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Am I losing it?

(16 Posts)
Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 08:48:30

My milk that is!

DS has just turned 7mo. I've been back at work full time for about 2.5 months. I generally express twice a day (end of the morning and end of the afternoon) which covers about 2/3 of his daily milk needs (he gets one FF for the third bottle). I bf morning, evening/night and ebf at the weekends. We've started weaning and after a slow start he's now on two good meals a day (lunchtime and evening) although he's complained about the evening meal the last two days.

Since the beginning of last week I can't express anything like as much as I used to. I regularly got 120ml+ in the morning and another 100ml+ in the afternoon. Last week I was barely getting 100ml at each pump and felt I was struggling to get that. I can barely get 40ml from both breasts together in my evening and morning pumps (would normally get at least 60-80ml from the breast DS hadn't last fed from). This morning I got less than 20ml from the breast that DS last fed from 5 hours ago sad (he'd has another feed in the meantime off the other breast)

Things are hectic at work at the moment and I know I'm stressed. I'm also exhausted as DS has spent the last week waking multiple times a night with the screaming abdabs and keeping us awake for 1-1.5 hours at a time. He wouldn't be fed back to sleep and after a couple of nights of that we gave him calpol which seemed to calm him. I think he's teething as it feels like he's chewing on my nipples and they've turned extremely sore in the last week. Apart from that he's no different to usual during the day during feeds - no fussing, no asking for feeds outside his usual rhythm, no signs of hunger.

But there's a nagging voice at the back on my head wondering if my milk is starting to dry up. I can hear it flow as he feeds and I feel my usual let down tingle but my inability to pump is starting to really bug me. I want to be able to bf at the weekends but it's massively demoralising to pump during the day and have nothing come out. I daren't stop the day time pumping in case my daytime supply for the weekend stops. Or can I?

Has anyone else experienced this? What could it be? Could it really be linked to stress and tiredness or is something else going on? Help! sad

Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 08:51:08

Sorry for the length of the post sad Thanks for reading it if you made it all the way through.

I want to add though that without the advice and support of you wonderful people we would never have made it this far in the first place smile So I'm again throwing myself at you in hope of wise words smile

RitaMorgan Sat 04-Jun-11 09:59:24

Is it possible you're pregnant or your period is due? Might account for sore nipples and a dip in supply.

TruthSweet Sat 04-Jun-11 10:51:44

Hi Fenouille - Great to hear from you again. I was wondering how you were getting on (you probably don't remember me but I was on your threads just after your son was born). It's fantastic you've made it to 7 months!

Lowering pump yield can, sometimes, be due to the pump parts needing replacing or checking they are fitted properly together. Valves in particular are vulnerable to wearing out so checking them might be a good thing to try.

Also, as Rita says low supply (or perceived low supply) can happen in pg and at ovulation/pre-menstrual days so checking to see where you are on your cycle or, if you haven't started back up post-birth, if there are any other tell tale signs you are due on (say a craving for chocolate grin).

If it is because you are due on/ovulating then it is only a temporary lowering in supplies. Kellymom has some info on using calcium-magnesium supplements for this here

This might also help you. As might this on decreasing pump yields.

Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 11:06:37

Pretty sure I'm not pregnant (did you not see that we've got a non-sleeping 7 mo grin ). Could be period though, we've just dropped a feed last week as well.

I've also got more teary again (like after the birth) but assumed it's because I'm so tired and stressed. Period hormones would also make sense I suppose. Would be typical though, we're off on holiday mid-next week.

If it is my period will this stop DS from getting enough long term? Or will it only be a temporary reduction? And I suppose I'll have to keep pumping during the day to keep the supply up for the weekends even if nothing is coming out? <sigh>

Cosmosis Sat 04-Jun-11 11:22:42

if it is your period then your supply will go back up again in a couple of days I believe.

Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 12:03:46

Thanks Cosmo. It's already been a week but it would be my first period after the birth so if it is that I hope I come on soon so it gets back to normal <goes to dust off mooncup>

Amoono Sat 04-Jun-11 13:50:13

Hi I went back to work random hours part time four days a week when my son was 10 months. I never expressed but my supply adjusted itself accordingly and my supply maintained itself till I chose to stop feeding at 1 and half years old. I did feed my son on demand when not at work. By the way I really struggled with supply issues in the first three months of bf so hopefully it will work for you. Good luck

4madboys Sat 04-Jun-11 14:00:04

hi fen! i think your supply may just be regulating itself? the pump wont stimulate your breasts as much as feeding and maybe you are feeling stressed/tense so your milk just isnt letting down well for the pump, have you tried a warm flannel on your breasts to help letdown?

i would say your supply is established enough that you wont have a problem feeding N at the weekend etc even if you dont express much during the week.

your mood ties in with periods returning, i get like that a good week or so before my period and it is much worse since having children hmm

if he is happy to feed etc then there is obviously enough milk there for him so it is just getting out with the pump that is the issue. i always used an avent pump and the seal does sometimes go on the valve bit and i got a spare one with my pump, do you have a spare.

are you expressing at the same time each day?

it could just be the lack of sleep, hormones etc i really doubt your supply is drying up.

feed N whenever he wants and try pumping more often if you can to see if that will stimulate the supply, or can you pump one side whilst he feeds on the other? that sometimes works, but may be trickky, esp now he is older!

Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 14:46:49

I was hoping I could cut down on the pumping at work once DS was eating a bit more Amoono. It's reassuring to know that's possible without spoiling weekend feeding. It feels a bit early though as he's still on three milk feeds during the day?

Thanks for your wise words 4mad smile Perhaps my supply is just regulating itself but it seemed like it was just over night I couldn't get anything out of the pump any more so it felt a bit odd. I've just replaced the little flutter valve on my Avent pump so not that (unfortunately). I don't always manage to pump at the same time but I'm usually reasonably regular. What I haven't done over the last fortnight though is use my electric pump at all. It's in our nursing mothers room at work which is a 5-10 minute walk over and I just haven't had the time. I'm going to have to make the effort next week I think, the hand pump is just not enough at the moment!

And I do hope I don't start getting this emotional every month! I never used to have any pmt type symptoms and don't want any thanks! I cried at my boss last week after having a heated discussion about something very inconsequential blush

Better pack some pads for work next week then just in case...

4madboys Sat 04-Jun-11 14:58:18

the electric pump sounds a good idea and have you replaced the clear plastic rubbery bit that goes over the little white valve, sometimes if that itsnt snug then the suction isnt there?

re emotional, i cried at the wkend as my mother upset me, normally i just sort of shrug and let it go (we disagree on parenting technique) but i burst into tears and ended up crying myself to sleep that night, then got my period the next day hmm and that has def been a pattern, a week of tearfulness for no reason andthen period, such fun...

and yes pack the pads, if you dont then it will def arrive!

Fenouille Sat 04-Jun-11 20:54:18

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice, as helpful as usual! smile I'm going to pack my pads and fingers crossed that that explains it and I'm back to normal soon.

And <<stealth hug>> to 4mad smile

Amoono Sun 05-Jun-11 19:00:38

Hi fen my son was feeding every two hours till I went back ... Three feeds a day would have been a dream come true. he still fed often but I stopped the first night he slept through at 1 and a half. No periods till a month after i stoped bf. poor hubby wouldn't have coped with both our tears lol good luck

Fenouille Sun 05-Jun-11 21:07:44

shock Every two hours at 10 months? shock Blimey.

Well,things are a lot less painful today, but still not really able to pump anything. No sign of period either. Ah well, guess it'll have to be full FF during the day and my milk am/pm and at the weekends <shrug> Our bodies are weird and wonderful things smile

Fenouille Wed 08-Jun-11 19:54:55

Well, what ever it was it seems to be over. I still have the impression it's not flowing as well as before but I'm almost back up to normal quantities so who knows <shrug> Thanks for all the advice and hand-holding everyone.

PenguinArmy Thu 09-Jun-11 04:24:15

I'm afraid my DD was a 2 hour waker until over a year as well

I'm glad things are returning to normal for you. I went back full time at 4 months. By 7 months I decided to change to expressing once a day and DD was on one 3oz while I was at work. For the first few weeks of this I would make sure I home on time (even when it meant me bringing work home in the evenings) to help her adjust.

Around this time I found it a lot harder to express larger amounts or increase supply like before, my reasoning was that my body has cottoned on to exactly how much was needed. Although on days off she fed plenty throughout the day no problems. Since she fed a lot in the night I wasn't worried about her intake and figured even if she did sleep for long periods I could feed at 5am, 7am, 5pm and 10pm which would be sufficient.

At 10 months I ditched expressing smile It was odd I found while I had to do mentally it was OK but as soon as I didn't I hated it with a passion and nothing could make me express, even if family did want to take her out for a day. It was not happening. At that point I also had a large frozen stash so for bad days DH could give her some emergency food and allowed me to do stuff after work (exercise or just work late)

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