I think my milk is drying up. HELP!

Brittany - posted on 09/01/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My son is 5 months old, and he is starting to eat more. When I bottle feed him, I notice that he wants to eat 8/9 ounces. But when I pump, I only get 6/7 ounces. I usually have to combine two pumpings to give him a full feeding on a bottle. Also, lately, he has started to want more after I BF, so I have to give him a little formula. I started him on cereal last month for his evening feeding, but even this doesn't seem to satisfy him.
He has scheduled himself to eating every 4 hours during the day, and sleeping through the night. This usually means 4 feedings during the day: 8, 12, 4, & 8.
I am not on any kind of birth control, and I refuse to take medication, even for my migraines and ovarian cysts. I can't think of anything that I am doing to hinder milk production.
I don't know if there is a way to stimulate more milk production, or if I am just out of luck. I definately DON'T want to stop BFing! But right now, I feel horrible that I don't have enough to feed him. I want to give him the best nutrition possible, and I feel like that is BFing. I'm just not sure what to do.
HELP!

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Tisha - posted on 09/02/2010

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Milk works on a supply and demand system. The more demand there is, the more supply there will be. I would suggest stopping the bottle feeding, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, and drinking mother's milk tea. Also hops helps, so a beer always helped up my milk supply. And it's a myth that you have to pump and dump if you drink while breastfeeding.

Lizelle - posted on 09/03/2010

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Brittany, I really don't think you have any need to worry. First thing to do is feed him more often (and leave the top-up formula bottle - it's working against you). For about a week you'll have to feed him more than usual - say every 3 hours. He's are probably getting more than you can pump anyway. But if he doesn't feed more often the milk supply won't increase. At this age if you can't increase your milk supply to get him back to his old drinking schedule within about a week of feeding on demand he's probably just ready for a bit more. I know introducing solid before 6 months isn't highly recommended, but there simply are babies that need a bit extra a bit earlier.

Miranda - posted on 09/02/2010

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Someone commented that you were pumping too much milk but I was always able to pump 5-6 ounces out of one side and during her growth spurts I pumped as much as 8 oz. out of one breast. I think some women just have an easier let down reflex and have an easier time pumping. I don't think it's 'too much' milk.

Also, I agree with everyone who said to put him to the breast instead of bottle feeding...that's the only thing that ever increased my supply. :) Good Luck!

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I said "technically" it was too much milk because the average is 1/2-1 oz for both breasts. I could pump 7-8 oz out of one breast. I had oversupply (forceful letdown, engorgement, plugged ducts). My only point was that she doesn't need to worry about drying up because she's far from it :)

[deleted account]

8-9 oz at a time seems like a lot. As others have said it's so easy to get the milk out of a bottle. Compared to the breast with a bottle the milk just dumps in their mouth. I would try nursing more frequently. He may be fussy because he's getting too hungry. Breast milk is digested in about an hour. As for your supply: normal pumping output is 1/2-1 oz for BOTH breasts. Anything higher than that is oversupply. Technically you have TOO MUCH milk. Just try nursing him more frequently and see how that goes. At 5 months my daughter usually ate every 2 hours.

Charlie - posted on 09/02/2010

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Baby gets out far more milk than you can pump and 6-7 ounces is still a lot to get out at this stage with a pump rest assured baby is getting more than that !

Also try eating oats for breakfast i also have it with oat milk and it boosts my supply A LOT .

Tammy - posted on 09/02/2010

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The thing with bottles is, babies dont have to work to get the milk out, unlike your breasts. So they will drink as much milk as you put in the bottle. Same if they have just finished nursing- you give them a bottle, bub will drink that anyway. Try using a very slow flowing teat or breast feeding friendly nipple on the bottle to try to extend the feed a little bit. Have a look at kellymom.com as it has some really useful tips on breastfeeding and pumping. To stimulate your milk supply- nursing very frequently is best. You didnt mention that you nurse but its a good idea, otherwise try pumping a bit more, even an extra 5 minutes will help, also pumping for a few minutes after the milk has stopped coming out is good. Increase your water intake. There are herbal supplements out there to increase your supply which includes fenugreek, which you may want to think about. I have also heard that eating oatmeal can help.

Aleks - posted on 09/02/2010

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Cut out the bottle feeds. And put him to the breast. That should stimulate your production. Do you work that you are pumping? Or are you stay at home?
Nothing stimulates production as baby exclusively at the breast - not pump, baby.
However, there are things you can take to help you a long - fenugreek is one of them. Its a natural supplement which you can get at a health-food store.
Please note that at around 6mths there is another growth spurt happening and babies will demand more! That includes spending extra time at the breast. That is how they increase YOUR production to suit their needs as they grow older.
Supplementing with formula will only cause you to loose your supply and not increase it.
Also, why cereal in the evening??? "Solid" food should be given during the day. Eating solids at night will not guarantee sleeping thru. If he is waking for feeds at night that is good. Night time nursing is the best guarantee if keeping up supply and increasing supply. So by keeping him full at night you are taking that opportunity away. I would let your baby dictate what he needs and would put him to the breast at each opportunity he calls for food.
If then you are still "drying up" you may wish to contact your local LLL. Also, if you are working and need to pump and bottle feed then I would recommend trying the fenugreek and contacting your LLL to discuss more tailored solution to your needs.
Hope this helps :-)

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