Breast milk flow has slowed down a lot - help me please!!! New Mom

Shirley - posted on 01/06/2013 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Hi Ladies Im a 37 year old new mom again. I have a 1 month old baby girl born December 2, 2012. My breast milk had a good flow for the first two weeks - but once I became stressed out due to some issues with my fiance my breast milk flow has slowed down so much that I had to resort to giving my newborm formula. I was breast feeding and pumping milk as well up until then. When I did pump I was pumping at least 4 oz from each breast. Now Im lucky if I can only get 1 oz total from both breast. I am really trying to keep calm about this but I am finding myself to feel distraught more and more each day because unlike my first two girls 14 years ago I really wanted to breastfeed for a whole two years with my new baby. I need your help and advise ladies. What can I do? I dont want to continue feeding my baby formula.

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Celeste - posted on 01/06/2013

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The good news is that none of those things mean your supply is slowing down. In fact, it sounds like it's regulating which is GOOD! Let's tackle them one by one:

1) I wasn't able to pump as much breast milk as I was the first two weeks after my baby girl was born [again I was able to pump out 4 oz per breast and now between both breasts I barely get 1 oz out],

Totally normal for pump output to decrease over time. Like I mentioned in my previous post, pump output isn't indicative of supply. You were overproducing but now, your supply has regulated for the needs of your baby which is good!

2) it seemed she was nursing every 30 minutes she would fall asleep for maybe 10 min before she showed signs of still being hungry,

Totally normal! Sounds like a growth spurt. Nursing often is GOOD because this will help supply.


3) My breasts were no longer as full as they were when my milk first started coming in nor were they leaking milk as frequently.

You don't want full breasts. Full breasts actually slow down production. Floppy soft breasts are working breasts.

So this is why I became concerned about my breast flow.

Like I said in my previous post, none of those things mean your supply is slowing down or decreasing.

"Also being I cant seem to pump out as much milk anymore I am concerned I may not be able to return to work unless I leave formula for her. Am I just paranoid?"

When you go back to work, you want about 1.25 oz per hour of separation, no more than 3 oz (more or less) per bottle. This is to preserve the breastfeeding relationship. Here's a good calculator to help you determine how much milk you'll need:
http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumpi...

As far as being paranoid? I think you just needed the right information :)

"You asked how were her diapers? Her wet diapers were fine but she was not pooping as much. She went 4 1/2 days without pooping. This also had brought on my concern. Not to mention I read that if you are stressed out it may have an effect on your breast milk flow. So this is how I determined my breast flow had slowed down. "

About this age, it's normal for babies not to poop every day. All 3 of my kids would go about 5 days without a poop. But be warned, when baby does go, it's usually A LOT.

So, the good news is that your supply has just regulated, which is exactly what you want! You're doing better than you think you are :) I would stop the bottles (because THAT can cause supply problems) and continue to nurse often as baby wants.

Celeste - posted on 01/06/2013

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First, how are you determining that your flow has slowed down? Secondly, what you pump is NOT indicative of supply. Having said that, 1 oz is actually pretty average. Average output is 1/2 to 2 oz.

How are diapers? Diaper count is the best way to tell if baby is getting enough. As long as baby is getting 6-8 diapers, no matter content baby is getting plenty. Don't judge supply by baby's behavior, pump output or feel of breasts.

The best way to increase supply IF there is an issue is to ditch the bottle and nurse more. The more you nurse, the more you will make. If you keep giving your baby bottles that will certainly decrease supply because you're taking away the demand.

Samara - posted on 01/24/2013

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I think one of the biggest mistakes breastfeeding mommas make these days is over thinking the whole thing. Just relax and seriously don't think about it more than you have to because just like outside stress, your own thoughts can become your own worst enemy! Because breastfeeding is and will always be the best and most healthiest way to feed your baby it's worth fighting for it... So don't give up just yet!!! Be kind to yourself (its not an easy job by far) and recognize that at times it will be stressful. Try to eat as healthy as you can but again dont go overboard thinking about it. Water is crucial though so just make it a habit of sitting with a tall glass whenever you feed. Slow down everything else just enough to honor that time & duty to your child. If she/he is having trouble transitioning back to breast you could also try taking your shirt & bra off while you feed at home- this way you allow the baby to smell your scent and feel your skin close which can be very comforting. Supply & demand. Cant emphasize it enough but- Feed, feed, and feed again! "Feeding on demand" for at least the first 4-6 months definitely helps your body & your baby get to know & learn one another. It will also help to bring your milk supply in & keep it up. So whenever you have 15-30mins here and there offer the breast. Constantly offer even if your baby doesn't seem super hungry or interested- just think your breasts need your baby just as much and the more attention they get from your baby the better they learn the job they have. So feed often and for as long as your baby will feed. If you can't seem to keep him/her awake gently play with her feet. One neat thing about breast milk that truly sets it aside from formula is the way that nature has created it. Breast milk actually CHANGES its composition throughout the day according to your baby's dietary needs so while he/she may only get a small amount at one feeding, the milk during that feeding may be calorie-packed & high in nutrients (like a baby protein shake) and have fewer fats & calories in a feeding with lots of milk. Your body is constantly fluctuating these levels throughout a 24hr period of time as it reads your baby which is another good reason to feed on demand and not panic or focus too greatly on the "amount of milk" rather judge your success by your baby's weight. As long as she/he continues to gain weight and has wet & soiled diapers you are doing just fine. Make sure your reserving the pumping for only times when you will be away & need to leave milk for someone else to feed. All other times let the baby to the breast since no pump will ever be as successful at stimulation as babies are. Hopefully this helps! Wishing you the best of luck!

Danielle - posted on 01/23/2013

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I havent read the other comments but if you are around a health store I know they have one where I live there is a tea you can drink that actually helps to produce the flow of your milk. Good luck :)

Jennifer - posted on 01/12/2013

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My lo in 5 months old and I recently dealt with low flow. I used fenugreek capsules from the health food store to increase my supply. I think that I had reduced my supply by cutting back on feedings because some people say older babies do not need to nurse as much. Boy was that the wrong thing to do. I spent several days focusing on nursing but she was so frustrated. The herb helped put us back on track after just 2 days. So that might be something you want to try. Another thing to be aware of is that your babe might get attached to the bottle because it is easier for her to get the milk. Nursing exclusively is best.

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Artemis - posted on 02/28/2016

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During breastfeeding Healthy Nursing Tea by secrets of tea helps me greatly;) I Love it...!!!

Celeste - posted on 01/25/2013

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An IBCLC is someone who has extensive training in breastfeeding. She can help you figure out if there is something going on and if there is, how to fix it.

Here's the website to find one that's near you: http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?...


As far as diapers, about 2 TBS counts as 1 wet.

I would highly recommend finding an IBCLC!

Shirley - posted on 01/25/2013

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No where near six and they arent as wet. I nurse every night through ou the night (for example when I nurse thru out the night she wont have a wet diaper till I bottle feed her) Her poop diapers are ok. What is a IBCLC?

Celeste - posted on 01/25/2013

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Also, have you sought the help of an IBCLC? She would be able to help you.

Celeste - posted on 01/25/2013

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How many diapers are you getting? How wet are the diapers? What about poop diapers? How often are you nursing?

Shirley - posted on 01/25/2013

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Okay ladies as far as a suppliment or tea that helps with producing more milk I wouldnt know what to look for. I am still struggling with the breastfeeding. I have monitered her diapers just breasfeeding her and they dont seem to be enough. Ive been giving this "Gentleease" by Enfamil and it doesnt seem to fill her up with a 4oz feeding. I always breast feed her 1st before the (tho my mother in law suggested I go cold turkey) I feel helpless to say the least. I have been trying to wean her off formula as the link suggested by Celeste and it doesnt seem to be working. Samara I thank you for your input and encouragement. It was quite helpful as well. In any event I am still truing to overcome this battle. I just wish I didnt assume from the beginning. im regreting the assumption I made.

Samara - posted on 01/24/2013

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I think one of the biggest mistakes breastfeeding mommas make these days is over thinking the whole thing. Just relax and seriously don't think about it more than you have to because just like outside stress, your own thoughts can become your own worst enemy! Because breastfeeding is and will always be the best and most healthiest way to feed your baby it's worth fighting for it... So don't give up just yet!!! Be kind to yourself (its not an easy job by far) and recognize that at times it will be stressful. Try to eat as healthy as you can but again dont go overboard thinking about it. Water is crucial though so just make it a habit of sitting with a tall glass whenever you feed. Slow down everything else just enough to honor that time & duty to your child. If she/he is having trouble transitioning back to breast you could also try taking your shirt & bra off while you feed at home- this way you allow the baby to smell your scent and feel your skin close which can be very comforting. Supply & demand. Cant emphasize it enough but- Feed, feed, and feed again! "Feeding on demand" for at least the first 4-6 months definitely helps your body & your baby get to know & learn one another. It will also help to bring your milk supply in & keep it up. So whenever you have 15-30mins here and there offer the breast. Constantly offer even if your baby doesn't seem super hungry or interested- just think your breasts need your baby just as much and the more attention they get from your baby the better they learn the job they have. So feed often and for as long as your baby will feed. If you can't seem to keep him/her awake gently play with her feet. One neat thing about breast milk that truly sets it aside from formula is the way that nature has created it. Breast milk actually CHANGES its composition throughout the day according to your baby's dietary needs so while he/she may only get a small amount at one feeding, the milk during that feeding may be calorie-packed & high in nutrients (like a baby protein shake) and have fewer fats & calories in a feeding with lots of milk. Your body is constantly fluctuating these levels throughout a 24hr period of time as it reads your baby which is another good reason to feed on demand and not panic or focus too greatly on the "amount of milk" rather judge your success by your baby's weight. As long as she/he continues to gain weight and has wet & soiled diapers you are doing just fine. Make sure your reserving the pumping for only times when you will be away & need to leave milk for someone else to feed. All other times let the baby to the breast since no pump will ever be as successful at stimulation as babies are. Hopefully this helps! Wishing you the best of luck!

Celeste - posted on 01/12/2013

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Growth spurts, babies are fussy more than usual and want to eat more often. Some moms think they're "starving" or that they're not getting enough because they want to eat so often. But this isn't so, and usually is a growth spurt. Can last a few days, and happens often, especially in newborns.

Here's a link about growth spurts:
http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spu...

Shirley - posted on 01/12/2013

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Thank you Jennifer, and she is attached to the bottle because unfortunately when she was born she had respiratory problem and had to be in NICU for 24 hrs. While she was there they tube fed her and then bottle fed her . Celeste what do you mean by growth spurt? How is it a growth spurt?

Shirley - posted on 01/12/2013

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Thank you both so much. I've been trying to wean her a little bit at a time. Its going ok but not great. Her appetite has seemed to increase. She will drink 4 oz of milk and then in an hour or hour an a half she wants more milk. I either feed her breast before or after but its like she fusses because shes not getting enough out of my breast. Im trying to stay hydrated as best I can.

Lori - posted on 01/07/2013

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Check out that site I posted a link to.

Slowly lower the amount of formula you give her by 1 or 2 oz per day. Let her continue to breast feed as much as she likes. The more she latches on and nurses the quicker your milk will rebound. Offer the breast first every time. Then top off with a small amount of formula. If you've been giving her 2 bottles per day of 3 1/2 oz each bottle, try giving her 2 bottles per day of 2 1/2 oz each. (that's a total of 2 oz less formula in 24 hours). If that goes well for a few days and she's still having enough wet diapers then drop it to 2 oz each bottle (another 1 oz less of formula total for the day). Again wait a few days, and then drop it to 1 1/2 oz each bottle. Keep going. Keep bringing that baby to the breast as often as baby wants. If you are also pumping, you can mix the pumped breast milk with the formula and count that as part of the oz that you're supplementing with.

Shirley - posted on 01/07/2013

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Thanks Lori & Celeste

Im going to look into this site Lori suggested. I have been giving my one month old baby formula for about 3 weeks now. Last night I decided to just breast feed her through out the night but I only made it as far as 4:30 am without bottle feeding her formula. She would latch on and dose of but only for a small period. I kept alternating back and forth from one breast tot he other within a two hour period. The minute I pulled away from her or she stopped on her own. She would start whining for more. This morning also she latched on from from breast to breast within an hour & a half 8am-9:30am without formula. But while she was latched on she would whine or get fussy as if she wasnt getting anything out of my breast. Nonetheless my breast are quite sore from her pulling on them most of the night. As for how much I feed her - she takes 3 1/2 - 4 oz of formula when I do feed her. What can I do?

Lori - posted on 01/06/2013

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Depending on how much formula you're currently using, you'll need to wean her back off formula and onto breastmilk. Since you've only been doing some formula for a few weeks, hopefully it won't be too difficult.

But here's a good web site resource for weaning from formula to breast.

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basics/d...

Shirley - posted on 01/06/2013

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Lori

Thank you so much for your input. I am open to hear everyones advise. Thing is I have two older girls 13 and 14. When they weere infants I did not put my 100% in breastfeeding them. Now that I have my new baby girl I want to stick to it, but no sooner did I see all these things happening I was saddened and unfortunately became disheartened because I thought my milk was no longer coming in. I only wish I had found this site sooner. I am going to give it a shot and wean her off the formula so I can strictly breast feed her again as I was the first two weeks. I definitley need to drink more fluids from what I am being told so that may have been part of the problem as well. Again thank you so much for your help and knowledge.

Shirley - posted on 01/06/2013

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Celeste, you've no idea how glad I am to hear all of this. I'm definitely going to give it a shot. However, my diet is a bit off...I dont drink as much fluids and I dont eat my meals on time ( I may skip meals at times) therefore it may also have an effect on what I produce from what a friend has just told me. Is this true? I have always been quite inconsistant on my eating patterns. I eat little bits here and there and I definite;y dont drink as much fluids as I should.

Lori - posted on 01/06/2013

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Shirley - I think Celeste has pretty much answered your questions.

I just want to add that I agree it sounds like your body is adjusting to the demands of your baby. You were previously making enough to both feed your baby, and pump out 4 oz at a time. WOW! That's a lot of milk. So now pump output has decreased, but it sounds like your baby is still getting enough. I can understand the worry, but really the main concern here is that baby IS getting enough.

I celebrated the day when I stopped leaking so much too. Woo hoo thank goodness that's not happening anymore. Didn't affect my supply... just stopped leaking.

Stress can certainly affect your supply, and a great many other things as well. Try to drink plenty of water and take a little bit of time just for YOU! And know that you really are doing a wonderful thing for your new bundle of joy!

Congratulations on your new little girl!

And just keep asking as the questions keep coming up!

I breastfed my first for 2 years, and I am currently nursing my LO who just turned 2. And I'm still learning new things about breastfeeding.

Celeste - posted on 01/06/2013

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Also, if you look at the top of the community, there is a sticky about Low supply and it addresses all of the concerns you have and why it doesn't mean that your supply is decreasing or slowing.

Shirley - posted on 01/06/2013

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Celeste,

I was determining that my flow had slowed down upon noticing 1) I wasn't able to pump as much breast milk as I was the first two weeks after my baby girl was born [again I was able to pump out 4 oz per breast and now between both breasts I barely get 1 oz out], 2) it seemed she was nursing every 30 minutes she would fall asleep for maybe 10 min before she showed signs of still being hungry, 3) My breasts were no longer as full as they were when my milk first started coming in nor were they leaking milk as frequently. So this is why I became concerned about my breast flow. Also being I cant seem to pump out as much milk anymore I am concerned I may not be able to return to work unless I leave formula for her. Am I just paranoid? You asked how were her diapers? Her wet diapers were fine but she was not pooping as much. She went 4 1/2 days without pooping. This also had brought on my concern. Not to mention I read that if you are stressed out it may have an effect on your breast milk flow. So this is how I determined my breast flow had slowed down.

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