So, what do you do when your milk has suddenly decreased? I have been doing so much research lately because of my own milk supply problems, that I have a few simple tips.
First of all, make sure that when you’re feeding your baby, you drain one breast completely before offering baby the other. Otherwise your body thinks that the baby doesn’t need as much as it’s producing and then it slows down. This is bad. (if you’re having supply issues it’s bad. If you’re having over-active letdown, that’s a whole ‘nother story.) If your baby doesn’t finish one breast, make sure to pump the rest when he or she is finished eating.
Secondly, make sure you wake up during the night/early morning to pump. Long stretches of more than 3 hours of no pumping/feeding signal to your body that it doesn’t need to make as much milk. Again, this is bad. So as much as it sucks, wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to pump. Research also shows that you produce the most amount of milk between 1-5 am, so you should get really good amounts during this pumping session.
Third, try the herbal supplement: fenugreek. These are capsules that you can get at most vitamin/supplement stores and they are just the seeds of the fenugreek spice crushed up into capsule form. If you’re trying to increase your supply, make sure you take the maximum dosage, which is up to 3 capsules 3 times daily or 2 capsules 4 times daily. My doctor informed me that fenugreek is the only supplement that is scientifically proven to increase milk supply, and does so by about 20%! Good deal. Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work immediately. For most people it takes between 3 and 5 days to kick in.
Fourth, try the herbal tea called “Mother’s milk tea”. This tea has a combination of a ton of different herbs and spices that are supposed to increase milk production and another mommy friend of mine swears by it. She takes fenugreek, but also will drink the tea if she’s had a stressful day or is low that day for some reason. She said that it works much more immediately than the fenugreek.
Fifth, make sure you feed your baby first, before pumping or introducing a bottle of formula. Because babies are naturally much better at draining the breast than pumping is. Also, you want them to get as much of your breast milk as possible. If you give them formula and then offer the breast, they may not take as much from you because they’re full of formula.
Sixth, don’t stress!! Now, I know this is easier said than done when you find out your baby has been losing weight because of your lack of milk. Trust me, I know. But if you’re supplementing with formula, you can rest assured that your baby is getting all of the calories he or she needs. You, mama, need to relax. Stress does a number on milk production.
Put a call in to your local La Leche League leader. Lactation consultants are very expensive, and La Leche League is a free resource for you!! Make sure you contact them as soon as you realize you have a problem. If you wait too long, you may be past the point of no return.
And finally, consult this website for additional information. There is TONS of info on there to help.