Sudden Drop In Milk Supply

Did you notice that you suddenly drop in the milk you pump? Is your baby hungry less than an hour after a feeding session? Well, you certainly are not alone in that, as lots of moms are no strangers to that experience.

When it happens, you may start to worry, especially if your baby is not getting adequate nutrition. Keep reading to learn the reasons for this and how to fix a sudden drop in milk supply.

Why Did My Milk Drop Suddenly?

There are more than a few reasons your milk supply may decrease out of the blue. If you are pumping exclusively, you may notice that you begin to pump a few ounces less than usual. And if you’re a nursing mom, your little one may get hungry only a few minutes after a feeding session.

You must pay close attention to their feeding pattern to detect when a drop occurs. The next step will be to find the cause of the decrease because only then can you find a solution.

Some of the reasons you may experience a sudden drop in your milk supply are:

1.   You are not feeding your baby enough.

So, here’s the thing, your body produces breast milk according to demand. If you constantly empty your breasts, your body will interpret that you need a large quantity and produce a large amount of milk.

On the other hand, if you do not empty them or you constantly leave your breasts engorged, your body will respond by producing less milk.

2.   You are experiencing hormonal changes.

Certain hormonal problems can affect the amount of milk your breasts can supply. In most cases, these problems lead to a drop. Milk production highly depends on the hormonal signals sent to the breasts.

See a doctor or lactation consultant so your health problems can be diagnosed and treated. The resolution of the problem will, in most cases, lead to a much-needed boost in milk supply.

3.   You are stressed.

Caring for a baby is that it takes a lot of effort to do it well. It can get overwhelming, especially if you don’t have time to rest.

The above, along with a few other stress factors, may lead to a sudden drop in your milk supply, which is certainly not what you need to worry about during this stressful period in your life.

4.   You just started a new hormonal birth control pill.

Many women start birth control pills and get no change in their milk supply, yet many moms do. You are more likely to experience this significant loss if you start using the pills before your little one turned four months old.

If the above is the case, you may want to stop taking these birth control pills. You should, however, speak to your lactation consultant or doctor before doing so and prepare your mind for a different style of contraceptive.

5.   You are introducing your little one to solids.

As soon as you introduce your little ones to solids, they may lose interest in breast milk or feed on your liquid gold much less than usual. However, there are babies that still depend on breast milk as their main source of food in the first year.

If your baby starts to turn towards solids, your breasts will again interpret a drop in demand and produce less. Most of the milk produced remains in your breasts, making them large and engorged.

6.   You are fighting an illness.

If you are fighting an infection while breastfeeding, your body may not be able to produce a decent amount of milk. It is usually a temporary issue, so you won’t have to give up nursing.

Also, the medications you are taking for your health issue may also affect your milk supply levels. Ensure to speak with your doctor concerning medications you will take while pregnant.

7.   Your baby finds it difficult to latch.

Sometimes the cause of a decrease in milk supply doesn’t come from you but from your baby. In this case, it involves latching. If your little one is unable to latch properly, they will not be able to drain your breast well.

If milk is left in the breast for a long time, it can cause clogged ducts and infections which in turn may lead to a decrease in your milk supply.

How Do I Know If My Milk Supply Has Suddenly Dropped?

There can be some clear signs that indicate you are experiencing a drop in milk supply. Many moms can immediately tell their supply has dropped, especially if they are exclusive pumpers. On the other hand, lots of women may not be able to tell so easily.

These are some surefire factors that show your milk supply is dropping(1)

1.   Your baby is not producing enough wet diapers.

In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, they are going to poop and wet dipapers on an average of 6-8 times a day. The amount of time they dirty their diapers indicates how much food they are getting.

So, if your little one is wetting their diapers less than the average number of times they should. It could be a clear sign that they are receiving inadequate breast milk (assuming they are nursing).

2.   Your baby is not gaining weight.

Yoiur little one is expected to lose some weight immediately after birth but as soon as they hit 2 weeks, they should be experiencing steady weight gain. If they are not, you may need to check that they are getting adequate nutrition.

If you are feeding your little one exclusively on breast milk, this may be a sign that your baby is not geting adequate milk supply.

3.   Your baby wants to nurse immediately after a feeding session.

Don’t get me wrong, your little one will eat frequently especially in their early weeks. Feeding times range from 8-12 times daily. The problem starts when they are nursing just 30 minutes after their last feesing session.

It may mean that they did not get enough milk during that feeding session. This could be a telltale sign that your milk supply is dropping.

4.   Your baby is showing signs of dehydration

Your baby gets most of their water from the milk you feed them whether it is formula based or breast milk. However, if thay are not getting enough milk from nursing it could mean that your milk supply has dropped.

If your little one has not urinated for a several hours, has a sunken spot oin ther head or does not produce tears while crying, they may be experiencing dehydration. This is almost always a result of a drop in milk supply.

What To Do If I Experience A Sudden Drop In Milk Supply?

Now that you have pinpointed the cause of your reduction in milk supply, you may be wondering how to shoot it back up.  Well, not to worry I will guide you through that as well.

1.   Add in pumping sessions.

I’m sure by now you understand that your body responds according to the amount of milk that leaves the breast. So, you may want to start feeding your baby more often but they may not always want or need that much food.

In that case, you should include a pumping session into your day to empty your breast. It doesn’t matter if you are exclusively nursing, the pumping session will relieve your breasts and so call for increased milk supply.

2.   Change your diet

Breast feeding moms need to keep the estrogen levels relatively low in their body since the hormone can impact their milk supply. Extra fat in your body means extra estrogen as the body will produce more.

Changing your diet to something much more healthy and making an effort to lose weight should get your milk supply back on track. The key is to make sure you are nourishing yourself well and not just trying to dispose of fat.

3.   Try galactogues

There are certain foods that are known to cause an increase in breast milk called galactogoues. Although there is not enough research to back up that some of these foods boost milk supply, a lot of moms confess that eating them causes a spike in their supply.

Foods like oatmeal, fenugreek, nuts, papaya, and many more can help you combat a drop in your milk supply. I actually found that eating oatmeal and drinking oatmilk gave me the boost I needed with my milk supply, but it may be a different food for you.

4.   Have a nursing vacation.

Another thing you may want to try is taking some time off from work and house chores to spend some quality time with your little one. Keep snacks, diapers, water, and anything else you may need nearby. Then get comfy with some skin to skin time with your little one.

This way, you can pay keen attention to your little one and nurse them as soon as they show signs of wanting to feed. Your body will respond by producing more milk since you seem to be needing much more.

When to Seek Help from Your Doctor

If you have tried all the above solutions to no avail, then it may be time to see a lactation consultant or a doctor. Observe your milk supply levels and your baby’s reaction before the appointment so you can give your doctor a thorough analysis of your situation.

They will check for any health problems and prescribe possible treatments to increase your milk supply yet again.

Conclusion

It can get overwhelming if you suddenly experience your milk supply dropping. It can cause you to continuously worry that your little one is not getting enough nutrition.

You just need to pinpoint the cause of your decrease in supply and try to fix it. Then you can go ahead and see a doctor and they will get it all settled.

Have you experienced a drop in milk supply before? How did you combat it? Let me know in the comments section.

References

  1. Catherine Crider, (2020, Aug 25). Healthline. What Are The Signs Your Milk Supply Is Decreasing? https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/signs-your-milk-supply-is-decreasing

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