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Breastfeeding - How will I know if my supply has dropped?

(6 Posts)
kittymamma Fri 07-Oct-16 21:57:30

Hi all,

I returned to work in June when my DS was 5 months old. I expressed every lunchtime and a bit more when I got home (Could express 6 oz a day which was what he would take). He would feed and take the bottle. This worked well, then we had the summer holidays (am a teacher), and I returned to work again in September when my DS was 8 months.

As he was 8 months old and he was eating so well, I had hoped to stop expressing. We tried the formula milk for the day time but he hated it (took me a while to realise that it was the follow on milk he hated the taste of). I have started expressing when I get home from work but am unable to express more than 2 oz (On a Monday or Tuesday, decreasing to nothing on a Friday) while my DS feeds from the other. Then both my boobs feel very empty. He then continues to want to feed (on and off) all evening, and waking through the night for quick feeds (unsure if it is for comfort or hungry). I am concerned that I am not producing enough milk now. With my DD (5 years ago) she was BF until she was nearly 3 with 1 feed a day so I never worried that I would have this problem. I feel my boobs very full and uncomfortable during the day at feed times (11am and 2pm) but then the fullness goes away. Problem is, I am concerned that my milk supply decreases through the week, then at the weekend it starts to build up again, to only decrease again after.

Am I worrying for no reason or should I consider weaning from the breast and onto formula so he has to get used to it? He used to take the under 6 month milk as emergency if my childminder ran out of expressed milk. Would he be ok on that? Personally, I do not want to stop breastfeeding if I have the choice.

ChipIn Sat 08-Oct-16 03:50:33

Do you have the option to express more often? I express in my lunch break since going back to work at 6 months and in the evening. That was fine for a while but I found supply dropped and I now do it in the morning. It takes me 3 sessions to get one feed of 160ml.
DD is fine when I'm with her though. No issues of supply when she feeds directly from me.

Nzou1050 Sat 08-Oct-16 04:14:08

Sorry, not sure about the expressing and supply issue but my health visitor told me with my first (who was exclusively formula fed) that there was no need for follow on milk and to just use first formula milk until he was one, which I did until he has cows milk at one. I can't remember the exact reason she gave but it was along the lines of follow on milk not having anything extra he would need and first milk having all the nutrients etc he did need. So if your little one likes first milk you should be fine to just keep giving him that for times you need to use formula.

IamChipmunk Mon 10-Oct-16 20:24:56

I am a teacher and went back to work full time at 7 months. I continued to bf til 12 months by expressing at work.
I would say you need to express during the day to keep your supply up. I expressed once in the morning, usually between 10 and 11.30 and then at the end of the day between 2.30-3.
Can you talk to your HR about fitting it in?
Mine were quite supportive and saying no to things because I needed to express was never an issue. I then used to feed ds as soon as I picked him up and then again at bed.
I found my supply dropped naturally at about 10 months as he dropped feeds during the day (at weekends) I stopped expressing then and he had a little bit of coes milk in the day if needed but pretty much gave up except for morning and night breastfeeds.

superking Mon 10-Oct-16 20:41:04

This sounds like reverse cycling and I believe it is quite common in bf babies whose mothers are away during the day. If you are happy for him to feed a lot in the evenings and overnight then I would just do this and would offer water, formula, or whatever you are able to express during the day. As you are finding that expressing is becoming more difficult I would probably just stop.

If you are (understandably) getting fed up of the evening/ night time feeding then in your situation I would persevere with getting him to take formula in the day but bf him last thing in the night and first thing in the morning.

Personally I have always found that after the first month or two of breastfeeding my supply is amazingly adaptable and could cope with an irregular pattern quite happily - you may well find the same. At 9 months plus I would say you are moving into the territory of breastmilk being a bonus addition to his diet rather than the main component of it, so as long as you're happy that he is getting good nutrition overall, and plenty of milk whether formula or breastmilk, I wouldn't worry too much.

superking Mon 10-Oct-16 20:43:12

Oh and yes, "first" formula milk is perfectly adequate nutrition for babies up to 1, when they can switch to cows' milk if you want. Follow on milk is just a gimmick which allows formula companies to get round advertising restrictions.

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