Breastfeeding and afraid my milk supply is decreasing after 6 months

Rachael - posted on 12/30/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have been breastfeeding my son since he was born. He is now 6 months old. I have introduced cereal and just a couple of other foods. He is still breastfeed each time he eats solids plus an additional 2-3 times a day on demand. I don't think he is drinking less but by the time his dinner and before bed feeding rolls around my supply seems low. Has anyone else's milk supply decreased at 6 months? If so what did you do to boost your supply? I want to keep breastfeeding until he's at least a year so any tips are greatly appreciated.

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Desiree' - posted on 12/31/2009

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I had this exact same thought..... Your milk supply is actually fine... Although it seems like you aren't producing the same amount because you aren't getting engorged and maybe you don't feel "let down" as often, you really are producing enough in most cases. I'm speaking in reference to my own experience, and research I did when I though my supply went down. :) At around 6 months of age, and especially when introducing solids, a Mothers feeling of "let down" and engorgement is dramatically reduced, yet does not affect AT ALL the production of the milk supply. I was totally worried because even when I pumped, I could only get an ounce or sometimes even a half ounce out. So I thought I was totally dry!! But my ped assured me, and also the research I did reassured me that it was normal, and that my milk was strictly supply and demand. Which also explains why it may seem less but in actuallity isn't... It's strictly just what your baby is drinking.
This is all just what I researched myself when I had this issue, and what others have told me, I hope it helps in some way.... but if you think that maybe you do have a low supply or are losing your milk entirely, you should ask your pediatrician. I would ask anyway... :) Just another notion, my breasts went from being "BIG" all the time, to floppy... lol for lack of a better word... so I totally thought I wasn't producing as much milk anymore, but in fact I was. Its just another weird thing us Moms endure. :) Good luck!

Jane - posted on 12/16/2011

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The easiest way to increase milk supply is to " go to bed with baby". Spend a day breastfeeding as often as possible. Get some help with other kids/ housework/ meals or whatever might make this difficult and spend a quiet day with baby on boobs, your milk will increase substantially. Hope this helps.

Aicha - posted on 12/30/2009

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I'm pumping my milk to feed my baby, but my supply is going down. What can I do?

How baffling! You are working to provide your milk for your baby and you are running into some challenges. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your milk supply. Review this list of possible solutions to see what might be beneficial for your situation.

* There are several factors involved in pumping that might be causing a lower supply. You could look into renting a hospital-quality breast pump (like a Medela Classic or Hollister SMB) from a local La Leche League Leader or lactation consultant. These are comfortable and efficient pumps. Check the LLLI Online Store or with your local Leader for other pumps that mothers find effective.
* Try pumping both your breasts at the same time. Special adapter kits are available for pumps or two small hand-held pumps can be used. This double stimulation not only saves time but also greatly increases prolactin, the hormone needed for milk production.
* Some mothers find it helps to take some time to prepare for pumping. Try using relaxation techniques, breast massage, and warm compresses for a few minutes before pumping. Stress and tension, as well as cool body temperature, can inhibit the milk ejection reflex and make pumping less productive.
* Engage as many senses as possible. Look at a picture of your baby. Inhale your baby's scent from a recently worn article of clothing. Listen to a tape recording of your baby's voice. Call your baby's caregiver and ask about your baby prior to pumping to help your milk flow more easily.
* More short pumping sessions are more efficient than fewer longer ones.
* For working mothers night feedings can be a good time to build up your milk supply by keeping your baby in bed with you for all or part of the night. It's a great way to catch up on bonding time, too.
* Make sure you are getting good nutrition, adequate fluid, and lots of rest. This is a challenging time and it is important to take care of you. Allow others to help you with your responsibilities while you focus on your baby.
* Attend a La Leche League meeting. There you will meet other mothers and get lots of support for your situation.
* Milk is produced according to the law of supply and demand so the more frequently you breastfeed or pump, the more milk you will make. Ten to twelve breastfeeding or pumping sessions per day is a good goal to aim for.
* If your baby is having a growth spurt or you have been under a lot of stress, an "at home vacation" might be very helpful. Use this time off to do nothing but breastfeed your baby as often as possible and rest. The increased stimulation and extra rest will help to build your supply.
* Focus on keeping life as simple as possible at this crucial time. Cut back on outside commitments. Ask for help with housework and childcare from the rest of the family.
* Make sure you're eating and drinking enough. And most important, get plenty of rest and breastfeeding time in when you and your baby are together.
* Another way to increase milk supply is to avoid supplementary bottles and pacifiers. This encourages your baby to meet all his sucking needs at your breasts. Doing this will help to increase your supply. Of course, if supplements are required to avoid dehydration or to ensure adequate weight gain, you will want to give them.
* Another idea is called "super switch nursing." When you and baby are together you can try this technique to help increase your milk supply. It can also be done when pumping with one pump flange. This involves switching sides two or three times during each feeding. Mothers can watch the baby's sucking and switch to the other breast as soon as the sucking begins to slow down. Repeating this several times during the breastfeeding increases breast stimulation and let down.

Additional Resources

Attend a La Leche League Group meeting in your area for additional information and support. To find a Leader of a local Group, visit Finding a Local LLL Group.

Read this section of our Web site, Milk Supply Issues for other mothers' experiences.

Additional ideas for increasing your milk supply are in the FAQ "How Can I Increase My Milk Supply?".

These items may be available from the LLLI Online Store or from your local Leader.

THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, published by La Leche League International, is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother.

Pumps, storage bags and other devices for easier pumping and storing of milk are also available from the LLLI Online Store.

A Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk Provides detailed information on common reasons mothers use breast pumps and considerations that might make one type of pump preferable over another. Includes ways to establish and maintain a good milk supply; suggestions to help make returning to work easier; human milk storage information; and addresses common questions.

Expressing Your Milk Includes two pamphlets, Practical Hints for Working and Breastfeeding and A Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk, helpful to mothers who need to pump or express their milk. Also contains a tear-off sheet that explains the Marmet Technique of Manual Expression.

Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor. Mothers who have decided to combine breastfeeding with working will find this an immensely helpful and reassuring book. The author includes practical information about planning for and returning to employment, clear concise tips on breastfeeding, pumping, storing, and transporting milk, and possible alternatives to full time employment such as job sharing, working from home, and staying home full time. The book suggests numerous ways mothers can build and maintain closeness with their babies in spite of separation. (Softcover, 184 pages)

BREASTFEEDING YOUR PREMATURE BABY by Gwen Gotsch. This LLLI book offers clear and concise information about how to breastfeed the premature baby and why breastfeeding is so important for these tiny infants. BREASTFEEDING YOUR PREMATURE BABY gives basic breastfeeding information as well as complete information on pumping, milk storage, and feeding your baby. With complete references and resource list. (Softcover, 56 pages)

DEFINING YOUR OWN SUCCESS: BREASTFEEDING AFTER BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY, by Diana West. A wealth of information on supplementation, pumping and increasing milk supply.

Our FAQs present information from La Leche League International on topics of interest to parents of breastfed children. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's lifestyle. This information is general in nature and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise. If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader. Please consult health care professionals on any medical issue, as La Leche League Leaders are not medical practitioners.
Last updated February 21, 2007 by jlm.

Page last edited Sun Oct 14 09:31:02 UTC 2007.

[deleted account]

Quoting Rachael:

Sara - I was worried about my supply being low because my breasts feel empty by the evening. What concerned me today though is pumping for his cereal at dinner. I have not had a problem with pumping milk for his cereal and I do it immediately before he eats it. Tonight I couldn't even pump an ounce (I needed about 1 1/2 ounces). I ended up hand expressing and was not very gentle about it because I was frustrated and desperate to get enough out for his cereal.

I have been breastfeeding after solids. Is that bad? He seems to drink just as much as he used to even after eating solids.



I think your question about milk supply decreasing at 6 months got answered...the recommendation from LLL is to breastfeed before offering solids.  That will ensure that baby's getting plenty of breastmilk instead of filling up completely on solids, but if he still seems to breastfeed plenty then I wouldn't worry.  My daughter is almost 8 months and is still EBF.  I definitely don't feel as full as I used to (which I think other moms have said) but I know my supply is good because my daughter is growing well, has plenty of wet diapers, etc.  I'm still able to pump large amounts, but I know that not everyone can.  I have a manual pump and I gently massage while pumping.  I've never used an electric pump, but I've heard moms that have used both say that they like the manual one better. 

Rachael - posted on 01/01/2010

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Thank you everyone! This helps a lot! My son seems satisfied when he breastfeeds and he's definitely growing well (he's almost 20 lbs). :o) What worried me was when I pumped for his cereal and couldn't get much of anything and I now have the "floppy" breasts lol. It's reassuring to know that it's just my body changing and that my supply is ok. Thanks again!!

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Jena - posted on 01/03/2010

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my milk supply started decreasing at 6 months and 9 months. when my daughter was 6 months i offered her breast before solids and even avoided them for a few days and this brought the milk back in (obviously she still got solids if that was what she profered i just offered her breast first). when she was 9 months i expressed after every feed and between every feed and discarded the milk till my supply was up, both of these methods would work at all ages I think but these were 2 diferent options i was offered and they both worked for me.

Ashley - posted on 12/30/2009

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I know I'm not Sara, but I am here. It's not bad and there is no right or wrong, but by nursing before feedings it will ensure that he is getting his fill nursing instead of the other way around. You would rather him refuse solids than the breast.

Breasts will not feel as full later in the day as they used to. That is perfectly normal. And the longer you nurse the longer it may take for your breasts to feel full, but the milk is there. I hope this helps.

Ashley - posted on 12/30/2009

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Supply will decrease as your child gets older, but as long as he is still gaining weight and seems satisfied you should be fine. Now that he is getting some solids he may need less. This depends on the kiddo.

If you nurse on demand and nurse before feedings then you are on the right track. You can always add a nursing session back into your routine and see if that helps or if he just has no interest.

He will let you know if you need to change anything. Just nurse him when he wants it and everyone will be happy.

Rachael - posted on 12/30/2009

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Sara - I was worried about my supply being low because my breasts feel empty by the evening. What concerned me today though is pumping for his cereal at dinner. I have not had a problem with pumping milk for his cereal and I do it immediately before he eats it. Tonight I couldn't even pump an ounce (I needed about 1 1/2 ounces). I ended up hand expressing and was not very gentle about it because I was frustrated and desperate to get enough out for his cereal.

I have been breastfeeding after solids. Is that bad? He seems to drink just as much as he used to even after eating solids.

Jena - posted on 01/03/2010

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my milk supply started decreasing at 6 months and 9 months. when my daughter was 6 months i offered her breast before solids and even avoided them for a few days and this brought the milk back in (obviously she still got solids if that was what she profered i just offered her breast first). when she was 9 months i expressed after every feed and between every feed and discarded the milk till my supply was up, both of these methods would work at all ages I think but these were 2 diferent options i was offered and they both worked for me.

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