Why Breast Milk Supply Drop Suddenly? 10 Practical Solutions

Breast Milk Supply Drop Suddenly

Key Points

  • The article explains that breastfeeding issues are common, and worries about milk supply dropping are often temporary.
  • Reasons for decreased milk supply can be growth spurts, introducing solid foods, and hormonal shifts.
  • The article clears up myths and misunderstandings, like the idea that soft breasts mean less milk.
  • Real signs of low milk supply include poor baby weight gain and fewer wet diapers.
  • Causes of low supply can include how often the baby feeds, stress, diet, and certain medications.
  • To boost milk supply, you should nurse more often, pump effectively, stay hydrated, and get professional help if needed.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey, but it’s not without its challenges. It can also come with moments of worry. One common concern for moms is a perceived decrease in their milk supply. but the good news is it’s often temporary.

Here, we’ll address the question, “Is my breast milk supply dropping?” and explore the reasons behind it, common misconceptions, and most importantly, how to get your supply back on track.

Is It Normal For My Breast Milk Supply to Decrease?

Absolutely! Your breast milk supply adjusts based on how much your baby nurses. Early on, your breasts might feel very full, but they settle down as your body gets better at matching your baby’s needs. This doesn’t mean you’re making less milk.

Here are a few normal reasons for a temporary dip in milk supply:

Growth spurts: Around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months, babies go through growth spurts, requiring more frequent feeding for a short period. This can feel like a decrease in supply, but it’s actually your body responding to your baby’s growing needs.

Introducing solids: Around 6 months, babies start solids. While they might eat more initially, their milk intake will eventually stabilize and may even decrease slightly. This is perfectly normal as they get more nutrients from food.

Your period returning: If you’re not exclusively breastfeeding, your period may return around 3-6 months postpartum. Hormonal changes during your cycle can cause a slight dip in milk supply, but it usually returns to normal after your period ends.

You may read: Irregular Periods After Stopping Breastfeeding: Discover Causes & Practical Tips

These are all normal occurrences, and your milk supply should adjust naturally. However, if you’re concerned about a sustained decrease, read on to learn the signs and causes.

Common Misconceptions About Milk Supply

Softer Breasts Mean Less Milk: Engorged breasts in the early days don’t necessarily mean more milk. Softer breasts are a sign your supply has adjusted and is working effectively.

breast milk supply drop - Softer Breasts Mean Less Milk

Frequent Feeding Means Low Supply: Frequent feeding actually stimulates milk production. This doesn’t mean your supply is low. This is actually a good sign! Your body will respond by producing more milk.

Formula Means You Can’t Breastfeed: Supplementing with formula doesn’t have to mean the end of your breastfeeding journey. Talk to your pediatrician about ways to combine breastfeeding and formula while maintaining your supply.

Introducing Solids Means Less Milk: While babies may take in some solids initially, they still rely heavily on breast milk for the first year. As they eat more solids, your milk production will naturally decrease to match their needs.

Is it Really Low Supply?

Before assuming your supply is low, consider these signs:

  • Is your baby gaining weight according to their pediatrician’s guidelines? Healthy weight gain is the best indicator of adequate milk intake.
  • Is your baby producing enough wet diapers? Six or more wet diapers a day are a good sign your baby is getting enough fluids.
  • Is your baby content after feeding? If your baby seems satisfied after nursing and isn’t excessively fussy or lethargic, your supply is likely sufficient.

If you’re unsure, consult your pediatrician or a lactation consultant. They can weigh your baby and assess your milk production through a feeding observation.

breast milk supply drop
Photo Source: redit.com, r/breastfeeding

Signs Your Breast Milk Supply Might Be Lower Than Needed

If you notice some of the following alongside concerns about weight gain or wet diapers, it could be a sign of low milk supply:

  • Is your baby constantly fussing at the breast, seeming unsatisfied after feeding?
  • Is your baby not gaining weight as expected, or even losing weight?
  • Does your baby have fewer wet diapers, dry skin, or show signs of lethargy?

Other signs:

  • Your baby isn’t latching well or seems frustrated while feeding.
  • Your baby seems hungry after nursing and wants to feed more frequently.
  • Your baby doesn’t have many bowel movements or their stools are hard and infrequent.
  • Your baby has dry skin or a dry mouth.

If you’re experiencing these signs, talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.

Why Did My Milk Supply Drop?

There are several reasons why your milk supply might decrease. Let’s explore them under three categories:

Feeding Factors

1. Insufficient Feeding Frequency:

Remember, milk production works on supply and demand. If your baby nurses less frequently, your body will produce less milk. This can happen if your baby sleeps for longer stretches or if you introduce bottles too early.

2. Ineffective Latch:

If your baby isn’t latching properly, they may not be transferring milk effectively, leading to a perceived low supply.

3. Supplementing Too Early:

Introducing formula or other liquids too soon can decrease breastfeeding frequency and impact milk production.

Mother Factors

4. Stress:

Stress can can affect hormone levels and significantly impact your milk production. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek support and find healthy ways to manage stress. Read more in detail: Does Stress Affect Milk Supply? What Every Mom Should Know

5. Lack of sleep:

While getting enough sleep can be challenging with a newborn, it’s essential for milk production. Prioritize sleep whenever

6. Diet and Hydration:

Not eating enough calories or staying dehydrated can affect your milk supply. Aim for a balanced diet with enough calories and fluids to fuel your body.

7. Certain Medications:

Some medications can have a temporary effect on milk supply. Talk to your doctor about breastfeeding-safe alternatives if possible.

8. Hormonal Changes:

Your period may cause a temporary dip in supply. Pregnancy while breastfeeding can also affect supply.

9. Medical conditions:

Underlying medical conditions like thyroid problems or uncontrolled diabetes can affect milk supply. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your doctor.

10. Birth control:

Certain hormonal birth control methods, particularly those containing estrogen, can decrease milk supply. Discuss safe birth control options with your doctor if you’re breastfeeding.

breast milk supply drop because hormonal changes
Photo: exclusivepumping.com

Other Factors

11. Sudden separation from your baby:

If you’re away from your baby for an extended period, your milk supply might decrease. This can happen when you return to work or if your baby needs to stay in the hospital.

12. Breastfeeding Challenges:

Engorged breasts, clogged ducts, or mastitis can make breastfeeding uncomfortable and lead to a decrease in milk removal.

13. Breastfeeding after surgery:

Breast surgery can sometimes damage milk ducts or nerves, affecting milk production. Talk to your doctor before and after surgery about breastfeeding options.

14. Breastfeeding while pregnant:

Your milk supply may dip slightly during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.

Breast Milk Supply Drop When Sick

While being sick might cause a temporary dip in your supply, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue breastfeeding. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect your baby from getting sick too.

Here are some tips for breastfeeding while sick:

  • Continue breastfeeding as much as possible
  • Pump if you’re unable to breastfeed
  • Stay hydrated to keep your milk production going
  • Talk to your doctor about medications
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wear a mask while feeding.
Ways to Replenish Your Breast Milk Supply
Replenish Your Breast Milk Supply

A Few Ways to Replenish Your Breast Milk Supply

The good news is that there are steps you can take to increase your milk supply:

1. Nurse your baby more frequently: Offer your breast more often, even if your baby seems satisfied after a short nursing session. This will stimulate milk production.

2. Double pump after nursing sessions: Pumping after nursing helps empty your breasts completely, signaling your body to produce more milk.

3. Power pumping: This technique involves short pumping sessions with breaks in between to stimulate milk production. Talk to a lactation consultant for specific instructions on power pumping.

4. Skin-to-skin contact: Snuggle with your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. This releases hormones that promote milk production and strengthens the bond between you and your baby.

5. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Aim for eight to ten glasses of water or sugar-free drinks.

6. Eat a healthy diet: Focus on nutritious meals and snacks to ensure your body has the energy it needs to produce milk.

7. Galactagogues: These are herbs or supplements that may help increase milk supply. However, their effectiveness varies, and it’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any supplements while breastfeeding.

Herbal supplements to Replenish Your Breast Milk Supply
Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

8. Herbal supplements: Certain herbs like fenugreek and blessed thistle may help increase milk supply, but discuss them with your doctor first.

9. Manage stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

10. Seek professional help: A lactation consultant can observe your breastfeeding technique, address any underlying issues, and offer personalized advice to increase your supply.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried these tips and are still concerned about your milk supply, or if you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, reach out to a lactation consultant or your pediatrician. They can provide support, offer personalized guidance, and help you develop a plan to increase your milk supply.

Wrapping Up

Remember, maintaining a milk supply while exclusively pumping requires dedication. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time to establish a good rhythm.

By understanding the reasons behind a milk supply drop and using these strategies, you can increase your production and continue your breastfeeding journey. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help and surround yourself with supportive resources. Remember, you are not alone!

References:

  1. Why is my supply dropping? – https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/resources/why-supply-dropping
  2. What do I do if I have a sudden drop in breast milk supply? – https://onewillow.com/blogs/all/what-to-do-if-you-have-a-sudden-drop-in-milk-supply
  3. How to handle a sudden decrease in milk supply – https://www.babycenter.com/baby/breastfeeding/i-think-my-milk-supply-is-dwindling-what-could-be-the-proble_8872
  4. 4 factors that can decrease breast milk supply – and how to replenish it – https://utswmed.org/medblog/decrease-breast-milk-supply/#
  5. Advice for Clinicians on Herbs and Breastfeeding – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530286/#
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