As a breastfeeding Mom it can be frustrating when your milk supply drops. Here is my story behind a sudden drop in my milk supply, as well as different ways to increase your milk supply.
This post was originally written in March 2014
My Breastfeeding Back Story
Here are some ways to know your baby is not happy with your milk supply: She cries. She punches your boob. She roots on your neck after you’ve fed her. She screams and pulls down your shirt… and that’s what she can do at 3 months.
These behaviors are all new to me since I never had milk supply issues. Until now. Annabelle was always pleased with what I was giving her.
I’ll never forget how big my boobs got when my milk came in after I had Annabelle. We are talking porn star status here. Obscenely huge, standing straight up under my chin, and rock hard. Of course they also hurt like a b-word and I had a lot of trouble with my first letdown. The milk just didn’t want to flow!
After a couple of hot showers and massage, I produced so much milk that I was positive I would be the new Dairy Queen. Imagine 4-6 oz on each side during twice daily pumping sessions? I don’t know why I wasn’t freezing the milk back when this was happening – I would have had quite the stash in the freezer!
What happens when your milk supply suddenly drops?
After two months of breastfeeding, my milk supply started to slow down. This is normal. And then… it pretty much stopped on my right side. I could nurse her on the right side in the mornings and maybe once more during the day, but she usually started yelling or smacking me to let me know that not enough milk was coming out. Plus, the letdown is slower on that side and my little girl is quite impatient.
I wasn’t too alarmed since Annabelle gains weight steadily, but my left breast was double the size and hurt like hell. Also, since I was nursing almost solely on the left side, it started overproducing and I was leaking milk everywhere.
I realized I needed to do something about my milk supply. I knew I’d find my answers among my breastfeeding mom friends at my weekly Mommy and Me group led by my hospital’s lactation consultant. We talk about everything from diaper rashes to milk blisters to ways to increase your milk supply.
There are quite a few ways to do this… and I have been doing almost all of them. It is important to consult a lactation specialist before you try this on your own. Especially since it is normal for one breast to produce more than the other!
Five Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply
- Nurse frequently. Remember – you want to remove more milk from the breasts and do this frequently. If baby is having weight gain problems, aim to nurse at least every 1.5-2 hours during the day and at least every 3 hours at night.
- Switch nurse. Switch sides 3 or more times during each feeding, every time that baby falls asleep, switches to “comfort” sucking, or loses interest. Use each side at least twice per feeding.
- Avoid pacifiers and bottles when possible. All of baby’s sucking needs should be met at the breast.
- Consider pumping. Adding pumping sessions after or between nursing sessions can be very helpful
- Take care of YOU. Rest. Sleep when baby sleeps. Relax. Drink liquids to thirst .
Since implementing the above tips, I’ve seen my right side go from producing .5 oz to 2 oz in my morning pumping session. Annabelle has also stopped punching me and is actually eating off of my right side first. Hooray!
If you feel that your supply is dipping and you want to know how I helped out my right side, here are some ways to increase your milk supply. All information displayed was collected from my group and this breastfeeding website.
NOTE: When you start to reduce the amount you’re breastfeeding your baby you may experience postpartum depression. Read my experience with PPD after weaning here.