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Milk drying up? 8 month old seems to be hungry!

(8 Posts)
Mary3324 Wed 10-Jun-09 07:53:39

My 8 month old has been exclusively bf and we have been starting to introduce solids as well for about 6 or 7 weeks, which is going well. He is starting to take less milk during the day (despite me offering frequently) as his intake of solids is increasing, but still wants a full bf before bed at 7pm and again at 10.30pm. He is then waking at least twice during the night to 'snack' and wide awake any time from 5.30am.

My worry is that I now do not have enough milk to keep him going for any length of time during the night. He has always settled well at both 7pm and 10.30pm, but recently he has started to get restless and seemed frustrated at these times and seems to be emptying my boobs very quickly. Last night it felt like he had had enough milk not to be starving, but not enough to be full, and he ended up crying for half an hour at both feeds until he eventually fell asleep.

Most of the mums I know give their babies a formula feed at 10.30pm and they all seem to sleep through until around 7am. I have been adamant since he was born that I will never use formula, but I'm now wondering if I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face? More importantly, I'm concerned that he is going hungry because my milk supply is decreasing, and maybe I should just bite the bullet and give him some formula at 10.30pm?

I know breastmilk becomes supply and demand around this time, but I just feel that mine is decreasing - I now struggle to express 40mls in 20 minutes whereas I used to get 150mls in less than 5!

Any thoughts?!!

belgo Wed 10-Jun-09 08:02:49

Expressing milk is no indicator of how much you are producing. I know that because I have struggled to express more then a few drops despite producing enough milk for triplets (not that I had triplets).

How many bf is he having during the day?

Two possible causes of the fussiness at the night time feed:
is he teething?
Is he going through a grwoth spurt?

Don't listen to what other parents say about how well their babies sleep. A mother was recently telling me how well her eight month old slept, but it turns out he was still having a bottle at 5am and waking at least twice in the night for his dummy. All babies are different.

Mary3324 Wed 10-Jun-09 08:42:39

He's generally having 3 breastfeeds during the day, but usually only one of these is a reasonable length - the others may just be for 5 or 10 minutes or so, then he refuses to go back on.

Currently he's not teething. His bottom ones came through about a month ago after he'd been teething for about 2 months, but he's not displaying any of the same classic teething signs now.

I'm not sure about the growth spurt idea, it's a possibility I guess. But then I would expect him to be feeding more during the day, rather than just having these issues at night? Also, when he's had growth spurts in the past they don't seem to have lasted very long but he's really been building up to this for a while now.

fulhammummy Wed 10-Jun-09 21:53:51

You have done really well to exclusively breastfeed for so long. I would try a bottle of formula in the evening to see if it makes a difference (assuming he will take a bottle).

If it makes no difference to him waking then it isn't your milk supply.

If it does make a difference then it isn't a bad compromise and a bit more sleep should help your milk supply.

Hope things get better

JoyS Thu 11-Jun-09 05:25:32

This happened to me around 8 months too, I started giving formula and it's shot my milk supply to hell.

I agree he could be teething, dd2 wakes up when she's teething no matter what she eats.

Another possible cause: have you started your periods yet? I get major supply drop starting a few days before and going through to the 2nd day or so.

Night nursing builds up your milk more than day nursing (I think). If you can stand it, I would try to ride this out. Nurse him as much as you possibly can, sleep when he sleeps and let the housework go a bit. With DD1 I was able to focus on bfing more and fed her to 18 mos. DD2 is 11 mos and I think we're coming to the end, she has one feed a day now and she's not that interested in it.

If you do decide to give formula (will say that DD2 sleeps through the night now-8 to 5:30) don't let anyone worry you about it, you know what's best for your baby and yourself. Mixed feeding is possible and works really well for some people, my SIL did it from 6 mos and fed my nephew for 3 yrs.

Good luck figuring it all out.

Mary3324 Thu 11-Jun-09 14:04:06

Thanks for all the advice. He's been eating us out of house and home since last night, so I'm now thinking maybe he is having a growth spurt after all. I think I'll persevere with exclusive breastfeeding for now and see if my milk supply increases again. I had severe food poisoning at the end of last week so I'm wondering if that has maybe made my milk levels drop a bit.

imaginewittynamehere Thu 11-Jun-09 14:21:09

Mary - sounds like you haven't been well which can't be helpful!! Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you aren't keen on the idea of formula? (tbh I don't blame you) If your milk is low because of illness then it will build up very quickly again.

DD1 was an angel sleeper but had a horrid blip at around 8-9 months where she was waking at night when she didn't before. Because she wasn't used to waking at night she would be difficult to put back to sleep & would cry & cry - she grew out of it again within a month - she was bf alongside food until 18 months.

During the day are you offering food then milk?
If so food maybe filling him up so he has less room for calorific milk; maybe try offering milk first for at least his last meal of the day.

I agree with Belgo how much you can express is no indicator of how much you have - I built up to expressing 150ml at one point whilst DH was giving a feed when I was at the gym. I stopped and tried again to add milk to her breakfast - I could barely do 50ml.

Sorry post seems a bit rambly but I hope it helps - DD2 is surgically attached to me for her 3 month growth spurt!

TrudyVotion Sat 13-Jun-09 18:34:54

Really interesting about the period. I've just posted about my supply seeming to dip, adding formula and worrying I've done something unforgivable and awful. I didn't think about the fact that today I've started my first period since having DS, albeit POP-stimulated. Maybe that's the problem.

Hope things improve for you and life is milktastic again very soon.

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