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DD 7 months and dwindling milk supply

(10 Posts)
milkymilky Tue 07-Jun-11 07:34:49

This is my first post on a forum EVER so please be gentle with me. My DD is 7 and a half months and has really started to enjoy her solid food now. However she seems to be drinking less milk as a result and now it seems my supply is dwindling - all makes perfect sense. I am wondering, is this a vicious cycle where she drinks less, so I produce less etc etc. My main concern is that she has started to wake every 2 hours during the night, so I am really worried that she is hungry and I am considering looking into mix feeding her with formula. I try not to feed on every waking and resettle her which does sometimes work.

Additionally, first thing in the morning, I normally express 6-7oz but this morning only 1.2 and that took ages.

I am getting worried and want to know the best way to go from here. I would prefer to breastfeed, but not if that means my DD has to starve and not get enough nutrients or that I spend my whole life expressing to boost supply.

RitaMorgan Tue 07-Jun-11 08:26:57

Expressing isn't a good indication of your supply - is there anything other than that which makes you think your supply is dwindling?

By 7 months your supply will be pretty robust and should adjust to your DD's demands - it's quite normal for them to reduce milk feeds as they increase solids.

The nightwaking is unlikely to be hunger in my opinion, and if she was waking through hunger you wouldn't be able to settle her without a feed. Does she self-settle at all or does she always need you to feed or settle her back to sleep? It may be she's just waking at the end of each sleep cycle as she comes into lighter sleep and then needs your help to drop off again.

milkymilky Tue 07-Jun-11 08:54:05

I guess what it all stems from is the frequent wakings through the night that I have started to experience which contradicts everything you read which says that sleeping will improve when they move onto solids. Before solids she was EBF, she would go to sleep at 7pm, then dreamfeed at 11, then she would often sleep through till 7am although occasionally she would wake between 3 and 4 which often mean I just had to resettle her to sleep.

I have noticed that since she has picked up on solids, she wants milk less, and will happily not have any from waking in the morning until after lunch - this worries me as I offer her the breast and she doesn't seem interested.

As an example, last night she went to bed at 7 as usual and she is quite capable of self settling as she was still awake after feeding. Then she was awake at 1030, so I went into feed her, then up at 1 where I settled her back to sleep, then up at 3 where I fed her as she seemed to be quite agitated and not able to be settled back to sleep - then awake at 5.20. No interest in feeding, but WIDE AWAKE.

I am very confused and want to fix what is going on, so I have started to question the breastfeeding. I have not had any issues at all so far with breastfeeding so a move to formula would be a very reluctant one. It does also seem that whenever I encounter a baby who is a great sleeper, they are formula fed - not a reason to switch I know, but it still makes you think.

RitaMorgan Tue 07-Jun-11 09:01:00

Maybe try cutting back on the solids - sounds like she is filling up on solids at the expense of milk? Are you offering breastfeeds around an hour before solids?

If she woke 4 times but only needed to feed twice then it doesn't sound like hunger to me. 5.20am isn't an unusual time for babies to be awake to start the day at this time of year either unfortunately!

Introducing solids also doesn't guarantee better sleep - for a lot of babies it disturbs their sleep more as their digestive system gets used to dealing with it.

whyme2 Tue 07-Jun-11 09:04:06

I think you should continue with breastfeeding. I breastfed all my dcs through the weaning stage. It does feel like your milk has disappeared but it is because your body adjusts to the demands made.

I think the night waking may be unrelated - babies sleep adjusts as they grow and sometimes they need less or find it harder to settle themselves.

The only thing I would suggest is perhaps you are giving her too much food. Weaning should be a gradual process and if she is too full from her meal she won't want any milk. Perhaps try slightly smaller portions - 7.5 months is still young and she doesn't need full meal size portions yet.

milkymilky Tue 07-Jun-11 09:05:56

Thanks - I'll try cutting back and see how she gets on. The 5.20 AM start is unusual for her and we live abroad, so it is not due to the daylight. It is interesting to hear that solids can disturb their sleep too. I am very sleep deprived and just getting desperate for a solution smile

milkymilky Tue 07-Jun-11 09:07:52

whyme2 - thanks for your advice - it echoes what rita says above and moving to formula is a last resort for me. She does love her food, so will look to cut it back a little.

RitaMorgan Tue 07-Jun-11 09:10:29

DS was up at 4.50am this morning so I feel your pain!

Cosmosis Tue 07-Jun-11 13:34:39

I agree with everyone else smile

Waking is so often nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with other developmental things, at this age there is a lot going on – introduction of solids is ime much more likely to disrupt sleep than make it better at first as it gets their digestive system going (anecdotal I know but all the babies I know irl went a bit funny with sleep when solids came on the scene), and also they are learning so much, sitting up, crawling etc etc and night time is when they process a lot of info.

AngelDog Tue 07-Jun-11 22:27:41

I agree - waking like that suggests waking after each sleep cycle needing help to get back off again, not hunger. That could be down to developmental spurts, growth spurts, solids, changing napping needs or anything else.

DS's sleep got a lot worse when he started solids (wasn't great to start with) because it took a month or two for him to get used to the sensation of his digestive system processing it. He had terrible wind which used to wake him at night for the first few weeks. I know other babies who slept through the night until they started solids, then started waking.

Offering bf an hour before food is a good way to go.

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