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Do periods reduce breast milk? Help me increase supply

(32 Posts)
FlourishingMrs Thu 23-Feb-17 23:14:52

Please help, I think I have lost my breast milk making ability. DS is 15 weeks. He lost a lot of weight in the first 14 days and the started gaining well, but at 12 weeks of exclusive breast feeding my period came, it seems since then the supply is low. No more leaks, no more breast pads and slowed in gaining weight.

So I intoduced one formula feed in the evening and the weight in the last 2 weeks has been great. But I fear he is no longer full on breast feeds so I have started alternation breast and bottle in the day and breast only at night until 11 in the morning.

How do I continue breast feeding within him losing more weight? He was born just over 6 pounds. 3.018 kg and is Now 5.1 kilos. Took him to the health visitor not worried about his weight as he is an extremely active and strong baby.would like to continue breast feeding but need advice to up my milk supply.

onemumtwocountries Thu 23-Feb-17 23:19:02

Have you tried expressing? If I express more than my DS would take, my supply goes up. I can tell as my boobs start being sore and lumpy before the next feed, much earlier than usual. This could benefit you in 2 ways: it may increase your supply, and it would give you a stash for the freezer.

Drink lots of water and maybe have a look at breastfeeding supplements (I have taken them since DS's birth)?

fannydaggerz Thu 23-Feb-17 23:21:16

You could take fenugreek tablets, they boost milk supply.

Keep offering the breast and pump when lo has a bottle

FV45 Thu 23-Feb-17 23:27:19

Can you have a BF weekend, where you basically just hang around all day offering the boob all the time?
Are you drinking plenty, eating enough?
Don't panic, it's unlikely you're not making enough at this stage.

Yes, your periods can affect supply.

FlourishingMrs Thu 23-Feb-17 23:28:41

Thank you Onemum and Fanny, so apart from fanugreek tablets what else is out there? Never knew there were supplements

amistillsexy Thu 23-Feb-17 23:30:31

I breastfed all 3 of my dss, and I found they would all fuss and fret when I was feeding them if I had my period. I think it affected the taste. This might have been what originally caused your ds not to feed as much, and maybe affected your supply at that point.

The problem with supplementing with formula is that you decrease demand for the breast, so supply also decreases. The only way to increase supply is to increase demand, and the best way to do that is to breastfeed more and formula feed less, but Obvs that may take a few days, and you don't want ds to be hungry.

To sort this out, I used to pump in between breast feeds to increase supply, and feed the expressed milk mixed with a bit of formula for just one or two feeds (5 o'clock and bedtime seemed to be the times they needed a bit extra), after offering the breast. Always give both breasts before offering a bottle if you want to increase supply.

After a few days of expressing alongside breast feeding in this way, my supply would have increased enough to drop the formula, although I successfully mix fed all 3 until each was about 15 months and gave up of their own accord.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

LoveDeathPrizes Thu 23-Feb-17 23:30:31

My cycle definitely effects my supply. I take fenugreek and calcium with magnesium in the week before my period (not actually a proper period but I have this strange phantom cycle going on). Porridge is great stuff and drink lots of water. My supply is usually back to normal after a few days. Good luck!

FlourishingMrs Thu 23-Feb-17 23:31:12

FV45 thank you, So my suspicions about period and reduced milk are true...Genuis
But if I am not making enough, won't baby starve one the breast feeding weekend?

onemumtwocountries Thu 23-Feb-17 23:31:36

I take Pregnacare breastfeeding tablets. No idea if they work but I've had a good experience of breastfeeding (I'm 6 months in).

amistillsexy Thu 23-Feb-17 23:32:57

Oh yes, and make sure you rest up and eat well whilst you're doing this. Tiredness can really affect supply, and as a pp says, a lazy weekend in bed, feeding on demand can be lovely, providing you have someone on hand to keep you supplied with good nutritional meals and lots of water!

FV45 Thu 23-Feb-17 23:33:01

No, I don't think your baby will starve, but they will boost your supply pretty quickly.

FV45 Thu 23-Feb-17 23:34:11

I had very irregular periods when they returned after my kids, and it was only in hindsight that I twigged why they had been fractious the week before.

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 23-Feb-17 23:38:25

Your baby won't starve. They will probably want to feed a lot more. Your breasts always make milk when the baby feeds, just at a lower rate than if your supply was higher. Increased demand will mean the rate at which your breasts make milk will increase as a result.

FlourishingMrs Thu 23-Feb-17 23:39:50

Wow, thank you ladies, so can expressed milk be mixed with formula in the same bottle?

CountFosco Thu 23-Feb-17 23:41:05

I think your periods can appear to affect supply but probably don't, it's as likely to be a growth spurt as anything else. Not leaking any more as your child gets bigger is normal. If you want to increase your supply then you need to BF more and formula feed less, your breasts produce milk in response to the suckling by your baby, the more your FF the less milk you will make.

If you want to increase supply then there's lots of folk remedies like fenugreek and oats (good excuse to eat flapjacks TBH). But eat a sensible-ish diet, drink plenty of water and BF your baby at every squeak. A BFing honeymoon really helped me after I got horrible mastitis. Sit down on the sofa with the TV controls, your fully charged mobile phone, a good book and lots of magazines and your OH available to run around giving you sweet treats and lots to drink. Put the baby to the breast and feed whenever they are awake. Stay there all day. This is exhausting and tiring work but I think gets your LO and you thinking about how often they need to feed and obviously stimulates supply. Made a massive difference to me (now got years of BFing experience).

FlourishingMrs Thu 23-Feb-17 23:41:38

is this to say one cannot attempt dieting, calorie control when breast feeding?

FlourishingMrs Fri 24-Feb-17 00:46:14

Thank you, lucky I love porridge for breakfast, having it with Greek yogurt. It will be a busy weekend. I will do nothing but feed.

Any other super breastfeeding foods?

amistillsexy Fri 24-Feb-17 01:39:31

So long as the expressed milk has been stored correctly, and you make up the formula according to instructions, I can see no reason why you can't pour some of the made up formula into a bottle along with some expressed milk.
I couldn't have tried limiting my calories whilst breast feeding if I'd tried. I was starving! However, nourishing foods are not necessarily high in calories. Just try and get home made rather than processed foods as much as you can, and plenty of fruit, veg, eggs, calcium and protein. I always felt like having milky puddings like semolina and rice pudding, but that's probably just my preference!

ThreesMyMagicNumber Fri 24-Feb-17 05:35:21

Try Tigermik..not sure of exact recipe (google it perhaps) but I drank the following every night and saw instant increase in supply:
Brewers yeast
Drinking chocolate
Whizz in blender /nutribullet

Plus all other suggestions re increase your feeding!

Good luck wink

Penhacked Fri 24-Feb-17 06:07:49

I call growth spurts too. The thing to keep thinking is your boobs are like a factory, not a shop. They never truly run out. So when the baby feeds, the factory lights are on and it's go go go. The baby takes milk that is there, but is also helping to stimulate the next batch of production. So when there isn't enough milk, the baby feeds more frequently to get the next short batch, which in turn triggers the following batch etc. By introducing formula, you are also spacing the feeds because the baby is full, which is exactly the opposite of what you need because it means the 'factory' is closed. It doesn't know there is a need for another batch. The weekend at home just feeding whenever baby will allow, will massively up your supply for this reason. The baby will not starve in a weekend, although it will probably make you feel tired and hungry!

littledinaco Fri 24-Feb-17 11:41:49

Look up the 'top up trap'.
Giving formula will have a massive effect on your supply compared to periods, diet, etc.

It is very common for babies to go through phases where they want to feed all the time, it doesn't mean you don't have enough milk.

It is common to stop leaking milk as your baby gets older, some people never leak a drop at any point and it doesn't mean they don't have enough milk. It's also common for babies weight gain to slow as they get older.

Lots of skin to skin and lots of feeding-literally every time baby does anything-feed!

FlourishingMrs Sat 25-Feb-17 22:56:51

Thank you ladies, I have done sooo much breast feeding today, Bobbie's feel like socks

littledinaco Sun 26-Feb-17 08:46:51

I know it feels like you've got no milk sometimes but as long as your baby is feeding, he will be getting milk. It's like a tap-it doesn't run out/stop.
Hope it keeps going well for you.

Penhacked Sun 26-Feb-17 21:59:16

Boobies do feel like socks grin. That is 100% NORMAL. They do not feel full of milk as you get into your groove. My boobs now one year into feeding are no bigger than before baby, except if I leave it five hours or so and then I start to feel full. Well done today. There will be some days of cluster feeding through to one year and beyond. Sometimes growth spurts, sometimes feeling unwell for comfort, sometimes developmental leaps. More frequent feeding only tells you the baby is trying to up your supply, it doesn't mean your boobs have malfunctioned.

Leatherboundanddown Sun 26-Feb-17 22:16:11

It is very normal at this stage for breasts to settle down and not leak any more or feel so full, the milk is still being produced though so don't worry.

Drinking loads of water always helped me produce more if needed.

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