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Variable milk supply

(10 Posts)
fififrog Wed 20-Jul-11 20:53:10

I seem to have a really variable milk supply. Some days there seems to be loads, some days I feel pretty empty. DD (17 weeks) whinges a lot on the empty days, but doesn't want to feed for any longer, if anything she feeds for less long, though maybe slightly shorter intervals between feeds (2.5 hours maybe as opposed to 3 hours). I can't work out the difference. I'm taking fenugreek, eating loads, resting as much as possible but she's sleeping very poorly and only has 30 minute naps at the moment. Getting plenty of exercise walking around. Trying to eat healthily and plentifully and haven't managed to spot any associations with having eaten anything special. Can't think what else to do... Does anyone have any suggestions?

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 20-Jul-11 20:58:58

So long as your DD is getting access to the breast as and when she needs it I wouldn't worry too much about your supply. Breastfeeding is supply and demand so on days when she is hungrier, she will feed more and your breasts will feel emptier. After a coupld of days they will have caught up to meet her demands and will feel full again. Mornings they will be fuller than evenings.

The naps and poor seeping is probably just a phase and she may be having a growth spurt or she might have a cold or teeth coming through.

Try and not worry, just allow her to feed as and when she needs to and your milk supply should be fine.

RitaMorgan Wed 20-Jul-11 21:05:21

I think it's more likely your DD has a variable appetite than your supply is varying. Some days babies are whingier or want to feed more often than others.

fififrog Wed 20-Jul-11 21:28:00

Thanks! Yes I am trying not to worry, but there seems to be some sort of correlation between her feeding well and sleeping well. What I can't understand is that she seems to complain about slow let-down and when the foremilk finishes she often cries out in frustration, but seems unwilling to keep feeding. She normally feeds about 7 mins but today it's been literally 3-4 then I'm sticking her back on and she's pulling offrepeatedly til one of us loses patience. I'm sure she's getting 'enough' and looks chubby, but shebjust doesn't seem remotely satisfied with feeding on the 'low supply' days, and wakes more in the night too.

I just hoped there was something I could do to make it a better experience for both of us. To be honest, I'd be half tempted to switch to formula but she won't take a bottle so I have no choice anyway. Roll on weaning, I can only assume she's just not interested in milk!

RitaMorgan Wed 20-Jul-11 21:30:21

Do you swap sides when she comes off?

TittyBojangles Wed 20-Jul-11 22:20:50

Of course she is interested in milk, she doesn't know anything else exists remember smile When she comes off 'in frustration' try swapping to the other side, and then back again until she seems satisfied. Also, I know it is easier said than done, but try to put the clock away cos timing feeds really can just cause more worry than it's worth... I know, was permenantly worried that DS wouldnt feed for longer than a few mins. Once I stopped timing it it became less of an issue.

And don't worry about the fore/hind milk thing if you are.

TittyBojangles Wed 20-Jul-11 22:24:32

Ooop, posted too soon.

The fore/hindmilk thing.... no need to try and engineer her feeds to make sure she 'gets' to the hindmilk (not sure how you know when the foremilk stops anyway, I don't think milk is one or the other), just feed when she want for as long as she wants and this will sort itself out.

fififrog Thu 21-Jul-11 08:47:46

Thanks again, maybe I'm just describing things wrong... My point was that she's only happy during the phase where it's one suck one swallow, when it slows down again it's like she can't be bothered to continue even if she's still hungry. I only time to the extent that when she's messing around I want to make sure I give it a decent shot at her getting a proper meal. I do swap if she's getting very frustrated but we generally work better as a unit when she only feeds from one side. Getting her weighed today anyway so hopefully I'm right that her weight isn't suffering.

Supply feels better again today and I only had to get up twice in the night. Maybe it is a sleep/stress thing?

tiktok Thu 21-Jul-11 08:55:09

This sounds as if it could be the normal shortening of feeds (some, rarely all) that happens with older babies. If you think she cannot be finished after 3-4 mins and keep trying to put her on again she will get very annoyed...older, thriving babies can manage perfectly well on short feeds and from what you say she is healthy and gaining weight, so nothing to worry about!

There is no way you can tell when the 'foremilk finishes' by the way smile It really doesn't work like that.

One option would be simply to accept her own 'decision' about when she wants to stop and stop fighting her....if she wants to come off, let her, and do something else with her instead.

The fact her feeds are becoming more frequent is irrelevant, really, I think - babies vary from day to day and with such quick feeds, it's not a big deal to feed her for 3-4 mins more often.

This is not a breastfeeding/supply issue, as far as I can see. It's just a behavioural development.

organiccarrotcake Thu 21-Jul-11 08:57:43

Here is an excellent article explaining about foremilk and hindmilk:

thefunnyshapedwoman.blogspot.com/2011/05/foremilk-and-hindmilk-in-quest-of.html

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