Just after Ezra turned 4 months, my supply dropped overnight. I kid you not. And it was scary!
I was pumping 8-9 ounces total first thing in the morning for awhile. Ez would have a bottle of previously pumped milk instead of nursing for his “first” feeding. And then one morning, I woke up and only 1 ounce came out of each boob. I had a clogged duct of sorts so I figured it was from that but even after it passed and it wasn’t clogged anymore, my supply just wasn’t there. I never had an oversupply either, so this was a bit scary for me to see this happen. I felt I was meeting Ezra’s demand and still able to stash some in the freezer, but it wasn’t an over abundance of milk. We were “smooth sailing” or so I thought.
I went to my lactation consultant who then told me to start thinking about formula and use my freezer stash. I by no means am anti-formula but after putting in 4 months of handwork and effort to nurse Ezra and built a supply, I wasn’t ready to throw the towel in just yet. I left that appointment feeling pretty bummed, defeated and frustrated. But instead of focusing on giving up, I told myself “you got this. you can rebuild your supply – it isn’t over yet”.
I called every friend I could think of. Messaged people I knew nursed for awhile and asked for advice from anyone I knew I could trust and confide in. The mama community is beyond amazing and the support I was given at this time truly got me through this dip. I sound dramatic as I type this but any mama who has experienced this, I know you feel me. Postpartum hormones plus this happening is not the best combo. We gotta stick together!
Ezra was also getting lazy on the boob at this time and wasn’t demanding as much milk. Still not sure exactly why he was going through this phase, but it could have been because there wasn’t as much milk? Who knows and we e never will.
To be honest, I will never really know why my supply dipped but instead of focusing on that, I wanted to share what I did to boost my supply and get it back up to where it is now.
I am by no means a professional or expert in any of this but below I share what I did to help boost my supply and bring it up back up to meet Ezra’s demand. If any of my mamas out there do experience a dip in supply, don’t give up just yet! If you are mentally done, that is one thing but if you are still in it – give it another shot. I always say Ezra and I will know when it is over. I can’t plan for the last time I will nurse him or when I will stop breastfeeding overall. He will know, I will know and we will figure it out at that time. Until then, every day is a damn miracle and I am grateful to have made it almost 6 months at the end of this month. Plus now that he is eating food, it is getting so much easier (sharing more on that soon).
My tips for boosting low milk supply:
- PUMP – My pump is my best friend. Sad – but true these days, ha! This is going to sound insanely tedious but I would pump for 10-15 minutes after every single nursing session. Ultimately this would mean pumping 5-6x per day. Ezra would nurse anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes total and I would then pump right afterwards. Not in-between feedings or that would confuse my supply I felt. I do work from home and pretty much was glued to him for a few weeks, which I do think made all the difference too. I did this for an entire month and it really really helped me. The pump continues to stimulate my boobs to produce more after Ezra was done. No, I wouldn’t get much more than some “dust” after nursing then pumping but that wasn’t the point. I just wanted to keep the flow and stimulation going. I do know many mammas who exclusively pump though and they just amped up their sessions and were able to boost supply too (for all my mamas working in an office away from their babes!). I’m going to do an update on breastfeeding soon but now I only pump in the morning after I nurse Ez first thing to make sure the milk is drained. Then again when I eat dinner around 7pm since he gets a bottle before bed instead of nursing. And again at 9pm or so. Then of course if I mix a nursing session, I pump at that time.
- Supplements – I’m not one to tell anyone to take a certain supplement but I personally took fenugreek thanks to my friend Emily who recommended it and it made a huge difference. I took it for about a month total. This herb is really strong and gave me lose stools (gross but true) so when that happened I stopped taking it. If my supply dips again, I will likely supplement with it to help for a few days, but it isn’t meant for longterm use.
- Lactation bites/recipes – I always thought these were super gimmicky but they really worked for me and for my supply. I swear by the Majka lactation booster and their bites. I eat 2 bites a day and use their booster and powders in recipes! I used the booster and powders in my sweet potato chia pudding, chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and lactation banana bread! I am grateful to be partnering with them and after seeing how much of a difference their products make in my supply, I cannot recommend them enough. You can use my code RACHL for 15% off too!
- Power pumping – Again, this is is tedious but it worked. I was not going to sustain myself pumping overnight anymore at 3am to keep my supply up. The 6 hours I get already aren’t enough for me so breaking that up into 3 and 3 just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead I power pumped for a month every single night from 9-10pm. I would pump for 30 minutes, rest 10 minutes, pump 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes then pump 10 minutes. I heard to do this at the same time every day to help with supply. Again, only did this or a month! Ezra’s doctor recommended it to me. It wasn’t the most fun but I usually did it as I worked at night or if Jordan was home, as we watched Netflix.
- Mother’s tea – I drank lactation boosting tea every single day 2-3x a day. NO clue if this worked but it didn’t hurt to add into my beverage intake.
- Food/water intake – This is SO key. Eating and drinking enough has been really important in sustaining myself and my own personal health. For me and my body, I need to eat and drink a lot more than I did pre-pregnancy. I eat a ton of fat, protein, carbs, everything. A lot of pizza is consumed to say the least. I don’t question my extra hunger and how my stomach growls more than it used to. I eat more and don’t care how much. This is the time when I actually believe you are “eating for two” ha! Keep dense snacks around like Perfect Bars, Emmy’s, Siren Snacks (code RACHL for 15% off) and Chomps (code RACHL for 15% off) for protein. I eat these all every single day (as most of you know) in between meals and usually a couple of snacks at a time.Paired with tons and tons of water!!
Any other tips from mama’s out there?! I am sure I am missing some but I will add more as I think of them too 🙂