Breast Milk Slowing Down

Bianca - posted on 10/15/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son is 7 and a half months old and he has started on solid foods at 6 months old. He gets cereal in the morning, a jar of food for lunch and cereal before he goes to bed. He barely breastfeeds during the day anymore and at night is when he'll wake up a couple times to breastfeed and that is when all my milk comes in. For the past while now it seems that my milk has just slowed down basically to a stop. When my son wakes up to feed during the night there is no milk flow and he gets frustrated and has trouble falling back to sleep. I've tried pumping my breast multiple times and the most I'll get out of both breasts is 2 ounces which is not nearly enough to satisfy him. I'm worried that he's not getting enough and I worry that he'll become sick because of it. He will not take a bottle. I've tried for months now with both expressed breast milk and formula but he wont take the bottle at all. What should I do in a situation like this? Any suggestions moms?


Hanna - posted on 10/17/2009




well, it's normal for your milk supply to slow down. so to keep it up, you do need to keep either feeding or pumping. if your baby is eating solids, then pump & store for those night time feedings. i had to exclusively pump & give (not by choice, my son just wouldn't latch on), but now at almost 8 months the majority of his diet is solids & he eats milk only 3 times a day (about 18-20 oz per day all together) and he refuses to eat milk by itself, so i have to either add banana or cereal to it for him to take it otherwise it's too liquid.

what i would suggest is to pump & store and switch those night feedings to bottle (maybe breastfeed before u put him down for the night but the one in the middle of the night give in the bottle so that you are not taking him out of the crib) -- it'll help you get some sleep (which you need to have milk) and will help him sleep through the night so that those night feedings aren't even an issue anymore.

also to keep in mind, your baby needs about 18-25 oz of breast milk per day to maintain healthy development & to get all those vitamins.nutrients in and as u feed him solids, u still need to give him those 18-25 oz per day (if you make more, great, if not, you can compensate the rest in solid foods). there is a misconception that women are cows and are designed to produce these enormous amounts of milk. yes they technically can, but that puts a huge strain on ur kidneys, hair & teeth (believe me, i went through this with my 4.5 months old who is now almost 8 months but at 4 months i was producing 35-40 oz of milk daily and by 4.5 months it still wasn't enough and i started losing hair like crazy (it was everywhere -- streaks would fall out every time i took a shower, brushed my hair or simply adjusted the rubber band on the pony tail). as your child starts on solids, slowly but surely, you're moving towards the phase where breast milk is a supplement rather than primary source of food so that when he turns one, it can be eliminated all together without serious detrimental effects on the baby. if you feel that you need to increase your milk supply, you do need to breastfeed your baby more often or pump in those hours when he's eating solids. however, if you are producing the 20-25 oz, technically, u don't need to. your baby does get enough nutrients from your milk so just keep feeding him solids.

and if you do need to increase milk supply u need to do the following (i had to do it for a while trying to regulate milk supply with a breast pump so tried every trick in the book): get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids (those same 8 8oz cups that you were drinking while pregnant, you should be drinking now, or at least close to it), then you might want to try one of few of the following -- different things work for different people:

introduce oatmeal, fennel & dark tea into ur diet or fennel seed tea (tastes nasty but helps) -- those supposed to increase milk supply, then there's ginger which stimulates letdown (except careful if u're on ur period, it's also an anti-coagulant so u're not supposed to take it after operation as it stops blood from clotting so u might get longer, heavier periods); a glass of dark beer like guinness or even bass a day also helps milk to increase (in ireland & belgium they actually give it to women in hospitals to make milk come in), i would drink it when u have at least 6 hours before the next feeding/pumping. and if all else fails, there's fenugreek -- it's an herb u buy in health food stores (whole foods carries it in capsules and so does GNC, just get the generic brand as it's about 1/2 price). good luck!

p.s. forgot to add -- you should be feeding/pumping every 3-4 hours (if it's 2 oz great, if it's 4 great but u need to keep doing it the more u empty out the more it will be replaced so make sure that u fully empty out your breasts at every pumping where the breasts are completely soft -- if they aren't, do breast massage & pump some more or walk around 3-5 minutes & pump some more, i actually found that i get out more if i pump 1 breast at a time rather than 2 together & alternate 2-3 times to make sure that everything comes down). i should also mention that i do give myself 7-8 hours of rest at night and been doing that since almost day 1 (my husband did the middle of the night feedings & i stayed up till 2 to pump & woke up by 8-9 but got at least 6 solid hours of sleep in between) and in the morning, my milk supply would be double what it is at any other time during the day.

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Racheal - posted on 10/18/2009




Pump pump pump! I would suggest every 2 hours if possible. I had the same problem with my little girl at about 8-9 months, but I was able to continue to breast feed her untill she was 14 months old and we were both ready to stop. If the frequent pumping doesn't help build your supply the is a supplement available at GNC that is called Fenugreek. I took it for about 2 weeks and there was a drastic increase in my milk supply after just a few days. When I stoped taking the herbal supplement my milk supply stayed in abundance. I am a pediatric nurse and was reccomended this supplement by a lactaion consultant that I worked with. My pediatrician approved me using it but he didn't think it would help as much as it did. I credit my being able to continue nursing my daughter to the fact that I found out about Fenugreek. Good Luck and don't give up.....

Ginger - posted on 10/17/2009




Like the other mothers have said your milk is supply and demand.. feed your son more often to bring back your milk supply.. he deffinatly should be getting more milk in his diet.. when my milk supply dips I use mothers milk tea.. It works like a charm for me.. good luck

Michelle - posted on 10/17/2009




I would say definitely breast feed before you feed him his solids meals. My daughter is eating solids twice a day right now and breastfeeding 4- 6 times a day. We moved up to that about a month ago, but were doing one a day for 2 months prior. If you breastfeed before you eat solids then you are making sure he is getting his breast milk. It may take a little while to get your milk back, but keep pumping and keep feeding. It's hard but try not to get frustrated. At first you won't get very much milk. You can also try having a beer a day or getting some more milk plus to increase your milk supply. Remember being stressed out will affect your supply as well so hang in there and it should be fine. Good luck!

Delyse - posted on 10/16/2009




no way. he should be having 3 meals a day by now for sure with solids. and having veges at night and milk last at night. by about 8 months you can offer solids first if they are hungry because sometimes they are too hungry and frustrated to drink from the breast.

Lynlee - posted on 10/16/2009




Like Sara said, you should breastfeed him before you offer him solids and also in between meals. He sounds like he is eating a lot of solids for one who only started 6 weeks ago.

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At that age he should be getting most of his calories from breastmilk. Offer him the breast before he eats his solids. If he doesn't eat a lot of solids, that's ok because your milk is higher in calories than his solids. Your milk is supply and demand so if you nurse less your body will make less milk. You could try offering the milk in a sippy cup. Some babies that won't take bottles will drink from a cup.

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