Breastfeeding

A Sudden Drop in Milk Supply: How to Deal with This?

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Changes in breast milk supply are completely normal after giving birth, and many mothers are concerned about this issue. Yet, you don’t need to be worried!

While every nursing journey is unique, decreased breast milk usually occurs around six months after birth because of various factors.

Identifying the causes of a sudden drop in milk supply and figuring out the best remedy will help you provide your baby with seamless breast milk for a long time.

We are here to give a hand!

Why Did Your Milk Supply Suddenly Decrease?

You can determine a reasonable approach to deal with the problem only when you understand its reasons.

1. Dehydration

Water accounts for 88% of mother’s milk, so it stands to reason that water plays a vital part in milk production.

An evident indicator of the amount of water the body needs is thirst. Physiologically, oxytocin – a hormone sparking let-down – is also part of your body’s thirst response.

It’s pretty normal to feel like craving water after you pump or feed your infant. You should remain well-hydrated during breastfeeding since dehydration could induce slower breast milk production.

If you often forget to drink water as you don’t feel thirsty, place a bottle nearby and drink 6-8 oz after each pumping or nursing session.

breastfeeding mother drinking water
Water plays a vital part in your and your baby’s body.

2. Diet

What you eat will affect your milk supply. Typically, a breastfeeding mommy needs an extra 330-400 calories per day for the baby.

So, the recommended calorie consumption for a mother is 2,300-2,500 energy units, whereas a twin mother needs 2,600-3,000 calories per day.

Not eating enough will most likely decrease your milk supply. Be aware that some foods can reduce the supply, so ensure to avoid adding them to your diet.

For instance, mint, parsley, chaste berry, and other herbs are well-known for reducing mommies’ breast reserve, while other foods increase it, such as oatmeal, lean meat, and garlic.

Peanut butter, apples, beef jerky, and low-sugar chocolate bars are other suggested nourishing foods.

It’s a clever idea to make a large meal in advance and free them. You can take a small portion out to thaw, reheat, and enjoy on busy days.

3. Stress

Giving birth to a baby is a wonderful event, yet one downside is that it leaves the mother struggling with mental stress and anxiety.

There are thousands of concerns and worries when taking care of an infant. Not only that, the physical exhaustion after giving birth and sleepless nights even stress you out more severely.

Stress hormones like cortisol would inhibit prolactin production and, in turn, suppress lactation.

Besides, your body will naturally produce adrenaline to respond to nervousness and stress. Adrenaline may hold back oxytocin release, leading to a challenging let-down.

Remember that mental health is critical to your baby’s raising and care.

A network of friends and family who can assist you in caring for other children, cooking, and doing housework is probably the most valuable support. You still have to deal with nursing, but your beloved people will help you gain more time to rest, keep the stress level manageable, recover, and regulate your breast milk supply.

If you feel hopeless, frustrated, or upset too often and have trouble eating or sleeping properly, we highly advise you to reach out to your doctor immediately. They will help you determine the best treatment method or introduce a mental therapist specializing in postpartum depression treatment.

new mom stress
Stress often appears during the post-pregnancy period.

4. Not Nursing on Demand

Not understanding your newborn’s cues and poor timing schedules could make your let-down suffer. Breastfeeding on demand is tremendously crucial.

It’s never a good idea to limit the time your baby eats or tighten the nursing schedule, particularly during the early stage. These practices inhibit the natural milk production process, causing your body to produce breast milk slowly when necessary.

Don’t watch the clock when feeding your infant. Just provide breast milk whenever he wants it and until he’s full.

After giving birth, your breasts work according to demand and supply. Exclusively pumping or nursing sparks higher demand, leading the breasts to produce more milk.

Nevertheless, using formula milk for some feedings a day (for example, when the infant is in daytime care) may hint to the body that there’s no need to generate more milk. Thus, your milk supply starts to decrease. A method to counteract this is regularly pumping in feeding intervals during the day.

This way, your body will know that it has to continue producing, though the newborn is not feeding at that time.

You can store your breast milk in a freezer. We suggest pumping at work when you can, then freezing it for future use.

5. Getting Sick

Though getting a stomach ache, flu, or cold won’t directly affect your milk supply, their symptoms (dehydration, appetite loss. nausea, and fatigue) can. Usually, the supply will return to normal once these symptoms get weaker.

You may think that it’s not good to feed the baby when you’re sick. But indeed, breastfeeding is the safest way to prevent the sickness or disease you’re suffering from affecting your newborn.

Your mammary gland includes white blood cells, which will produce antibodies protecting the vulnerable infant from sickness.

Mother’s milk contains interleukin and lactoferrin proteins with pro-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. These elements will help boost your newborn’s nonspecific immune response.

You may feel exhausted while getting sick and breastfeeding at the same time. Try to sleep and rest as much as possible to let the body recover.

new mom sleep not enough
When you get sick, it also affects your breastmilk supply.

6. Baby Demand

Nursing works based on demand and supply. One of the primary reasons for a sudden decline in breast milk is reduced stimulation of your breasts.

If you pump or feed less than your baby’s demand, it would drop your supply. During early nursing, the supply adjusts itself according to the amount of frequency and stimulation.

So, how much hindmilk you remove at each pumping or feeding session also affects prolactin – a hormone telling your body to produce milk.

If you don’t feed the baby on his demand and cut down on the feeding amount, the frequency will reduce. Your body will naturally adjust to satisfy the new amount in demand, producing less breast milk.

7. Periods

Biological changes in the body may also influence the milk supply. Some women experience a sudden decrease in milk supply during their periods.

If you get pregnant again, your breast milk supply will also reduce as the body produces more hormones.

Your periods can lead either the supply or blood calcium level to decrease. Mothers with the same problem usually take a magnesium/calcium supplement to fix it.

If you choose this method, remember to ask your doctor if it’s safe for you and the baby. Usually, you’ll take the supplement during ovulation about 1-2 weeks before the period approaches.

Look for supplements combining magnesium and calcium, as you should never take much calcium alone.

8. Medications

Particular medications could pose a sudden drop in milk production – the most common of which is Pseudoephedrine.

You’ll often find this element in cold and allergy medications such as Sudafed. Some hormonal control may also make your milk supply go down.

Thus, before taking any new medication, please talk to your healthcare provider to choose the safest approach for both mom and baby.

How To Get Your Milk Supply Back After Dropping?

Here are the easiest, most commonly applied methods to foster milk production and boost overall breast milk reserve.

1. Pumping

The first solution to increasing milk supply for mothers is to force the breasts to produce more often.

You can feed your newborn, pump when you’re at work, or express the breast after nursing more often to upregulate your let-down gradually.

We find this straightforward technique amazingly helpful to encourage milk output, which is to utilize a hand silicone pump.

When breastfeeding your infant, you can use an Elvie or a Haakaa curve on the other breast. In so doing, you’ll gradually adjust the let-down and stockpile more milk for the baby.

breast pumping with machine
Pumping can get your breast milk back faster.

2. Get More Sleep

Deprivation of sleep and rest is a significant cause of a rapid drop in milk release. Thus, try to sleep as much as possible, though it’ll be challenging with a newborn to care for.

You can buy time by taking a short nap when the baby sleeps instead of washing the dishes or laundry. Hit the hay earlier, and rest whenever you can, even just a few minutes.

3. Massage and Warmth

Try placing a warm, soft cloth on your breast before nursing or pumping. You’ll find it extremely pleasant and helpful for fostering let-down.

Another comfortable method is to massage the breasts gently. This way, the liquid will release more efficiently in large amounts.

Regular warming and massage also help fight against many breast issues like mastitis. We suggest doing this after and before each breastfeeding session to ensure consistent release.

4. Drink More Water & Better Diet

Water is always necessary for the body, so ensure you drink a lot of water as you’re drinking for your infant, too.

Bring a bottle of water with you or place it nearby as a reminder that it is time to have some hydration. Concerning diet, while many foods increase the milk supply, others may reduce it.

Lactation cookies are a suggestion for boosting let-down. You can buy them in any grocery store or make them at home. Other foods on the to-buy list are ginger, nuts, fennel, carrots, garlic, and oatmeal. And ensure to strike a balance of various nutritions.

Don’t forget to consume enough vegetables and fruits. It’s a clever idea to drink lactation tea, provided with your doctor’s permission.

5. Take Breastfeeding Supplements

There are some breastfeeding supplements suggested for mothers with decreases in let-down. Pure Co is one of the most popular brands, and usually, you’ll see results after one week of using its supplements.

Legend Dairy’s Liquid Gold is also another top brand regarding solutions to dropping the milk release. The product contains various powerful organic ingredients, which will maximize the mother’s milk production.

Besides, Goat’s Rule gains a long-term reputation for aiding humans and dairy animals by supplementing lactation and generating more reserve.

breastfeeding supplements
Supplements are also a helpful solution, provided with your doctor’s permission.

6. Check The Latch

Sometimes, you may not latch on your infant properly, deterring him from eating enough and affecting and reducing the breast’s production. So, always check if the little one has a great latch to go or not.

7. Hold Off On The Pacifier

Many babies are into sucking on a fake nipple or pacifier. In this case, mothers should replace their breasts instead.

This way, the body will know that it needs to produce more milk to meet the great demand. Frequently doing this will help your reserve return to its normal status.

8. Use Medications With Caution

Particular medications can help stimulate the body to produce more, while some may induce a decline in production.

It’s never good to expose your body to chemicals in medications, especially during breastfeeding, as these elements may go into the mother’s milk.

Remember to seek advice from your midwife before taking any medication. A professional’s recommendations are always reliable and better in this case.

9. Rest & Try Not To Stress

Stress and depression have a considerable impact on the overall well-being and milk production. So, try to keep your mind at peace and relax whenever you have a chance.

Why don’t you allow yourself to go to a spa, take a bath full of flowers, read some books, write down things making you stressed, and let your hair down.

If you care for your mental health more, the body will change positively.

Conclusion

You can name numerous possible reasons that cause your milk supply suddenly drop. But whatever it is, you need to act immediately to bring the reserve back to the previous level.

Maintaining proper breast milk production is extremely vital for your newborn’s growth and health.

We hope that all the mothers and babies always stay healthy and happy!

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