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3-months of pumping and milk supply has gone down-help?

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 5:38 PM
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Does anyone know if there is something that just naturally happens at 3 months that makees supply go down?  It seems like it was just all of a sudden and I haven't changed a thing in my schedule.  I pump 6-7 times a day with the PIS double pump for 20-30 minutes per time.  I was getting 5 ounces per pump and now all of a sudden I am struggling to get 3 ounces.  My baby is going through a growth spurt and he is eating up to 34 ounces a day and I am only making about 24.  I have a lot of allergies to things that are in formula (soy, coconut, etc.) so I had planned on keeping him on breastmilk only until he was no longer drinking milk at all, but now I am worried that I might dry up before then.  I have some reserve in the freezer from a few months of having extra, but I don't think that will last me more than another couple of weeks if the supply stays like this. 

I have the Milkmaid Tea, and oatmeal...what about the oatmeal cookies?  Any particular kind I should try?  Also, I have never tried the power pumping before.  Will it still work at 3 months in or was that something that only works in the beginning?

by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 5:38 PM
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by Member on Jun. 10, 2009 at 3:03 AM

I'm definitely not an expert, but my understanding from what I have read is that your milk supply gets some assistance for the first 3 or 4 months from end of pregnancy/early post-partum hormones and then at that point transitions to relying more on just supply & demand. That's not such a big deal when you are successfully nursing because your baby nurses more and your body responds. On the other hand, if you are exclusively pumping and a drop-off happens you'll need to be really purposeful about trying to increase your supply through pumping more often for a while (every 3 hours - 8 times per day), power pumping, supplements or a combination of these things.

I don't know that much about power-pumping or the specific information about supplement options, though so hopefully someone else with some insight will respond to that. Good luck!

by on Jun. 10, 2009 at 7:35 AM

It's normal for your supply to go down after a few months, but another thing that tends to happen (in my experience) is that moms start to be less conscientious about what they're doing when they pump ... for example, a lot of moms I've talked to are really diligent about drinking tons of water right after they have their baby. But then ... once they feel okay about their supply and such, they kind of slack off on that. And without even realizing it, they are no longer drinking water every time they sit down to pump. Drinking at least 8 oz of water just before/during each pump makes a difference. Things like getting enough sleep make a difference. All those things they tell you to do at the very beginning, you have to make sure you're still doing.

You might also need to switch to a different size of pump flange (trumpet-thing). I had to. My boobs were huge right after I had the baby, but over the next few months, I lost weight and they reduced in size. I was using 27mm initially, but now I'm using 24mm. Also, I double pump for the first 10-15 minutes, and then I pump each breast individually, using my free hand to squeeze. I go back and forth between the two breasts for 10 minutes, until there is no more milk.

I tried taking alfalfa tablets once when I was trying to increase my production. My production did increase, but I'm not sure if it was the alfalfa tablets or just the fact that I was REALLY focused on making more milk - drinking water, pumping religiously every 3 hours, waking up twice a night, etc.. I also keep a written record of all of my pumps ... have been doing this for months. I've found it's very helpful in knowing exactly how I'm doing.

by on Jun. 10, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Definitely, if you're not using compressions to fully empty your breasts, do so. That helped me a LOT. Fenugreek, blessed thistle, alfalfa can all help. There is a post on galactagogues--I'd recommend trying some of those. I will try to find the post I had about lactation cookies--we just reinstalled my OS, so I'm having a really rough time finding stuff on my computer atm lol.

by on Jun. 10, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Are you taking birth control pills or any bc?  the ones that have estrogen in them lowers your supply.

by New Member on Jun. 26, 2009 at 12:21 PM

i'm glad u posted this cause i'm goin through the same thing. thanks!

by Member on Sep. 18, 2009 at 4:17 AM

I exclusively nursed for 6 months then my baby just refused and i was forced to exclusively pump. i remember she did have a growth spirt and it felt like my milk dropped but when i pumped, it changed. it was thicker...has it changed? also power pumping does work isnt the lenth of time you pump but how often. you have to compress your breast as you pump too. i also found that if i pump, manually express, and pump again i get more...i only do it at night though because it is time consuming...i also found that whole foods has a "lactation blend" nursing support that boosted my milk. it has fenugreek and blessed thistle. the mother milk tea is good but you have to take large quantities of it

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