Milk supply decreases from time to time when you are breastfeeding. This could be from you spending less time breastfeeding, or there is an underlying medical condition that causes the decrease. There are many reasons why a mom’s milk supply can diminish or stop altogether. Here are the top 7 signs that your milk supply is decreasing and how to fix it.
7 Signs your milk supply is decreasing
When it comes to breastfeeding, you want to make sure that your milk supply is always adequate. Unfortunately, there are times when your milk supply might diminish or stop altogether. Here are the 7 signs that your milk supply is decreasing and what you can do about it.
1. You aren’t producing as much milk as you used to
If you use a pump log to write out how much breast milk you pump every session, then it can be easy to notice that there is a decrease in your supply. It is normal to have a varying supply day to day or even with each pumping session.
But logging all of your pumping sessions will help you easily notice if you have overall declined with your supply.
2. Your baby isn’t producing enough dirty diapers
Depending on your baby’s age, breastfed babies should be producing a certain amount of dirty diapers throughout the day.
If you notice that your baby’s dirty diapers are decreasing, then this may be a sign of your milk supply decreasing.
3. Your baby is nursing more often than usual
Another sign that your milk supply is decreasing is if your baby starts nursing more often than usual.
If they are constantly looking to nurse and it seems like you aren’t producing enough milk, then this could be the cause of why they are so hungry all the time.
4. Your baby is fussy and not satisfied after nursing
Another sign that you may have a decrease in your milk supply is if your baby seems unsatisfied after nursing.
When she starts to lose interest in the breast and crying incessantly, this could be a sign of a low milk supply.
5. You have to pump more frequently than usual to get the same amount of milk
If you notice that you have to pump several times during the day to get even a little bit of milk, then this could be an indicator that your supply is diminishing.
It’s always good to have a log to stay organized and to help you track everything that is going on with your baby and your supply.
6. Your baby shows signs of dehydration
If your baby is showing signs of dehydration, this could be caused by not having enough breast milk to drink.
This can include no wet diapers for more than two days, dark yellow urine, dry mouth, and skin after breastfeeding, lethargic behavior, weight loss, or decreased muscle tone.
7. Your baby has trouble gaining weight
If your baby is having trouble gaining back to its birth weight or you notice that they stopped gaining weight after getting back to their birth weight, then this could be the result of your supply decreasing.
A decrease in your supply can be caused by many different things.
Sometimes it can be something as simple as not spending enough time breastfeeding each day or there might be an underlying medical condition that is the cause of your decrease.
Pumping more frequently, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet can help you to increase your milk supply.
You may also want to try taking herbal supplements such as Fenugreek and Goat’s Rue because they have been shown to help with lactation.
Causes of decreased milk supply
There are many causes of decreased milk supply. Some of the most common reasons are:
1. Nursing less often
If you aren’t nursing as often as you used to, your milk supply will decrease. Try to nurse as often as possible to tell your body to make more milk.
2. Not enough hydration
If you’re not drinking enough fluids, your body won’t produce enough milk. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids every day.
3. Taking medications
Some medications can interfere and cause a low milk supply. If you’re taking any medications, check with your doctor to see if they might be impacting your milk supply.
4. Underlying medical conditions
If you have an underlying medical condition, it can affect your milk supply. The most common underlying conditions that affect breastfeeding are diabetes, thyroid conditions, and depression. If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you get pregnant about how it might impact breastfeeding.
Being stressed out isn’t good for your health in general, but stress can also impact your milk supply. If you’re feeling stressed out, try relaxing and talking with someone about it to see if that helps.
6. Alcohol & Smoking
Both alcohol and smoking can interfere and cause a low milk supply, so try not to drink or smoke when you are breastfeeding, especially if you are trying to make more milk.
7. Poor nutrition
Not eating nutritious foods can affect your milk supply. If you aren’t eating healthy foods regularly, ask your doctor or a nutritionist for help in creating a healthy diet that will support your breastfeeding.
8. You started your menstrual cycle
If you’re breastfeeding and you have your menstrual cycle return, this can cause a temporary decrease in your milk supply.
How to increase milk supply
When it comes to breastfeeding, you want to make sure that you have a healthy milk supply. Here are the top ways to boost your breast milk supply.
1. Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids every day
Staying hydrated is so important for making breast milk. Make sure you drink enough fluids every day so that your body is working properly.
2. Meet with a lactation consultant
Seeing an expert on breastfeeding will help problem-solve with you and may be able to pinpoint what is going on with your supply that way.
3. Avoid smoking and drinking when you’re breastfeeding
Smoking and drinking alcohol are known to affect a low milk supply. If you are worried about making enough breast milk, it’s best to avoid these.
You can read more about alcohol and breastfeeding here.
4. Eat nutritious foods that support milk production
It’s more important than ever to eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods and even more so if you are worried about a low milk supply.
Make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from your food that will support you in making enough milk for your baby.
Pumping after you nurse your baby will add extra demand to your supply which can boost a low milk supply.
6. Get as much rest as possible
Make sure that you are getting enough rest. If you aren’t getting enough rest, you won’t have as much energy to produce breast milk
7. Talk to someone about your stress
If you’re feeling stressed out, talking with someone can help ease your mind and help you make more milk.
8. Be patient
It might take a few weeks before you see any changes if you have a low milk supply, but if you keep trying, you should be able to build it back up and make enough milk.
9. Seek medical advice
If your baby isn’t gaining weight as expected and your doctor feels that you have a low milk supply, she may prescribe a galactagogue (a medication that increases breast milk production) or refer you to a lactation consultant for additional help.
10. Don’t give up!
If you aren’t making enough milk, it may take some time to get it back up so you should keep trying. Just keep taking action and soon enough you will have a healthy supply.
11. Talk to other breastfeeding mothers for advice and support
There are many support groups online where you can talk with other moms who have been in the same situation or find someone in your community that you can speak with.
12. Eat lactogenic foods to boost your supply
Some examples of lactogenic foods are oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and flaxseeds.
13. Make sure to nurse or pump as often as possible
The more you pump or nurse, the more breast milk your body will produce; this is especially important in the early stages of breastfeeding when you’re trying to build your supply back up.
Hold your baby close to give lots of skin-to-skin contact and nurse as often as possible.
A decreasing supply can be a frustrating and scary experience for breastfeeding mothers. It’s important to remember that if your baby is gaining weight as expected, you should continue nursing or pumping regularly even if the decrease in milk production persists.
There are many ways to increase your milk supply such as avoiding alcohol and smoking while breastfeeding, eating nutritious foods that support lactation like oatmeal, flaxseeds, and brewer’s yeast, getting plenty of rest so you have more energy to produce breastmilk, drinking lots of water every day, talking about how stressed out you feel with someone who will listen without judging. This could give them insight into what triggers your stress. Be patient when it takes time before seeing changes in milk production. Keep it up and you will see results!