any breastfeeding mother’s worst nightmare – everything is starting to go smooth after maybe having a rough start with breastfeeding altogether and all of a sudden your milk supply drops and you are not able to feed your baby enough milk anymore.

Pumping milk doesn’t seem to help either because there is just nothing coming out.

There are a few very common causes for a sudden decrease in your milk supply and they are easy to fix.

So don’t you worry mama!

What are the signs of a sudden decrease in milk supply?

It might not be super obvious right away that you have a drop in your milk supply.

These are a few of the signs to look out for:

  • The baby doesn’t have enough wet diapers
  • Your breast feels very empty or deflated 
  • Your baby is very hungry all the time 
  • You aren’t feeling a let down anymore
  • Your baby is getting more fussy in the evening
  • Your baby seems not satisfied after a feeding
  • Your baby eats a lot shorter

Now not all of these symptoms mean you have a drop in your supply.

It is also very possible that your baby is going through a growth spurt with cluster feeding, is teething, just wants to eat more often for comfort or uses you as a pacifier.

In those cases the supply will adjust to your baby’s needs which might take a few days.

What causes a sudden drop in milk supply?

A drop in breastmilk supply can have one of a few of these following reasons:

Not Nursing on Demand

Are you a mom that is feeding strictly by the clock making sure that your baby is eating every 3 hours down to the second?

You might be hurting your milk supply.

Instead of stalking the clock it might be a good idea to try on demand feeding meaning you just feed your baby as soon as it shows signs of being hungry.

The more you actively look for those clues the better you will be able to react to your baby and get a good rhythm. 

Your breastmilk will adjust accordingly and produce exactly the amount your baby needs. 

To make sure you don’t forget when you fed your baby last you can download this super useful breastfeeding tracker:

Track breastfeeding printable
Buy my product

This might also be interesting:
– Breastfeeding benefits for baby and mom
– How to stop breastfeeding your 1 year old at night
– Interesting facts about breastfeeding
– Breastfeeding must-haves
– Are protein shakes safe while breastfeeding?

Baby doesn’t latch right

If your baby doesn’t latch onto your breast completely it can’t express your breast milk effectively and might end up fussy feeling hungry still while you might be wondering if you aren’t producing enough.

Not latching properly can have a few causes including a tongue tie in your newborn’s mouth – but don’t worry that is a easy procedure to cut it which makes it easier for your little one to latch on.

Make sure your baby takes the whole areola in their mouth while drinking.

You can read more tips and tricks about Breastfeeding in general here:

Have a easy start with breastfeeding (LINK)

Aunt Flo

Is it that time of the month where you have your period?

Don’t worry, it’s common to see a decrease in milk supply during your period and everything should go back to normal once it is over.

H3 You’re not drinking enough

Making sure you are hydrated is important for every human being and especially for pregnant or nursing women.

If you do not drink enough water where is your body supposed to take the water from it needs for the milk production?

Make sure you always have some water nearby when you are feeding your baby and stay hydrated to keep your milk supply high.

Herbs affecting your milk supply

Some herbs can decrease breastmilk supply.

These are some of the herbs you stay away from to make sure your supply won’t drop (if you digest them in large amounts):

  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Lemon balm
  • Parsley
  • Black Walnut

Large amounts of these may decrease your milk supply but you are totally fine to use them in your meals as usual for cooking.

But don’t start drinking gallons of peppermint tea ok? (this could actually help more with weaning later)

Your baby started eating solids

This is actually a good and totally normal reason for a decrease in your breastmilk supply.

Once your baby starts eating other food than milk with purees or baby led weaning there is simply not as much milk needed and your breasts will adjust to the new lower demand in breast milk and produce less.

If they wouldn’t I could imagine it being pretty painful.

Too much exercise

Are you doing a lot of exercising to get rid of that last bit of baby fat that is still on your stomach or butt?

Good for you!

But you should not overdo it – excessive sports and sweating in the process could actually hurt your milk supply.

Not eating enough calories 

If you don’t eat enough your buddy doesn’t have the energy to produce any milk. Sounds logical right?

Supplementing with formula 

Some moms start to supplement with formula either during the night or because it’s easier on the go but it can actually hurt your milk supply.

 your breasts produce milk  tailored to your baby as much as it needs.

 when you start supplementing with formula there’s  less demand and therefore  your breasts will produce less.

Lack of sleep

I know,  I know –  which mom is not tired all the time once you had your baby?

If you do have a serious lack of sleep your body does not have the time to re-energize. 

Don’t ever be afraid to ask friends or family for help when you are in desperate need of a nap.

I assure you they will be happy to take the baby off your hands for a few hours and you will feel so much better.

Wrong size flange

If you’re pumping breast milk and use the wrong size for the flange causing it to be too small or too big the pumping won’t be optimal.

 resulting in less milk you can pump out and can actually hurt while you pump.

 the flange should fit just right over your nipples.

 usually breast pumps come with a manual showing you exactly how to measure the size of the flange that you need.

Stress

 adjusting to being a mom can be hard and stressful.

 your whole life just changed.

 for me it was very hard to just accept that I couldn’t do a lot of the household chores as I used to with a newborn baby in the house that needs my attention.

 or maybe you have way too many visitors and are just overwhelmed.

 take it easy and try not to stress.

You are drinking too much caffeine

 caffeine is totally fine to drink while breastfeeding in moderation.  if you consume too much caffeine it can dehydrate your body and  therefore lower the production of milk.

  it can also affect your baby.

 caffeine passes through the breastmilk and can cause sleep problems.

might end up being very irritated and not feeding properly which can make your supply go down.

 is there an alternative you can use decaffeinated coffee for the taste  and sparkling water instead of soda  or soda without caffeine. 

Hormones

Have you recently started using hormonal birth control again?

 the hormone estrogen that is part of birth control can significantly decrease your breast milk supply.

 you can talk to your Ob-Gyn for alternatives with low estrogen or birth control completely without hormones. 

You didn’t pump when you missed a feed

Especially at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey missing a nursing session can have a big impact.

When you skip a feeding and do not pump to make up for it your breast will adjust to the new demand and possibly start producing less milk than before.

FAQ

Does a sudden decrease in breast milk supply mean I can breastfeed anymore?

In some rare cases yes but usually you can get your supply back up with a little change. (could be diet, more water intake…)

Can your milk supply just dry up?

It might not ever completely dry up but if there is actually no milk coming out anymore you can re-lactate and start breastfeeding again. This takes a lot of willpower and discipline and is best to consult a lactation consultant.

What foods can increase milk supply?

Oatmeal or Oat milk, Fennel seeds, Breastfeeding tea, Lactation cookies – just to name a few.

Should I keep pumping if there’s no milk coming out?

When pumping breast milk you are supposed to pump until no more milk comes out and a little longer if you are trying to get your supply up. Usually 15 minutes of pumping per session is more than enough.

Is it normal for milk supply to decrease?

Yes, totally normal especially when you are somewhere around the six month mark. Your baby will start eating solids and not needing that much milk anymore, you might return to work and pump and your hormones will start to regulate themselves again.

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What to do with a sudden decrease in milk supply while breastfeeding

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