Huge supply drop at 6 months? — The Bump
Breastfeeding

Huge supply drop at 6 months?

marijaa333marijaa333
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edited November 2015 in Breastfeeding
Hello moms! I've had pretty much every BF issue in the book (baby with tongue and lip tie, low supply as a result, then mastitis and oversupply) but have been happily nursing and pumping at work for nearly three months now. My son is nearly 6.5 months, and he's been exclusively breastfed, although we've introduced some baby cereal and fruits and veggies in the last 3-4 weeks.

Up until a week ago, my supply was awesome. I had 5+ extra oz every day, which was helping to build a freezer stash. Over the past week, both my son and I got some kind of stomach bug, and he went for a few days with about half of the milk he normally drinks. Now we're both back to normal, and I can meet his demand but my breasts are ALWAYS totally soft and when I tried expressing a bit of milk this morning, I only got a single ounce of milk, whereas normally I could get 3-6oz at that time of day.

Is this a normal adjustment or the beginning of the end? I would like to drop pumping at work to only once a day and continue to otherwise nurse at home and bring back whatever I pump, but I'm afraid of totally losing my milk if I don't ramp up the pumping. Am I worried over nothing?  It wouldn't be the end of the world if we had to switch to formula, but i'd like to continue giving him at least some breastmilk for another 3-6 months if possible.

Re: Huge supply drop at 6 months?

  • Milk supply adjusts very quickly. As long as baby continues to nurse you will continue to make milk. It's just a dip in production because for a few days boobs got the signal that baby didn't need as much. Since supply is down now would be a good time to pump once at work like you want to.
    marijaa333
  • Thanks @NurseRieger

    It's been four days now and I am not really seeing an improvement yet.... :(
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  • I came down with a little cold which I shook off a few days ago, I've noticed a drop myself. Trying Gatorade and milk maid tea today to see if that helps and added an extra pumping session at work last night. I already formula supplement because of working full time. I really do want to continue keeping LO mostly breastfed though.
  • Hope you've had some success, @NurseRieger!  My LO was starving and was up every hour last night until 2am... I also started taking the "more milk plus" supplement; not sure whether it was the LO nursing so often, or the supplement, but my supply is slightly better than a few days ago. 

     Hope it continues to improve for both of us!
  • Well I've bounced back and then some. Normally got 4oz each 15mins pumping session then couldn't squeeze out more than 3oz. After adding the 3rd pump the other night and then just straight nursing, my last 4 pumps I've gotten 5oz each time! I think hydration is the most important factor aside from BFing /pumping often. Also looking at pics of the baby on my phone rather than checking email, paying bills, etc helps production. Keep that baby at the breast and keep taking in lots of fluids and you should get back to normal!
    marijaa333crsanchez87
  • I agree with PP and just wanted to add that I noticed a dip in supply at 6 months and started to get really worried because I really would like to make it to a year. I started to take lactation supplements in all various forms. LO is now 8 months and my supply is back up and actually better than before. I have heard the 6 month supply dip is pretty common and can happen for a variety of reasons tied to development and outside circumstances. Try not to stress too much about it and just keep doing what youre doing!
    marijaa333Cook3133
  • you mentioned a couple things 
    your boobs felt softer- this is not always a sign that you dont have enough milk
    you also mentioned about pumping less, this can show a decrease but what research as showed us is that pumping is not as efficient as a baby in taking milk from the breast.

    The breasts work like this- supply and demand.... what ever is taken from the breast will be restored- so if you feel you have low milk supply a day of nursing short and frequent feeds is sure to bring up the supply.
    However you also mentioned your baby is eating solids- this can dramatically change the milk supply as your baby is taking less from the breast as his stomach is full from solids.
    this is normal- and your breasts may be readjusting to this change and will be making less milk but enough for your babies needs.
    if your baby is showing signs that he has not had enough milk from your breasts, 
    you can always try the other side and keep switching breasts so that they empty properly and refill, you can also try breast compression as you nurse..

    good luck!

    crsanchez87kerris713marijaa333
  • Back to 6oz this morning! I ended up going back to see my LC and she suggested hand expressing every hour for 5 minutes for 24 hours. I also bought More Milk Plus on her recommendation and I seem to be back to normal now.

    He's not eating very much solids (half a cup a day tops) at this point... 
  • Question on the more milk plus, is this something you continue to take or just do the one bottle?
  • @Cook3133  Good question, I don't know! I think you take it until the supply is back up, and then again if it drops.
  • I take my lactation booster every day during the week and give myself a break over the weekends
  • So I've figured out that it's not actually my supply. It's that my nearly- 7 month-old is a milk guzzling machine. I had to be away for work for 4.5 days and could express around 32 oz of milk per day. Meanwhile, he was eating that much plus 1-2 servings of solids (made with extra 6oz of milk) while I was gone.

    I'm just going to give myself a mental break and do what I can, but know that this kid is growing and obviously needs calories other than from milk. :-) 

    NurseRieger
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